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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 4

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-16

The High Calling Leads to Spiritual Maturity As Ephesians 1:3-14 refers to our spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 4:1-16 tells us about our spiritual blessings on earth in Christ Jesus, which is found in the Church. Ephesians 4:1-16 has a theme, which can be described as “A call to spiritual maturity by walking worthy of the divine calling given to each one of us” (Ephesians 4:1). It is by genuine humility and patience with one another in a true heart of love that believers are able to walk in unity (Ephesians 4:2-3). Paul refers to the “unity of the Spirit” in Ephesians 4:3 and the “unity of the faith” in Ephesians 4:13. Unity in the body of Christ brings about the edification of the body of Christ through the love walk (Ephesians 4:16). The last word in this passage is “love,” both in the Greek text and in English versions. Thus, unity is the key to empowering the Church, and it is only by walking in love that believers will be discipled, work together in unity, and build themselves up in the faith and unity of the spirit so that they can walk in power. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot fulfill its destiny without being empowered by the Holy Spirit. A divided Church is a weak Church; and a weak Church is a defeated Church. Samuel Doctorian says, “There is need of unity in my body. There are many divisions among you. My spirit will not move and work where there is no unity.” [118]

[118] Samuel Doctorian, The Vision of Five Angels (Pasadena, California: Bible Land Mission, 1998) [on-line]; accessed 7 June 2010; available from http://www.insightsofgod.com/downloads/5angelsofthecontinents.pdf; Internet.

Ephesians 4:1-16 serves as an introductory passage to the exposition that follows (Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9) in the same way that Ephesians 1:3-23 serves to introduce the passage that follows it (Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21). Just as Ephesians 1:3-23 introduces the offices of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and is followed by a more detailed exposition on this topic in Ephesians 2:1 to Ephesians 3:21, so does Ephesians 4:1-16 introduce the believer’s worthy walk and is followed by a more detailed exposition of this topic in Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9.

In a nutshell, we can safely say that a child of God cannot walk worthy of God unless he joins a local church and puts himself under his pastor. This is the jest of Ephesians 4:1-6 and why this passage is placed before the following passages on character development. We must first submit ourselves under the leadership of the Church that Jesus Christ has established, as discussed in Ephesians 4:1-16. There in the environment of the local Church we begin to grow as babes in Christ. We must first fall into rank and file and become involved in our local church. Unless we are involved in the ministry of helps, we are not in rank and file. Rather, we are wandering on the out skirts of the marching army and are not benefiting the church. When we join the church, we put ourselves in a position to grow in the Lord and to be used by Him.

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

Ephesians 4:1 “therefore” Comments - This word looks back to the first three chapters of God’s divine plan for mankind. It also looks forward to the next three chapters to show how man should respond to this wonderful plan of God’s grace in his life.

Ephesians 4:1 “the prisoner of the Lord” Comments - Paul describes himself in this verse in a different way than in the opening verse. He introduced himself in the salutation of this epistle as an apostle called by God with divine authority over the churches in Asia. Beginning in Ephesians 4:1, he describes himself as a man bound by the determined plan of God in his life, as a man who is obligated to follow this plan for his life. Therefore, Paul sets himself forth as an example of the lifestyle that he is about to call the saints to live.

Ephesians 4:1 “I…beseech you” Comments - Paul begins his practical application by saying, “I appeal to, urge, exhort, or encourage you…” Paul could have commanded them authoritatively, but in love and wisdom he does not trying to force them or lord himself over them (1 Peter 5:2-3); rather, he prompts them to willingly follow these epistles. This is because man has a free will to either obey Christ, or follow his own selfish desires. This principle can be seen on any job by observing how respected bosses and despised bosses speak to those under them. A boss who respects and speaks with concern for his workers will get them to work willingly, but a harsh boss will get his workers to do things out of fear. Paul uses this approach throughout many of his epistles.

1 Peter 5:2-3, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”

Ephesians 4:1 “that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” - Word Study on walk” Strong says the Greek word “walk” ( περιπατε ́ ω ) (G4043) literally means, “to tread all around, to walk at large,” and figuratively, “to live, to deport oneself, to follow.” BDAG says it means, “go about, walk around,” and figuratively, “of the walk of life.”

Word Study on “worthy” Strong says the Greek word “worthy” ( αξι ́ ως ) (G516) word means, “appropriately.” BDAG says it means, “worthily, in a manner worthy of, suitably.”

Comments - It means, to walk in a way that is worthy, or “deserving,” of their high calling. Conduct your lives in a manner that corresponds to your calling, the way God expects you to walk. Naturally, the Christian world and the lost world expect church people to be kind and Christ-like, when they do not expect this much from others who are lost and evil. God expects us to walk this same way. Even man (i.e., Paul towards the Ephesians) expects this also (Colossians 1:10).

Colossians 1:10, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

Word Study on “vocation” Strong says the Greek word “vocation” ( κλησις ) (G2821) figuratively means, “an invitation.” BDAG says it means, “call, a calling, invitation.”

Comments - In the context of this verse, κλησις refers to “the divine invitation to embrace salvation of God.” It is the calling, or the divine summons, in which every saint is called to fulfill.

John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him : and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:65, “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father .”

John 15:19, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world , therefore the world hateth you.”

Hebrews 3:1, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling , consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”

Word Study on “ye are called” Strong says the Greek word “called” ( καλε ́ ω ) (G2564) means, “to call.”

Comments - This calling puts their salvation experience under the authority of God’s divine plan and foreknowledge for their lives, and not simply human initiative. The initiative is on God’s part according to this verse.

Comments - Chapters 1-3 emphasize Church doctrine and show that the Ephesians and all children of God are “saints.” Now in chapters 4-6, Paul shows them how to live “saintly,” or how to respond to God’s grace in their lives, which is their obligation to God’s call on their lives (1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:22-23).

1 Corinthians 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

1 Corinthians 7:22-23, “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”

We cannot walk worthy and fulfill our individual and corporate callings without a continual flow of the revelation of Christ’s love that empowers us to walk in these supernatural steps each day while living in a natural body and encountering a natural world. Thus, Paul precedes a discussion on the believer’s divine calling by a prayer for the revelation of Christ’s love in Ephesians 3:14-19.

Ephesians 4:1 Comments - Note how Ephesians 4:1 tells us that our divine calling came before we began our walk. In other words, God chose us and ordained for each of us a particular calling that He calls us to fulfill. Thus, our calling comes before our walk before it was ordained before we were born.

Ephesians 4:1 gives us several key words that reveal the themes and structure of the book of Ephesians. The first three chapters reveal God’s calling for the Church and the last three chapters teach us about the worthy walk in light of this divine calling. This walk is descriptive of what the Church is called to do in order to fulfill God’s plan of redemption upon the earth. Other Pauline epistles discuss things that every believer must do, but Ephesians 4-6 place emphasis upon the believer’s efforts to walk in the plan that God the Father has ordained for each child of God.

We find clear sections breaks each time Paul uses the word “walk” in the last three chapters (Ephesians 4:17; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:8; Ephesians 5:15).

Ephesians 4:17, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,”

Ephesians 5:2, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

Ephesians 5:8, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”

Ephesians 5:15, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,”

Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Ephesians 4:2 Word Study on “lowliness” Strong says the Greek word “lowliness” ( ταπεινοφροσύνη ) (G5012) literally means, “humiliation of mind, modesty.”

Comments We see this idea in Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

Word Study on “meekness” Strong says the Greek word “meekness” ( πρᾳότης ) (G4236) means, “gentleness, humility.”

Word Study on “longsuffering” Strong says the Greek word “longsuffering” ( μακροθυμία ) (G3115) means, “longanimity, forbearance, fortitude.”

