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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Ephesians 4

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Verses 1-16

John Brown



A. Last week as we studies Chapter 3 of the book of Galatians, Paul told the Gentiles that they were equal with the Jews in Christ!

1. In fact we are all equal at the Cross!

B. In Chapter 4 He is going to exhort them to live and act Godly.

1. It is an exhortation to us all regarding our relationships with other believers.

a) Paul shows us how to maintain the unity that should exist amongst Christians.


A. Eph_4:1-2 (NKJV) I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech (beg or plead) you to walk worthy (suitable) of the calling with which you were called,

2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

1. lowliness = "humble opinion of one's self"

a) Rom_12:3 (NKJV) For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think [of] [himself] more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

2. gentleness = "power under control = meekness"

3. bearing with one another in love = "holding up one another in love"

B. Eph_4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

1. The word "endeavoring" here indicates that we make a real effort to keep unity and peace.

2. Paul is not talking about "uniformity" here but unity!

a) A husband and wife do not always agree on everything but they find a path of peace.

b) Not even brothers and sisters agree on everything, but they love each other and allow differences of opinion.

c) Likewise, Christians should make every effort to focus on the things that matter, not upon personal preferences or prejudices.

(1) The phrase "bond of peace" references the ligaments that hold our joints together.

(2) They "bond" the two bones together, but allow for the freedom of movement of both.

(a) As bothers and sisters in Christ we likewise will be able to keep the unity of the Spirit if we treasure and "hold on" to peace, by letting each other be different!

(b) Psa_133:1 (NKJV) Behold, how good and how pleasant [it] [is] For brethren to dwell together in unity!

(c) Bottom line = we must agree to disagree, agreeably because the work of the Lord is too important to get sidetracked.

C. Eph_4:4-5 [There] [is] one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.

1. In other words, "You have in common the things that matter the most."

2. Thomas Carlyle said, "Men's hearts ought not to be set against one another, but set with one another, and all against evil only."

D. Eph_4:7-8 (NKJV) But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.

8 (NKJV) Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."

1. Paul begins to tell us that although we should do everything we can to keep the unity, that the Lord made us different and gave us all different gifts.

a) He uses a quote from Psa_68:18 to illustrate his point, then feels like he needs to briefly explain Christ's ascension.

E. Eph_4:9-10 (NKJV) (Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

1. Paul wants us to know that this is the One and only Jesus Christ, who came from the Father, and returned to the Father!

2. Joh_3:13 (NKJV) "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, [that] [is], the Son of Man who is in heaven.

3. Now, Paul gets back to his original topic, the gifts that the Lord gave us out of His grace!

F. Eph_4:11-13 (NKJV) And He Himself gave some [to] [be] apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ

1. We don't have time tonight to go into all the gifts, (We already have that on tape), but I will say this:

a) There are those out there today that say they are apostles and prophets. In fact there are even "Apostles and Prophets schools".

b) But here are the qualifications of an apostle:

(1) They had to have seen the Lord.

(2) They had to be an eyewitness of His resurrection.

(3) They had to be invested with miraculous sign-gifts.

(4) They had to have been chosen directly by the Lord or by the Holy Spirit.

c) And, in the official office of prophet, the prophet was 100% accurate or he was stoned to death!

(1) So, as far as this two "official" offices go, I don't see them in use today!

(2) However the Lord still uses people to start new works like He did the Apostles, and there are people with the gift of speaking forth the word of God!

d) Verse 11 links "pastors and teachers" together, but Rom_12:77 and 1Pe_5:2 list them separately.

(1) But most often you will find that the "pastor - teacher" gifts go together.

e) All these gifts and offices are for one reason: 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ

(1) Please note that the saints are to be doing the work of the ministry!

(2) The saints often feel that they are paying a pastor so, let him and the elders to the work.

(a) But that is not what Paul tell us here.

(b) The pastor, pastors and teaches in order to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, and for the "building up" of the church!

(c) And as that work is done, people mature as they gain (Vrs 13) knowledge of the Son of God, and by that knowledge, the unity of the faith grows.

(d) And a by product of maturity is the next 3 verses.

G. Eph_4:14-16 (NKJV) 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,

15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--

16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

1. It is much harder to be "tricked" or "deceived" if you know the Truth!

a) It is only the immature that changes what he believes with everyone's opinion. (Whichever way the wind blows at the time)

b) But not all people want to hear the truth, sometimes not even Christians.

(1) Vance Havner, "If we preach the whole counsel of God, we will be accused of extremism, not only by the world but also by a professing church that cannot endure sound doctrine."

2. But, Paul tell us in verse 15 if we speak the truth in love, (Paul is speaking of the body of truth that is Christianity), we are bound to grow up in Christ!

a) Then he goes back to the human body illustration and reminds us that all "2000" body parts work in unity and answer to the brain or head, and our Spiritual Head is Christ!!

(1) And the body of Christ, the Church, should do the same.

(2) If we do, verse 16 tell us according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

1. A church will grow where there is unity and love and the saints are doing the work of the ministry!


A. We will have to have to do a "part two" with the second half of this Chapter because it is too good to rush it!

1. So, in conclusion, Paul has told us to treasure and work hard at keeping unity and peace in the Church!

2. Then we told that the Lord gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor teachers to help equip us for the work of the ministry.

