Ephesians 1-6 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight EPH01
The Bible from 30,000 Feet, soaring through the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Let's turn in our Bibles to the book of Ephesians, Chapter 1. This is our survey through the Bible. We call it The Bible from 30,000 Feet.
We have come a long way. We're already in the book of Ephesians, which means a few more books away from ending this journey that we've been on for over, or for about a year. I don't even remember when we started. But anybody here remember? Do you have it written down?
A while back.
A while back-- very, very precise on your dating. So we're in Ephesians. The book of Ephesians comprises six chapters of one of the greatest of all treatises that Paul gives. It is considered by some scholars to be the Grand Canyon of the New Testament, covering the depth and breadth and heighth and length of God's plan in our salvation. Ephesians, Chapter 1-- let's pray before we start.
Father, we want to thank you that we are able in the middle of a week to gather together, to push things aside that clamor for attention, to be filled, to be fed, to understand a little more of what your plan is for the Church, which this book highlights, and in particular, where we fit in with our individual gifts as being part of the whole of the body of Christ, not only locally, but worldwide. Thank you, Lord, for those who come with a hunger and thirst after Your truth. You said, Lord, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness would be filled. So we pray, Lord, that everybody who has that hunger and thirst would be, indeed, filled. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
So we believe it was around the spring of AD 52 when Paul the Apostle first visited the city of Ephesus. He didn't stay long. It was his second missionary journey.
But he brought with him a couple, a couple that have cute names and were very influential in the early church, Aquila and his wife, Priscilla. He brought them to Ephesus. He left. And he left them to do whatever.
We're not exactly told. Some actually believe that Paul may have evangelized that place early on, but it was Aquila and Priscilla who founded the church there. Can't be certain. We're not told how it started.
But we know that he left them there. And while they were there visiting the synagogue, on one day-- this is all in Acts, Chapter 18-- they heard a very eloquent Jewish speaker from Alexandria, Egypt by the name of Apollos. Apollos was riveting to listen to. He was very persuasive.
But he did not know the totality of Christian doctrine. It was Aquila and Priscilla who gave him the rest of the story. And so perhaps, through Aquila and Priscilla and Apollos that that church started taking root.
But this we do know. That was AD 52. That was Paul's second missionary journey. Paul eventually comes back to Ephesus on his third missionary journey and now spends between two to three years.
We don't exactly know the full length of time. But probably closer to three years Paul spends going to the synagogue, then running his own little room called the School of Tyrannus, where for about three years he teaches and evangelizes that part of Asia. So the church, through Paul, through Aquila, through Priscilla, through Apollos, becomes established.
He shares with them. The church grows. But Paul goes on after a few years, goes back to Jerusalem. That was his heart's desire to do so. Gets arrested, gets taken to Rome, and he is in prison in Rome for a couple of years.
While he is in Rome, around AD 61, so nine years from when it started, Paul writes a letter to the church at Ephesus. And that is the letter that is before us. And Paul has a theme in this book.
The theme-- and I loved Mike's testimony, because it comes into this theme beautifully. Paul speaks about in this book the new society that God wants to establish on Earth called the Church. Jesus, you remember, said in Acts, Chapter 16, I will build my ecclesium, my Church, my called out assembly.
So the theme of this book is the new society built on Jesus Christ. That was always the plan of God from the Old Testament until now. Part of it was a mystery. He uncovers that in Chapter 3.
But this is a new society of both Jew and non-Jew, brought together on equal footing in this new society called the Church. So it is a new family with new life, with new standards, with new relationships. All of that is outlined in this book.
The book of Ephesians can be conveniently sliced into two parts. Now I haven't done that. I've sliced it into three parts, if you've read my book, The Bible from 30,000 Feet.
But it can be sliced, and probably fits easier, into two slices-- Chapters 1 through 3, slice number 1, Chapters 4 through 6, slice number two. Now this is Pauline or Pauline pattern. This is how Paul often writes.
He did it also in the book of Romans. The first part of the book is doctrinal. The second part is practical. So Chapters 1, 2, and 3, he kind of lays the foundation of this new society, what God's plan was, how it works, what it is, kind of defines those things.
Then beginning in Chapter 4, he uses one of his favorite words after a doctrinal section. And that is the word, therefore. Based on all that you know from what I have previously written, therefore-- then he gets very practical.