Comments It carries the idea of someone being slow in getting angry.

Word Study on “forbearing” Strong says the Greek word “forbearing” ( ἀνέχομαι ) (G430) means, “to hold oneself up against,” and figuratively, “to put up with.”


Matthew 17:17, “Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.”

Comments - Paul explains that the fundamental virtue that God desires as we each “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called” is to walk in humility and love. Rick Joyner discusses this issue in his book The Call as Wisdom speaks to Him by saying that Christians will be judged and rewarded by their love walk rather than by their rank. The importance of Ephesians 4:2 is the fact that it precedes the list of five-fold ministry gifts mentions later in this same passage of Scripture.

“In My kingdom, authority comes from who you are, not your title. Your ministry is your function, not your rank. Here rank is earned by humility, service and love. The deacon who loves more is higher than the apostle who loves less. On earth, prophets may be used to shake the nations, but here they will be known by their love. This is also your call to love with My love and serve with My heart. Then we will be one.” [119]

[119] Rick Joyner, The Call (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1999), 198.

Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:3 “Endeavouring to keep” Comments - The idea of endeavouring to do something suggests that someone does his best. One must make a determined effort because it contradicts the will of the flesh.

Ephesians 4:3 “the unity of the Spirit” - Comments - This phrase means to be in agreement, unanimity, to be unanimous. The book of Acts uses the phrase, “in one accord” seven times in reference to the Church. Only the Holy Spirit working in each life can bring a local assembly of believers together in unity.

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Colossians 3:14-15, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

Philippians 2:2, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:”

Man is a creature of many shapes, sizes, feelings, wants, etc. Man is varied. No two are like. Getting along takes an effort on the part of each soul. This unity, or agreement, must be found in the Word of God, since all other things in this life vary and are inconsistent.

Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

Ephesians 4:3 Comments Satan divides and separates. He divided the angels in Heaven. He brought a division between God and man at the Fall in the Garden. He causes strife and division between nations and among the churches. In contrast, the Holy Spirit brings unity and peace among believers.

Ephesians 4:2-3 Comments - Submission Ephesians 4:2-3 tells us to walk in submission with one another, since this is the moral fiber that holds the Church together as one body in Christ. The role of submission will become a dominant theme in Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9 as Paul tells us to walk in submission in our family and working relationships, which means in every relationship we may have in society. Paul conveniently gives us a clear definition of the word submission in Ephesians 4:2-3 by using the words lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing in love, unity and peace. There is no better definition of the word “submitting yourselves to one another” (Ephesians 5:21) than is found in these two gentle verses on proper human relationships.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

Ephesians 4:4 Comments - There is one body, which is the body of Christ. There is one Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. There is only one hope, which emanates from God the Father (Ephesians 1:18). Thus, Paul is making a reference to the offices of the Trinity.

Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:6 Comments - We know that the epistle of Ephesians places emphasis upon the role of God the Father in setting in motion God’s divine plan of redemption, yet He implements it through the three-fold office of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As He works in His Church to bring about His plan of redemption, we may interpret Ephesians 4:6 to say that the Father is “above all” as He oversees each believer with divine foreknowledge and divine providence, with Christ Jesus working “through all” as the One who gives gifts unto the Church and stands as our Great High Priest, while the Holy Spirit is “in you all” working out sanctification in each believer.

Ephesians 4:4-6 Comments - The Oneness of the Godhead - The oneness that characterizes the Godhead and His Church as described in Ephesians 4:4-6 is the reason why man should strive for unity among the brethren. Paul said, “Is Christ divided?”

1 Corinthians 1:13, “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”

Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Ephesians 4:7 Comments - Jesus Christ was given the Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34). In other words, Jesus walked in all of the fullness of the anointings and gifts of the Holy Spirit. This explains why He also walked in all of the five-fold offices during His earthly ministry.

John 3:34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”

When the Scriptures refer to these offices and anointings operating within the body of Christ, it says, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ .” (Ephesians 4:7). In other words, we are told that Christ gives men these anointings “by measure” rather than “without measure” as He received it. The same Greek word that is translated “measure” in John 3:34 is also used in Ephesians 4:7. Thus, we can clearly understand that there are “measures,” or different levels, of the anointings of the Holy Spirit available unto the Church.

Then, one must ask the question, “How does Christ Jesus determine each person’s measure?” We can look to one of Jesus’ parables for an answer. In the Parable of the Talents, we are told that the lord gave to each person a measure of talents according to his individual ability (Matthew 25:14-15). Thus, Jesus measures out to us gifts and anointings according to our ability and faithfulness to use them.

Matthew 25:14-15, “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.”

Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

Ephesians 4:8 “he led captivity captive” - Comments - BDAG translates this phrase as, “He captured prisoners of war.” Satan is defeated. Jesus fought and won. Thus, the word “captivity” would refer to these prisoners of war. In ancient times, a king would sometime parade his conquered victims into his capital and before his people in a display of strength and power. This would encourage his people to follow him because they believed he was a leader that could protect them from the enemy. This “captivity” would refer to the demonic forces that fell with Satan at Christ’s resurrection. These demonic powers that were made subject to Christ are now subject to us through His glorious name, the name of Jesus. We have authority over the Devil, and the basis of our authority is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Scripture References - Note some related reference verses:

Judges 5:12, “Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive , thou son of Abinoam.”

Psalms 68:18, “ Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.”

Jeremiah 15:2, “And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity .”

Amos 1:15, “And their king shall go into captivity , he and his princes together, saith the LORD.”

Galatians 1:4, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world , according to the will of God and our Father:”

Colossians 2:15, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it .”

1 John 3:8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil .”

Hebrews 7:1, “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him ;”

Revelation 13:10, “ He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity : he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

Ephesians 4:8 “and gave gifts unto men” Comments - We see the gifts that God gave unto the Church being discussed in Romans 12:0 and 1 Corinthians 12:0. Note also an indirect reference to these gifts in Acts 2:38 since these gifts are imparted by the Holy Spirit:

Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost .”

Ephesians 4:8 Comments - Ephesians 4:8 is taken from Psalms 68:18.

Psalms 68:18, “ Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.”

However, the Masoretic and Septuagint texts read, “Thou hast received gifts among men.” F. F. Bruce tells us that the change from “received” to “gave” is found in the Targum, which reads, “Thou hast ascended to the firmament [prophet Moses], thou has led captivity captive, [thou hast taught the words of the law,] thou hast given gifts to men.” He says that these words “in brackets represent rabbinical exposition”. The Syriac Peshitta version of the Old Testament has practically the same reading as the Targum, but omitting the phrases in the brackets. This could have happened because it was the Jewish tradition to have a priest read the Hebrew text in the synagogue followed by an oral paraphrase in the Aramaic, which was the local vernacular of the New Testament period. We see this dual reading instituted when the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity. At that time, the Jews began to speak Aramaic while the Scriptures were initially in Hebrew followed with an interpretation (Nehemiah 8:8). Therefore, it was entirely possible that this Aramaic paraphrase was as well-known as the Hebrew text and was thus used in this quote by Jesus. [120] The same thing occurs in Mark 4:12 and John 12:41.

[120] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 138.

Nehemiah 8:8, “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”

Ephesians 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

Ephesians 4:9 “into the lower parts of the earth” - Comments Andrew Lincoln [121] says there are three major views as to the meaning of the phrase “into the lower parts of the earth” in Ephesians 4:9. It can refer to:

[121] Andrew T. Lincoln, Ephesians, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 42, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard, and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 3.0b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2004), notes on Ephesians 4:9-10.

