One Commentary on Ephesians with MTD.

 

PREFACE

“Promoting Inherent Unity” was the primary theme for years in the preaching and teaching on the book of Ephesians, it is inherent, not a unity that comes from external. organization but one, that once it exists, can be built on or promoted, when in Algeria I wrote the book CHRISTIAN CONCEPTS FROM AN AMERICAN TECHNOLOGIST ON GOD’S FOUNDATION FOR PEACE with the book of Ephesians as the continuity, Ephesians was a letter that clearly lays the foundational criteria for peace and unity. And even in 1984 with the first complete writing of ONE COMMENTARY am registration in the Library of Congress, while ONE was obviously the dominant subject of Ephesians, it was not fully apparent until 1984-8,5 after a teaching and preaching interim pastorate at Oakridge Baptist Church in Mineral Vella, Texas and before the desktop publication in 1986, that the gist of ONE is ultimate integration,

The more you think on the word “one” in the Bible, the more you see this ultimate integration, Paul expressed it in Philippians

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended but this ONE thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, am reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (‘.3),14 KJV)

Paul could have as sincerely added “this ONE thing I am” as well as “this ONE thing I do, ” In fact, he did in other words when he wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” (Phil. 21 KJV)

Paul picked up this theme from Jesus Himself, and in particular from Jesus’ prayer for all Christiana before His crucifixion, it expresses the ultimate in ultimate integrations:

 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their words that they all may be ONE, ” (John 17:20-23 KJV)

The book of Ephesians identifies the essential criteria that must be present before peace and unity can exist, before they can be promoted. These are the integrating factors for peace and unity. “There is ONE body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in ONE hope of your callings; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all,” (Eph. 414-6 KJV)

Even a precursory look at a concordance in the back of a King James Version (KJV) of the Bible under the word “ONE” attracts the attentions

Job 33:23 one of a thousand

Eccl. 7:271 Isa. 27:l2    “one by one”

Mk. 10:21    “one thing thou lackest”

Luke 10:42    “one thing is needful”

John 9:25     “one thing I know”

17:21,22    “that they may be one”

Gal 3:28    “all one in Christ”

Eph 4:5    “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”

Deut. 6:41 Mk. 12:32

We never have all the answers but like Paul, we keep seeking after ultimate truth as recorded in the pages of the Bible, the Word of God, and under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, keep progressing toward completeness.

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfects but I follow after, if that I may apprehended that for which also, I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 32 KJV)

In the reading of this document you will encounter some technical illustrations, A friend from high school days that taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after reading at my request this manuscript in 1984 had first the critique that (1) It inspired him, and (2) a surprise, “Why the technical material?”

Somewhat surprised, but understandable as he did not know my full background as a technician, as a graduate in Physics, and over 25 years as an Aerospace Engineer, plus 1’ as an instructor in Electronics Technology.  The simple reply then, however was, “It is my chance to make a real and creative contribution”.  Now in 2’18=19, that conviction is even stronger and more defined.  First the preachers real background must be reflected in the style of his own personality, second John Quinn recently made the challenging statements below–

“Hi Jerry, your prayers must be working as I am still alive and in good health.  I sold my farm in Battle Ground, WA and am now in the process of moving to Vero Beach, FL- simply could not die in Washington State as they take 2’% off the top of a decedent’s estate.  Can’t abide by that as I have earned zero whilst living here…………Here is hoping you and yours are healthy and prosperous.  I had an epiphany a couple of years ago and decided to be a skeptic rather than an atheist- of course I am still an atheist to many gods (Thor, Zeus, etc.) but am skeptical about how all this got started.  I am willing to accept that there might be a god, but my definition might have more to do with quantum physics and entropy…………
Take care Jerry- we have come a long way since Biloxi…………
Warm Regards,
John C. Quinn

You can only image the peaked enthusiasm as hearing “quantum physics and entropy” for a person that had a BS in Physics and some graduate work at Baylor as well as some graduate Engineering work at SMU while working at General Dynamics Fort Worth and also some at the University of Houston while teaching at Lee College. Yet the subdued reply was to a fellow Naval Air airman and the organizer of a very successful Image company in San Francisco as follows—