So chapter 4, 5, and 6, he moves from doctrinal to practical. And that is Paul's style in his writings. He talks about doctrine. Then he talks about duty. He talks about what you should know, but then he moves to how you should live based on what you know.
He did that in the Book of Romans. The first 11 chapters are doctrinal. But beginning in Chapter 12 of Romans, verse 1, "Therefore, I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, God, which is your reasonable service"-- same pattern.
So you could, if you would like, divide the book of Ephesians up into those two sections. I've given it a third section. Not just the doctrinal and the practical, but I've gotten a little more specific, based on one of my favorite commentaries on the book of Ephesians. I divide it up into the wealth, the walk, and the warfare of the believer-- the wealth, who you are in Christ and what you have in Christ; then the walk of the believer; and then finally, the warfare of the believer.
So we're going to learn how to grow, we're going to learn how to walk, and we're going to learn how to fight. All of that is in the book of Ephesians. Now a little bit about Ephesus before we jump in and do our survey.
The city of Ephesus was the capital of the eastern part of the Roman Empire. It was a very wealthy city. It was the seat of government. It was the seat of religion, Roman religion.
Several different temples were there. But it was wealthy because of where it was situated. If you have a map in the back of your Bible and you find Asia Minor, you kind of notice right in the middle, on the Western coast of Asia Minor, lay the city of Ephesus.
One of the great temples that was in that city was a temple to the goddess Diana, also known as Artemis, same person. One is the Greek name. One is the Roman name.
She was depicted in this really grotesque, weird fashion of a woman with multiple breasts because she was seen as the goddess of fertility, the goddess of all blessing. If you're wondering what it exactly looked like, there is a copy of the Statue of Diana from that temple in Ephesus, oddly enough, in the Vatican in Rome. All of that aside, that temple was located in the city of Ephesus.
It connected the trade routes going from West to East and East to West. They would often stop there. That's where it would get its wealth.
The population at the time of Paul the Apostle was roughly about a half a million people that lived in that city. They would come there to spend time, worship in the temple, make new contacts, sell their goods, buy other goods, et cetera. Now today you can visit Ephesus. And I've done it on a few different occasions when we've done our cruises of the journeys of Paul, or our long bus trips of the journeys of Paul.
And we've stopped in through Turkey. We stop at Ephesus. Now I bring it up, because if you go, it is, like, the highlight of the trip of the journeys of Paul. It is one of the greatest archaeological digs in existence.
You can walk today down the streets of Ephesus on the same tiles that Paul the Apostle walked on 2,000 years ago. You will pass the remains of the Odeon, the theater. You'll pass the remains of the great library of Celsus, that huge, double story edifice.
Right down on Main Street, you'll walk through the Agora, the ancient marketplace. You'll turn right going toward the harbor. And you'll see, uncovered, the 25,000 seat theater-- 25,000 seats at the time of Paul.
It was in that theater where Paul was almost torn to pieces as the people of Ephesus stood and cried, Great is Diana of the Ephesians for, like, about an hour or two. All of that is there today. You can see it.
What's amazing is what you see today in terms of the archaeological digs of Ephesus. Only 25% of that city is uncovered. 75% of it still remains undug, underground. So it was absolutely humongous. So it has a very, very prominent place in the ancient world, thus in the New Testament.
So I mentioned Paul's second and third missionary journey. After spending time at Ephesus in his third journey, three years, he leaves. But he goes back on his final trip to Jerusalem before he gets arrested.
And when he goes back, he feels compelled to meet with the elders of Ephesus. But he didn't want to go to Ephesus because he didn't want to stay long. So he goes to the shores of Melitus, a little bit nearby.
So the elders go to the shores of Melitus to meet Paul. And Paul sort of unloads this incredible message in Acts, Chapter 20. He says, you've watched my manner of life.
I've been with you for three years. You saw how I labored. You've heard my teaching.
But he said, now, after my departure, I know that savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Even among your own leadership, false apostles will arise and draw people to themselves. Paul could see that in the future.
That's interesting, because although Paul knew that was coming, he said, I'm not hanging around. God has called me to go to Jerusalem. That's where he gets arrested and then taken to Rome.
What we do know after this point is Paul puts another pastor in charge of Ephesus. He was there three years. The pastor he put in charge was none other than his protege by the name of Timothy. Timothy pastored in Ephesus.
