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Ephesians– overview of 2:19-22; God’s Temple in Humanity, part 2.

EPHESIANS-1-190711
length: 65:39 - taught on Jul, 11 2019
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Class Outline:

Thursday July 11, 2019


EPH 2:19-22 God’s Temple in Humanity.

 

The end of the paragraph leads us to Paul’s intent from the beginning of it (“You were dead”) - the habitation of God amongst men.

 

EPH 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,

 

EPH 2:20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [of the church age], Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,

 

EPH 2:21 in whom the [no def. art. “a”] whole building, being fitted together [fitly framed = many become one] is growing into a holy temple in the Lord;

 

EPH 2:22 in whom you also [all the churches who will receive this letter] are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

 

The church is a house built for an Occupant.

 

The whole church is God’s household as are each of its individual members. The truth of God having a home in and among men is a significant doctrine throughout the revelation of God’s word.

 

Christianity is a fraternal experience. No Christian should purposefully isolate himself from the body of Christians.

 

To each member, to each saint, grace is given for the work of service to build up the body of Christ.

 

EPH 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

 

God’s grace is not bestowed on us to diffuse and lose itself in our separate individualities; but that it may minister to the body as God wills.

 

God, as a wise master builder, places every stone in the walls in its proper place, meaning, He gives the proper gifts or gift to each member, and His bestowments and appointments are made with an eye to the furtherance of the house that He indwells.

 

One has said that Psa 68 is “the greatest, most splendid and artistic of the temple-songs of restored Jerusalem.”

 

It celebrates God’s entry into Zion. The typology of the future victory is that David would actually be the first Israelite to capture Jerusalem from the Jebusites, though the land was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin and neither they nor the sons of Judah could drive the Jebusites out of Jerusalem. David, a type of Christ, would accomplish it and this would picture God settling Himself forever in Zion.

 

PSA 68:15 A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan;

A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan.

 

PSA 68:16 Why do you look with envy, O mountains with many peaks, At the mountain which God has desired for His abode?

Surely, the Lord will dwell there forever.

 

Bashan is a great mountain of a chain of mountains in Lebanon. The great king Og hailed from there and came and fought against the inferior force of Moses and Israel. “A mountain of God” is an idiom or a Hebraism for a high mountain, so it reads, “A high mountain is the mountain of Bashan.”

 

The high mountain of Bashan represents all the kingdoms of the world.

 

MAT 4:8

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory;

 

By comparison, the mountain of God that He will dwell in forever is Zion, and compared to Bashan it is but a little hill.

 

The glory of the kingdoms of the world seem to be far greater than the kingdom of God upon the earth, of course, this will change at the second coming of Christ, but from Moses until now, God’s glory among His people seems like a small hill surrounded by towering mountains, but it only seems that way to the untrained eye.

 

David sees the mountain of Bashan eventually envying the little hill of Zion, and for obvious reasons; the Lord of glory dwells there forever.

 

And we see, just like we did in PSA 132:14 last night, that God has desired a home among and in men. The Lord told the Samaritan woman that the Father seeks those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

 

We keep reading …

 

PSA 68:17 The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; The Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness.

 

PSA 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captive Thy captives; Thou hast received gifts among [for] men,

Even among the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell there.

 

David, the writer of this psalm, fought the Syrians and defeated them, destroying 700 chariots and 40,000 horsemen. What good was the Syrian army against David, a man after God’s own heart who understood that behind him were God’s chariots by the thousands.

 

The point is that God always vanquishes His enemies, and the men who depend upon Him vanquish their own enemies, which in essence are God’s enemies.

 

Ascending on high is a picture of God ascending in victory. As He does so, He releases His own, those imprisoned by His enemy, and gives them gifts. God doesn’t rise in victory for His own aggrandizement, but in order to release His own from the power of the enemy, from the mountain of Bashan.

 

Paul saw in this line of David’s poetry, the ascension of Elohim fulfilled in the ascension of Christ.

 

I pray that we all understand the significance of this. The victory of God, that He prophesied through David and others over a thousand years before Christ, has been fulfilled in Christ when He was resurrected and ascended to heaven and seated on the throne of all authority.

 

Follow it closely: Christ ascended on high (Elohim ascended, PSA 68:17.)

 

EPH 1:19 These (gifts given to us - every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies) are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might

 

EPH 1:20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

 

EPH 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

 

EPH 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,

 

EPH 1:23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.