It is hardly possible to consider oneself as all around open and educated without a good survey of the Bible, even as only classical literature, even better to honor and respect the Bible both as a Book your parents revered and as the divine Word of God and from God.  Perhaps you should consider it during this special holiday season.
Since this is a lot of Bible, and needed, on this SunGrist WordPress site you can free download this chapter. If you have trouble because of your device getting to the SunGrist on WordPress, make it known in the comments below with your email address and a full PDF copy will be sent to you immediately. Or if you prefer, you can email for a ONE Chapter 1 PDF to sungrist@gmail.com . and for starters since you like “good reads” please free download the following at https://sungrist.net/2’18/12/16/one-chapter-1-introduction-to-the-one-commentary/.

NOTE:  Your mention of Quantum physics and entropy, just the mention of Physics that most people avoid and as one privileged to get a degree in Physics and some graduate work, consider adding to the One Commentary on Ephesians, first written in 1984 and not yet on Amazon, both you and some Physics.  Entropy is of course the second law of thermodynamics stating essential that the universe is running down, and we can find that the same is true in the social, political, and Christianity world.  Let me know if you would read it.  By the way if you are interested in knowing about the 15 books SunGrist has already put on Amazon, here is the link — https://sungrist.net/2’18/12/13/books-by-sungrist-on-amazon/

John like the true head of a company always had a response:  Now Jerry, my memory may be slipping, but I distinctly remember that we were roommates somewhere, and it involved schooling of some sort.  I am fairly certain I am way beyond the ‘point-of-no-return’ regarding those beliefs.  Not to worry, we shall all end up as equals after we’re gone.

Take care Sailor!

John

Sent from my iPhone

NOTE:  You have to recall that we both go back on the way to 1955-1959 to an Air Early Warning Squadron and Wing of super-Connie’s in Argentia, Newfoundland, and with very similar Naval Air Training as ATs, Aviation Electronic Technician, and further we respected each other as we survived by the grace of God while the Wing lost a lot of flight members in some crashed planes.(Parenthetically, it must be said the WV-2s held up very well in spite of grueling 12 hour flights round trip Argentia to the Azores, down at 6,’’’ feet and back at 9,’’’ feet, and this is not being stated just because of a retirement in 1995 from Lockheed Martin.)

The short answer for John then and you the reader now was and is:

“Prophets in the OT, (2) the intent was the salvation of your soul and the rest of the world from God the Your Creator, (2) Since the Bible came from God our Creator who knows us best and has the hairs of your head numbered (are yours even more than mine) and knows when you sit down and get up and move to Florida, it is sufficient of all you need for life and living; (3) wish I could reproduce for you the great and classical field of Christian Philosophy and Apologetics, but know you do research so considered online men like Elton Trueblood, Bernard Ramm, Dr. R. A. Millikan of Physics fame, Mosma with his book why 4’ scientists in government and education believe in God and more;  (4) McAdams on Biblical Backgrounds, (4) Werner Keller on The Bible as History translated from German into English….But don’t overdo it as request that you follow and read One Commentary on the Bible.   Jerry McMichael …by the way John your memory is slipping are you are confusing me with another AT1, my training was not in Biloxi but Millington Tenn., but since you sent photos of us in Argentia suppose that you were also in VW-15 or what if VW – or VW-13.  Anyway, we have a great history together and thanks for the time, just hope as I told an AF Colonel working with me at Edwards AFB in F-16 flight test, “Just pray that you have not passed the point of no return, in that you have committed the continued sin of unbelief which is without forgiveness.  The Ascended Christ sent God the Holy Spirit to earth to convince the world including you of sin, righteousness, and judgment, so it is His opinion that you must worry about, not mine.  Hope it goes well with the Two of you.