Paul pastored in Ephesus. And according to the church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, the Apostle John spent his latter years in that city. And what did he spend his latter years doing? Defending the truth against false teachers that arose and were destroying the flock, the gnostics, that brand of teaching that was already infiltrating the Church.
So that's sort of a synopsis. They had the best leadership. They had Paul. They had Timothy. And they had the Apostle John.
Yet, by the third century AD, there really was no church of Ephesus. It became insignificant. It lost its witness. It lost believers.
Today, there is no Christian assembly in that area. And you may want to remember that somebody else wrote a letter to the church of Ephesus. Somebody even more famous than Paul.
His name was Jesus. In Revelation, Chapter 2, he wrote a little letter, a postcard, you might say. And he said to the church of Ephesus, I'm warning you. You have left your first love. Be careful, or I will remove your lamp stand from out of its place.
That is exactly what happened to this incredible work of God. All of that should sober us up as church people. It does not take many generations before a vital, vibrant church in an area can lose its witness. It happened here with this church.
OK. Paul is arrested. He's taken to Rome. In Rome, he writes four letters from his two year prison stay in that city.
He writes Ephesians. He writes Philippians. He writes Colossians. And he writes Philemon. Those are called the prison letters. And Ephesians is the first one.
We begin in Chapter 1 with our overview, looking at what we have in Christ, who we are in Christ. Let's call the first couple of chapters the wealth of the believer. That's chapters, actually, 1, 2, and 3.
Now there's a phrase that is an important phrase in this book, and especially in this first part, that sort of is the tip off that he's dealing with the wealth of the believer. And that is the phrase "in Christ" or "in Christ Jesus." He uses it 27 times.
He wants you and I to know we are linked to Jesus. We are in Him. And because we're in Him, we have so much. We're wealthy. We're rich.
Ephesus was considered the bank of Asia Minor. And so Paul, knowing that, uses language like inheritance, fullness, filled, all of these kind of terms that speak to the wealth of the believer. Because the city of Ephesus, as I mentioned, was a very wealthy city.
So let's begin in verse 3 with our wealth. Why are we so wealthy? Why are we so rich?
We are rich because of our Father in Heaven. Blessed be-- verse 3-- the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. Have you ever been to your ATM, tried to draw money out, and it says cannot process request, insufficient funds?
Oh, man. I don't have enough in the bank account. What Paul wants the Ephesians to know is you have so much in your bank account, more than you'll ever need, certainly more than you know or ever will use. But you have all of God's power, God, the Father's power, at your disposal.
You and I are rich. You are rich because of the Father that you have. So what does that mean, exactly? Well, first of all, He chose you in Christ. Verse 4, Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
I always love what Charles Spurgeon said. He said, it's a good thing God chose me before I was born. He never would have picked me after I was born.
Well, the truth is he did choose you before you were born. But that's even when he knew what you would become. He knew you all through and through. And yet, He chose you.
Now I've read enough books over my lifetime to know that there are some people that this bothers, that God chooses, pre-elects, predetermines, predestines people. It's not fair that God would choose somebody and not choose somebody else. Why is that unfair?
You have the power of choice. What if I said, when you chose something, that's not fair. You shouldn't choose that. You shouldn't choose who to marry. What, are you nuts?
If you have the power of choice, why can't God have the power of choice? And there are certain factors about that choice. We don't need to get into. We've covered that before.
But one of the great truths is we are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. And that should excite you. Jesus chose Judas, knowing Judas would betray Him.
Jesus chose Peter knowing that Peter would deny Him. Jesus chose Thomas knowing that Thomas would disbelieve Him. But He chose them anyway, before they were born, and worked through them so they could become vital witnesses.
So we're rich because of our Father. He chose us. Not only that, but He adopted us. Verse 5, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace by which He made us accepted in the beloved.
So He chose us. He adopted us. That is, He placed us as adult sons, giving us all the inheritance, as if we were natural born children. And then, finally, He redeemed us.
In verse 7, in Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace. This is the language of the slave market. To redeem is to buy a slave back or to give a slave its freedom by paying a price. So He redeemed us. He paid the price to set us free.
What did He use to pay that price? Blood, the blood of His son-- we call it, theologically, a vicarious atonement, a substitutionary atonement. II Corinthians, Chapter 5, verse 21-- God made Him, Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
So by this doctrine of substitution, or this idea of replacement, He took you off the punishment course, put Jesus in your place, treated Jesus like you deserve to be treated, letting Him die, so that now, because of that sinless substitution, He can treat you like Jesus deserves to be treated.
