071814, Keys To The Bible – Ephesians – Chapter 4

INTRODUCTION: Paul equates the church to being a new creation.

I. Scripture Reading

Ephesians 4 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Live in Unity

1 I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the 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.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he captured captives; he gave gifts to men.” 9 Now what is the meaning of “he ascended,” except that he also descended to the lower regions, namely, the earth? 10 He, the very one who descended, is also the one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things. 11 It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God—a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature. 14 So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. 15 But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. 16 From him the whole body grows, fitted and held together through every supporting ligament. As each one does its part, the body grows in love.

Live in Holiness

17 So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19 Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn about Christ like this, 21 if indeed you heard about him and were taught in him, just as the truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.
25 Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger. 27 Do not give the devil an opportunity.28 The one who steals must steal no longer; rather he must labor, doing good with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with the one who has need. 29 You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.31 You must put away all bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and slanderous talk—indeed all malice. 32 Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.

II. Outline. Ref: The Outline Bible, Dr. Harold L. Wilmington

A. In the first sixteen verses of this chapter, Paul is explaining the position of the new creation.

1. He describes, and appeals for, the unity of the new creation

a. One body; The body of Christ (vs 1-4a). We, the born again believers in Christ, are the body of Christ.
b. One Spirit, The Holy Spirit (vs 4b).
c. One hope, eternal life (vs 4c).
d. One Lord, The triune God (vs 5a).
e. One faith, The Christian Faith (vs 5b).
f. One baptism, The baptism of the Spirit into Christ’s body (vs 5c). The “one baptism” is not an argument to prove immersion over sprinkling. The Spirit baptism is accomplished when our spirit is immersed into the Spirit of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, per 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

g. One God and Father, The heavenly Father (vs 6).

(1) He describes the Unifier, which is the work of Christ, which brings all of the following parts of the new creation together.

(2) His gifts to believers. Henry Mahan’s Commentary vs 8.

(a) This is a quotation from Psalms 68:18, and it speaks of our Lord’s ascension to heaven from Mt Olivet in the sight of the apostles (Acts 1:9-11). In this he fulfills the type of the High Priest entering into the holiest to make intercession for his people, to prepare a place for them and to send down the Holy Spirit with His grace and gifts to them.

(b) He led captivity captive.’ He led a train of vanquished foes; he conquered those who had conquered us, such as sin, Satan and death. Christ conquered and triumphed over every spiritual enemy and those of his people.

(c) And gave gifts to men’ – the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and especially such as qualify men for the work of the ministry and make them useful for God’s glory and the good of the church (Romans 12:5-8).

3. The gifts were described as being:

a. Apostleship (vs 11a).
b. Prophets (vs 11b).
c. Evangelists (vs 11c).
d. Pastors (vs 11d).
e. Teachers (vs 11d).

4. His goals for believers.

a. To be equipped (vs 12).
b. To be mature (vs 13).
c. To be settled (vs 14-16).

4. The gifts are spiritual. The recipients are born again believers in Christ, who are spiritually equipped leaders of the church. They may have never been to a formal school of religious education. They may have never received a vote to place them in a position of church leadership, but they may have had such positions. The pastors and deacons that Paul addresses in his letters to Timothy and Titus are elected and appointed leaders of physical and visual churches, and may not posses the spiritual gifting for those positions. They may serve those positions well, but still may not have received the spiritual gifting of leadership that we see in this chapter. It is important to know that no scripture exists that deletes the spiritual gifts that Paul identifies in this chapter. It is also important to know that spiritual gifting is non-gender specific. The spiritual gifts are not specifically for males. Consider Galatians, 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” However, this verse does not take away from the requirements for Pastor and Deacon male leadership in the physical and visual church that Paul addresses in his letters to Timothy and Titus. These spiritual gifts are not temporary. See Romans 11:29,” For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” The spiritual church, the body of Christ, extends far beyond the doors of church buildings. The need for spiritual leadership is needed in areas where there is no established brick and mortar church. You and I, who are the born-again members of the body of Christ, the true church, don’t go “to church.” We are “the church.” We go to a building where we meet together as the church, with other members of the body of Christ.

B. In the remaining sixteen verses of this chapter, Paul discusses the disposition of the New Creation. We see that a new life requires a new lifestyle.

1. Believers in Christ should avoid immoral lifestyles, that are characterized as being the lifestyles of those who have not been born again. Examples are:

a. Confused thoughts (vs 17).
b. Closed minds (vs 18a).
c. Hardened hearts (vs 18b).
d. Impure and greedy thoughts (vs 19).

2. Believers in Christ should adopt spiritual lifestyles.

a. Renewed spiritual thoughts and attitudes (vs 20-23).
b. Removed the old self, which includes:
(1) Lying (vs 24).
(2) Anger that is uncontrolled (vs 26-27).
(3) Stealing (vs 28a).
(4) Grieving the Holy Spirit (vs 30).

3. Believers in Christ should put on the new self. Examples are:

a. Truthfulness (vs 25).
b. Honest labor (vs 28b)
c. Helping those in need (vs 28c).
d. Building up one another (vs 29b).
e. Kindness and compassion (vs 32a).
f. Forgiveness (vs 32b).

III. Selected Commentary. Ref: Reformation Study Bible, DR. R. C. Sproul

1. Verse 7. But grace was given to each one of us. All Christians share the grace of salvation through faith (2:5, 8). Each Christian is also given some particular gift of grace to benefit the church (Paul speaks of his own in 3:2, 8). See theological note “Gifts and Ministries.” RSB

2. Verse 8. Ps. 68 celebrates God’s triumphant march from Mount Sinai in the wilderness to Mount Zion in Jerusalem and His enthronement there. Paul regards this as prefiguring Christ’s victorious ascent into heaven.
captives. The spiritual forces of darkness were defeated at the Cross (Col. 2:15 and note). While Ps. 68:18 describes the victorious Lord receiving gifts from men, Paul pictures Christ as sharing His tribute with men. Paul may have thought of this psalm because it was associated with Pentecost. This was the day the ascended Christ poured out the Spirit on the church (Acts 2:32, 33).

