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Ephesians 4:4-6, The foundation of all good things - the unity of the Trinity, His purpose, and plan.

EPHESIANS-1-201001
length: 68:30 - taught on Oct, 1 2020
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Class Outline:

Thursday October 1, 2020

 

God has said much to us lately about humility.

 

 [from Barnhouse on Romans] A beautiful illustration comes from the life of the late Chief Justice, Charles Evans Hughes. When Mr. Hughes was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, he moved to Washington and transferred his letter to a Baptist church there. His father had been a Baptist minister, and Hughes had been a lifelong witness to his own faith in Christ. It was the custom in that Baptist church to have all new members come forward during the morning service and be introduced to the congregation. On this particular day, first to be called was a Chinese laundryman, Ah Sing, who had moved to Washington from San Francisco and kept a laundry near the church. He stood at the far side of the pulpit. As others were called, they took positions at the extreme opposite side. When a dozen people had gathered, Ah Sing still stood alone. Then Chief Justice Hughes was called. He took his place next to the laundryman. When the minister had welcomed the group into the church fellowship, he said, "I do not want this congregation to miss the remarkable illustration of the fact that at the cross of Jesus Christ the ground is level." You see, Mr. Hughes behaved like a true Christian. He took his place beside the laundryman, and by his act prevented embarrassment to the humble Chinese and showed too, the love of Christ; he had this gift of standing by.

 

EPH 4:1-3

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

The doctrine that is to be agreed upon is plainly written out in the first three chapters. We are not to concern ourselves with unity simply for the sake of appearances. We all need to understand that we are bound to the authority of the scripture and not the conjectures of man. We all need to understand that we were all baptized by one Spirit at the moment of salvation, made to drink of that one Holy Spirit when by faith we believed in Christ as our Savior. We also have one faith, meaning the clear doctrines revealed in the scripture. When Christians differ on interpretation of a particular section, and I emphasize the word section or even book over the word verse because the context of any one verse must always be taken into account, the two differing parties must revert to the scripture alone. If they do so humbly, they will either find the clear and proper interpretation or they will discover that they have only stood on their own opinions of things that are not clearly revealed.

 

A perfect example of this is the command to be filled with the Spirit. There is one passage, EPH 5:18, that commands this and it is not stated as to how one does it. The question has led to many attempts at an answer, from confession of sin to great stirring of emotion, to praying or asking, to doing God’s will. Which one is correct?

 

The oneness of God’s new society:

Depends upon the charity (love) of our character and conduct (vs. 2).

Arises from the unity of God (vv. 3-6).

Is enriched by the diversity of our gifts (vv. 7-12).

Demands the maturity of our growth (vv. 13-16).

 

EPH 4:3

being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

“being diligent” - spoudazo = to make every effort, hasten to.

“to preserve” - tereo = to watch over, preserve, or keep. (“Keep My commands).

 

“bond” meaning together with one another, and that, in peace. We must be diligent to watch over our unity. It begins with our own peace in our own hearts from humility and meekness, and then a loving care for the other members of the church whom you know. “Consider how to stimulate one another in love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging all the more as you see the day approaching.” (HEB 10:24-25)

 

Verses 1-3 exhibit the temperament in which the unity of the church is to be maintained.

 

Verses 4-6, the second sentence, set forth the foundation upon which the temperament of unity rests.

 

EPH 4:4-6

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

 

This section defines the foundation of the apostles and prophets laid down in EPH 2:20.

 

EPH 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, 20 having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

 

The Father’s household, vs. 19, Christ the cornerstone, vs. 20, and a dwelling in the Spirit, and the foundation is the apostles and prophets.

 

The groundwork of every building in God’s holy temple is the unity of God; the Trinity, the purpose, and plan.

 

The oneness, unity, sole and singular thread of righteousness binds together every aspect, the small and the great, in all that God builds.

 

He made believers the new humanity, qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints of light, and His kingdom must have that same unity and singularity. We must be the same with one another, and also, within ourselves. To be whole, not conflicted in hope or desire or affection, but to be singular in mind and purpose is the recipe for perfect peace.

 

Building anything in life on another foundation than vv. 4-6 will at the start seem to run okay, but only after a short time will it begin to break down and eventually fall apart.

 

PRO 10:25

When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,

But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

 

Build your house upon the Rock - hearing His words and acting upon them.

 

We must build everything; ourselves, our marriages, our families, our churches, and anything else we can upon the foundation of God’s unity in Himself, His purpose, and His plan. Satan offers other foundations, and like everything from kingdoms to the individual lives within them, all of them fall apart without God as their foundation. God is love and love is the perfect bond of unity, COL 3:14.

 

Paul enumerates seven elements: one body, Spirit, hope; one Lord, faith, and baptism, and one God and Father over all.

 

They form a chain stretching from the church on earth to the throne of God in heaven.

 

EPH 4:4-6

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

 

As in other parts of Paul’s writing, the rhythm of expression in these verses suggests that they belonged to some apostolic Christian song. There is a poet in Paul. He quotes a known Greek poet to the Athenians in Act 17, and he writes them himself in his inspired text.

 

He bids us to speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, giving voice to the joy of the new-found faith. Even by Paul’s time of writing, the church was already rich in psalms and songs.

 

“One body” flies in the face of denominationalism. Only in Christianity is mature unity possible.

 

Denomination should have never happened, but once they did, it was impossible to unite the church all over Christendom. Earnest attempts by some to unite despite false doctrines and despite opinions held as sound doctrine could only fail.

 

Only Christ will be able to eliminate the divisions that now exist in the church, meaning the entire body of believers. The visible church, the ecumenical, is not comprised all of believers.

 

There is one body and one Spirit. Every part is of the whole. Without the Spirit the body is lifeless.

 

Every part of the physical body is part of the whole. Externals, such as clothes, never will be a part of the body. The smallest and most insignificant part of the body, one neuron, a fingernail, etc. is none-the-less part of the whole. Also, once the body loses its spirit, it becomes a lifeless lump of flesh. In the same way, the body of Christ has no insignificant parts, and a part from the Holy Spirit, it has not life. An unbeliever, claiming to be a part of the body, and even acting as a faithful church goer and servant can never be a part of the body for he lacks the Holy Spirit. He is dead in Adam.

 

1CO 12:4-11

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. [one Trinity as in EPH 4:4-6] 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

 

Some gifts were temporary to support the building of the infant church: healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues. And yet all, the temporary and the permanent are through the “same” Holy Spirit.

 

1CO 12:12-22

12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;

1CO 12:27-31

Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.

 

 

“weaker” - inner organs. We can’t live without them.

 

Most commentators agree, as do I, that by “weaker” Paul is referring to the inner organs: heart, brain, lungs, etc. This fits the context. The exterior skin or muscle, pierced while no organs or arteries are damaged will heal. The vital organs are much weaker, hence they need musculoskeletal protection, yet they are more vital. The context doesn’t lead us to think that Paul is saying that the hidden spiritual gifts are more vital than the external or more visible gifts. Paul is making the point that we can’t say to any member of the body, “I have no need of you,” anymore than we could say the same to our heart or lungs.

 

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