Always quick with the words, John came back:  “On Mon, Dec 17, 2’18 at :4’ AM John Quinn  wrote:  No doubt Jerry.  I am very interested in the Bible, when it was written, by whom and the intent of the writer/editor.  Equally important is what was excluded and why, as well as collaborating accounts/absence thereof from contemporary societies.  Lastly discoveries in the fossil record and ancient documents.  On the whole I do not consider the bible a holy book and certainly not a reliable historical document.  Wishing you a Merry Saturnalia, Warm regards, John Sent from my iPhone

NOTE:   You have to respect John’s quick use of texting on an iPhone, ability to articulate his thoughts, and mainly that he listens and thinks.  John exemplars the sincere skeptic and what Christian Smith in Soul Searching calls the MTD for Moralistic Therapeutic Deism with a technical twist and background, also as modified by Navy and California Aerospace background.  In other words, John is typical of most today in American Society with a Civic Religion, the majority without motivation of the Purpose of God and the book of Ephesians.

Later we will come back to John as typical of the majority opinion in the world, but to jump ahead with a much more positive and optimistic view of the world, the universe, and other things is the quote by a major authority on the book of Ephesians, W. O. Carver: 

“Here is what Christianity is; here is why it is; here is what it means to God, and how it means this to God; here is what it may mean to humanity and what it does mean for human history, and for the eternal purpose of the God of the ages, the God of the cosmic order and process.”

PURPOSE

“I think, therefore I am,” does not adequately express the real meaning of life; however it is a good starting point as “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 1: 17 KJV); and by the way and in the flavor of a preview of coming attractions, a good FINALS point, as in the last Part of this One Commentary on Ephesians with MTD, we will consider THINGS BOTH TO THINK AND DO.  That is the way Ephesians, the great treatise of the Apostle Paul and God the Holy Spirit, concludes.

What’s it all about Alfie, in the song expresses the deep inner longing for ultimate meaning in life. The book of Psalms expresses it as: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, ‘God.” (42:1 KJV) And Wayne Oates, the Christian psychologist, talks of the religious dimensions of man’s becoming personality in terms of purpose, direction, integration, and meaning.  Many are the occasions we question the direction in our lives. At the sudden death of a loved one and during the grief and funeral period, much of the things we do and think lose some meaning. What is the purpose of it all?

We search the world for truth.

We cull the good, the true, the beautiful from graven tomb and written scroll, and all old flower beds of the soul;

And weary seekers of the best,

We come back laden from our quest to find that all the sages said is in the book our mothers read.

We turn to the book of Ephesians for fresh meaning to and purpose in life. It will not sound like what our mothers read, for we don’t hear the book of Ephesians that often; and because the words of the New English Version (NEV) give new significance to what has been in the King James Version (KJV) all along but skipped over:

“He (God) has made known to us his hidden purpose—such was his will and pleasure determined beforehand in Christ–to be put into effect when the time was ripe: namely, that the universe, all in heaven and on earth, might be brought into a unity in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9,10 NEV)

Quickly dissect it to get the full impact: God’s purpose for the whole universe was hidden until the time was ripe to put it into effect; it was the will and pleasure of God to determine it beforehand in Christ; and it is God’s pleasure and will to bring the whole universe of heaven and earth into a unity in Christ.  Six times the word “purpose” is used in the book of Ephesians in the New English Version: (1) God’s “hidden purpose”, that He resolved within Himself and we would not have known with revelation, as given above in 1:9,10 to at the right time get together in Christ and in one all things in heaven and earth; (2) God’s “purpose is everywhere at work” in 1:; (3) God’s purpose to reconcile both Israel and the Gentiles in one body in 2:16; (4) God’s “hidden purpose was to be put into effect” in 3:8,9; (5) “his age-long purpose” in 3:; and (6) Paul’s “purpose to let you know all about us” in 6:21,22.

Surely, one would think, God’s purpose for the universe must have something to do with Christians. The book of Ephesians provides some clarity on that also. While the word Christian” is to be found only three times in the King James Version of the New Testament, it is found three times alone in Ephesians in the New English Version. In a day where the owner of HUSTLER magazine has claimed to be a “born again Christian,” it behooves us to go back to the original Biblical meanings for God’s purpose and for Christians: (1) You learn- ed Christ as a Christian in Ephesians 4.:2’,21; (2) As Chris tians you are light, not darkness in Ephesians 5:7,8; and (3) Ephesians 6:4 talks about the correction and instruction of a “Christian upbringing”.

