With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it (Eph. 6:18 NAS)
” 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God… (Eph.6:10-20)Continue reading →
5 Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. (Ephesians 6:5-9)Continue reading →
1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)Continue reading →
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise…18 be filled with the Spirit…21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:15-33)Continue reading →
21submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Eph. 5:21-24) Continue reading →
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Continue reading →
…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:8)
Sermon by Rev. Daniel L. Sonnenberg | July 28, 2013
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph.5:15-21)Continue reading →
This is the first of three sermons in the mini-series on this verse. Pastor Dan was back today with a sermon on Ephesians 5:2. “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The Apostle Paul pleads with us to:
2013-02-10 Five Reasons for Christian Holiness | Ephesians 4:25-32
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Continue reading →
2013-01-20 Christ’s Dependent Body | Ephesians 4:15-16
Ephesians 4:15-16 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.Continue reading →
2013-01-13 Christ’s Diversified Body: We Are All Different | Ephesians 4:7-14
The phrase “Body of Christ” is used to collectively describe believers in Christ. Christians are members of the universal body of Christ through identification with Christ through faith. We saw this earlier in Ephesians 3.6 “…through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” Jesus Christ is seen as the “head” of the body, which is the church, while the “members” of the body are seen as members of the Church. Verses 1-16 of Ephesians 4 describe three aspects of the body of Christ. In verses 1-6 we saw last week that Christ’s body is unified – we are all the same in various ways. In verses 15-16 next week we will see that Christ’s body is interdependent – we are all dependent in various ways. In verses 7-14 today we will see that Christ’s body is diversified – we are all different in various ways.
In today’s passage we discover the source of our diversity, the immediate purpose of our diversity, and the ultimate purpose of our diversity.
Ephesians 4:7-147 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
The source of our diversity: Christ’s distributing of gifts to his body (7-10)
The source of our diversity – what makes us different – in the body of Christ is the ascended Christ’s manner of distributing various gifts to each member of his body. We learn from this passage that gifts are the ability of each member to perform distinctive services or functions within the body of Christ. That ability is in verse 7a called “grace.” 7a But grace was given to each one of us…”
In verse 7b we are told that gifts are given by Christ and distributed among us as he wills, “according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
We find parallel statements in at least two other places in Paul’s writings. In Eph 3:7-8, Paul refers to the special grace given to himself as a minister of the gospel.Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace,…8 To me…this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” In Rom 12:5-6 we are told that, not only Paul has received this special grace but also we who are individually members of the body of Christ, “hav[e] gifts that differ according to the grace given to us…” So not only the most eminent of believers like Paul, but all believers have received gifts and they are distributed among us according to the will of Christ. That is, each individual member of the Body of Christ has received a gift and those gifts differ among us in measure and kind from one another.
That the ascended Christ has given gifts to his body is amplified and confirmed in verses 8-10. By quoting Psalm 68:18 Paul tells us that because the ascended Christ has accomplished a victory over his enemies, he has received, as it were, the spoils or rewards of victory and has given those spoils to his own people. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
Paul goes on to explain that Christ won this victory by means of his life, death, resurrection and ascension. “ 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens.”
Most conservative commentators agree that this verse does not refer to Christ’s descent into hell after his death, but more simply to his descent to earth by means of the incarnation which was followed by his ascent back to heaven after his resurrection. The time of his humiliation – his descent to earth – was followed by his glorification – his ascension to heaven.
And the purpose of his descending and ascending, that is, the purpose of his humiliation and glorification – was to fill the entire universe – both heaven and earth – with his presence. Verse 10b says, “that he might fill all things.” In this context, it means that he is able to supply his church with everything necessary to cause the growth of his body until it matches his own fullness. (FF Bruce, 345).
Why do we have different gifts among us? It is first because that is Christ’s design for his body, that each one might receive a different portion of what he has won through his victory over his enemies by means of his sacrificial life, death, resurrection and ascension.
The immediate purpose of our diversity: the equipping of Christ’s body for ministry (11-12)
The second reason given here for the various gifts among us is Christ’s immediate purpose for some of these gifts, which is the equipping of his body for ministry. We are different from one another because Christ has gifted some people for the equipping of his body. Notice those listed are primarily teaching or word gifts. 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers 12 to (pros – for) equip the saints.
The main verb “he gave” points back again to Christ. He is the one who equips his body through those he gifts to do so. Here is one of several lists of gifts found in the New Testament. These are the gifts – or the persons whom Christ has gifted – whose role is the equipping of the body of Christ.
First among those gifted to equip the saints are apostles and prophets, which, most Reformed commentators agree, refers primarily to those early New Testament apostles and prophets who walked with Christ or his immediate disciples and who gave us the text of the New Testament which is our rule of life and faith. Theirs was the authoritative ministry of Christ handed down immediately from him and continued by them in the first century. Without them, we would not have recorded the words and works of Jesus himself found in the Gospels and Acts or the interpretation of his words found in the Epistles which guided both the early church and the church through the ages. Their teaching ministry is therefore primary. Some groups of true believers accept that there are modern apostles and prophets, but most define their roles differently from the apostles and prophets of the first century and rightly claim for modern apostles and prophets a level of authority beneath those of the first century.
Second among those gifted to equip the saints are evangelists, pastors and teachers. Their role is the equipping of the saints in their own day.
Evangelists are those who have a special gift of communicating the gospel to unbelievers and thus bringing them into the kingdom, the first step in equipping the saints.
Pastors are those gifted and appointed to oversee or shepherd part of Christ’s flock, especially by feeding it – that is, by teaching.
Teachers are those gifted to effectively communicate the Word of God especially to believers.