1. Jesus’ Visit to Hades (as the partitive genitive) - John Chrysostom believes this phrase refers to Jesus’ death. [122] Note the following modern English translations:

[122] John Chrysostom writes, “whereas from His ascending, he implies His descent, and by ‘the lower parts of the earth,’ he means ‘death,’ according to the notions of men; as Jacob also said, ‘Then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.’ [Gen. xxxii. 48] And again as it is in the Psalm, ‘Lest I become like them that go down into the pit’ [Ps. cxliii. 7], that is like the dead.” ( Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians Homily 11: comments on Ephesians 4:9-10) ( NPF1 13).

a. BDAG - the lower regions of the earth.

b. ASV, BBE, Darby, DRC, ISV, KJV, LO, NASB, RSV, RWebster, WEB the lower parts of the earth.

c. Murdock, NAB - the interior regions of the earth

d. NAB - the lower (regions) of the earth

d. Rotherham - the under parts of the earth

e. TEV the lower depths of the earth

Several Old Testament Scriptures use a similar phrase to describe Sheol.

Psalms 63:9, “But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.”

Isaiah 44:23, “Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.”

Ezekiel 32:24, “There is Elam and all her multitude round about her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts of the earth, which caused their terror in the land of the living; yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit.”

2. Jesus’ Coming on Earth, the Incarnation (as the genitive of apposition) - Some scholars believe this phrase refers to Jesus’ incarnation on earth. This phrase could be translated, “the lower parts, that is, the earth.” Thayer interprets it to mean Jesus’ coming to earth. Note the following modern English translations:

a. ESV - the lower regions, the earth

b. NET - the lower regions, namely, the earth

c. NIV - lower, earthly regions.

d. NLT - to our lowly world

3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit to Earth The third major view regarding the descent into “the lower parts of the earth” is a reference to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon earth. This view best coincides with the giving of the gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:8; Ephesians 4:11. However, this view lacks the support of modern English translations.

4. The Burial of Jesus BDAG adds a third view, saying it could represent the burial of Jesus Christ. [123]

[123] See BDAG, κατώτερος .

Summary - Although any three of these views could be argued, I believe the immediate context of this passage of Scripture gives the strongest support to the idea of Jesus coming from Heaven down to earth in His incarnation, since the next verse reads, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens.” That is, Jesus came down to earth, and returned to Heaven. Of course, it is possible that Jesus’ descent to fulfill His earthly ministry also includes His burial and descent into Hades, representing all three views collectively.

Ephesians 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:8-10 Comments Christ Fulfilled Old Testament Prophecy in Giving Gifts Unto Men: These Gifts are the Anointings of the Five-Fold Ministry - The main topic in Ephesians 4:1-16 is the fact that through Christ Jesus God has given the callings and anointings of the five-fold ministry as gifts unto the Church in order to equip all other believers for Christian service. However, in Ephesians 4:8-10 Paul takes a digression to explain how Jesus Christ fulfilled this Old Testament prophecy. This is made clear in the Greek text, which begins verse nine with “he that ascended…,” thus, placing emphasis upon the word “ascended.” It is Christ’s ascension into the heavenly realm that enabled Him to impart these gifts unto the Church (Ephesians 4:8). Paul then explains that Jesus, who ascended, must have first descended in order to partake of His death on Calvary and set mankind free from their captivity (Ephesians 4:9). However, if he had not made this digression in Ephesians 4:8-10 Paul’s main thought would read:

Ephesians 4:8; Ephesians 4:11, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men….And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”

We can find an earlier reference to these divine gifts and callings in Ephesians 3:1-2; Ephesians 3:7 when Paul refers to his own calling as an apostle being bestowed as a gift of the grace of God.

Ephesians 3:1-2; Ephesians 3:7, “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward….Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”

Comments A Look at Psalms 68:0 The quote in Ephesians 4:8 is taken from Psalms 68:18. The underlying theme of Psalms 68:0 is Christ’s triumphant victory over death, sin and the grave and His exaltation as King of Kings. The victory march into Jerusalem is a celebration march of this victory.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Ephesians 4:11 Comments When Christ Jesus ascended to Heaven (Ephesians 4:10), He delegated His authority to the Church. In His name through faith in His name, the Church can walk in the same authority that Jesus walked during His earthly ministry. He also distributed ministry gifts accompanied with anointing to those whom He calls, beginning with the twelve apostles of the Lamb

We may wonder what the five offices of the New Testament Church look like in practice. The Scriptures allow us to gain a tremendous glimpse into the life of one who walks and ministers in each of these offices. Jesus Christ walked in the five-fold ministry in their fullness. The Gospel of Matthew reveals Jesus Christ as the Teacher, Mark reveals Him as the Evangelist, Luke reveals Him as the Prophet, and John reveals Him as the Pastor. The book of Acts reveals the office of the apostle.

Defining the Five-Fold Ministry Gifts - The gifts that God has given to the Church are the callings and anointings of the five-fold ministry. Each one of these callings has a unique function in the body of Christ. One popular description used today of the offices of these five-fold ministries is as follows:

1. Apostles govern the Church

2. Prophets guide the Church

3. Evangelists gather the Church

4. Pastors guard the Church

5. Teachers ground or grow the Church.

The Teacher: We find a description of the office of a teacher in Colossians 2:7, which tells us that these saints were being rooted, and growing and becoming established because of the teaching ministry that they had received.

Colossians 2:7, “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught , abounding therein with thanksgiving.”

The Order of the Listing of the Five-Fold Ministry - Paul lists the five-fold ministry gifts in Ephesians 4:11. Although we do not see as clear a chronological order as we would like to see within Scriptures in which these ministry gifts were given to the body of Christ, we do have this order indicated in 1 Corinthians 12:28. It tells us that “God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” We know that the apostles were given first to the body of Christ because in the Gospels Jesus ordained the twelve apostles of the Lamb during His earthly ministry. We first read about the New Testament prophets in the churches of Antioch (Acts 13:1) and Jerusalem (Acts 15:32). We first hear about the office of a teacher in the church of Antioch (Acts 13:1). The office of the evangelist is first mentioned in the ministry of Philip in Acts 21:8. We know that Paul began to ordain elders and bishop, or pastors, in the churches that he founded. So, we do have somewhat of a chronological order laid out in the New Testament.

Acts 13:1, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”

Acts 15:32, “And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.”

Acts 21:8, “And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.”

Today, the evangelist tends to preach most often from the New Testament Gospels because he is calling souls to salvation. The teacher most often teaches from the Pauline epistles since he is establishing the believers in the doctrines of the Christian faith. The pastor frequently gives an exhortation of perseverance using the General Epistles, which is the theme of these epistles, since he is encouraging the saints to persevere in their faith.

In addition, Kenneth Hagin teaches that there are to be more pastors than there are those who serve in the other four ministry gifts. This is because the sheep must have a shepherd. [124] We are told in James 3:1 that there are not to be many teachers, since they will receive a greater judgment.

[124] Kenneth Hagin, Plans Purposes and Pursuits (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1988, 1993), 150.

James 3:1, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”

A Comparison of the Lists of Gifts in Romans, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians - When the list of gifts in Romans 12:6-8 is compared to the list given in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and Ephesians 4:11, there are some differences. In Romans 12:0, these gifts, or various functions, are emphasized as being various ways of serving one another within the body of Christ. These gifts are manifested when a servant of God yields his life in ministry to help others. Thus, a layman can walk in these gifts. Therefore, the emphasis is on our faith to operate in the gifts because they are gifts that we initiate by Christian service. The list in Romans 12:6-8 is a different list of gifts because these are “ways of serving in the body of Christ,” whereas the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are “manifestations of the Spirit,” or gifts that the Holy Spirit initiates.