3. Verse 9. Christ came to the exalted position He now enjoys through humiliation. His incarnation was His taking on a human nature here in “the lower parts of the earth”; cf. 1:20–23; Phil. 2:1–11. This pattern of service is to be imitated by believers.

4. Verse 11. Apostle And Prophets.

a. apostles. In a restricted sense, those who had been with Jesus and witnessed His resurrection (or received a special revelation of the risen Jesus) and who had been commissioned by Jesus to be founders of the church (Acts 1:21, 22; 1 Cor. 15:1–9). The word was also used in a broader sense of people sent out as delegates of particular churches (2 Cor. 8:23; Phil. 2:25), though these do not appear to be the ones Paul has in mind in this passage. See 2 Cor. 1:1 note.

b. prophets. The New Testament prophets conveyed special revelation to the early church. Their functions included prediction, exhortation, encouragement, warning, and explanation (Acts 15:32; 21:9–11; 1 Cor. 14:3). The teaching of the New Testament prophets and apostles laid the foundation of the church (2:20).

IV. Closing Thoughts. Ref: What Does Every Bible Chapter Say? John Hunt.

A. Main Themes.

1. God’s sovereign call to salvation (vs 1).
2. An exhortation to mutual love, unity, and unanimity (vs 2-16).
3. An encouragement to Christian purity and holiness of life (vs 17-32).

B. Main Keys.

1. Verse. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming (vs 14 NRSV).
2. Phrase. “joined and held together (vs 16 NIV).
3. Theme. The nature of the Church.
4. Thought. The gifts bestowed on us by the ascended Christ.
5. Thing to look out for. What we are to put on and put off.
6. Bible Cross Reference. Verse 8. See Psalm 68:18.
7. By Way Of Explanation. Verse 17. “futility of their thinking.” (NIV). Unbelievers possess unenlightened minds. Any life without God is meaningless and far from being intellectually satisfying.

V. What Is Religion?

A. Per Miriam Webster Dictionary.

1. the belief in a god or in a group of gods

2. an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

3. an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

B. Per Dr. R.C. Sproul, “Everyone’s A Theologian,” page 3.

1. Theology is the study of God.

2. Religion has to do with the worship practices of human beings in particular environments.

VI. Worship And Praise.

Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is led by Terry Mac Almon.

To Him Who Sits On The Throne

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

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071714, Keys To The Bible – Ephesians – Chapter 3 – Summary

INTRODUCTION: As we survey this chapter, we will see that the Apostle Paul equates the church to a mystery.

I. Scripture Reading

Ephesians 3 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

God has made me minister to you gentiles

1 It is in this great cause that I, Paul, have become Christ’s prisoner for you Gentiles.
2-6 For you must have heard how God gave me grace to become your minister, and how he allowed me to understand his secret by giving me a direct Revelation. (What I have written briefly of this above will explain to you my knowledge of the mystery of Christ.) This secret was hidden to past generations of mankind, but it has now, by the spirit, been made plain to God’s consecrated messengers and prophets. It is simply this: that the Gentiles, who were previously excluded from God’s agreements, are to be equal heirs with his chosen people, equal members and equal partners in God’s promise given by Christ through the Gospel.
7-13 And I was made a minister of that Gospel by the grace he gave me, and by the power with which he equipped me. Yes, to me, less than the least of all Christians, has God given this grace, to enable me to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ, and to make plain to all men the meaning of that secret which he who created everything in Christ has kept hidden from the creation until now. The purpose is that all the angelic powers should now see the complex wisdom of God’s plan being worked out through the Church, in conformity to that timeless purpose which he centred in Jesus, our Lord. It is in this same Jesus, because we have faith in him, that we dare, even with confidence, to approach God. In view of these tremendous issues, I beg you not to lose heart because I am now suffering for my part in bringing you the Gospel. Indeed, you should be honoured.

I pray that you may know God’s power in practice

14-19 When I think of the greatness of this great plan I fall on my knees before God the Father (from whom all fatherhood, earthly or heavenly, derives its name), and I pray that out of the glorious richness of his resources he will enable you to know the strength of the spirit’s inner re-inforcement—that Christ may actually live in your hearts by your faith. And I pray that you, firmly fixed in love yourselves, may be able to grasp (with all Christians) how wide and deep and long and high is the love of Christ—and to know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension. May you be filled though all your being with God himself!
20-21 Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine—to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen!

II. Comments

A. In the first thirteen verses of this chapter, Paul is explaining a special mystery.

1. He describes the recipient of the mystery, being himself.

a. Paul describes his mistreatment. Even though he was not guilty of any crime, he was imprisoned (vs 1a, 13).
b. Paul describes his mission.
(1) He is to preach God’s Word to the Gentiles (vs 1b, 4).
(2) He is to explain the divine secret to all people (vs 9).
c. In meekness, Paul looks upon himself as being the least deserving of all believers in Christ (vs 7-8).

2. Paul explains the time of the mystery.

a. He explains that the mystery was concealed in the scriptures of the Old Testament (vs 5a).
b. He explains that the mystery has now been revealed by the teachings of the Apostles and Prophets (vs 5b). Consider that the last Old Testament prophet was John the Baptist (Luke 7:28). In the next chapter we will see that God has spiritually gifted prophets for the time of the New Testament. Just as prophets were necessary to proclaim God’s Word during the time which proclaimed the life and ministry of Jesus, that same necessity was required to spread the Word of God prior to His written Word in the New Testament era (4:11).

3. Paul explains the nature of the mystery.

a. Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children (6a).
b. Both believing Jews and Gentiles are now joined to the body of Christ (vs 6b).
c. Both believing Jews and Gentiles enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus (6c).