3. And finally, Paul told us that if we will let the Word of God mature us, and do our part in the work of the ministry with love, the church will grow!

B. Next week Paul give us a list of things we should and shouldn't do as Christians.

1. Christ like qualities we should "put on", and ungodly practices we should "put off".

Verses 17-32

John Brown


One man gets nothing but discord out of a piano; another gets harmony. No one claims the piano is at fault. Life is about the same. The discord is there, and the harmony is there. Study to play correctly, and it will give forth the beauty; play it falsely, and it will give forth the ugliness. --Anonymous


A. Last week our study of Ephesians Chapter 4, was about "Christian Behavior".

1. Paul told the Ephesians that they should endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Eph_4:3 (NKJV)

2. And we concluded that the work of the ministry was too important to get sidetracked with unimportant issues.

a) It is unrealistic to think that people will agree on every single issue, so we must "agree to disagree - agreeably."

3. Paul went on to say that the Lord had given us Apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor teachers, for the purpose of equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry.

a) And that if we will let the Word of God mature us and do our part in the work of the ministry with love, the church will grow.

B. This evening, we are going to take a look at a "list" of things that Christians should and should not do in order to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.

1. Things that we should either overcome and let the Lord remove from our lives, or things that we should allow the Holy Spirit to build "into" our lives.


A. Eph_4:17-19 (NKJV) This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,

18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;

19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

1. The "therefore" in verse 17 means = based upon what Paul has already told us about preserving the unity and peace!

2. If we want to maintain that, Christians must not walk, talk, nor act, like unsaved (Gentiles), people!!!

3. Unsaved people are alienated from the life of God, because of the blindness of their heart!

a) You won't find "blindness of the heart" in any medical journal, because it is a spiritual disease!

b) Because of this alienation, and blindness to the things of the Lord, the unsaved are usually engulfed in life dominating sins!

c) Is that God's will for their lives, no it is their own choice!

(1) Rom_1:20-22 probably says it best: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 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,

4. Now they are past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

a) When a person refuses to accept salvation, there is a "hardness" that sets in and they eventually cease to feel the guilt of their sins.

(1) And that just leads to deeper and greater "unbridled" lusts of the flesh, and bondage to those lusts.

B. Eph_4:20-24 (NKJV) But you have not so learned Christ,

21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

1. Christians, in contrast to the unsaved, have the truth in Jesus!

a) And that truth is that we put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

(1) Rom_12:1-2 (NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which] [is] your reasonable service.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what [is] that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2. Unlike the person without Christ, we have an alternative! We have a new person at our disposal.

a) 2Co_5:17 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he] [is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

b) Paul now list 7 things that we, as this "new creation" should either do, or not do in order to glorify the Lord and preserve unity and peace.

C. Eph_4:25 (NKJV) Therefore, putting away lying, "Let each one [of] [you] speak truth with his neighbor," for we are members of one another.

1. So, #1 is STOP LYING!

a) As part of the same body and work ( Eph_4:4-6 ), we hurt each other by lying.

b) A Christian's word should be his/her bond.

(1) Joh_8:44 (NKJV) "You are of [your] father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and [does] [not] stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [resources], for he is a liar and the father of it.

(2) Mat_5:37 (NKJV) "But let your `Yes' be `Yes,' and your `No,' `No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

(3) Pro_19:22 . . . . a poor man [is] better than a liar.

D. Eph_4:26 (NKJV) "Be angry, and do not sin":


a) Psa_37:8 (NKJV) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret-- [it] only [causes] harm.

b) Pro_16:32 (NKJV) [He] [who] [is] slow to anger [is] better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

c) The second half of this verse, and verse 27 are "guidelines" for the first part.

(1) . . . do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

(a) In other words, "deal with it" and get it over with!

(b) Don't let that "root of bitterness" set in.

(2) Eph_4:27 (NKJV) nor give place to the devil.

(a) Irritation in the heart of a believer is always an invitation to the devil to stand by. - Anonymous

E. Eph_4:28 (NKJV) Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with [his] hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.


a) Scriptures say much about "carrying our own weight."

b) A Christian should be known for his/her unselfish attitude, as was Jesus.

F. Eph_4:29 (NKJV) Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.


a) The things that do flow from a Christian's mouth should build people up, not put them down.

(1) And those who hear what we say, should sense in our words that people are getting what they don't deserve (grace), not being condemned for maybe even what they do deserve!

G. Eph_4:30 (NKJV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.


a) The Holy Spirit is a person.He can be hurt just like any other person.

b) The Holy Spirit is hurt when we sin against each other by condemning, judging, or gossiping.

H. Eph_4:31 (NKJV) Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.


a) These actions and attitudes might be "natural" and easy, but we should endeavor to keep them under the control of the Holy Spirit.

I. Eph_4:32 (NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.


a) Rom_2:1-6 (NKJV) Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things.

3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?

4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds":


A. I want the Lord to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to me.Therefore knowing that the same measuring cup I use to judge other will be used to judge me, I must be also be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to others.

1. Through presenting my body as a living sacrifice (Rom 12), the Lord will re-train me.

a) And instead of acting and behaving like I did when I didn't know Jesus, I will be able to "put on the new man" that I have become in Christ!!

Bibliographical Information
Brown, John. "Commentary on Ephesians 4". Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jbs/ephesians-4.html.
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