Some commentators consider pastoring and teaching to be the same gift. I agree that there is certainly some overlap since those who are pastors must be able to teach at least at some level in order to guide their people in the ways of the Lord. For example, ruling elders who share the responsibility for shepherding the flock in the Presbyterian and Reformed churches must also be “able to teach” according to the Book of Order.
However, there are some who are gifted teachers who clearly do not have the gift of pastoring. They are able to teach very well, but do not have a gift for watching out for the personal needs of the people. These are often rightly found serving the body of Christ in seminaries or Christian colleges or in itinerant ministries. So I tend to believe these are separate gifts that overlap in some people.
Notice again that the gift of teaching is emphasized in this list. Paul’s point seems to be that without the writers of the NT, and without those who are gifted to clearly communicate the gospel to the church, the effective equipping of the saints cannot take place.
But the body of Christ is not made up only of those gifted for the equipping of the saints, it consists also of those in the body who are gifted for the works of service which build up the body of Christ. In verse 12b we are told that the purpose of equipping the saints is that they would engage in 12b for (eis – into) the work of ministry, for (eis – into) building up the body of Christ,
The work of ministry or service (diakonia), which builds up or edifies the entire body is a second part of Christ’s immediate purpose of our diversity. Christ desires that his body grow and remain healthy and strong and vibrant. Therefore he has given other gifts – in addition to the teaching gifts – that help to bring this about. Drawing from other gift lists in the NT, we could include the gifts of mercy, leading, helps, knowledge, exhortation, wisdom, giving and others. All these work together to keep the body healthy and strong and lively.
Christ has gifted us differently from one another because it takes a variety of gifts to keep the body of Christ healthy and strong. The point is that each of you has at least one gift to use in service to the body of Christ, whether a teaching type of gift or a serving type of gift. Your immediate aim should be to use it to edify, to build up the other members of the body for the common good. Your responsibility is to discover and to exercise the gift you have been given by Christ for the well-being and strengthening of his body. For those who are not sure what gift you might have, we will be offering a Christian Education class on this subject in a few weeks. We will help you discover what gift you have and in what ministry you might use it. Watch the bulletin for dates.
If Christ is the source of our gifts, and Christ’s immediate purpose through the various gifts is the building up of his body, then finally Christ’s ultimate purpose through the gifts is the maturing of his body into his own likeness.
The ultimate purpose of our diversity: the maturing of Christ’s body into His likeness (13-14)
Verse 13 says, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
Christ is the head of the body, the head of the church. His ultimate goal for his body is that we corporately become like him, the head. Spiritual maturity or Christlikeness is not merely and individual effort. Neither you nor I can realize it on our own. It can only be accomplished in relationship to other members of the body because it has to do with growing in unity with one another. Isn’t it interesting that our diversity contributes to our unity?
How are we to grow in unity? In two ways here: the unity of the faith and the unity of knowledge of the Son of God. Paul’s use of unity last week was something that was given to us by the Spirit that we should maintain. This week unity is something we should attain, something to be sought after and achieved together: unity with one another in both faith and knowledge.
“Faith” here refers to the theological content of the gospel. It is the same faith that is found in Jude 3, “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”
“Knowledge of the Son of God” here refers to experiential knowledge of Christ gained as we seek to live in conformity to the Scriptures as Paul writes in Phil. 3:10“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”
These two represent what we might call head knowledge and heart knowledge of Christ. Head knowledge is the intellectual content about Christ found in Scripture that we seek to gain and to maintain clearly in our minds untainted by the latest fads and heresies. Heart knowledge is the experiential content of life, what we learn of Christ through sharing in the sufferings and joys he appoints for us in our daily lives. This is Christ’s ultimate purpose or goal for his body, that we might grow more and more in unity and so together become more and more like Christ, not merely individually, but especially corporately. That is more difficult, but is Christ’s highest aim for us, that we his corporate body, might become more and more like him our head.
The result of this unity when we attain it is greater corporate stability. Verse 14 says, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
No longer will we be merely individual Christians who are like children, immature and unstable: easily tossed and carried by the winds and waves of false teachings and schemes of men. Together, as a body of many members, united in mind and heart, we are like Christ, fully-grown, mature, stable, im-movable, like many ships safely lashed together, able to weather any storm.
So let us embrace the diversity of gifts among us because it is Christ’s design for his body. And let us discover and utilize those gifts he has given us both to equip and to build up his body on earth. And let us, working together, use our various gifts to attain the unity of faith and knowledge, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
2012-08-26 Strengthening God’s Family: Causes and Effects | Ephesians 3:14-19
Ephesians 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith– that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Continue reading →
2012-08-19 God’s Manifold Wisdom in Christ | Eph 3:7-13
Eph 3:7-13 7Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. Continue reading →
Ephesians 3:1-6 1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles– 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.Continue reading →
2012-08-05 God is Building a House | Ephesians 2:19-22
Eph. 2:19-22 19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. 21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. Continue reading →
Eph. 2:14-18 (ESV) For he himself is our PEACE, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making PEACE, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preachedPEACE to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. Continue reading →
2012-07-15 The “Why?” of Salvation OR God’s Purpose in Salvation| Ephesians 2:7,10
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:1-10) Continue reading →
Ephesians 2:1-6 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 1:15-23 15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:7-10 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:5-6 (ESV) he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:3-6 (ESV) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
The first in a series on the entire book of Ephesians. Click here to hear all thirty-two sermons. Continue reading →
2013-01-27 Called to Purity: As a Man Thinks in His Heart, So Is He | Ephesians 4:17-19
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.Continue reading →