4. Paul explains the reasons for the mystery.

a. So that God’s wisdom will be exhibited to the angels (vs 10a).
b. So that God’s wisdom will be experienced by the church (vs 10b-12).

B. In the remaining eight verses of this chapter, Paul offers a threefold prayer for the Ephesian believers. Notice the work of the Holy Trinity.

1. He prays that the Spirit will strengthen their inner beings (vs 14-16).

2. He prays that Christ might be more and more at home in their hearts (vs 17).

3. He prays that they might be able to grasp the full dimension of God’s love (vs 18-21).

III. Emphatic Thoughts Of Paul.

A. That he was appointed by God to be the apostle of the Gentiles (vs 1-13).
B. Of his devout and affectionate prayer to God for the Gentiles (vs 1-14).
C. That he was a prisoner for the testimony of Jesus (vs 1-6).
D. That he was made a minister by God (spiritually ordained), to tell of the unsearchable riches of Christ (the riches that can not be traced):
(saving riches, sanctifying riches, relational riches, practical riches, eternal riches). Christ always enriches life. He never subtracts from life. He always enriches life with untrackable riches (vs 7-12).
E. That He desires them not to be discouraged because of his tribulations (vs 13).
F. That they might be filled with all of the fullness of God (vs 14-19).

IV. Keys To Chapter 3.

A. Verse: 12, The Living Bible.
“Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in him.”
B. Key Phrase: vs 4. NASB, “my insight into the mystery of Christ.”
C. Key Event: A revealed mystery.
D. Key Thought: Paul never tires of calling himself a servant.
E. Key Explanation:which surpasses knowledge (vs 19).
Paul is not saying that it is impossible for believers to understand the love of Christ, but that it is so profound that nobody fully understand it.

V. What Is Theology?

The word theology comes from two Greek words, theos (God) and logos (word). From them we can see that theology is the study of God which, of course, includes his attributes. God is the single supreme being in all the universe. He has such attributes as omniscience (all-knowing, 1 John 3:20), omnipresence (existing everywhere, Psalm 139:7-12), and omnipotence (He accomplishes whatever He desires, Jer. 32:17, 27). He is eternal (Psalm 90:2), holy (Isaiah 6:3), merciful (Psalm 67:1), and gracious (1 Pet. 2:3). All these things we discover about God from the Bible. Therefore, theology is very important because in it we can discover who and what God is and what He desires for us (1 Cor. 1:9).

VI. Worship And Praise.

Consider the Presence of God in our lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of worship and praise that is led by Terry Mac Almon. It is amazing to know that the song was recorded during a worship conference that took place in the moral cess pool of the world, The Netherlands.

We Glorify The Lamb

Comments are appreciated, and are great sources of encouragement. In order to protect the privacy of bloggers who comment on my posts, no such comments will be shown on my blog. If you would like to have a private response from me, please put your email address in your comment. That data will not be shown anywhere in my blog. Please let me caution all bloggers to protect their privacy. That is why I have removed my community of bloggers and comments from bloggers from my blog.

071614, BCV, Tithe, Summary

As with most of my writings of scripture, I try to always refer to BCV, which is “Book, Chapter, and Verse.” Also, I try to start in the beginning, which I always heard is “a very good place to start.” Proper teaching of God’s Holy Word hinges on the following three passages. And, as we read in the third passage, parents are directed by God to teach their children, “diligently” (vs 7).

BIBLICAL SUPPORT

2 Timothy 3:16 New King James Version (NKJV) (66 AD)

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

Acts 17:11 New International Version (NIV) (53 AD)

11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 New King James Version (NKJV) (1451 BC)

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

THE SITUATION OF THE BEGINNING OF GOD’S CREATION WAS VERY GOOD.

Genesis 1:31 King James Version (KJV)

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 2:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Genesis 2:15 King James Version (KJV) (4004 BC)

15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

DUE TO THE FAILURE OF ADAM AND EVE, AND THINGS CHANGED GREATLY, BUT HE HAD ALREADY PLANNED REDEMPTION.

Genesis 3:15 (NCV) (4003 BC)

15 I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.”

Genesis 3:23-24 King James Version (KJV) (4003 BC)

23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

THE BLOOD LINE TO THE SAVIOR OF MANKIND BEGAN, AND WORSHIP BEGAN.

Genesis 4:26 King James Version (KJV) (3875 BC)

26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

Genesis 5:22-24 King James Version (KJV) (3875)

22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

THE SITUATION OF MANKIND WORSENS. GOD EXPLAINS HIS PLAN FOR DESTRUCTION.

Genesis 6:5-7 King James Version

5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

AFTER ONE HUNDRED TWENTY YEARS OF PREACHING (GEN 6:3), NOAH HAD ONLY SEVEN CONVERTS, HIS FAMILY, FOR A TOTAL OF EIGHT RIGHTEOUS SOULS.

Genesis 7:1 King James Version (KJV) (2448 BC)

7 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

AFTER THE FLOOD, THE REPOPULATION OF EARTH BEGAN. GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION BEGAN WITH ONE OF THE THREE SONS.

Genesis 8:15-16 King James Version (KJV) (2349 BC)

15 And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

FROM SETH TO NOAH, TO SHEM, TO ABRAHAM, GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION FOR MANKIND IS ACTIVE.

Genesis 12:1-4 King James Version (KJV) (2126 BC)

1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

THE TITHE IS ORIGINATED. IT IS NOT MENTIONED AGAIN UNTIL THE JEWS PREPARE FOR ENTRY INTO THE PROMISED LAND.

Genesis 14:18-20 King James Version (KJV) (1918 BC)

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Genesis 28:10-14 King James Version (KJV) (1760 BC)

10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 32:28 King James Version (KJV) (1739 BC)

28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

SHEM’S DESCENDANTS ARE STILL ACTIVE IN GOD’S PLAN, BUT HAM AND JAPHETH ARE LOVED BY GOD TOO (JOHN 3:16).

