Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; tapping into the power of God, part 14 .

Class Outline:

Tuesday November 12, 2019


Human power, which is minus God’s power, inevitably has self as its ultimate goal, and so results in sin.


Freedom is the use of God’s power in everything.


Freedom is the ability to do good in every situation, especially the very unexpected ones.


GAL 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.


GAL 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word [utterance], in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."


Jesus is the One who fulfilled the Law, and He did it on the cross by applying “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”


1CO 1:18

For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


The church at Corinth had factions, and some of them equated Paul’s work with Christ’s. Paul taught them, showed them truth, self-sacrifice, and holiness in word as well as practice, but Paul views this confusion with horror. Paul didn’t make the truth, Paul didn’t invent the love of God, nor was he the originator of holiness. A permanent gulf exists between Paul and Jesus and that is that Jesus was the one and only God/Man, Messiah, who died for all men.


1CO 1:13

Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he?


Jesus is not a member of a category of men. Jesus is not the best member of a sect of people. Jesus stands alone as one who is unique. He is His own category.


Christ’s death has a significance that no other death could. Christ’s death satisfied the justice of God and purchased men’s lives. No other could do this and no other, even the purest of men, could assist in it.


GAL 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.


And then, once again, we find the Holy Spirit appear in a passage dealing with our work and duty in God’s kingdom.


GAL 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.


The desire of the flesh is not only immoral sin but also to work the law.


Is it not plain that if we neglect the connection with Christ [walk by the Spirit] which Paul found so fruitful, we are doing ourselves the greatest injustice and preferring a narrow prison house to liberty and life?


When people talk about morality they are generally interested in fair play or harmony between people. But what they don’t want to discuss is another, and most important, part of morality, and that is the condition of the people within themselves. People usually want to say that what they do cannot be wrong because it’s not hurting anyone else.


Concern only with harmony between people leads to law making, which important and necessary as it is, does not guarantee a good society. We make laws governing how we should treat one another, and God gave mankind the greatest one of these. And we find that all nations and societies more or less agree on them. No culture hails cowardice, or thievery, or murder. All people agree that you shouldn’t take another man’s wife, or make another man your slave. But what is so often missed is that laws do not make people good.


Law does not make a man good. Bad people can follow laws.  


Bad people follow laws because the consequences of breaking the law outweigh their lawlessness.


This is why the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, which isn’t a law - love. DEU 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And LEV 19:18 you shall love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.


The law alone provides no desire to follow it other than blessings and curses, which alone is a poor motivator. There was one motivation to follow the Law in the OT, and it was said every morning by every Jew, DEU 6:4-5. Love for God motivated men like David and the prophets.


What makes a person more obedient, the thunders of Sinai or the welcoming love of the prepared banquet in Zion?


So how do we love as God loves and thus experience beautiful freedom? This is why the Holy Spirit is in you. Determine to love and He will empower it.


ROM 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,


ROM 8:4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.


By the blood of Christ, every believer has been made new men designed by God to walk according to the Spirit. Let us do so and experience the fulfilled Law in our freedom to love and do good.


GAL 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.


All believers have been made free by being made good. The new humanity is made righteous, elected to be holy and blameless, indwelt by God, put upon the new and living way.


In this is power. The power to do good in all situations, not because of laws, but because we are intrinsically good. Every believer must know this by faith. He has been made good, though evidence of sin in his life doesn’t always point to it. By virtue of who he is in Christ he must know that sin is no longer his way. When he falls into sin, he rejects it, confesses it in agreement with God that it is against Him and no longer his life, and in grace and mercy and forgiveness, he moves forward in obedience and goodness.


Faith, not sight, says that every believer is intrinsically good.


EPH 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;


EPH 5:2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.


Freedom to love as God loves.


EPH 5:3 But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints;


EPH 5:4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.


EPH 5:5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.


The unbeliever doesn’t have an inheritance. He is not child of God. Since you are believer, why think that the old way is even an option of life anymore?


EPH 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words [Gnosticism], for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.


EPH 5:7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;


EPH 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light


EPH 5:9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),


If you are a child of light and light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth, then you are goodness, righteousness, and truth.


MAT 5:14

“You are the light of the world.”


EPH 5:10 trying to learn [proving] what is pleasing to the Lord.


EPH 5:11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;


EPH 5:12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.


EPH 5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.


EPH 5:14 For this reason it says,


"Awake, sleeper,

And arise from the dead,

And Christ will shine on you."


EPH 5:15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,


EPH 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are [surrounded by] evil.


EPH 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.


Understanding the Lord’s will implies obeying it. And then again, the Holy Spirit appears in an instruction about living under the will of the kingdom of God.  


EPH 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation [asotia - excess, extravagant squandering, or riotous living], but be filled with the Spirit [present passive imperative],


EPH 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;


EPH 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;


EPH 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.


We have been set free and are then no longer under law, but under the way of intrinsic goodness. Would we say that Christ was good because of the law? Would He have been bad if there was no law? He was good because He is good, and through His cross, fulfilling the law by loving His neighbor, He has brought every believer into union with Himself - making us good and making us free to prove what the will of the Lord is.


One cannot do the will of God without God’s power. Obey His will in all things and you will be empowered by God.


Hence, God has made it quite simple for us. Though we may struggle with obeying God’s commands, obedience is simple in concept and it excludes all excuses.


So, what are the believer’s duties in the present state? These cannot be determined unless we come to the decision as to the truth or untruth of God’s authority. If God is sovereign over all, then our duties to Him are the same now as they will be in the heavenly state. It is absurd to defer all consideration of duty to God to the future world; God is as much in this world as in any: and if so, our whole life, in every part of it, must be, not a secular or a part of the world’s economy, but a godly life - a life we live well and can only live well when we live it in communion with Him, His mind and His way.


The mind that can divide life into duties of the present and duties that concern the future entirely misapprehends the teaching of Christianity, and misconceives what life is.


To do our duty at all times in light of heaven is to do them to our best, owing to the presence and accepting the gracious, sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit. A secular man may do some things better than I, though I do them by the power of the Spirit, but he does not do them as well as he could.


Watch Paul’s use of power in 2Co 4. It is his faith and his faith’s proclivity to doing God’s will where he finds power.


2CO 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.


2CO 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.


2CO 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,