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Ephesians– overview of 2:19-22; God’s Temple in Humanity, part 3 (saving the captives).

EPHESIANS-1-190716
length: 64:50 - taught on Jul, 16 2019
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Class Outline:

Tuesday July 16, 2019

 

EPH 2:19-22 God’s Temple in Humanity.

 

When Jesus answered the question of the rich and young Jewish prince when he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus eventually told the man that he had to sell everything he had and give it to the poor and if he did this, he would have reward in heaven. The man went away grieved as Jesus knew he would.

 

I open with this to illustrate the point that Jesus could see through everyone. It is not recorded that He ever said “go and sell” to another person. He knew what was standing in the way of that young man’s faith in the gospel.

 

Imagine if you could see right through everyone you talked to. There could be some benefits gleaned from this if your desire was to take advantage of people and get rich off of them. Some might think that they would like such power. But if you were the only pure man, the only innocent man, the only faithful and real man, then seeing the sin and flaws and fears and selfishness that everyone has as you looked behind the curtain of their projected selves, it would be the loneliest of existences. No one would be like you, the real you at the depth of yourself, and you would know it. No one would truly love what you loved, rejoice in what you knew was worthy of rejoicing in, care about what you really cared about. If they did try to identify with these important things about you, you would easily see that they were only hypocritical play-actors.

 

Probably the most manifest picture of this is the most famous.

 

MAR 8:29 Peter answered and said to Him, "Thou art the Christ."

 

MAR 8:30 And He warned them to tell no one about Him.

 

In the midst of the captives (believers to be) and their masters (unbelieving rulers and oppressors) Jesus would “not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street” (ISA 42:2).

 

MAR 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

 

MAR 8:32 And He was stating the matter plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him.

 

Even in understanding that Jesus is the Son of God, Peter still doesn’t understand Jesus’ real mission or His Person.

 

MAR 8:33 But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, and  said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” 

 

Jesus’ is comforted by the fact that though they don’t understand Him now, they will later. All of us who are with Him in eternity will have perfect fellowship with Him.

 

Even now, when we can say that we fellowship with the Son of God, meaning that we think like Him, walk like Him, see like Him, it is at some level incomplete, because we only see in part. The fact that we are always learning, always growing, and never arriving at full knowledge is proof of it. 

 

1CO 13:12-13 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then [when the complete or perfect comes] face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

1 Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 

 

1 Co 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

 

Christ descended into the realm of sinful man and his dark world so that He could free the captives. He would not Himself ascend in victory until it was accomplished.

 

1SA 2:35

But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.

 

Although the immediate fulfillment of this prophecy may be found in Samuel, it goes beyond the fulfillment in him and anticipates its ultimate fulfillment in Christ.

 

MAR 8:34 And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

 

Now abide faith.

 

MAR 8:35 "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it.

 

Now abide hope.

 

MAR 8:36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

 

MAR 8:37 "For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

MAR 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

 

Now abide love - Jesus would be judged for the sins of the world so that we could follow Him.

 

We have been focusing on:

 

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.

 

Then we looked to Paul’s use of this passage.

 

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.)

 

Then we went to the prophecy of Jeremiah concerning the New Covenant, which would begin to be fulfilled when Christ ascended.

 

The good news is that all believers in this age have ascended with Him. We were all once captive, but now belong to Him. The spiritual aspects of the New Covenant are fulfilled in us.

 

This does not mean that the New Covenant will no longer be fulfilled to Israel, to whom it was promised. It has to be fulfilled in them, and it will at the Second Coming of Christ.

 

Israel will turn to the Lord and the Lord will lead him back home and fulfill the New Covenant to him.

 

JER 31:1 "At that time," declares the Lord, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people."

 

JER 31:2 Thus says the Lord,

"The people who survived the sword

Found grace in the wilderness-

Israel, when it went to find its rest."

 

JER 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying,

"I have loved you with an everlasting love;

Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

 

JER 31:4 "Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt,

O virgin of Israel!

Again you shall take up your tambourines,

And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.

 

JER 31:5 "Again you shall plant vineyards

On the hills of Samaria;

The planters shall plant

And shall enjoy them.

 

JER 31:6 "For there shall be a day when watchmen

On the hills of Ephraim shall call out,

'Arise, and let us go up to Zion,

To the Lord our God.'"

 

Jeremiah relates the New Covenant in vv. 31-34.

 

Yet, on his way to revealing it, the prophet inserts a curious stanza in his poetry.

 

Yet then, the prophet begins a strophe that is very grim.

 

JER 31:15 Thus says the Lord,

"A voice is heard in Ramah,

Lamentation and bitter weeping.

Rachel is weeping for her children;

She refuses to be comforted for her children,

Because they are no more."

 

Matthew states that this is fulfilled by the slaying of male children in Bethlehem, MAT 2:16, but this is not its only fulfillment (Assyrian and Babylonian captivity)

 

This passage as quoted by Matthew as Herod “sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under” (MAT 2:16) and states the prophecy fulfilled.

 

Rachel’s children are Joseph and Benjamin.

 

Yet, the context of Jeremiah has Rachel weeping over her children, which is Ephraim, the lead tribe of the Northern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes, had already been carried away captive by the once mighty Assyrians. This is figurative since Rachel is long dead by that time, but this is poetry. The image of the matriarch weeping over the captivity of millions of her sons and daughters is a powerful picture of the effects of sin upon the human race.

 

Rachel weeps over the captivity of her sons and daughters:

1) Ephraim taken by Assyrians

2) Judah taken by Babylonians

3) Herod murdering male children in Bethlehem

 

The last one comes closest to home because it is the attempt of the enemy to take captive the most important child of Abraham.

 

The destruction of the people of Israel by the Assyrians and Chaldeans is a type of the massacre of the infants at Bethlehem, in so far as the sin which brought the children of Israel into exile laid a foundation for the fact that Herod the Idumean became king over the Jews, and wished to destroy the true King and Savior of Israel that he might strengthen his own dominion.

 

The enemy sought to take the Son of Man captive, but He was the only one able to avoid it.

 

REV 12:4-5

And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

 

Keep in mind how close the enemy came to taking captive the One who came to free us, the only One who could while we go to Ephesians.

 

EPH 4:8 Therefore it says,

"When He ascended on high,

He led captive a host of captives,

And He gave gifts to men."

 

PSA 68:16 … 18

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.

 

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.

 

Paul gives us further insight as he has come to understand God’s plan for mankind and the world.

 

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.)

 

He would not ascend on high without the captives, therefore He decided to enter enemy territory, almost becoming a captive Himself, yet protected by the power of God, He faithfully executed a perfect plan to save us, to set us free.

 

And then, on top of setting us free, He gave to us gifts, the plunder of His victory - gifts enjoyed and used in the service of our King.

 

We have gifts from Him and are now slaves of God. We must obey the One to whom we are slaves. We have work to do with those gifts, and that work is for others.

 

Like our Lord, we descend in service before we can ascend in victory.

 

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; 

 

We were designed a new humanity for this very purpose - to be like Christ.

 

What does it mean to be Christlike? It does not mean only wanting to ascend on high, only looking out for number 1. It means descending and leaving it up to the timing and will of your Father as to when you will ascend. This is what built the house of the Lord and it is the only way of the house of the Lord.

 

Like our Lord said to the disciples after He washed their feet:

 

JOH 13:14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

 

JOH 13:15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

 

JOH 13:16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.

 

JOH 13:17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

 

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, in the statement, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

 

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

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