Exodus 12:1-3 King James Version (KJV) (1491 BC)

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

THE SABBATH WAS GIVEN TO SHEM’S DESCENDANTS. HAM’S AND JAPHETH’S DESCENDANTS (GENTILES) WERE NOT RECIPIENTS.

Exodus 16:22-30 King James Version (KJV) (1491 BC)

22 And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses.
23 And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
24 And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.
25 And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field.
26 Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.
27 And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.
28 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
29 See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

THE SABBATH AND TEN COMMANDMENTS WERE GIVEN TO THE DESCENDANTS OF SHEM. THE DESCENDANTS OF HAM AND JAPHETH WERE NOT RECIPIENTS.

Exodus 20:8-11 King James Version (KJV) (1491 BC)

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

GOD’S FEASTS TO ISRAEL (JEWS) DID NOT INCLUDE THE DESCENDANTS OF HAM AND JAPHETH (GENTILES)

Exodus 23:14-17 New King James Version (NKJV) (1491 BC)

Three Annual Feasts

14 “Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year: 15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); 16 and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field.
17 “Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God.

Leviticus 23:1-6, 44 New King James Version (NKJV) (1490 BC)

Feasts of the Lord

23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, theseare My feasts.
The Sabbath Had No Mention Of Corporate Worship To Keep It Holy.
3 ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.
The Passover and Unleavened Bread Were Given Only To Jews.
4 ‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 44 So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord.

THE TITHE WAS FOR THE JEWS. THE GENTILES HAD NO COMMAND OR INSTRUCTION FOR IT. THE TITHE WAS GREATER THAN TEN PER CENT.

Leviticus 27:26-32 New King James Version (NKJV) (1491 BC)

26 ‘But the firstborn of the animals, which should be the Lord’s firstborn, no man shall dedicate; whether it is an ox or sheep, it isthe Lord’s. 27 And if it is an unclean animal, then he shall redeemit according to your valuation, and shall add one-fifth to it; or if it is not redeemed, then it shall be sold according to your valuation.
28 ‘Nevertheless no devoted offering that a man may devote to theLord of all that he has, both man and beast, or the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted offering ismost holy to the Lord. 29 No person under the ban, who may become doomed to destruction among men, shall be redeemed,but shall surely be put to death. 30 And all the tithe of the land,whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is theLord’s. It is holy to the Lord. 31 If a man wants at all to redeemany of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the Lord.

THE TITHE WAS GIVEN TO THE LEVITES, BECAUSE THEY HAD NO INHERITANCE IN THE PROMISED LAND.

Numbers 18:24-28 New King James Version (NKJV) (1471 BC)

24 For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, ‘Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.’”
The Tithe of the Levites
25 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to theLord, a tenth of the tithe. 27 And your heave offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor and as the fullness of the winepress. 28 Thus you shall also offer a heave offering to the Lord from all your tithes which you receive from the children of Israel, and you shall give the Lord’s heave offering from it to Aaron the priest.

18:1–24 The duties and support of the priests and Levites are detailed. Only Aaron and his family could go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar; the other Levites answered to the priests and were to do all the work at the tent of meeting (vv. 1–7). The males of Aaron’s family were to receive the parts of the most holy offerings that were kept from the fire (vv. 8–10). All members of this family who were ceremonially clean were to share the wave offerings (v. 11; Ex. 29:24–27; Lev. 7:30–34) and the firstfruits (vv. 12, 13; Ex. 23:16–19; 34:22–26; Lev. 23:20;Deut. 18:4; 26:10). Support for the Levites came from the tithes offered by the people (Deut. 13:22–29 and notes).

Daily Offerings
28 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Command the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘My offering, My food for My offerings made by fire as a sweet aroma to Me, you shall be careful to offer to Me at their appointed time.’

Deuteronomy 12:11-12New King James Version (NKJV) (1451 BC)

11 then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord. 12 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.

12:12 no . . . inheritance. The gifts of the worshipers were, in part, to support the priests and Levites, who were allotted no farmland of their own (10:6–9).

TITHE’S PURPOSE – THE LEVITES HAD NO INHERITANCE IN THE PROMISED LAND. THEIR INHERITANCE WAS GOD (VS 8-9)

Deuteronomy 10:6-9 New King James Version (NKJV) (1451 BC)

6 (Now the children of Israel journeyed from the wells of Bene Jaakan to Moserah, where Aaron died, and where he was buried; and Eleazar his son ministered as priest in his stead. 7 From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land of rivers of water. 8 At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day. 9 Therefore Levi has no portion nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, just as the Lord your God promised him.)

THE TITHE WAS ALSO GIVEN TO THE NEEDY.

Deuteronomy 26:11-13 New King James Version (NKJV) (1451)

11 So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you.
12 “When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year—the year of tithing—and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, 13 then you shall say before the Lord your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.

2 Chronicles 31:4 New King James Version (NKJV) (726 BC)

4 Moreover he commanded the people who dwelt in Jerusalem to contribute support for the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the Law of the Lord.

(See the Mac Arthur Study Bible note on 2 Chr 31:6. The total giving of the Jews was 23 percent.)

Nehemiah 10:37-38 New King James Version (NKJV) (445 BC)

37 to bring the firstfruits of our dough, our offerings, the fruit from all kinds of trees, thenew wine and oil, to the priests, to the storerooms of the house of our God; and to bring the tithes of our land to the Levites, for the Levites should receive the tithes in all our farming communities. 38 And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.

ROBBING GOD?