That's redemption. That makes us rich. We're chosen. We're adopted.
We're redeemed. He expands on that in this chapter. He offers a prayer for them on that behalf.
Go to Chapter 2. He continues with this theme of wealth and shows in Chapter 2 we're not just rich because of our Father. We're rich because of our forgiveness from the Father.
In Chapter 2, Paul shows that we were in the graveyard. But we went to glory. We were dead, but we've been made alive.
Chapter 2, verse 1, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the air, the Spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience among whom also, we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature the children of wrath, just as others."
Paul tells us in this chapter that when you were born, you were born dead. You were D-O-A, dead on arrival. You were born.
You say, well, I was born. That's life. You were only physically alive. You were spiritually cut off. You were separated from God.
All people are born separated from God because of the sin of Adam. Romans, Chapter 5, by one man, sin entered the world, and death through sin, and death spread to all men, and death reigned. So that's the flow of sin in the world. Sin entered, death entered, death spread, death reigned.
So everyone born after Adam was born dead on arrival. You were dead. It's not that you were just sick.
You were dead. You had no capacity at all to act on your own behalf. Now, most people don't believe this. And I'm convinced most Christians don't even know how bad off they were.
The theologians call this depravity, total depravity. Now total depravity doesn't mean you're as bad as you can be. But it does mean you're as bad off as you can possibly-- before God, you are hopeless, apart from Him, doing something. So you who were dead, he made alive. You were dead in trespasses and sins.
So he talks about your past life. But look at verse 4. But God-- remember that series we did called, But God? It's a phrase that shows up 45 times in the Scripture.
It shows that because God enters the situation, everything after that changes. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved, and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
When did God love you when you were lovable? Did God love you when you were lovely? When you decided, Lord, I'm going to give my life to Jesus? OK. Now I love you.
God loved you when He knew the truth about you, when you were at your very worst, when you were dead, when you were alienated. So because of that-- and here's Paul's contention-- no matter your background, Gentile, Jewish, Jew, or non-Jew, you're all in the same boat before God, with the same needs. So that when you are brought into this new society, this new family, there's no second class citizens.
You were dead. Now you're alive. Everybody, Jew and Gentile, was dead. Everybody, Jew and Gentile, can be made alive.
Thus, we have equal status before God as natural born children or adopted children. That's the new society. That is the new family.
So we're rich because of our Father. We're rich because of our forgiveness. And we're rich because of our family.
If you go down with me to verse 11, he says, therefore, remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcisioned by-- what is called circumcision, the Jewish people, made in flesh by hands, the ritual of circumcision-- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens-- not little aliens from space, but alienated-- from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope without God in the world.
God made a covenant with the Jewish nation. Read the Old Testament. It's unmistakable. There was no covenant made at that time with Gentile nations. Gentiles were separated by the law that was given to the Jewish nation, the commonwealth of Israel.
But Paul says, it's a new day and age. It's a new society. But now, verse 13, in Christ Jesus, you who were once a far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace. And that's put in a very emphatic syntax in the Greek language. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one-- Jew and Gentile, one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.
Now some believe he is referring to the Jewish temple. I'll explain that in a minute. But he's writing to the Ephesians. Chances are they really had no mental construct of what the temple in Jerusalem looked like.
Yes, there were Jews in that city. But the idea of temple worship and the courts of the temple in Jerusalem was foreign to them. So it could be that what Paul was talking about is taking this wall of separation down, is he's speaking about the law that was like a protective layer around the Jewish nation. God made a covenant of the law with them.
It protected the Jews. But it also separated the Gentiles from the covenant promises that God made to Israel. So God removed that, bringing in Christ so that we have no second class citizens, all at the same level, all the same footing.
Or this could be a reference to the Jewish temple. That's what many commentators believe. In the ancient Jewish temple in Jerusalem, there were different courts.
If you were a Gentile, you had to be on the outer courts. You couldn't go closer. There was a wall that separated the non-Jewish person from Jewish females and Jewish males. There was even a sign on that wall that said death to any Gentile past this point. So that could be a reference to that.