Amazing~ We have only made a brief devotional beginning in Ephesians where Paul prays “that your inward eyes may be illumined” (1:18 NEV), and already clustered around the words “purpose” and “Christian” we have been exposed to some of the great truths from all six chapters of Ephesians. We bow in humility at the Revelation of the wisdom of God. As God re minds us in the book of Isaiah (55:9 KJV): “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Revelation included a “hidden purpose” and a “mystery”, but as Paul writes in Ephesians: “It was by a revelation that his secret was made known to me.” (3:3 NEV)

Paul was not the only one to whom this secret was disclosed. “In former generations this was not. disclosed to the human race; but now it has been revealed by inspiration to his dedicated apostles and prophets, that through the Gospel the Gentiles are joint heirs with the Jews … ” (Eph. 3: 5, 6 NEV) Arid Paul was certainly humble about this new-found wisdom: “To me, who am less than the least of all God’s people, he has granted of his grace the privilege of proclaiming to the Gentiles the good news of the unfathomable riches of Christ, and of bringing to light how this hidden purpose was to be put into effect.” (Eph. 3: 8, 9 NEV)

Paul was as open as he was humble and with a personal purpose linked to God’s purpose:

“You will want to know about my affairs, and how I am; Tychicus will give you all the news. He is our dear brother and trustworthy helper in the Lord’s work. I am sending him to you on purpose to let you know all about us, and to put fresh heart into you. (Eph. 6:21,22 NEV)

And Paul expressed the bottom line of the meaning of his life– the letting you know all about us–when he wrote: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21 KJV)

JUSTIFICATION

Many people do good works in order to justify their existence: the Christian is already justified in the sight of God~ and does good works, according to W. O. Carver in his commentary on Ephesians, “for the glory of God in the Christian calling.”  A young Texas Aggie, straight out of college, was attempting to lecture on the F-16 aircraft electrical system to a bunch of experienced military retirees and tech reps. It was ap parent that he was not ready for the lecture, and the class was nailing his hide to the wall. Finally, he stopped and said, “Men, give me a break so I can justify my existence around here. I saw him develop during the next seven years, and he did more than justify his existence with the company.

Justification or justified in the Bible primarily has to do with justification in the sight of God which is taken care of once for all by faith in Christ and what Christ did in His death on the cross. Ephesians leaves no doubt that works cannot bring salvation or justification:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph 2 : 8 I 9 NEV)

Yet justified is also used in the Bible in the book of James in the sense that the Christian by his works proves that he is indeed a Christian. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24 KJV) What then is the difference between a natural man as by good works he tries to justify his existence in this world and the Christian who has already been justified by faith and must let the fruit of his life prove that he is a Christian? Motivation!  The difference is in the motive. A Christian does good works, to use the title of Carver’s commentary on Ephesians, for THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE CHRISTIAN CALLING.

Ephesians can define the difference better and, in the verse, immediately after the famous “salvation by grace” verses:

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:1’ KJV)

Christians may be obsolete in this modern world: that is “Christian” as the word is commonly used may have lost the original meaning. Either we must go back to the original Biblical meanings, and Ephesians can help here, or we must adopt new words which have been in the New Testament all along.  One favorite word in Ephesians in the New English Version is “all God’s people.” Another is: “We learn Christ.” Let me make a bold hypothesis right here: THAT WE JUSTIFY OUR EXISTENCE HERE ON THIS EARTH AS WE LEARN CHRIST. We learn Christ on the before side of salvation, and we learn Christ on the after side of salvation. After all, the most common term for the Christian in the New Testament is the word “disciple” which means learner. Wouldn’t it be nice to see signs out in front of our churches across the land which said WE LEARN CHRIST?