Malachi 3:8-10 21st Century King James Version (KJ21) (397 BC)

8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me! But ye say, ‘Wherein have we robbed Thee?’ In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and put Me to the proof now herewith,” saith the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open to you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

3:10 storehouse. This term refers to a room in the temple designated for the storage of gifts (2 Chr. 31:11; Neh. 10:38, 39;12:44; 13:12). 2 Chronicles 31:11-12, NKJV, Follows

11 Now Hezekiah commanded them to prepare rooms in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them. 12 Then they faithfully brought in the offerings, the tithes, and the dedicated things; Cononiah the Levite had charge of them, and Shimei his brother was the next.

put me to the test. This is a reversal of the ordinary biblical pattern, in which God typically tests human beings (Ps. 11:5;26:2; 66:10; Prov. 17:3; Jer. 11:20; 12:3; 17:10). Only in a few instances are humans invited to test God (i.e., to prove His claims and justify His commands, Is. 7:11, 12; 1 Kin. 18:22–46).
vs 10: The whole tithe (NASB) (Mac Arthur Note).When the tithes were unpaid, the priests were deprived and had to give up their ministry and to begin farming. The nation’s religious life was hindered and the poor and the strangers suffered. The real iniquity was that such disobedience was robbing God, who was the true King of the theocracy of Israel. Storehouse. A room in the temple to store the tithes of crops and animals brought by the people. This was the temple treasury.

Leviticus 27:18-32, (1491 BC) Tithe, MacArthur Note: This general tithe was given to the Levites (Numbers 18:21-32. This is the only mention of tithe or ten percent in Leviticus. However, along with this offering, there were two other OT tithes which totaled about 23 per cent annually (the second tithe – Dt 14:22; and the third tithe every 3 years – Dt 14:28, 20; 26:12)

THE TITHE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

During the events of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), Jews continued temple worship, so tithing continued for the Jews. In Acts 2:46, the new Jewish believers in Christ continued temple worship, as well as meeting in their homes, as believers in Christ. It should be a matter of fact that these “born again” Jews would not be disrespectful to their Jewish heritage. Therefore, they would continue to pay their tithes in the temple. But, there is no mention of the tithe being a part of the Christian times of worship, in either Acts 2:42 (33 AD), Acts 20:7 (59 AD), or 1 Corinthians 11-16 (59 AD). When the gospel was spread to the Gentiles, by Peter (Acts 10:34), and Paul (Acts 13:46), the apostles began telling the story of “Salvation By Grace Through Faith” (Ephesians 2:8), to Gentiles, who were the descendants of Japheth and Ham. Gentiles had never been required to pay tithes, or even know about it; they had no relationship to the Levitical priesthood. The apostles did not give the Gentiles a crash course in Judaism; it was irrelevant to the new covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Hebrews 8:8

For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

Hebrews 8:13

In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Paul discussed the situation in Acts 15 and in his epistle to the Galatians about the Gentiles not needing to become Jews or follow the Jewish laws. Jesus fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17).

GOD’S INTERACTION WITH MANKIND IN NEW TESTAMENT

INSTANCES OF CORPORATE WORSHIP

Acts 2:42 21st Century King James Version (KJ21) (33 AD)

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and in prayers.

No tithe mentioned.

Acts 20:7, 21st Century KJV, (59 AD)

7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued his speech until midnight.

No mention of tithe.

BENEVOLENCE GIFTS FOR FAMINE

Acts 11:27-30 NKJV (42 AD)

Relief to Judea

27 And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. 30 This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

1 Corinthians 16:1-4 NKJV (59 AD)
Collection for the Saints
16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 3 And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. 4 But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.

16:1 Now concerning the collection. From 2 Cor. 8:1–4 and Rom. 15:25–27 it appears that one of the purposes of Paul’s third missionary journey was to raise an offering from the Gentiles for Jewish Christians in Judea who were in need, possibly as a result of persecution. Apparently, Paul had already told the Corinthians about this project in an earlier letter (5:9). They had asked for more information and perhaps expressed reservations about it (Introduction: Date and Occasion)

16:2 On the first day of every week. The reference is to Sunday, the day on which the resurrected Lord met with His disciples (John 20:19, 26; cf. also “the Lord’s day” in Rev. 1:10). Acts 20:7 indicates that the early Christians met on Sunday “to break bread” (part of their worship), and it would have been appropriate to designate that day for collecting the offering.

2 Corinthians 8:1-4 NKJV (60 AD)

Excel in Giving

1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Romans 15:27 NKJV (60 AD)

27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.

15:25–33 Paul now discloses his immediate plans to visit Jerusalem with the gifts the churches had raised for the Christians there. Jerusalem was an impoverished city in general; in addition, the Christians there would suffer particular hardship as a suspect minority. But Paul sees a significance deeper than charity in the gift. It is a duty (v. 27), a solemn obligation of the Gentiles in view of the privilege they have received in being grafted into God’s olive tree (11:17). This conforms to the general principle that those who receive spiritual blessings should share their own material blessings (1 Cor. 9:3–14; Gal. 6:6).

THE APOSTLE PAUL PROVIDES THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES WHICH ARE RELATIVE TO CHRISTIAN GIVING.

1 Corinthians 9:14 (HCSB) (59 AD)

14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should earn their living by the gospel.

1 Timothy 5:17-18 (JB PHILLIPS) (65 AD)

17-18 Elders with a gift of leadership should be considered worthy of respect, and of adequate salary, particularly if they work hard at their preaching and teaching

1 Corinthians 9:16-18 (AMPLIFIED BIBLE) (59 AD)

16 For if I [merely] preach the Gospel, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel compelled of necessity to do it. Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the Gospel)!
17 For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have my pay (my reward); but if it is not of my own will, but is done reluctantly and under compulsion, I am [still] entrusted with a [sacred] trusteeship and commission.
18 What then is the [actual] reward that I get? Just this: that in my preaching the good news (the Gospel), I may offer it [absolutely] free of expense [to anybody], not taking advantage of my rights and privileges [as a preacher] of the Gospel.

CONCLUSION. The Tithe is not a requirement for the Church. But, there is a need to financially support the work of the church. The words of 1 Corinthians 16:2 are a gauge for giving, “As God has prospered you.” However, we should also remember the words of Psalm 24:1,”The earth is the Lords’ and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” In other words, all that we have belongs to God.

