Ephesians 4:7-16; Good stewards of Christ’s gifts serve with joy and peace, part 3

Class Outline:

Sunday, September 19, 2021


Work and service in obedience to God should give peace and joy. The work itself is the reward. If we are grudgingly working in the hope of future reward, or if we expect that the work is loathsome and the joy only comes after the work is done, we are missing the mark. The way of life, the conduct, the character and virtue of the life of Christ are the whole of that life. Did Christ not love doing what He did during the incarnation? Did He despise the incarnation, but put up with it, waiting for the resurrection to experience any joy? God always does what He is. We find that reality difficult to comprehend since we often experience war between the Spirit and the flesh.


How do we find consistency in obedience and joy in it? We discover the way of faith and reliance on the Holy Spirit within throughout our walk.


GAL 5:16-26

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.


25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.


EPH 3:14-19

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.


By faith, we trust the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us in the work.


ROM 14:17

the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.


Paul intimates that to sacrifice something legitimate that might cause another brother to stumble is a great honor and a display of the pattern of the kingdom of God.


We must remember that God doesn’t need our help. We need God. God does not need us. We have been made to trust in Him and rely upon Him fully, and Him alone. We dare not trust in ourselves or this world.


Christ’s joy made full in us as we lay down our lives for others, JOH 15:11.


We need to rebuke all self-confidence in our flesh and put all confidence in Him. This will lift our minds from the exhaustion of mortality and encourage us to take the easy yoke of Christ and spend ourselves in Spirit-inspired toil for the honor of God and the good of mankind. The blessed good news is that God who needs no one has in sovereign condescension stooped to work by and in and through His obedient children. So, go and do, and expect Him to work through you to His glory, though He doesn’t need you or the work, but is revealing Himself to someone else who needs Him, and in so doing, He will reveal Himself even more to you.


1PE 1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.


Even in pain (lupeo = sorrow, grief, pain) we greatly rejoice in our salvation and inheritance.


While distressed by various trials, we greatly rejoice in our salvation and its accompanying inheritance. The verb “distressed” is the aorist passive of lupeo, which refers to having sorrow or grief or pain. Trials cause us pain and sorrow, but also we rejoice greatly. That means that we are not completely detached from the woes of the world or are uncaring of the world’s pain, but that we also have great joy in our salvation and inheritance. Therefore, even in pain, we serve God and His people.


This would require our occupation with our new life in Christ and its destiny while viewing our old self as gone and our earthly sorrows as temporary.