In 1 Corinthians, these gifts are called “manifestations of the Spirit” because it is the Holy Spirit who is the motivator, or the one who initiates these gifts. Thus, the emphasis is on the variety of ways that God works in our lives by the office of the Holy Spirit.

Still further, the gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11 are offices that a person holds in order for Jesus Christ to fulfill all things in all in God’s purpose and plan for the Church (Ephesians 4:10). These gifts, or offices, operate according to “the measure of the gift of Christ.” That is, they are initiated by Christ Jesus our Lord. For example, Paul states, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” (1 Timothy 1:12) In other words, Jesus initiated Paul’s calling in the office of an apostle because he had been faithful with the measure of faith that he has used in his Christian service.

The gifts in Romans 12:6-8 are where we begin to operate in the gifts according to our measure of faith as laymen because these are gifts that we initiate in Christian service. Then the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 operate on a greater level of anointing as others see the Holy Spirit manifesting in their lives under those anointings because they are initiated by the Holy Spirit. Finally, God calls those who are faithful with these gifts into fulltime ministry according to the gifts, or offices, listed in Ephesians 4:11. Thus, the gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8 are the gifts that God gives to us in our lives and we are to initiate the operation of these gifts. As we are faithful, God imparts to us greater anointings (1 Corinthians 2:8-10) and even full times callings and offices (Ephesians 4:11). Even the twelve apostles of the Lamb began in serving the Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus said, “Come, follow Me,” they forsook all and followed Him. Then God moved upon Him at one point in His earthly ministry to appoint twelve of His disciples whom He called apostles. However, they all began in the ministry of helps.

We can also see a development of these gifts from passage to passage. In Romans 12:6-8, we see that the gift of prophecy is initially given to believers to operate at their level of faith. For example, in 1989 I began to lead morning prayer at my work place. One morning the Lord spoke to me and said, “Prophesy what the men of God in the Bible prophesied and pray for your co-workers to be filled with the Holy Spirit,” So for the next four years, I took certain verses in the Scriptures and I spoke then over the work place in faith believing. This would be the lowest level of prophecy. Then the next level of prophecy can be seen in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 when the Holy Spirit moves upon us to give a particular word of prophecy. This takes place when the Holy Spirit initiates a prophecy rather than us speaking the word of God in faith. When a person begins to learn how to move by the Holy Spirit in the gift of prophecy on a regular basis, he soon qualifies to enter into the office of the prophet as listed in Ephesians 4:11. However, he is not in this office unless he has a divine calling by Jesus Christ, who initiates this gift and office.

Regarding the gift of teaching mentioned in Romans 12:6-8, when I offered my life in Christian service, I was asked to teach a twelfth grade class in Sunday School. I took on this Christian service with zeal and enjoyed preparing and teaching these young boys and girls. Many years later, I began to teach in Bible School and was given a prophecy by Dale Gentry, who operates often in the office of a prophet, in April 1994 that I was a teacher. [125] I have continued to teach in Bible School and behind the pulpit. I would rather teach than preach.

[125] Dale Gentry, Dale Gentry Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas.

Regarding the gift of exhortation mentioned in Romans 12:6-8, we find such zeal in young men who eventually find a calling as an evangelist. The gift of giving can also be developed as a person who becomes a wealthy businessman to support the work of Christ. The gifts of ruling and showing mercy fit the heart of a person who may one day become a pastor. Kenneth Hagin sees the gift of governments listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28 as representing the office of a pastor. [126]

[126] Kenneth Hagin, He Gave Gifts Unto Men: A Biblical Perspective of Apostles, Prophets, and Pastors (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1992, 1993), 189.

The Different Levels of Anointings in the Five-Fold Ministry In his book He Gave Gifts Unto Men, Kenneth Hagin tells about a divine visitation in which the Lord Jesus taught him about offices of the five-fold ministry. [127] One great insight that he was given was concerning the different levels of anointings that are given to men and women who walk in the five-fold ministry. If we refer to Scriptural support for this, we can find some confirmation. We first note that Jesus Christ was given the Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34). In other words, Jesus walked in all of the fullness of the anointings and gifts of the Holy Spirit. This explains why He also walked in all of the five-fold offices during His earthly ministry.

[127] Kenneth Hagin, He Gave Gifts Unto Men: A Biblical Perspective of Apostles, Prophets, and Pastors (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1992, 1993), 1-26.

John 3:34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”

When the Scriptures refer to these offices and anointings operating within the Church, it says, “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ .” (Ephesians 4:7). In other words, we are told that Christ gives men these anointings “by measure.” The same Greek word that is translated “measure” is used in John 3:34 and Ephesians 4:7. Thus, we can clear understand that there are “measures,” or different levels, of the anointings of the Holy Spirit available unto the Church.

The Order of the Church Contrasted with the Order of Satan’s Kingdom - The five-fold ministry that God has placed within the Church is listed in Ephesians 4:11. As this epistle reveals God the Father’s divine plan for His Church, it must show us how God governs the Church. He has ordained church leadership and church order through the five-fold ministry. It is our submission to such divine leadership and order which God places in the body of Christ that will lead us into maturity and into the anointing and calling that God has given to each of us.

Paul will list the four-fold offices of the demonic realm later as “principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places” in Ephesians 6:12. (Kenneth Hagin teaches that there are four classes of demons, which offices are listed here in ascending order of power.) [128] Paul has also referred to the leader of this demonic army in Ephesians 2:2 as “the prince of the power of the air.” Thus, within the context of Ephesians, Paul is clearly describing a spiritual warfare between the Church and the kingdom of darkness and telling us who the generals are in this battle. This is why it is appropriate that Paul also show that Jesus is the leader of the Church and the five-fold ministry are the spiritual authorities that He has placed on this earth to be under-shepherds in the Church. For without Church order and discipline, we cannot fight and win spiritual battles against Satan and his kingdom. It is the job of the Church leaders to equip the saints for the battle.

[128] Kenneth Hagin, The Origin and Operation of Demons (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c1983, 1985), 15.

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:12 Word Study on “perfecting” Strong says the Greek word “perfecting” ( καταρτισμός ) (G2677) means, “complete furnishing.”

Comments - It carries the idea of equipping the saints. We see the saint fully equipped in Ephesians 6:11-18 when Paul describes a saint prepared for battle by wearing his full armor.

Ephesians 4:12 Comments - It is important to note that we as saints have a calling. However, this initial calling is not to enter into the five-fold ministry, but rather to be submitted to these Godly leaders that have been placed into the body of Christ. This is because the method that God has ordained to equipment the saints for the work of the ministry is through anointed leadership. Although it is the Father who plans our calling, and Jesus who authorizes us, and the Holy Spirit who empowers us, yet God uses these leaders to guide us into the Father’s plan for each particular saint. Their job is to equip us for a greater calling. However, if we do not submit to our pastor and attend Bible School and submit to the teachers and receive the ministry of visiting apostles, prophets and evangelists, then we will never be called into this greater calling.

Ephesians 4:12 tells us that the leadership of the Church will equip us as saints for the work of the ministry so that we can play a role in “edifying the body of Christ.” It is important to note that a minister who has been properly prepared will minister to and build up others. In contrast, there are some ministers who have refused this walk of being in submission to church leadership and have become “ministers” who go out to build their own ministry. This is a work of the flesh and such a minister is characterized as a person who uses others to build up himself. God’s ministers use themselves to build up the lives of others. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference because at first glance they can look the same and sound the same.

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Ephesians 4:13 “Till” Comments How long will God give to the church the five-fold ministry? Until we all are come into the same faith and understanding of God’s Word. That will not happen until Jesus returns (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

1 Corinthians 13:8-10, “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”

Ephesians 4:13 Comments We are to become like Jesus (John 14:12).