We learn Christ in the book of Ephesians, and we learn Christ in the Gospel of John. It is amazing the similarity of the words used to describe the Christian in the book of

Ephesians, and the words used to describe Christ as the “Word” or “Logos” in the prologue of the Gospel of John. The book of Ephesians speaks of Christians as light, although before becoming Christians “all darkness”, as the just and devout; and in the prologue of the Gospel of John, it is the Word as: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 KJV)

“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”  (John 1:5 KJV)

Hallelujah by the grace and plan and plans of God, no matter how great the wisdom and power of man, no matter what wealth and status can do, “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world”, and the darkness of ignorance, indifference, skepticism cannot overcome or contain or comprehend the light of Christ through the Holy Spirit that convicts and convinces the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment—“of sin because they believe not on me” (the greatest concern of Jesus and the Heavenly Father about sin is the sin of unbelief, as that is the only sin that can condemn you to hell), “of righteousness for I go to my Father and you see me no more”  (the world can neither answer or darken the obvious righteous and sinless life of Jesus), “and of judgment because even Satan is judged”.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we be held his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 KJV)

The bottom line is that there is no real meaning to life apart from Christ. That is the way God, the Creator of this universe, means for it to be; that is the way that God ordain- ed for it to be from before the foundation of the world; that is the way that God is working through His people to bring it about; and that is ultimately what will happen at the end of time.

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9- KJV}

Yet the world is replete with examples of good works for justification. The “robber barons” that during the autumn of life make philanthropic contributions; wealthy movie stars that desire to help humanity; giant corporations that create an image for public welfare; and the many forms of Deism, which deny the divinity of Christ while espousing belief in God, that do good works in order to justify themselves as the ones that are right as contrasted to Christian churches.  Bill Gates, the gay owner of Amazon, and Warren Buffet are only a few billionaires that are proving their civic religion today by giving away millions.  Unfortunately, sometimes Christians are out-worked by the good doers. Their whole life is on the line, and the justification of their life in terms of right and wrong. We as Christians have nothing to lose, for we know that we are already justified by God; and hence we tend to become slacker in the doing of good than those that must justify their existence.

Ephesians offers a cure for that problem!  According to W. O. Carver here is what Paul is saying in Ephesians and what God is saying through the Apostle Paul: “Here is what Christianity is; here is why it is; here is what it means to God, and how it means this to God; here is what it may mean to humanity and what it does mean for human history, and for the eternal purpose of the God of the ages, the God of the cosmic order and process.”

SECURITY

Christianity in its Ephesians form means security, in this life and in the life to come. That is difficult to realize! That God, because I am a Christian, will provide me with material as well as spiritual security in this life as well as “the pledge that we shall enter upon our heritage, when God has redeemed what is his own  ” (Eph. 1:14 NEV) Nonetheless it is there, beyond our wildest dreams: and recorded in the book of Ephesians and other scriptures for our assurance.

“Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think “ (Eph. 3:2’ KJV)

There it is in black and white. God can do more for us than we can even think of. God can do more for us than we can even hope for or ask for. Why limit us by what little we can know or account for? It was to the church at Philadelphia to whom Christ said: “behold, I have set before  thee an open door, and no man can shut it  ” (Rev. 3:8 KJV) Doors of opportunity are opened by God for individuals as well as churches according to the Bible (I Cor. 16:9), al- though there may be many adversaries and it is reasonable to conclude that those open doors will be “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

During a casual patio conversation with my mother and a former brother-in-law after my sister’s funeral, my mother said that she knew if she died, she would go to heaven. To which my former brother-in-law replied: “I only believe what I can see like that cloud,” pointing to a small puff of white in the blue sky. To which I immediately replied: “You don’t really believe that, because you have spent your whole career in electronics where all the devices and theory is built on the modified Bohr theory of the atom with the free electrons in the outermost orbit about the nucleus: and you or no one else has ever seen an electron.”  He agreed that I was right. His argument disappeared as rapidly as that single puff of white in the sky when considered in the realities of science and technology.  John Quinn, trained in electronics, has not clearly thought through the realities of the world and heaven, being blinded by the natural prejudice of sin.  While he thinks Physics and the law of entropy can be his god, like Dr. Millikan proved in his book and lecture on “Evolution in Science and Religion” there is relative truth and absolute truth, absolutes are from God in the Bible and relative truths are those of science and the liberal arts.  Entropy, or the second law of thermodynamics (and if I recall my Physics training correctly not only did Millikan receive the Nobel Prize for proving there is a discrete particle called the electron with a charge of 1.5 time 10^-19 and a mass of 6 times 10*31, but also good ole R. A. wrote one of his Physics text books on thermodynamics)…entropy states that the Universe in running down or becoming less of an orderly system, so to base faith in a god on entropy is like placing faith in that cloud that disappeared in Baton Rouge LA.