Go down now to verse 19. Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ being, Himself, the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building is fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Couple thousand years ago temples were not only very elaborate, but very stable. Because they were made of pure stone-- no two by four studs, no stucco, but massive stones-- the temple of Diana, massive structure. The temple in Jerusalem was so large, the one built by Herod the Great at the time of Jesus, you that are coming with us to Israel will notice this, some of the large stones, the foundational stones that are called ashlars are 29 feet long.
A single stone is roughly the size of a railway boxcar. And the mystery is always how did they move those stones and put them in place. Another study-- come with us to Israel. We'll explain it.
So foundation stones were laid. And that determined the unity as well as the symmetry and the strength of the rest of the building. Notice that Paul speaks about the apostles and the prophets, the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament apostles. He doesn't say that the Church is built-- that this new society is built on them. The foundation is Jesus.
And then they are those kind of lower ashlar stones that that kind of help form after the foundation. And then we are all built as sort of smaller stones on top of that. Today, we might say Jesus is the slab.
The apostles and prophets are the stem walls. You and I are the two by four studs and the drywall and the shingles and all the little parts that make the rest of the house. We're all being built together on that. But the foundation is Christ.
Now in Chapter 3, he expands on this, on this new society, the Church. But he uses a word that's important to this book. It's important to theology in the New Testament.
It's the word musterion. That's the Greek word. Musterion sounds like what word in our language? Mystery, something was a mystery.
Doesn't mean that it was a puzzle that you had to try to figure out. It means that it was something that was in God's mind, but unrevealed until now. And what is that mystery?
I'm glad you asked. Chapter 3, verse 3-- or let's begin in verse two. If indeed you have heard the dispensation of the grace of God, which was given to me for you, how that, by revelation, He made known to me the mystery, as I have briefly written already, by which when you read you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed in the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets-- that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel.
That's the mystery. The mystery is not that Gentiles would be saved. That was always God's plan. In the Old Testament, God said, I want the Jewish nation to be a light to the Gentile nations that people around the world may know the one true God.
The mystery is that you won't have, like, God, and then Jews, the covenant people, and then, way at the bottom of the totem pole, us, Gentiles, non-Jews. Now that was the Jewish thinking. God created the Jews, who were the covenant society. And everybody else?
Second class citizens-- in fact, a lot of the Jewish people didn't believe that Gentiles could even be saved or shouldn't be saved. Some even taught that God created them as kindling to make hell hotter. Throw in a few of us, a few non-Jews, make hell really hot for the bad people. That's how they saw it.
Paul said, let me tell you a mystery. Not only does He want to save Gentiles, He's giving non-Jews exactly the same covenant footing before God that He intended for the Jewish people. We are fellow heirs.
Jew and non-Jew are both unsaved, apart from Christ. Jew and non-Jew can only be saved by Jesus Christ. There's not one covenant for the Jews and one covenant for the Gentiles, as some wrongly teach in Christian churches today. It's called dual covenant theology.
There's only one new covenant for Jew and non-Jew that makes us fellow heirs in the same new society. And that is the cross of Christ. So now we are in the covenant family. That's the mystery kept secret in the Old Testament.
By the time you get to Chapter 4, we come to our second section of the book. First section is the wealth of the believer, who we are, what we have. We're rich because of our Father. We're rich because of our forgiveness. We're rich because of our family, both Jew and Gentile, this beautiful covenant.
But now he speaks about the walk. Now notice the change. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, or beg you, or entreat you, or encourage you to walk worthy of the calling with which you are called. Let me tell you about your wealth.
You're pretty rich. You have everything you need to succeed. You have all of God's power and God's resources at your disposal. You'll never run out of your spiritual ATM.
But knowing that you're that wealthy, here's what you ought to do about it. Walk worthy. Walk based on your wealth. What you know should impact what you do.
Doctrine is what is the foundation for duty. That's why this section now is the very practical section. It says this is what you got to do. This is how you carry out your life. You walk.
For years in this country, we have known that cigarette smoking is bad for our health. But I'll never forget being in the UK, over in England, and seeing how they package cigarettes. And basically, on the front is big black bold letters that basically says this will kill you.
You are looking at death in the face. They even have grotesque pictures on some of them. That's the law.
One that I actually picked up the box. I said I've got to take that home. What a great illustration.
It says in big letters on one side, smokers die younger. What's funny is people buy those boxes, open them up, and smoke the cigarettes. Well, wait a minute.
Don't they know that it's bad for them? Uh huh. Don't they know that this will kill them? Yep.
Don't they know that they're going to die younger? Obviously, if they can read, they know that. Does it affect their behavior?