John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Ephesians 4:14 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro” - Comments Any parent or teacher who has raised and worked with children knows how in their innocence a child will believe anything that he or she is told. A child does not yet have the maturity to question and properly examine what is said because they have not yet laid a foundation of theology in their young lives. Therefore, they can easily be misled and deceived. This is also a characteristic of a young convert, or a believer who has not become rooted and grounded in the things of God. They believe what comes along their paths because they have no foundation upon which to judge the teachings of others. Young believers can be easily swayed by peer pressures from other church friends. Peer pressure can be a tremendous factor in forming a young believer’s doctrinal beliefs.

In addition, a child does not know what day or month of the year it is. He is not aware of the time of day, nor does he understand how to plan for the future. A child is only aware of his immediate surroundings while struggling to satisfy his impulsive desires and needs. Therefore, he is not given much responsibility, except to brush his teeth or to clean up the room. But as a child grows up, he is given more responsibility. With this responsibility come the resources to fulfill each task. Although a child may be heir to his father’s riches, he will not be given authority over them as long as he is a child. It is the same way in the Kingdom of God.

Ephesians 4:14 “and carried about with every wind of doctrine” Comments False doctrines seem to come and flow from one church to another like a wind. These doctrines are from Satan (1 Timothy 4:7) and these seducing spirits dwell in the heavens, just as the wind is also in the atmosphere.

1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”

Ephesians 4:14 “by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” Comments they lie in wait to deceive” Or, “they scheme to deceive.” You will find such scheming in man-made church programs for adding new members, etc. I once heard one professor telling another one, that if they could get the students to laugh, the students would believe everything that was said. I doubt that this professor would intentionally deceive his students, but he certainly had learned how to persuade them.

Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Ephesians 4:15 “But speaking the truth in love” Comments In Ephesians 4:15, we find an example of knowledge used with wisdom. It is possible to tell people the truth and give to them advice or correction, but not in the right spirit. We may know the truth, but lack the wisdom to manage that truth. We should not speak in pride, anger, or frustration, but in a spirit of love and gentleness. The Scriptures tell us that “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Note:

Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

It is the truth of God's Word that sets a man free. But it is words spoken in love that will open someone's heart to receive those words of truth. Note:

Proverbs 16:21, “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.”

Keith Moore teaches that the sweetness of the lips represents the truths of God's Word being spoken in love. He says that the degree of love that one ministers in determines the degree of gifts and revelation that will flow out of the one who is ministering the Word of God. [129]

[129] Keith Moore, interviewed by Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

People respond to the truth much better when it is spoken with “sweet lips.” When a person opens his heart to someone who is speaking to them in love, the anointing begins to easily flow from the minister into a receptive heart. In contrast, a heart that rejects God's Word spoken harshly will not draw out the anointing from the minister.

One good example of speaking the truth in love is when Paul writes to young Timothy and charges him to set the church in order. Within the context of these serious commandments, Paul refers to Timothy as his “beloved son” (1 Timothy 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:18, 2 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:1). Again when Paul writes to Philemon requesting him to set his slave Onesimus free, he does not command him, but rather requests his obedience for love’s sake (Philemon 1:9-10).

Ephesians 4:15 “may grow up into him in all things” - Comments Know that a believer may be mature, or grown up, in some areas of the Christian life, and be weak in other areas. As a member of a non-Pentecostal denomination, I was taught to be evangelical and to be nice to people. But I was an adult before anyone taught me about praying for the sick, speaking in tongues and learning to have faith in every area of my life.

In 1984, I was helping another minister in a newly established church. I had recently withdrawn from a Southern Baptist Seminary and church so that I could preach and teach in this new non-denominational church. I still had a desire to finish the seminary program and was in prayer about it one day. I prayed, “Lord, would you be pleased if I finished seminary?” Immediately in my spirit I heard these words, “I'd be pleased if you had faith in me.” As I began to meditate on these words, I began to realize that the Christian life was a life of learning how to exercise faith in every area of our lives. A journey began in my life of learning to have faith in God.

I began to step out of the boat, so to speak, and to trust the Lord for my healing and daily health I began to learn how to pray for those who were sick and watch God heal them through faith in Him. I began working for myself in my own business just to learn how to rely on the Lord totally in the area of my finances. Each day of life became a laboratory of learning, most of the time with mush labor and effort to stay in faith and not waiver. Those were not easy years, but an unmovable foundation has been laid in my heart as a result of those trials of faith.

Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:16 Comments The whole body of Christ can refer to believers on earth and those already in Heaven, since this passage of Scripture reflects eternity (Ephesians 4:13-15).

Verses 1-32

The Worthy Walk: Man’s Role - Having seen how God has done everything that He can possibly do for us to live a victorious life, Paul then focuses upon the believer’s response to this divine calling. The first three chapters of Ephesians have told us that if God be for us then who can be against us (note similar verses in Romans 8:31; Rom 8:37 , 1 Corinthians 15:57, 2 Corinthians 2:14).

Romans 8:31, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Romans 8:37, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”

God the Father planned our journey, while Jesus has given us the legal right to take this journey, and the Holy Spirit empowers us for the journey. In the last three chapters of Ephesians Paul exhorts them on practical application by showing them how to live “saintly,” or how to respond to God’s grace in their lives in light of this position of spiritual authority. God has a plan for each of us that is so unique and so important to the body of Christ, that if we do not fulfill this calling, then the body of Christ will forever suffer the lack of this ministry. The reason the Church has yet to fulfill the Great Commission after two thousand years is because believers have not fulfilled their proper roles in God’s plan of redemption. This section in Ephesians opens with a key verse that summarizes the theme of these three chapters of exhortation, which is to walk worthy of our calling, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,” (Ephesians 4:1).

Paul takes the first half of his epistle to the Ephesians to teach his readers doctrinal truths. He then takes the second half of this letter to show them how to apply these truths to their daily living. Paul discusses the theme of God the Father’s divine plan of redemption for mankind in the first three chapters. He then takes the last three chapters to teach the Church how to live so that the Church can help fulfill the Father’s will. In the last three chapters of Ephesians, Paul exhorts them on practical application by exhorting them to walk out their high calling in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:1-16), then he shows them how to do it. The word “calling” is used because this is part of God the Father’s foreknowledge in fulfilling His divine plan of redemption. We see this in Romans 8:29-30 where foreknowledge is seen as predestination and calling. Thus, Paul is telling the saints how to respond to the Father’s calling, rather than the Son’s work of righteousness on Calvary, or the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification.

Paul exhorts the believers at Ephesus to live “saintly” by showing them how to respond to God the Father’s divine call in their lives in light of this position of spiritual authority. This section opens with a key verse that summarizes the theme of these last three chapters of exhortation, which is the “worthy walk”:

Ephesians 4:1, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,”

In Ephesians 4:1 Paul begins to explain their obligation to God’s high calling upon their lives as His “saints” (Ephesians 4:1-16). In order to fulfill this calling, they are to strive to walk in the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Paul then focuses on the three-fold area of human development, the spirit, the soul and the body, so that they will be able to walk in the fullness of Christ. Paul chooses to begin with the soul of man, for it is made up of the mind, will and emotions. Therefore, it contains the five sense-gates by which a person receives information in order to make a proper decision in life, which is figuratively spoken of as a “walk.” Once a person can be “discipled in Christ” by the renewing his mind (Ephesians 4:17-32), he will learn how to be led by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:1-14), which will then allow him to yield his body daily as a servant of Christ (Ephesians 5:15 to Ephesians 6:9), and finally, to win the victories of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). Thus, Paul’s exhortation first places emphasis upon the soul (Ephesians 4:1-32), then the spirit (Ephesians 5:1-14) followed by the body (Ephesians 5:15 to Ephesians 6:9). Only then will a person be ready to enter into the spiritual warfare discussed in the final passage (Ephesians 6:10-18). The reason Paul uses the word “walk” to introduce each section of this passage is because he is telling us to take a journey that will lead us into spiritual maturity.

