Bible Discussion — Ephesians 3-4
This week, Bweinh.com discusses the next two chapters of Ephesians.
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12 | 13-14
15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22 | 23-24 | 25-26 | 27-28
Jonah: 1-2 | 3-4
British statesman Benjamin Disraeli once responded to anti-Semitic remarks made by an Irishman by pointing out that while his ancestors were “priests in Solomon\’s temple,” the other man’s forefathers were still “brutal savages on an unknown island.”
There is a truth there, often forgotten, that Paul illustrates in the early chapters of Ephesians. God had taken great pains to reveal the truth to one group of people (Jews), establishing down through the ages a witness to the rest of the world (Gentiles), that there is one true and living God with holy standards. But now, in Christ, He has fused the two together to create one new man — the Christian — and Paul was utterly amazed to find that he was given the privilege of announcing that good news to the Gentiles!
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
In 3:18, Paul says he wants us to understand Christ\’s love: the width, the length, the depth, the height, pretty precise stuff. Then he turns around in verse 19 and lets us know that, never mind, it surpasses all knowledge.
Paul refers to the pagan Gentiles as those who have “given themselves over to lewdness,” which he identifies as a combination of “uncleanness” and “greediness.” That’s the problem, isn’t it? It’s not just that people want to do wrong — it’s that so often, they just can’t get enough.
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Josh: Less Than The Least; One
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
My mom is the kind of woman who frequently speaks in maxims, particularly those Biblical. This passage contains some of her favorite material:
“Do not give the devil a foothold.” (4:27)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth.” (4:29)
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (4:26)
“In your anger do not sin.” (4:26)
If I had a nickel for every time”¦
In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about a wedding feast. The original invitees refuse to come, so they are replaced by others “both good and bad” who are rounded up for just that purpose. But one of the replacements is later thrown out, for not wearing the appropriate wedding garment.
That is what Paul is trying to get across to the Gentiles in chapter 4. We have been extended grace to come as we are into God\’s Kingdom — but we have to be ready to “change” if we expect to stay.
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
He’s the One who accomplished God’s eternal purpose by bringing the entire brotherhood of mankind back into a divine relationship through the Gospel — and the source of a love so powerful that it can never be expressed.
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Paul uses the word “mystery” 4 times in the opening chapters, to refer to God\’s hidden plan to extend salvation to the entire human race, thus reconciling Jews and Gentiles. It\’s a pretty important doctrine, developed by the only apostle who lived in both worlds, being a Roman citizen from Tarsus and a Jewish scholar after the order of the Pharisees.
The “mystery” of chapter 3 — which explains that the Jews and Gentiles have both been called into the Kingdom as equals — requires the correction of chapter 4 — the reminder to walk humbly and in unity with the rest of those in the church.
The Jews, who were receiving the Law from God Himself on Mount Sinai while our progenitors were howling at the moon, have to share God with the rest of us now. What an amazing thought and what a testament to the truth of Christianity. What they received at the beginning is still correct, even after all our pagan beliefs and practices have been abandoned as ridiculous fairy tales.
I love the benediction at the end of chapter 3: “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…” I’m very happy that God is not limited by my imagination.
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
3:17-19 — “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height ”” to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
— “…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head ”” Christ.”
4:32 — “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Might be the first verse I ever memorized.
PORTION YOU’D MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
I don’t understand why Paul says that Christ’s ascension necessarily means that He first “descended into the lower parts of the earth.” That’s not necessary for ascension to make logical sense, and it doesn’t fit with the traditional interpretation that “descending” just means that He actually died.
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
We have “”¦one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling”¦one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament, and for all of our differences, we have just one thing going on here in the Kingdom.
This passage was written primarily to unite Jews and Gentiles, but the lessons are imperative in our disjointed, individualized times — spiritual maturity and unity in the body of Christ go hand in hand. On our own we are weak, incomplete, and susceptible to falsehood. It is only as a body, with Christ as the head, that we can achieve the fullness of Christ, to become “a perfect man.” (4:13)
Thanks for joining us for these 80-some Bible discussions over the past two years. Next week, in our last Bible discussion, we and some special guests will finish up the book of Ephesians, an exciting, challenging, and fascinating finish!