No. Their philosophy is you've got to die of something. Only the good die young. Yeah. You'll die after 10 years of drooling in a wheelchair. But if you want that, go ahead.
Here's the point. Knowing something doesn't guarantee that you live according to what you know. People still smoke even though science has proven over and over again it is monumentally bad for you.
So this is what you know, who you are as a believer. Therefore, walk like you know that. Walk worthy.
Worthy means weigh as much. Let what you do weigh as much as what you know. Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.
He elaborates on that in verse 2. With all lowliness, gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love. Now this is our walk before other believers.
He kind of divides up these next couple of chapters of the walk of the believer into a few categories. First, this is how you walk with others who walk with God. So you walk with God. I walk with God.
How do we walk together? How do we get along with each other, fellow believer, fellow walker with God? This way-- lowliness, gentleness, long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. There is one body, one spirit. Just as you were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all.
Then he speaks about spiritual gifts that we have, differing from one another and how they are to be used. Briefly he talks about that. Verse 12, here's the purpose. For the equipping of the saints-- all of the gifts that He gives to the body of Christ are for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to a perfect, or better yet, a mature or complete human, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
You've been given a gift. You've been given a talent. Not so you can go, look how talented I am. Isn't my gift cool? But rather, to build one another up-- you are part of the whole.
Yes, you're an individual. Yes, you have individual rights. But though that is sort of an American, sacrosanct value-- I am an individual-- in this new society, it's not about you. It's not about the individual. It's not about me.
It's about us. One of the things I have noticed and I've always been attracted to in Japanese culture is they esteem the group as more important than individuality. Now in America, it's different.
It's all about me, individually, man. Don't tread on me, man. Let me do my thing. Well, your truth isn't my truth, all of that nonsense that we have to get rid of as believers. And say, yes, I'm an individual.
But I'm part of you. You're part of me. It's us. You know?
This even shows up in Star Trek theology. Right? The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. That's what Spock said to James Kirk in 1982. I remember it well.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. You are and have always been my friend, James T. Kirk. I don't know. All these things are stuck in my head. Forget that.
That we might come to a complete person, a complete man, a mature man, perfect man to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. So that's our walk before other believers. Now look at verse 17, when he begins talking about our walk before unbelievers.
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk-- unbelievers walk-- in the futility of their mind. You're not a pagan anymore. You've been delivered from that. You were dead, but now you're alive.
You're not part of that system any longer. So don't emulate them. Don't be like them. Go down to verse 22.
That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man, which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind that you put on the new man, which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness. The old man is the old you, the old way of life, the old humanity.
Like having rags, having dirty clothes that you've worn for-- let's say you wore them without taking them off for six months. Can you picture what that would smell like? Is it going through your mind?
Do people want to hug you? Right? Do they kind of walk the other way? You're gnarly, dude. You stink that way, right?
Strip those off. Cast them aside. And put on a whole new set of clothes called the new man, the new you, new behaviors, new walk. When you wear those new clothes, then you kind of parade those new clothes, the new you, the new values in front of the world.
And they see the changes in your life. And hopefully, because you're sporting those new duds, your new lifestyle, your new values, they're attracted to the Designer. Hey, where'd you get those clothes? That's awesome.
You smell good. You look good. I love your personality. I see the changes. How do I get that?
That's the idea of taking off the old, putting on the new man, the new you, the new humanity. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind that you put on the new man, verse 24, which is created, according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. You were dead. You're alive.
You left the crowd. But now you have to leave the way of the crowd. See the difference? It's one thing to take the Christian out of the world. It's another thing to take the world out of the Christian.
You were taken out of the world the day you said, Jesus, I believe in you. I trust in you. I repent of my sins. I give my life to you.
At that moment was the single event, split second. You were transformed from darkness into light. That's taking you out of the world. But the process of taking the world out of the Christian is a lifelong process called sanctification.
Taking a Christian out of the world, that's salvation. Taking the world out of the Christian, that's sanctification. That's the walk.
And because you walk before your brothers and sisters a certain way, God gives you the power also to walk before unbelievers a certain way. Verse 25, therefore put away lying. He gets specific. Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath nor give place to the devil. 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.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth but what is good for necessary edification that it might impart grace to the hearer. See how practical Paul is here? He gets theological. Here's your wealth.