Outline - Note the proposed outline:

A. The High Calling into Spiritual Maturity Ephesians 4:1-16

B. The Path to Spiritual Maturity Ephesians 4:17 to Ephesians 6:9

1. Soul The Renewing of the Mind Ephesians 4:17-32

a. The Old Man Ephesians 4:17-19

b. The New Man Ephesians 4:20-32

2. Spirit Being Led by the Spirit Ephesians 5:1-20

a. Walk in Love (Our Hearts) Ephesians 5:1-7

b. Walk in the Light (Our Minds) Ephesians 5:8-17

c. Be Filled with the Holy Spirit (Our Bodies) Ephesians 5:18-20

3. Body Submitting our Bodies to God’s Will Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9

a. Submission in Marriage Ephesians 5:21-33

b. Submission in Parenting Ephesians 6:1-4

c. Submission at Work Ephesians 6:5-9

Illustration - You say, “How can focusing on my marriage or my job lead me into a great work of God. Well, just listen to the teachings of Joyce Meyer. She spent her years in the ministry becoming a better wife while studying the Scriptures and participating in her Church. As a result, God was able to supernaturally open those doors for her. She found herself as the most powerful woman minister on the earth today. In her messages, listen to her frequent testimonies of how she focused on submission and obedience in the little things in life. It all began for her with a relationship to her church and her pastor. This gave her the strength to develop her relationship with her husband and children and her boss. The rest followed naturally.

I have personally hosted her on two occasions and have seen how steady is her character. When I’ve become frustrated, she stood unmoved by her circumstances, which involved a week of jackhammering under her hotel room, a car breakdown in the middle of heavy traffic, but also steady and always thankful.

Remember John the apostle, who wrote five books in the New Testament. What was his first assignment after Jesus’ resurrection: to take care of His mother (John 19:26-27). An early tradition says John spent the first fifteen years of his ministry taking care of Mary. [117] In the book of Acts, we only see him following Peter. While the other apostles were preaching and teaching, he was primarily taking care of an elderly lady. In the end, he wrote more of the New Testament than any of the original twelve apostles and thus left more impact on the world than any of them.

[117] One Catholic tradition tells us that John the apostle remained in Jerusalem and cared for the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ until her death about fifteen years after the Crucifixion of Jesus. Adam Clarke says, “John was banished by the Roman emperor, Domitian, to the isle of Patmos, in the Aegean Sea: but his successor Nerva having recalled all the exiles banished by Domitian, John returned to Ephesus, where he died, aged upward of one hundred years. The holy Virgin is said to have lived with him till her death, which took place about fifteen years after the crucifixion.” See Adam Clarke, The Preacher’s Manual: Including Clavis Biblica, and A Letter to a Methodist Preacher (New York: G. Lane and P. P. Sandford, 1842), 37.

John 19:26-27, “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

Application - So, you want to fulfill God’s for your life? First submit yourselves under the authority of God’s leadership first. Then allow your mind to become renewed and learn how to be led by the Spirit of God so that you will be able to walk in humble submission in all of your relationships, whether it is as a wife or a husband, whether as a parent or a child, whether a boss or an employee. In the midst of submission, you will learn obedience and this will qualify you for God’s service.

This journey through Ephesians teaches us that we must stay in submission and faithfulness to our church first before God will lead us further along His plan for our lives. This journey will take us to great heights.

Verses 17-19

The Old Man: The Depravity of Mankind Ephesians 4:17-19 describes the lifestyle of the old man before meeting Christ. Paul’s description in Ephesians 4:17-19 of the darkness that the world lives in parallels the passage in Ephesians 2:1-3, which describes their former life prior to Christ, and it stands in contrast to Paul’s prayer for God open up the eyes of the Church (Ephesians 1:15-23. Ephesians 3:14-21).

In Ephesians 4:17-19 Paul will describe the old man with his depraved nature, which explains the process of depravity. When a man hardens his heart towards God (Ephesians 4:18 c), he alienates himself from God through his ignorance (Ephesians 4:18 b). This alienation leads to the understanding of their mind becoming dark (Ephesians 4:18 a). This follows with a lifestyle of making vain decisions (Ephesians 4:17 b). The outward evidence of walking in the vanity of one’s mind is a lifestyle of uncleanness, which is driven by covetousness, or self-centeredness (Ephesians 4:19). Thus, we see a progression of depravity, which begins with a man’s heart as it turns away from the Lord, darkening his mind, and corrupting his actions.

We can find an additional description of the foolishness and vanity of the Gentiles in Paul’s exposition in the epistle of Romans on the depravity of mankind (Romans 1:18-32).

Romans 1:21-22, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”

Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

Ephesians 4:17 “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord” Comments - Paul is speaking by inspiration. That is, by “testifying in the Lord” he is speaking to the Ephesians as he writes this epistle by divine inspiration.

Ephesians 4:17 “that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk” Comments From here on out, begin walking in the holiness that God has called you to, and do not continue walking in sin with a darkened mind.

Ephesians 4:17 “in the vanity of their mind” Comments The vanity of a person’s mind reflects “purposelessness.” They are busy, but they have no profitable purpose in life.

Ephesians 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Ephesians 4:19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

Ephesians 4:19 “Who being past feeling” Comments - A person’s heart becomes progressively callous and insensitive to the Holy Spirit and his own conscience once he hardens his heart towards God (Ephesians 4:18 c). The longer a man increases and continues in sin, the harder and more callous his heart becomes to the truth of God’s Word. Over a period of time, this depraved person looses the ability to hear and follow his conscience, and discern between good and evil. For example, if you are a man that works with your hands, you can rub the calluses on the palm of your hand. They are much less sensitive to touch than the tips of your fingers. The heart, through the deceitfulness of sin, becomes callous in this same way. Note these insightful words from Sadhu Sundar Singh:

“Just as the body of the leper by reason of his disease becomes numb and insensible, so the heart and mind of man by reason of sin become dull and insensate, and bring to him no sense of disgust or pain. But the time will come when he will awake to its terrible ravages, and then there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [130]

[130] Sadhu Sundar Singh, At the Master’s Feet, translated by Arthur Parker (London: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1922) [on-line], accessed 26 October 2008, available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/singh/feet.html; Internet, “II Sin and Salvation,” section 1, part 3.

Ephesians 4:19 “have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” Comments - Mankind in his state of depravity chooses to separate himself from God and gives himself over to fleshly passions. Having been delivered over to these passions, he becomes entangled in sin, enslaved by his own selfish desires.

Verses 17-32

The Path to Spiritual Maturity - In order to fulfill this high calling, believers are to strive to walk in the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). In order to do this, Paul focuses on the three-fold area of human development: the spirit, the soul, and the body. Paul chooses to begin with the soul of man, for it is made up of the mind, will and emotions. Therefore, it contains the five sense-gates by which a person receives information in order to make a proper decision in life, which is figuratively spoken of as a “walk”; and it is in this realm that a person decides by his own will to grow into spiritual maturity. Once a person can be “discipled in Christ” by the renewing his mind (Ephesians 4:17-32), he will learn how to be led by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:1-20), which will then allow him to yield his body daily as a servant of Christ (Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9), and finally, to win the victories of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). Thus, Paul’s exhortation first places emphasis upon the soul (Ephesians 4:1-32), then the spirit (Ephesians 5:1-20) followed by the body (Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9). Only then will a person be ready to enter into the spiritual warfare discussed in the final passage (Ephesians 6:10-18). The reason Paul uses the word “walk” to introduce each section of this passage is because he is telling us to take a journey that will lead us into spiritual maturity.