Consider The Presence Of God In Our Lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of Terry Mac Almon.

Holy Are You Lord

071514 – Keys To The Bible – Ephesians – Chapter 3 – Commentary

This middle post on Ephesians Chapter 3, consists of comments from two highly respected writers of Biblical commentaries. Dr. C.I. Scofield and Dr. R.C. Sproul provide excellent “food for thought” for the scriptures that are addressed. Wherever I may add a thought, I will precede such a comment with the notation of, “My Note.”

Scofield’s Notes, C. I. Scofield’s Study Reference

For over 90 years people have relied on this reference work in their daily study of God’s Word. Written originally in 1909, C. I. Scofield’s intent was to provide a concise but complete tool that would meet the need of someone just beginning to read the Bible. Cyrus Scofield was born in Lenawee County, Michigan, but during the American Civil War after his conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1879, Scofield assisted in the St. Louis campaign conducted by Dwight L. Moody and in 1883 Scofield was ordained as a Congregationalist minister, and he accepted the pastorate of small mission church founded by that denomination.

Ephesians 3 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Mystery Revealed

3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. Purpose of the Mystery 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Appreciation of the Mystery

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3

Scofield’s Reference Notes
Verse 2
grace
Grace (imparted). Ephesians 3:2-8; Ephesians 4:7; Ephesians 4:29;Romans 6:1; 2 Peter 3:18.
Verse 3
mystery
(See Scofield “Matthew 13:11”).
Verse 6
That the Gentiles
That the Gentiles were to be saved was no mystery Romans 9:24-33;Romans 10:19-21. The mystery “hid in God” was the divine purpose to make of Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing–“the church, which is his Christ’s body,” formed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13 and in which the earthly distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears; Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 3:10;Colossians 3:11. The revelation of this mystery, which was foretold, but not explained by Christ Matthew 16:18 was committed to Paul. In his writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the church.
Verse 9
mystery
(See Scofield “Matthew 13:11”).

Dr. S.C. Sproul, Reformation Study Bible

Ephesians 3 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed

1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the (S)unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Comments By R.C. Sproul In The Reformation Study Bible:

3:1 Paul begins a prayer that his Gentile readers will be filled with the presence of Christ and be able to grasp the truth about their Redeemer’s love and power (vv. 14–21). Paul interrupts himself to explain the nature of his own ministry and insight into the union of Jew and Gentile in Christ (vv. 2–13).
prisoner. Paul is under house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:16, 30).
3:3 as I have written briefly. See 1:9, 10.
3:5 as it has now been revealed. The Old Testament’s silence about Paul’s mystery—the union of Jews and Gentiles in the church (v. 6)—was relative, not absolute. It was anticipated by the prophets (“Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance,” Is. 19:25). If the idea had been altogether absent from the Old Testament, Paul could not have said, as he did in Rom. 4, that the Abrahamic covenant included all who were of a like faith with Abraham, including Gentiles. Paul told Agrippa that his proclamation of light to both Jews and Gentiles did not go beyond what had been promised by Moses and the prophets (Acts 26:22, 23).
3:6 Gentiles are fellow heirs. Although the Old Testament gives occasional glimpses of a unified human race, only in the light of Christ’s sacrifice does God’s plan become clear: in one magnificent act He removed the enmity between Himself and humanity and also took away the divisions that fracture humanity (2:14–18). Paul had reflected before on the unusual way God included Gentiles among His people: contrary to the rules of agriculture, the Gentiles were a wild branch grafted into a cultivated tree (Rom. 11:11–24).
3:8 Compare the progression of Paul’s self-description from 1 Cor. 15:9 to Eph. 3:8 to 1 Tim. 1:15, 16.
3:14 bow my knees. Jews normally prayed standing (Matt. 6:5; Luke 18:11, 13). Kneeling appears to have been an expression of humility and urgency (Ezra 9:5; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:59, 60). This verse returns to the prayer Paul had begun introducing in v. 1 (note).
3:15 every family in heaven. Jewish intertestamental and rabbinic literature refers to families of angels.
3:16 in your inner being. This is some of Paul’s most pointed language about the work of the Holy Spirit within individuals (2 Cor. 5:17). Much of Ephesians addresses believers’ corporate identity (e.g., 4:3–6, 12–16). But Christ also dwells in individual hearts. Christianity is neither a common confession to the exclusion of individual experience, nor a private piety without corporate vision.
3:18 breadth and length and height and depth. These measures of space recall the temple image of 2:21. As the “living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5) are linked in love, God’s dwelling grows and is filled with Christ Himself. God uses the love among “all the saints”—Jew and Gentile alike—to build a whole that is greater than any of its individual parts. The spatial language exalts Christ’s love for His people—a love that is inclusive, inexhaustible, and self-sacrificing.
3:20 the power at work within us. See 1:19–23; 2:5, 6. The first half of the letter climaxes as Paul considers the overwhelming power of God, who carries out His gracious (2:7) and all-wise (v. 10) plan for the reconciliation of the human race.
3:21 glory. Because of the power that God has given to the church, Paul gives glory to Him.
in the church and in Christ Jesus. In this letter Paul uses a variety of images to describe the mutual relationship between the church and Christ: the body and the head (1:22, 23), the reconciled and the reconciler (2:14–18; 4:3), and the bride and her groom (5:22, 33).

My Comments:

Consider The Majesty Of God:

Ephesians 3:20: (NIV)

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

My comment: Consider the vastness of this statement. God can do things for His saints that defy imagination. He can not only do more than we can ask of Him; He can also do more than we can ever imagine. We can see in these inspired Words that God knows all of the things that we need, even if we don’t even know that we need such things. This statement of God’s power, as it relates to His saints, is made possible and true because of the fact that the Spirit of God indwells the spirit of every born again believer in Christ.