Turning to me, my brother in law made another approach. “Don’t you think that some people use religion as a crutch?”

I replied, “Yes:” and tried to explain. The crutch and the cross go together. The Christian carries a cross through life in many ways:   life would be easier in this world without convictions: a person could make more money without morality or ethics, have more friends, and even go farther in their careers. (Satan is the prince of the world and rewards those that worship and serve him, which all in the majority do; because the realities of the universe are that there are only two supernatural beings, if you don’t serve and worship God the Creator and Our Heavenly Father, the sad fact is that you are led and prospered by Satan whose luck like energy and entropy is going to run out.

But with the cross is the crutch. Or to use the words of Jesus: “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28-30 KJV)

The yoke is the cross. It does restrict our activities. The crutch is rest for the soul, an easy yoke, and a burden which is light. So, it is with SECURITY. It is not as easy to see as social security. for the check does not come in the mail once every month. It cannot be calculated like a company retirement program, or government, or military. It cannot be seen like a cloud in the sky, and it can be considered by some as a crutch. But Jesus said: “Behold the fowls of the air for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matt. 6:26 KJV)

This is not to say that God cannot use social security or a retirement program to take care of a Christian, but it is to say that God is not at all limited by those means! And it is to say that God does not want us fretting or becoming overly concerned about where or how material things will come.

Along with faith in God’s security program must come also the Christian concept of contentment with a little. As Paul expressed it, “having food and raiment let us be there- with content.” (I Tim. 6:8 KJV)

Ephesians talks about security in this life and in the life to come in terms of a “seal”, a “pledge”, and a heritage. It is that (you) received the seal of the promised Holy Spirit and that Spirit is the pledge that we shall enter upon our heritage “ (Eph. 1: 14 NEV)

The first chapter of Ephesians includes a prayer that we might see with our “inward eyes” and in order to know some of the vast resources of being among God’s people–that is:  “so that you may know what is the hope to which he calls you, what the wealth and glory of the share he offers you among his people in their heritage, and how vast the resources of His rewards open to us who trust in him.” (Eph. 1:18,19 NEV) This power is measured by nothing less than the power God exercised when He raised Christ from the dead. (Eph. 1:2) And God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we can ask or conceive” (NEV) “by the power which is at work among us.”

THE “JOB” AND THE “BOSS”

God’s purpose for our lives must include the “job” since it includes everything under heaven and on earth. We seek to at least partially justify our existence in terms of a job; and since for the Christian, justification in the sense of our right standing before God has already been provided in Christ, then the job must be for the glory of God in the Christian calling. And that is precisely what Paul elaborates in the last chapter of Ephesians: “With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” Some workers give only “eyeservice. Some workers are only “men pleasers”.  (Ephesians 6:7 KJV)  But Ephesians says: “Not with eyeservice, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart .”   (6:6 KJV)

The words in Ephesians for supervisors and workers are “masters” and “servants”–a little strong, and so it was in New Testament days; but perhaps there is a little more of that in the word “boss” instead of supervisor than we stop to think about. Unless we are just trying to be a men pleaser, eye or ear-pleaser. Nonetheless, Ephesians establishes the relationship between supervisors and workers as: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ “ (Eph. 6:5 KJV)

Obedient — do what they tell you.

With fear — that is, with respect for their position. With trembling — that is, with regard for the consequences of not doing what you are told.

Singleness of heart — have a single motivation. AS UNTO CHRIST!

The book of Ephesians has a surprising amount to say about VOCATION. Ephesians 4:1: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. ” (KJV) And as Elton Trueblood, the Christian philosopher, suggests in his book YOUR OTHER VOCATION the primary vocation of any Christian is to be a Christian with the other vocation being that at which he makes his living. Ephesians, as Trueblood would agree, separates neither from the Christian calling or from the purpose and will of God.  Considering a 4’ hour work week and 168 total hours in each week, the Christian is on the job approximately 24% of his life. If you average 7 hours of sleep per night, then approximately 34% of your awake hours are on the job and under the supervision of the boss. It is a challenge to the Christian! Not only in the proper use of 34″ of his time, but also in the off-the-job use of the other 66%. The Bible describes it in these words “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Col. 37 KJV) A floor can be mopped, an airplane fixed, or automobile in the name of the Lord. It is part of the “high calling” that Paul, the tentmaker, develops in Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and other books of the Bible.

