Monday 17 July 2023

                  EPHESIANS 4 V 1-16

Paul opens this Letter to the Church at Ephesus with a call to unity, based on the truths of one God and one salvation.

Paul is in prison because of his preaching of the gospel, and he was prepared to be held in confinement for serving his Lord, and his call has much power. Christians have to live in a manner worthy of the fact they are called to show humility, patience, gentleness and holiness. Humility was regarded as distasteful in the pagan community, where pride was revered. The virtues of Christ formed His character, and were expected to be found in every Christian,  Peace was a state of reconciliation and love, so making a bond to unite Christians.

 A powerful message of this chapter is the statement, one God and Father who is over all and in all, which shows that Christianity is an exclusive faith, the true faith.

The significance of this, is that it is not preached as much as it should. There is too readiness to teach falsehoods, by saying many religions lead to eternal life; nor can we say there is more than one God. No other religion can save.

 In verse 5, the doctrinal truths which Christians confess are stated.  The God of Israel is the one true God, and the Bible is the true revealed revelation of God.. The Son of God is the Lord Jesus Christ,  other faiths deny God had a son, but not only is Jesus the Son of God, sinners can only be saved through Christ, who is the only way to God. People can only be saved from hell by the person and work of Christ. If Christ is rejected, there is no other way of salvation.

 The Bible states one God, one Lord Jesus Christ,  one gospel, one means of escaping hell. The Bible also states, you shall not follow any claim there are other gods. To state otherwise will anger God, and come under His wrath.

The doctrine of one Lord, one faith and one Spirit, one God, constitute a Trinitarian formula.

 There is only one baptism. Christians have not all agreed about the mode of baptizing, but the term one baptism refers to the agreed belief of the baptisms of believers. This takes place when a sinner repents, makes a confession of fsaith publicly, receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit unites people across the lines of class, which would otherwise divide them.  The Holy Spirt cleanses and empowers, which does to convert at the conversion.

 Verse 6 uses the term over- all and in all, telling God is omnipotent. The Church is one body, and Christians can meet in congregations in any place throughout the world. We are one body, having the same faith, worshipping the same God and Savior, with people of every nation, both genders, race and color, of all ages. No other institution can make such a claim. And we are all brothers and sisters in one heavenly family

 I was once in a group of Christians in Mombasa Kenya, which is the doorway to many other countries of Africa. The city has a harbor, and as liners arrived from America and Europe, we would meet missionaries prior to them journeying away, and we could share faith and experiences with them, only because we were in the same heavenly family.

 In verses 7/10, Paul describes the gifts from the ascended Christ . There is mentioned grace. There are no levels of grace, but refers to an Office in the Church requires a calling, and serving in a responsible manner with personal respect.

 God is Father to all, and there is no room for any other  god. He is transcendent, and having created everything, dwells in the hearts of His people.

The wrath of God is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness, and the sexual immorality of people in rejection of God, who has manifested Himself in His creation, and in the human heart when do not honor Him.

 In verse 11/13 there is a picture of the organization and administration of the early Church, and there is a list of Office bearers.  There were three kinds; the ones where authority spread across the whole Church by the Apostles; another kind was confined to one place, but were enabled to go wherever the Spirit moved them. There were prophets who foretold the will of |God, who wanted to give a message from the Holy Spirit. This caused them to go from Church to other Churches, proclaiming the Word of God, but before long they had vanished. As time passed, the local Church grew to have its own Minister. Local Ministers became the accepted practice.

 The final two verses, there is a turning to Christ.  There are people in most Churches who have to be protected; children who are at the mercy of false teachers; of those who are not fully believers. Popular fashions are sometimes put forward, often from people in ‘Administration’ Offices, which were so mind-blowingly ridiculous, and were in fact mere gimmicks. Throughout history, fashions did come and go as they sought popularity.  I once put forward a suggestion we try using the Bible to  help people, which was dismissed as cynical.

 Paul spoke of the mockery by people, but in fact there have been disingenuous ideas proposed in a serious manner, which were beyond belief. There is only one way to avoid the latest fashion, by living nearer to Christ and His teaching. Which means turning to the Bible where we do in fact find Jesus. The only way we can keep the whole Church healthy, is in an intimate and indissoluble connection with the head and directing mind of Christ.

 In consideration of this message, we need to consider how close the Church comes to following to accepting the teaching. We find it soon departs from it.

There is the constant departure from the teaching of the Bible, which is becoming a common practice.

 There is one baptism, but the Church makes provision for a second baptism with special liturgy, for those people who believe in trans gendering. The most eminent  medical  surgeons have stated that no matter how much mutilation of the body in trying to effect this, there cannot be a complete change. Men and women have different chromosomes which cannot be changed, but the physical, and mental consequences are affecting lives, with numerous suicides.

 It is clearly stated that only Christianity, through the sacrificial act of Jesus enablesa person to gain salvation, for Jesus is the only way to God.

The Bible, as we have seen, has a factual history, and so contains the truth of the mind of  the one God, and records the death of Jesus on the Cross to enable us to be forgiven and made righteous; only Christianity offers forgiveness for sin

There cannot be justification for multi-faith worship for other faiths do not recognize the divinity of Jesus and specify that they believe God had no son. Churches have been sharing services with Muslim believers, and we must respect their right to worship as they believe, and in some respect they have a strict moral code, which is superior to other faiths. Islamic clergy have criticized the saying of Muslim prayers in Christian Churches, and it is wrong for clergy trying to make some form of attention. It is unwelcome for both Churches to join in worship as we worship through Christ, and Islam has every right to pursue its own way.  

This the message of the Letter. There is one God-the Father; one Lord-Jesus Christ-; one body-the Church; one true faith-Christianity; one Savior-Jesus  Christ; one gospel-the Bible; one Spirit-the Holy Spirit; one baptism, one hope-of eternal life.


May God bless His Word to our hearts. And we to His service.

No comments:

Post a Comment