Consider Humility In Worship And Reverence Of God In Scriptures Past:

1 Kings 8:54 (NIV)

When Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and supplication to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven.

Psalms 95:6

Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

2 Chronicles 6:12-13 (NIV)

12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. 13 Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had placed it in the center of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven(and the he prayed, my note).

2 Chronicles 7:1-3, 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.
3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Nehemiah 8:5-6 (KJV)

5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up:
6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Ephesians 3:14: (NIV)

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father,

Consider Humility In Worship And Reverence Of God In The Future.

Philippians 2:9-10 (NASB)

9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Summation of Humility: Solomon, the king of Israel, Ezra, a priest of Israel, and the people of Israel, showed reverence and humility to God, At a time, yet to be determined, all people who have ever lived in this world will kneel to God in reverence, and confess that Jesus is Lord. What should be our attitude of worship now?

Consider The Presence Of God In Our Lives. Consider the worshipful attitude that can be obtained as we listen to the music of Terry Mac Almon.

In The Presence Of Jehovah

071414, Keys To The Bible – Ephesians – Chapter 3 – Preview – You Are There

Opening paragraphs I, II, III, and IV are taken from my Blog Post 070414, and explain the background of this post. Paragraph IV also identifies the chapter that will be studied. Paragraph V provides the scriptures that are contained within that chapter. Paragraph VI announces the worship and praise music video that will conclude this post.

I. “You Are There” was a thirty-minute weekly television series that ran from 1953 through 1957. During each episode, CBS reporter Walter Cronkite hosted the reenactments of historical events. Shows included, “The Landing of the Hindenburg”, “The Salem Witchcraft Trials”, “The Gettysburg Address”, “The Fall of Troy,” “The Battle Of Alamo,” and other significant happenings. Consider what it would have been like if you had been in Ephesus when Tychicus arrived with the letter that had been written by the Apostle Paul. The epistle may have been read to you, and to other believers in Christ, by Tychicus or by one of the elders of the church. But, before we get to that reading, let’s consider the things that had been going on in that area of present-day Turkey.

II. Ephesus was located was on the southwest coast of the Aegean Sea, and was one of the seven churches of Asia that are cited in the Book of Revelation. The Gospel of John may have been written there, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, may have died there. Paul’s second and third missionary journeys led him to Ephesus. His second journey lasted from about 49-52 A.D. (Acts 15:39-18:22). His third journey lasted from about 53-59 A.D (Acts 18:23-21:16). A record of the Apostle’s time in Ephesus is shown in Acts 18:19-20:38, and included that total time frame of the two journeys. Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthian church from Ephesus during his third missionary journey (1 Corinthians 16:5-8, 9, 19). Some of the events of Paul’s stay in Ephesus are listed below.

III. Ephesus (49 A.D. – 59 A.D.) (Acts 18:19-20:38)

18:19 – Reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue.
19:1-7 – Taught disciples of John the Baptist on the Baptism of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
19:8-10 – Taught in the synagogue about the Kingdom Of God
19:11-20 – God worked miracles by the hands of Paul
19:23-41 – Taught against idolatry
20:13-38 – Bids farewell to the elders of the church in Ephesus
He encouraged them, saying the Holy Spirit had made them overseers and shepherds of the church that Jesus had purchased with His blood.
He cautioned them about conflict that would come from forces , within and without the church.
He reminded them of one of the key teachings of Jesus on benevolence,
Acts 20:35,21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
I have shown you all things, how that by so laboring ye ought to support the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The departure of Paul from the elders was one that was tearful.
Acts 20:36-38, 21st Century King James Version (KJ21),”And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they all wept sorely and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him,sorrowing most of all because of the words which he had spoken, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.”

IV. Getting back to “You Are There,” consider the words of the letter that you are hearing, as they are being read to you. Remember that you don’t have any of today’s favorite study Bibles, or commentaries, for reference purposes. You are hearing the inspired words of the Apostle Paul that he had written specifically to you, and for you, for the first time. You will notice that that the letter is addressed to those who have been born again, and that it is not evangelical. You will notice spiritual promises for you, as they intertwine with the purposes of God. You will also notice that the letter is spiritual, as it relates to the church and its leaders. Read the third chapter of the Ephesian letter, one verse at a time. Consider the words of each verse before you begin reading the next one. Remember that you have never, ever, heard these words. Put aside any preconceived ideas of what you may have thought, or what anyone else may have shared with you. Don’t use any outside study helps. Pray for God’s Holy Spirit to lead you to an understanding that has never been made known to you. Keep in mind that you’re not the tail that wags the dog. Remember, “You Are There!”

V. Ephesians 3, 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

1 For this cause I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles—
2 if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me toward you,
3 how by revelation He made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote before in a few words,
4 whereby when ye read this, ye may understand my knowledge of the mystery of Christ),
5 which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel,
7 for which I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
9 and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ,
10 with the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known through the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 according to the eternal purpose which He hath purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,
12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.
13 Therefore, I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which are your glory.
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 from whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height,
19 and to know the love of Christ, which surpasseth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

VI. Now, let us worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus, as we are blessed by the Gaithers and friends.

The Hallelujiah Side

071314, Executive Order Affecting Religious Freedoms

Consider that you own a Christian Business. Consider if you hired Steve, and “Eve” shows up for work. Consider how this latest Executive Order may affect businesses now, and how the “intent” of the new law may be interpreted to take away further religious freedoms from employers. Consider how this new Presidential Executive Order may affect Americans in other aspects of religious life. Christian voters need to think seriously about how they vote. We are seeing more of our religious freedoms taken away from us. (Joshua 24:15, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”)

Obama’s LGBT Order: 2 Things Churches and Christian Non-Profits Should Know

BY NAPP NAZWORTH , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
July 22, 2014|7:08 am
obama(PHOTO: REUTERS/LARRY DOWNING)

U.S. President Barack Obama waves before he signs an Executive Order to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination while in the East Room at the White House in Washington, July 21, 2014.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order Monday prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for federal contractors. What does this mean for Christian organizations that remain faithful to the biblical teaching on homosexual behavior?