And God will reward whether the supervisor sees or knows about it, or not. “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:8 KJV) Ultimately, you both have one big boss. “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven neither is there respect of persons with him.” (Eph. 6:9 KJV) Supervisors and workers are to work as if they are working for the Lord, for they are, and He will reward the work effort. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men: Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritances for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Col. 3:23,24 KJV)

ONE

Everything in the universe is ONE: that is what the book of Ephesians is telling us. The fundamental things of life that concern people like a job, security, purpose, and meaning are one, or can be, with the Oneness of God.  Jesus expressed this goal of oneness for His first disciples and for Christians of all times when He prayed: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”  (John 17:20-21 KJV}

God is One in Three Persons, and it is this very nature of God that also provides a unity for Christians and for the church of all God’s people. Ephesians expresses this more compactly than any other part of the Bible. In Ephesians 4 clustered around the Three Persons of the Godhead–the one Holy Spirit, the one Lord Christ, and the one God the Father–are those factors that also provide unity among Christians. “There is one body and one Spirit, as there is also one hope held out in God’s call to you; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (vs. 4-6 NEV}

With God the Holy Spirit comes the one body which is the church, the one Christian hope and the one Christian call; with God the Lord Jesus Christ comes the one Christian faith and the one Christian baptism; and with God the Father, there comes the Fatherhood of all Creation, the Supreme Ruler of the universe (“over all”), the omnipresence of God (“through all”), and the “in all.”  These few verses from Ephesians are both a concise statement of the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity and living, practical realities that bring a unity to the Christian life and church. (NOTE:  At the end of this book you will find an Appendix outline of the book of Ephesians called the faith and practice of the Christian faith.)  And this in only three verses of the book of Ephesians: there is more, much more!  Dr. Ray Summers, professor of religion at Southwestern Seminary and Baylor, in his commentary on Ephesians calls it “the loftiest expression of the basic minimum of Christianity.” W. O. Carver calls it the greatest piece of writing in all history.”

Ephesians cannot be understood apart from the other 65 books of the Bible; but if a person with the “inner eye” understood only Ephesians, he would be illuminated on enough of the wisdom of God to live the Christian life and to find its relationship to the whole universe.

God’s Revelation is also ONE. What hidden mysteries or secret wisdom God has made known in the Gospel of John is consistent with that of Ephesians; and the book of Genesis with both; and so on with the whole Bible of 66 books. As one person has said, “Read your Bible. It will throw a lot of light on the commentaries.” And as Bernard Ramm in his book on the science of hermeneutics (the science of Biblical interpretation) so poignantly states: the way to understand scripture is by comparison with other scriptures.  The World God made, and the Book God wrote is also ONE.  God made the World–“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 KJV) –and God the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God …  (II Timothy 3: 16 KJV) Further, the World God made will not contradict the Book God wrote: the problem is in our lack of understanding of both the World and the Book.

God expects us to fully comprehend this ONENESS through Christ. Christ makes sense out of the total Bible, and He makes sense out of the total universe. Christ was there when God the Father first made the world. As the prologue of John tells us: “In the beginning was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3 KJV)

Colossians summarizes it in this manner:

“Who (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church … ” (1:15-18 KJV)

Christ, the gospel, the cross, and the church are at the heart of God’s plan to implement His purpose–all bringing a unity or ONENESS: of bringing to light how this hidden purpose was to be put into effect. It was hidden for long ages in God the creator of the universe, in order that now, through the church, the wisdom of God in all its varied forms might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the realms of heaven. This is in accord with his age-long purpose, which he achieved in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:9- NEV)

THE HISTORY OF A CHURCH

Eventually our concept of the one church as the total body of Christ must come down to the practical expression in a local church of baptized believers. Ephesians does that for us first with the clear teachings of the ecclesia as a body of all Christians, and then getting down to the practical day-to-day problems of a local called-out assembly or assemblies in the province of Ephesus.