He gets very practical. Here's your walk before believers, before unbelievers. Go down to Chapter 5, verse 6. Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Therefore, do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness. But now you are light in the Lord. So walk as children of light.
When you came to Christ, you were enlightened. You stepped out of darkness into light. And here's probably what some of you said, I get it. I see it.
I didn't see it before. But now I see it. Now I understand it. Right? That's the whole idea behind the song Amazing Grace. "I once was lost, but now I'm found. Was blind, but now I see."
When you step into light, light floods everything. You see clearly. You were in darkness. You couldn't see it before.
You tell a person who is unsaved you need to be saved. I don't need to be saved. You're a sinner. I'm not a sinner.
They're blind. They don't see it. You get it now. You see it now.
I've always been fond of the story of the man looking for his car keys. He was outside under a streetlight. His friend was helping him. And other neighbors came. He's looking, looking, looking.
And finally, somebody, after about an hour, said, are you sure you lost your keys out on the street here? He goes, no, no, no. I lost them in the garage. He said, well, why are we looking out here? He said, well, the light's better.
I don't know how you lost your way. But you can see clearly now. At some point, you lost your way.
Now you get it. Now you see. The light's better here. You were once darkness. Now are you light in the Lord.
So our walk before other believers, our walk before unbelievers, also now in Chapter 5, our walk at home. Our walk at home-- our walk as husbands, as wives, as children, as workers-- that takes us down to verse 21. Now why does Paul cover this?
Because if your Christianity doesn't work at home, it doesn't work. That's the seminal relationship-- mother, father, husband, wife. Howard Hendrick said that. He said, if your Christianity doesn't work at home, it doesn't work. So don't export it.
Live it at home. Live it around other believers. That's the walk with other believers. Live it then in the world.
But it begins at home. Verse 21-- I want to begin there because there's a very important word. Submitting to one another in the fear of God, wives submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the Church. He is the Savior of the body.
Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, let wives be to their own husbands in everything. Now to husbands, husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. Chapter 6, verse 1, children, obey your parents in the Lord, for it is right.
Verse 4, you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath. But bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Verse 5, bond servants, be obedient to those who are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling in sincerity of heart as to Christ. Not with thy service, not as men pleasers, but as bond servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart.
Here's why I began in verse 21 with this little section. Because that's where the thought begins. Most teachings I've heard, most preaching I've heard on the family, when preachers do a series on the family out of Ephesians, Chapter 5-- a lot of times that's where they begin-- is they begin their series in verse 22.
Which is, wives, submit to your own husbands. I know husbands, that is their life verse. They've memorized it in every translation.
They know it in Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, Spanish, Japanese. They know that verse. It's their life verse. Wives, submit to your husbands.
[IMITATES WHIP CRACKING]
Here's the problem. The word in verse 22, you see the word submit? In many original manuscripts, it's not even there. Now I did that to pique your interest.
And I'll tell you why it's not there. It is in verse 21. The word submitting is in verse 21. Notice it says submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Verse 21 is a transitional statement of how to get along with each other in the family. Here's how you get along. You submit to one another. It's a mutual submission.
You do it in the fear of God. So you submit to the Lord and then you submit to one another. Then he gives four paragraphs, four examples, of how submission looks within the different roles.
Wives, submit to your own husbands. But the word submit isn't there. It's implied. Therefore, it's written in many translations.
So the thought is in verse 21, wives, your role of submission is to get under your husband's leadership. But then husbands, you have a role of submission as well, which is you love your wife like Christ loved the Church.
Jesus died on a cross. Jesus sacrificed his life. Husbands go, my role isn't to submit to my wife. You bet your bippy it is.
And your method of submitting to your wife is to love her sacrificially. I know of no greater act of submission than to be willing to die for somebody. Right? So the sacrificial love a husband shows is similar to that that Jesus showed, like Christ loved the Church.
Then, children, you submit to your parents by honoring them and obeying them. Fathers, you submit to your children by not exasperating them. And then, employees, or slaves, you submit to your masters by doing your work as to the Lord. So you see all of these are examples of that single role of submission. It's just meted out in different ways.
Now we come, in Chapter 6, to the final little section that I'm calling the warfare of the believer. Because here's the truth, Baby Ruth. When you know your wealth in Christ, when you know the power and resources at your disposal, and then you decide to walk in them, you take your wealth and walk in that wealth before other believers, before nonbelievers, in the home, that walk, that path will take you to the battlefield.