The large amount of emphasis that these chapters place upon renewing the mind, being led by the Spirit, and submission is due to the fact that when we are under the authority and leadership of the Holy Spirit, we find God’s divine protection, as did Job (see Job 1:10). However, when we become proud and rebellious, we step outside of God’s protective hedge, and are no longer about to stand against the devil.

Job 1:10, “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.”

James describes this humble walk as “meekness of wisdom.”

James 3:13, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Soul The Renewing of the Mind Ephesians 4:17-32

2. Spirit Being Led by the Spirit Ephesians 5:1-20

3. Body Submitting our Bodies to God’s Will Ephesians 5:21 to Ephesians 6:9

Verses 20-24

The Old Man verses the New Man - This passage discusses the new man in contrast to the old man. The old man is corrupt (Ephesians 4:22) while the new man reflects the image of God (Ephesians 4:24, Ephesians 5:1). Therefore, in the following passage, (Ephesians 4:25-32), Paul gives them practical advice on how to put on the new man while further describing the characteristics of each type of man.

When a person physically dies, his sinful habits come to an end. His death ends the dominion of sin over his life. That dead person will never sin again. When we are born again, we die and are resurrected in Christ Jesus. All that remains of our old man is the memory of its former behavior. On the inside we are a new man, a new creation, with new desires. However, we must still renew our minds and recognize the fact that our mind has been used to following the cravings of our fleshly body that is sinful. We are to renew our mind and learn how to be led by our new, inner man which no longer desires to sin. This is what Paul is stating in this passage.

Ephesians 4:22 tells us to put off the old man while Ephesians 4:24 tells us to put on the new man, but often to get from one place to another we have to take a journey, or to go through a process. If we look at the Ephesians 4:23, which is placed in between these two verses, we will be told the process. The process requires that we renew our minds. We have to change our thinking in order to take on the lifestyle unto which God is calling us.

Paul discusses this topic in some of his other epistles (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Ephesians 4:21 Comments - The Ephesians heard and received Jesus as their Saviour, then they were taught and disciple in the Christian faith. Thus, Ephesians 4:21 reflects the two phases of the Christian life: salvation and discipleship.

Ephesians 4:22 Comments Ephesians 4:22 tells us that a man who does not accept Christ will continue down a path of darkness that brings one deeper and deeper into corruption, which is a path that culminates in eternal darkness and hell. The unclean passions of the flesh described in Ephesians 4:17-19 are deceptive, corrupting men unto eternal damnation.

Scripture Reference - Note a similar verse:

2 Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust .”

Ephesians 4:23 Comments The phrase “in the spirit of your mind” stands in contrast to “in the vanity of their mind” (Ephesians 4:17), with both phrases having a plural pronoun that modifies a singular object, “the mind.” The Gentiles, with no conscience to guide them, and no spiritual life within so that God can speak to them, walk in the vanity of their minds. In contrast, God’s children have the Spirit of God indwelling their human spirit, so that the life of God indwells them and God is able to speak to their spirit. Thus, they learn to be led by the Spirit of God, making decisions with their mind that are spirit-led. God’s children can think as God thinks, and live in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24).

Ephesians 4:24 “which after God” Comments - We have been recreated in the new man, and patterned after God Himself.

Ephesians 4:24 “is created in righteousness and true holiness” Comments - The phrase “true holiness” can be translated “holiness of the truth.” God’s Word is the truth and is holy. It has been deposited into our spirit by the indwelling Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:16).

Hebrews 10:16, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;”

We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) in our recreated spirit. We, at salvation, know God, “for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest” (Hebrews 8:11). We instinctively know Him as our Father (Romans 8:15), since we were created by, or begotten by, Him and have that relationship to Him in fellowship and communion through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

1 Corinthians 2:16, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Hebrews 8:11, “And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”

Romans 8:15, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

Verses 20-32

The New Man: Renewing the Mind of Man Ephesians 4:20-32 emphasizes the new man. Paul then tells the Ephesians how to develop this divine character in their lives, which was not there before their conversion. They are to renew to their minds and chose to lay aside the old man (Ephesians 4:17-19) and to put on the new man (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Note that each individual Christians must make a choice as to whether or not to put on the new man. No one can force them. God gives man this responsibility to act and chose to live Godly or not, even as a believer, in order to see if they truly love Him or not.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Old Man verses the New Man Ephesians 4:20-24

2. Characteristics of the New Man Ephesians 4:25-32

Verses 25-32

Characteristics of the New Man - In Ephesians 4:25-32 Paul gives them practical advice on how to put on the new man while further describing the characteristics of each type of man. Lying, stealing, laziness, and corruption are the words that characterize the old man. In underdeveloped societies where God is not served, these are the major characteristics of such people. In addition, such people are often angry and vengeful. Today’s corrupt nations are full of such people. This is what characterized the ancient Greek society in which the Ephesians lived.

The new man will learn to speak the truth in all situations (Ephesians 4:25), to control his temper (Ephesians 4:26), to labor honestly rather than stealing (Ephesians 4:28), to control his speech (Ephesians 4:29), to learn the leadership of the Holy Spirit rather than grieving Him (Ephesians 4:30), to control his emotions (Ephesians 4:31) and to forgive others (Ephesians 4:31).

Characteristics of the Old Man Lying, vindictiveness, laziness, and stealing are a major problem for missionaries living and working in undeveloped cultures around the world. Paul obviously encountered it, since he addressed this issue in Ephesians 4:25-29.

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Ephesians 4:25 Comments I believe the greatest shock I experienced when going into the African mission field was the problem of lying that permeated much of society. Telling the truth was normal in the Judeo-Christian culture of the U.S. where I grew up, but telling a lie was the way people generally lived in Africa. It took me a while to make the adjustment to this aspect of the African culture.

Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not” Comments - When anger comes, do not go out and say foolish things, but learn to control your spirit (Proverbs 16:32, James 1:19-20).

Proverbs 16:32, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.”

James 1:19-20, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

Ephesians 4:26 “let not the sun go down upon your wrath” - Comments - Learn to cool down so that you do not stay mad. It is not as bad to get angry, but to take it with you into the next day shows spiritual immaturity. A mature person learns to make some decisions after sleeping over the issues so that a decision is not made out of emotion, but rather out of reason.

Ephesians 4:26 Comments In addition to the characteristic of lying that permeates non-Judeo-Christian cultures, vindictiveness is a second major problem. This child-like behavior is rooted in the African culture where people find many occasions to bring retribution upon those who did wrong.

Ephesians 4:26 Scripture References - Note a similarly in Psalms 103:9 of how God is not always angry.

Psalms 103:9, “He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.”

Ephesians 4:26 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - It is very likely that Ephesians 4:26 is a quote from Psalms 4:4-8.

Psalms 4:4, “ Stand in awe , and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” ( KJV)

Darby reads, “ Be moved with anger , and sin not; meditate in your own hearts upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” (Psalms 4:4)

NKJV reads, “ Be angry , and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.” (Psalms 4:4)

Word Study on “stand in awe” - Strong says the Hebrew word “stand in awe” ( רגז ) (H7264), which is used in Psalms 4:4, means, “to quiver (with any violent emotion).” The Enhanced Strong says it means, “ “(Qal) to quake, be disquieted, be excited, be perturbed, (Hiphil) to cause to quake, disquiet, enrage, disturb, (Hithpael) to excite oneself.”

