Ephesians– overview of 3:1-9; tapping into the power of God, part 6

Tuesday October 29, 2019

God’s power is a gift to be used, and so it is grace. It is not forced into operation, which is bondage.


Free to use God’s gifts is grace. Being forced to use them is not grace, but coercion. A grace gift can be accepted or rejected, anything else is not grace.


We must be wise from the word of God and understand what we’ve been called to do in the service of God. Despite the crookedness within us that tempts us, our nature of sin, and despite the perverse world that only seeks for self and knows nothing of love, despite all of that, we are made new men and lights to the world and we must hold fast the word of God, saying no to sin and yes to our duty as God’s obedient children. And yet, with God, obedience is not the dry and emotionless word that it often is in life, because with God obedience is mixed with love. We love Him and so love His way and we long to be obedient to Him and rejoice in it.


The obedience to do God’s will is always accompanied by God’s work within you.


Phi 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;


“work out” – “bring your salvation to its designed completion.” – being Christlike.  


The working out of the Philippians' salvation was affected in some way by the presence of Paul with them. When Paul was with them, his teaching instructed them, his example inspired them, his encouragement urged them on in their growth in grace. Now in his absence they were thrown upon their own initiative. They must learn to paddle their own canoe. Thus Paul sets before them their human responsibility in their growth in grace, for sanctification of life is in the apostle's mind. They have their justification. Their glorification will be theirs in eternity. Their growth in Christ-likeness is the salvation concerning which Paul is speaking. Thus, the saints are exhorted to carry their growth in grace to its ultimate goal, Christ-likeness.


“Much more in my absence” means that God is making it very clear that each of us have to take responsibility for our own spiritual growth. If it becomes difficult for whatever reason to invest your needed personal and private and quiet time with the word of God, do you do what it takes to continue your growth in knowledge?


1Jo 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.


1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.


1Jo 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.


Purifies – hagnizo = sanctifies (present active indicative) – distinguishes himself in all things as unto God’s will and manner.


Phi 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;


“work out” – present (continually) middle (yourself) imperative (command) = consistently move yourself towards Christlikeness.


Then in verse 13 we find the divine enablement.


Phi 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.


As you move towards Christlikeness in all things, God will from within you make it happen. We must never forget this. God is affecting the change always; we are only choosing the change.


1Co 3:6-7

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.


Phi 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;


Phi 2:15 that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,


Phi 2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.


This passage and this subject just keep coming up – go and do. God is hammering it into our hearts and showing us why it is the way of life.


Paul’s long sentence in Eph 3, about the mystery and our union to it, about him and his calling and the power to accomplish it, are all setting us up for chapters 4-6 where God’s commands will shower down upon us.


In order to accomplish our stewardship, we must say no to temptation and overcome our weaknesses in the flesh.


God promises the power to accomplish it if we set our minds to it. Remember Rom 8:


Rom 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,


Since all believers are alive by the Spirit, let us walk according to the Spirit (Gal 5:25).


Gal 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.


To walk by the Spirit is to obey God in a spirit of joy – plain and simple.


There is no trick or ritual to perform. The fruit of the Spirit is plain, Eph 5:22-23. If we choose that fruit, with the joy of it included, then we walk by the Spirit, and if we walk by the power of Almighty God, how is it that we would not get to where God has determined?


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