Because if you're honoring Christ that way, Satan will have you in his crosshairs. That shouldn't worry you. You shouldn't go, oh, no. You should-- oh, yes! Oh, yes!
And here's why. Every human being has a relationship with the devil, everyone. Your relationship with the devil is he is your enemy.
You go, well, that's a bad thing. No, it's a good thing. Spurgeon said, this should make you very happy. If you're going to have any relationship with the devil, it should be that he's your enemy, not your friend.
If you don't know Christ, you're on the devil's team. You're doing his work. You're in lock step with his plan.
Once you step out of darkness and get into the light, you defect from the kingdom of darkness and Satan puts a bullseye right on your back. Not to worry, it's part and parcel of the walk. Because, well, we should look at verse 10 to kind of get this under our belt.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God. So you might be a pacifist. But you cannot be a spiritual pacifist.
Well, I don't believe in war. You're in one. Deal with it. Win it.
Learn what you have to win it, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. That's your enemy, the devil. Diabolos means slanderer, Revelation 12. He accuses us before the throne of God day and night.
For we do not wrestle, verse 12, against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. Now beginning in verse 14, all the way down to verse 18, he talks about our body armor, metaphorical body armor, spiritual body armor. Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you are able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one, take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for the saints.
So here's the bad news. Satan hates you. He has a miserable plan for your life.
He studied human nature for thousands of years. He knows how to craft a temptation and an attack custom fit for you, based on your personality, your weaknesses, and strength. That's the bad news.
Now it gets worse. He has help. It's not just Satan. It's not just the devil, a real entity, a real fallen angel.
He has buddies called demons. The Bible indicates that a third of all the original angels God created fell with Satan in a rebellion. So a third of those angels are demons, and they're all against you. That's the bad news.
The good news-- they're outnumbered. If 1/3 fell, 2/3 are left, good angels, the Bible says, in Hebrews, they are marshaled for your ministry. They are sent to minister to those of us who are heirs of salvation.
So instead of saying, man, there's demons, and there's the devil. So what? Devil's created by God. God's on your side. And 2/3 of heavens angels are ministering to you, so you'll get through. This is the good news.
Christians who have always heard about demons and devils. It reminds me, in II Kings, Chapter 6, when Gehazi, the servant of Elijah, saw that the city of Dothan was surrounded by enemies. And Elijah said, Lord, open his eyes.
And Gehazi's eyes were opened spiritually. And he saw angels of God camped around the enemy that was camped around that city. And he said to Gehazi, his servant, those who are for us are more than those who are against us.
So you got more angels than demons. Not only that, but greater is He who is in you-- who's in you? Jesus is in you. God, the Father of Jesus, said would come along and be in you. And the Holy Spirit's in you.
God is in you. You're a receptacle, a temple of the Holy Spirit. God is in you. 2/3 of the angels are working for you.
Who cares about the devil and a third of the demons? It's a serious fight. Put on these things, and you're going to win it. You're in it to win it.
We're over time. But a final note in verse 21 and we'll close. But that you may also know my affairs and how I am doing, what's the name there?
Tychicus, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you. Tychicus was from Ephesus, visited Paul in Rome. Paul wrote this letter, told Tychicus what was going on. The letter was delivered to the Ephesians church, along with Tychicus, who bore the letter and filled them in on what was going on.
So that's the book. That's the whole book of Ephesians. The wealth of the believer-- who you are, what you have; the walk-- a walk before believers, before unbelievers, in the home; the warfare of the believer, walking with Christ takes you to the battlefield. It's a battleground, not a playground.
But you're in it to win it. You have victory assured beforehand. So walk in victory.
Father, thank you for this book. Thank you for this glorious letter, where Paul outlines, like no other book, this mystery not shown in the Old Testament. The Messiah was predicted. The future of Israel was predicted, the kingdom age.
But not the idea that Jew and non-Jew would be brought into a commonwealth, believing in the Jewish messiah would make Gentile as well as Jew on the same footing, enjoying the covenant promises from the Old and through the New Testament.
Thank you for that. Thank you for this book. Thank you for this Church. Thank you for this new society built upon what Jesus did and the love that He puts in our hearts. In Jesus' name, we pray. And we all said?
Amen. Let's all stand and sing together.
[LOGO MUSIC PLAYING]
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit Calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from The Bible from 30,000 Feet.