The Enhanced Strong says the Hebrew word “stand in awe” ( רגז ) (H7264), is used 41 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “ tremble 12 times, move 7 times, rage 5 times, shake 3 times, disquiet 3 times, troubled 3 times, quake 2 times, afraid 1 times, and misc. 5 times.”

Note also that Psalms 4:8 says, “ I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep : for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”

Therefore, it is very likely that Paul, the Apostle, was referring to this passage of Scripture in Psalms 4:0 when he wrote Ephesians 4:26.

Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.

Ephesians 4:27 Comments (Fear is the Root of Giving Place to the Devil) - The Lord spoke to Kenneth Copeland and said, “Satan can do no more in your life apart from fear no more than God can do something for you apart from faith.” [131] This means that when we step out of faith in God's Word and walk in sin and unbelief because of the fear of circumstances, we give place to the devil.

[131] Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, 9 November 2001.

Ephesians 4:27 Comments (The Church’s Authority Over the Devil) - Ephesians 4:27 teaches us that every child of God has authority over the devil through the name of Jesus Christ. The believer is not to give any place in his life to the devil. Since Satan can only gain a place in our life by our permission, it means that we have authority over him. We see an illustration of a man who gave place to the devil and it cost him his life. The story of Judas is a tragic one. We almost hoped that he would have gone to Jesus Christ and repented after his guilt surfaced, but at this point, his mind was darkened and confused. Judas had been given the responsibility of carrying the moneybag. However, at some point in time, he gave place to the devil and began to steal out of the money (John 12:6). After repeatedly giving place to the devil, Judas opened the door in his life for Satan to enter him (Luke 22:3). At this point, Satan was able to control his thoughts and moved him to betray the Lord (John 13:2).

John 12:6, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”

Luke 22:3, “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.”

John 13:2, “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;”

This series of events reveals the way people become demon possessed without intending to do so from the beginning. Sin leads people down a path that may look appealing at first, but it ends in bondage, then condemnation and eventually destruction, as when Judas hanged himself out of guilt.

Matthew 27:3-5, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

Acts 1:18, “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.”

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Ephesians 4:28 “but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good” Comments The phrase “the thing which is good” refers to a deed which is legal and ethical to do in a society in contrast to illegal and immoral efforts of income, such as stealing.

Ephesians 4:28 “that he may have to give to him that needeth” - Comments Labouring and gaining material gain is not for our own covetous desires, but that we can be able to help others. Since it is more blessed to give than to receive, a person is happier who give out of his labour, than one who labours for self-gain.

We are to use wisdom in giving our labours to those in need. Make sure it is a genuine need. Not every request to give is a need.

Illustration - When I was preaching a the Rescue Mission in Panama City, Florida, one of the men who was staying at the mission asked me to help him get a place to stay. I scraped together what little money I had and paid one month's rent for him in a trailer part. One day, I went to visit him. I found him drunk with a lady friend. Later, when talking with the director of the mission, he told me that this man was on a ninety-day rehabilitation program when I found him a place to stay. He had just gotten out of prison and needed to go through this program. I had tried to help a man, and did him more harm than good.

Ephesians 4:28 Comments In addition to lying and vindictiveness, a third characteristic of non-Judeo-Christian cultures is laziness and stealing. I have witnesses all of these behaviours on a regular basis during my thirteen years in the African mission field.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit” Comments Benny Hinn explains that if the Holy Spirit can be grieved and “quenched,” as stated in 1 Thessalonians 4:19, then so can the Holy Spirit be honored by us. This means that as we honor the Holy Spirit, we invite Him into our presence and enable him to work in our lives. [132]

[132] Benny Hinn, Good Morning, Holy Spirit (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, c1990, 1997).

Note that the context of this passage of Scripture is about sin in the life of the believer. Grieving the Holy Spirit is done by sins of commission, that is, things that we do that are sinful. Galatians 5:19-21 calls these acts the “works of the flesh.” Within the context of these verses, Paul is explaining how to put off the works of the old man and walk in the new man. The next verse in Ephesians 4:31 lists some of these sins of the “old man” that grieve the Holy Spirit while Ephesians 4:32 lists actions that are done by someone who is walking in the “new man.”

Illustration - In Genesis 6:0, God was grieved in His heart at man’s sinfulness.

Genesis 6:3, “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”

Genesis 6:6, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”

When the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years, the Lord became grieved with their sins.

Psalms 95:10, “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:”

Note these words from Frances J. Roberts:

“Go not into the path of folly, for My heart goeth with thee wheresoever thou goest; and I grieve over thee when thou art turned aside . Ye may not be going in the opposite direction. Ye may even be on a road that lies quite parallel with the one upon which I would have thee travel. But to be almost in the perfect will of God is to miss it completely. Check your course. Chart it by My Word, and hold to it with rigid determination and be not led aside by the other little ships. For, as the Scripture says: ‘There were with them other little ships’ but Jesus was in only one. Be sure you are in the boat with Him if ye hope to make it safe to shore in spite of the storms. For there shall be storms; but ye shall be safe if ye abide close with Me.” [133]

[133] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 60.

In contrast, quenching the Holy Spirit would be sins of omission, as compared to grieving the Holy Spirit with sins of commission in this verse. This would be our failure to do what the Holy Spirit was leading us to do.

1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.”

Ephesians 4:30 “whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” Word Study on “sealed” Strong says the Greek word “sealed” ( σφραγίζω ) (G4972) means, “to stamp (with a signet or private mark).” Zodhiates says it literally means, “to seal, close up and make fast with a seal signet such as letters or books so that they may not be read,” and more generally, it means, “to set a seal or mark upon a thing as a token of its authenticity or approvedness.”

Comments - The day of redemption refers to the time when we enter heaven are clothed with an immortal body (Romans 8:23).

Romans 8:23, “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Ephesians 4:31 Word Study on “clamour” Strong says the Greek word “clamour” “ krauge ” ( κραυγή ) (G2906) word means, “an outcry (in notification, tumult, or grief).” The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 6 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “cry 3, crying 2, clamour 1.”

Ephesians 4:31 Word Study on “malice” Strong says the Greek word “malice” “ kakia ” ( κακία ) (G2549) means, “badness, depravity, malignity, trouble.” The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 11 times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “malice 6, maliciousness 2, evil 1, wickedness 1, naughtiness 1.”

Ephesians 4:31 Comments - We can imagine a progression of events in Ephesians 4:31, culminating in a person’s ill will to do someone harm, which is called malice. A person who holds bitterness expresses it with wrath and anger. The more we speak evil words, the more anger grows until a person is moved to commit evil acts against someone.

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Ephesians 4:30-32 Comments - Grieving the Holy Spirit - Ephesians 4:30 tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Grieving the Holy Spirit is done by sins of commission, that is, things that we do that are sinful. Ephesians 4:31 lists some of these sins that grieve the Holy Spirit as mentioned in the previous verse. The sins listed here are all sins that have to do with our patience and tolerance towards one another, such as bitterness, wrath, anger, and evil speaking. The next verse (Ephesians 4:32) gives us a list of acts of righteousness that directly tear down these sins. Kindness will help us overcome bitterness. When we are tenderhearted, we are able to avoid wrath and anger towards others. Forgiveness keeps our hearts clean so that we do not speak evil of others.

The Lord revealed to me in a dream one night the importance of forgiving others. When we verbally forgive others who have wronged us, it opens the door for the Holy Spirit to minister to us in that area of hurt and bring healing and perfection. However, when we confess our anger and frustration to others and speak out words of bitterness, we open the door for the Devil to perfect strife and bitterness in our lives. It is our choice to take our lives in either direction, and under the control of the Holy Spirit or the Devil. (18 February 2006)

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Ephesians 4". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/ephesians-4.html. 2013.
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