 

“You have led captive Your captives,” PSA 68:18. Christ fulfills this and the church are the first beneficiaries.

 

EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

 

EPH 2:2 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.

 

EPH 2:3 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.

 

The whole world, Jew and Gentiles, were the captives of sin.

 

EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,

 

EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

 

EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,

 

EPH 2:7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

Made us alive, raised us up, and seated us … with Him.

 

These three verbs are all prefixed with “sun” meaning “us together.” In chapter 2, Paul is rejoicing in the church as a whole, as a body made up of new men, a new humanity, built into a house that has Christ as the foundation and cornerstone, and is the restful dwelling of the Trinity. Jesus has accomplished this, just as it was prophesied long ago, and given it to men in an age where the visible world at large does not acknowledge Him as its Lord. It truly is the most astounding of things, and I know that when we see it for what it is, the grandeur, beauty, and wisdom of it, then we will strive to live Christ’s life with great joy and anticipation.

 

“You have received gifts for men,” PSA 68:18. “He gave gifts to men,” EPH 4:8 - countless, priceless gifts.

 

EPH 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

 

EPH 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love [law of love],

 

EPH 4:3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

More eternal reasons for unity:

 

EPH 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;

 

EPH 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

 

EPH 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

 

EPH 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.

 

EPH 4:8 Therefore it says [PSA 68:17-18],

"When He ascended on high,

He led captive a host of captives,

And He gave gifts to men."

 

Paul was once one of these captives. He was a Pharisee captive to Satan’s kingdom made up of arrogance, selfishness, and violence. One look from the risen Christ and the Pharisee became a captive belonging to Christ, who made Paul His apostle to the Gentiles. Paul, imprisoned as he writes, clearly understands that he is Jesus Christ’s captive and the wise master builder of His church. Everything laid in His hands is changed by their touch.

 

Now, Paul can explain the prophecy in light of the historical reality of its fulfillment.

 

EPH 4:9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?

 

EPH 4:10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

 

Has His elevation altered Him? Too often it is so with vain and weak men like ourselves. Their wealth increases, but their hearts contract. The more they have to give, the less they love to give. They go up on high as men count it, and climb to places of power and eminence; and they forget the friends of youth and ranks from which they sprang - low minded men. Not so with our exalted Lord.

 

Conquering enemies, obtaining captives, and distributing plunder implies that there is a war.

 

Paul quotes the psalm and then relates to us, that for the Lord, to ascend on high meant first to descend in shame, judgment, and death.

 

Paul doesn’t mention the OT saints in Hades in this passage, though it is implied by some that he is referring to just that. But Paul’s writing in this passage, as well as the entire book is bigger than that. Peter writes that Jesus made a proclamation to the spirits now in prison (1PE 3:19), and Paul in COL 2:15 writes of a triumphal procession of Christ over them, but nothing is written of His entry into the compartment of the saints. It is assumed that He did, and I think rightly so, but here is something much bigger, which is the fulfillment of Psa 68. The captives in view here are all the saved in all ages. His descent is His judgement for the sins of the world as He was forsaken by His Father, a fate far worse than His physical death, which to Him actually was a relief, and the culmination of His descent for us.

 

Is there nothing in the world more beautiful than this?

 

And, because He descended for us, He does not ascend alone. One went down and many came up, ROM 5:12-21.

 

PHI 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;

 

PHI 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

PHI 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

 

The descent:

 

In order to go up with His captives, He would have to go down and get them.

 

PHI 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

 

PHI 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

 

PHI 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 

The ascent:

 

PHI 2:9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

 

PHI 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,

 

PHI 2:11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

EPH 4:8 Therefore it says [PSA 68:17-18],

"When He ascended on high,

He led captive a host of captives,

And He gave gifts to men."

 

EPH 4:9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?

 

EPH 4:10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

 

Now, Paul relates to us the gifts given to us which run through the leaders in the church, appointed to shepherd and teach, as well as all the saints, gifted by the grace of God with His gifts for work.

 

EPH 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

 

EPH 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

 

From apostles to “work of service” runs the gamut of all the gifts given to the members of the church, and all of us amount to nothing, as God causes the growth of the building, 1CO 3:7.

 

Since all of the body are in view, the ministering to the saints and the building up of the body of Christ is from all of us, and not just the pastors.

 

The pastors or clergy are assigned to teach and lead and institute church administration, but they alone do not build or do all the equipping.

 

EPH 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,

 

EPH 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

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