Here are two main points that those groups need to be aware of:

First, the order only applies to government contractors and sub-contractors, it does not apply to groups that receive government grants. Most religious non-profits that provide services for the government do so through a government grant. They would not be affected.

A grant recipient is awarded money for general purpose, but how that purpose is fulfilled is decided by the recipent and spelled out in their grant proposal. Contractors and sub-contractors are hired to provide specific products or services.
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Second, there is no blanket exemption for religious organizations, but Obama did maintain the religious hiring exemption that was put in place during the George W. Bush administration. The religious hiring exemptions says that faith-based organizations are allowed to only hire adherents of their faith.

The thorny legal issue, and what this debate is all about, has to do with this situation: Suppose a religious non-profit organization contracted by the federal government requires adherence to a set of beliefs and behaviors consistent with its faith as a condition of employment; among those beliefs related to sexual ethics, same-sex sexual relations are prohibited; is that organization exempt from the sexual orientation workplace discrimination rule under the religious hiring exemption? That is an open question that future courts may have to decide.

It is an open question partly because the final rule, which will be written by the Department of Labor, has not been written, and partly because there will need to be a court challenge to know with certainty how the courts would rule.

The legal issue is also murky because the order does not clarify a distinction between those with same-sex attraction and those who engage in sexual relations with their same gender. Many Christian organizations, however, do draw this distinction.

The religious hiring exemption does cover more than just verbal adherence to a faith. In other words, religious employers can require that an employee’s behavior remain consistent with the faith, according to Stanley Carlson-Thies, founder and president of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance.

After completion of the final rule, lawsuits could be the next step, Carlson-Thies believes, and some religious organizations may simply avoid partnering with the government altogether in order to avoid any potential court battles.

“So, by not exempting religious organizations from the new prohibitions,” he wrote, “the President has opened the door to litigation, and his action will likely cause many faith-based organizations to consider whether federal contracting has now become too risky. So the new Executive Order will complicate the federal government’s partnerships with faith-based organizations to provide important services.”

071214, A Matthew 25:40 Real Life Story

Matthew 25:35-36 (NKJV)

35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)

40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Many of our churches provide food and clothing to people who may be classified as being, “indigent.” But, of course, indigent is a kind word that means, “lacking food, clothing, and other necessities of life because of poverty; needy; poor; impoverished.” We can use kind words to describe people who lack food, clothing, and other necessities of life; and that is because they are needy, poor, and impoverished. But, the truth of the matter is that such people who lack food, clothing, and other necessities of life, because they are needy, poor,and impoverished, are not any less, in need of food, clothing, or other necessities of life, because we assign them a category that makes them appear to be other than in need of food,clothing, or other necessities of life? (a definite run on sentence that is needed for emphasizing the importance of the situation)

It is easy for us to take our extra food and clothing items to a central drop-off point. That insulates us from the truth of poverty that surrounds the lives of those who will be receiving those items. Do we give our throwaway clothing to those who are in need of clothing? Do we select food items that are “on sale,” but without proper nutrition for those who need such nutrition?

Have you ever given food to someone who was holding up a sign that reads, “Hungry, Need Food?” That is a situation that many of us face in today’s world, and all too often we may feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. That’s an easy one, when you consider the other situations that seem to pop up in our lives, especially when we’re not ready to face the truths of life that are a result of poverty, that affect the needy, the poor, and the impoverished.

Here’s a real hard situation, that of prostitutes, homosexuals, drug addicts, alcoholics, those who are homeless, and any other class of people that we would rather not bring into our world of ministry. It wasn’t by design, but rather by Providence, that I found myself in such “a pool of people” (Not kind words! But it gives attention to the situation). I have written about my personal experiences of ministry to each of those groups of people. Praying with a prostitute, and watching tears roll down her cheeks; watching homeless women, on Mothers’ Days, walking the streets, “with no place to go.” Knowing that some of these same women will sell their bodies because they have no money, no food, and no place to spend the night. Seeing people, families, living in their cars. Seeing men making a park bench “their bed for the night.” Going under a bridge and seeing a homeless city, with “those residents” storing all of their belongings in grocery store shopping carts, and sleeping in “make shift” beds that extend from one steel girder to another….. And so on, and so forth…..Such ministry requires serious prayer and planning, but is necessary. I could go on, but that is not my purpose. It is only my desire to provide spiritual food for thought, as it relates to our responsibility to minister to the needs of those who our Lord Jesus describes as being, “the least of these.”

Please consider the song that Mike Adkins sings in such a spirit of worship. Then, listen to the account of his relationship with “A Man Called Norman.” For those who may find themselves interested in “WWJD,” (what would Jesus do), I encourage you to read the book, “In His Steps,” that was written by Charles M. Sheldon.

Can we say the words of John 15:21 without also loving, and showing the highest degree of spiritual love for, the less fortunate of our society? I trust that God will move within you to seek and serve those who need the love of His people who may have, “slipped through the cracks” of life.

John 15:21, “…Yes Lord, You know that I love You…”

Adoration by Mike Adkins

Praise, we praise, praise, praise, Praise to the One who sent us His son
Praise, praise, praise, praise, In one accord we praise You oh Lord
There is no other name above You, Blessed Be Your Name
God of Jacob
Sheppard of Israel
Holy unto Your name, Holy unto Your name
Praise praise, praise, we praise, Praise to the One who sent us His son
Praise praise, praise, praise, In one accord we praise You oh Lord

Glory and Honour and Power, Unto the Lord our God, God of Abraham Faithful and True
Holy Holy are You, Holy Holy are You

Holy Holy is Your name

Holy Holy is Your name

A Man Called Norman – Mike Adkins (The four parts of the story are linked individually. The full story is also linked. Sometimes the full story begins with part four.)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Full