The irritation of Dr. R. G. Lee, famous pastor of the Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, is appreciated when he disdained to hear talk about the universal church; but on the other hand, John R. Rice was right when he said that: “There is one church, but many churches.” Ecclesia is used approximately 121 times in the New Testament: once it refers to a “called-out-assembly” at Ephesus that was seeking to stop the Christians; a few more times it refers to the total body of Christ, especially in Ephesians; and most of the time it is used in the sense of a local body of baptized believers like the church at Rome, at Corinth, at Antioch, or Jerusalem. The bottom line is that we must face up to both distinct common usages in the New Testament–ecclesia as all God’s people and ecclesia as a local church–and yet not get so lost up in the clouds with a concern for unity among the total body of Christ that we lose a practical expression in weekly attendance and support of some local body of Christ. Indeed, to “Spare no effort to make fast with bonds of peace the unity which the Spirit gives” (Eph. 4:3 NEV) in the local church is the most effective manner in which we can promote this same unity in the total body of Christ.

There was A church at Ephesus; and the book of Ephesians together with the book of Revelation provide us with a history of that local church. The book of Revelation written in approximately 96 A.D. with messages from the Risen Christ for the “seven churches in Asia Minor” included a specific message for “the church of Ephesus” (Rev. 2:1 KJV); and the book of Ephesians written in approximately 64 A.D. “to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1 KJV) describe the good and bad points of that local church in 96 A.D., and through the foreknowledge of God in 64 A.D. tells those Christians what it would take to hold fast to the good points and prevent the bad. Alias, we have a good history of the local church at Ephesus.

Here was the message from Christ to the church at Ephesus, written approximately 32 years after the book of Ephesians. The good points first:

“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” (Rev. 2:2,3 KJV)

Second, the bad points:

“Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left· thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:4,5 KJV)

NOTE:  Heaven with many good and faithful and extremely competent angels is good at record keeping, not only is the name of every believer recorded there but also a total church roll of the body of Christ, every believer that has ever lived and ever will live is record and preserved there.

Why try to understand a church, the church at Ephesus, and a book, the book of Ephesians in terms of what happened thirty-two years later? Because if you believe in the fore- knowledge of God and if you believe that God is the real source of all scripture, including the book of Ephesians, then you also realize that God had a message in 64 A. D. to prevent God’s people at Ephesus from leaving “thy first love”; and al- so that some of the things said in Ephesians brought forth the fruit of the Revelation compliments of: works, labor, patience, and intolerance for evil and false apostles.  Even so we are presently considering in this commentary the “history of a church”, with Ephesians giving us the condition of the pre-Revelation church and Revelation 2 the condition over thirty years later. Few churches in the Bible afford us this much insight!

History

I recall in college reading the little but informative book entitled USES OF THE PAST. As the author pointed out there are several lessons that can be learned or functions of the study of past history. Sometimes we read history, like that of Texas or Europe or Utah, just because we enjoy it; more of ten because it is required in school; or we are interested as in the study of the history of civilization how man got where he is–the same for certain groups as in the histories of Baptists, Southern Baptist, or Christianity; in biography, we pick up good examples and inspiration; in Bible history, we gain more understanding of God’s Word; and in the history of American thought we can recognize some factors that helped make us what we are as Americans. However, as I recall the essential meaning in the book USES OF THE PAST, it is that: we learn from the past, history repeats itself, or what has happened in the past will also happen in the future: or even as one graduate history professor told me, the primary help of past history is to clarify trends that will continue in the future.

NOTE:  Parenthetically, let it be noted that Dr. B. H. Carroll is his Interpretation of the English Bible, 17 volume Bible commentary is clearly and obviously a great student of history.  And pardon the ad, but in writing a One Commentary on the Bible in 7 volumes, his commentary was the model, partly because of his love of history, more for the preaching and teaching of the content.  Would that Southwestern had kept in that trend for the training of preachers and pastors on the Bible rather than falling victim to the Theology of Harvard and Yale, which by the way have the two largest seminaries in the world and therefore set the accreditation standards.

The preacher of Ecclesiastes expressed one of the relationships between the past and the future when he wrote:

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (1:9 KJV)

History of Ephesus

Ephesus does not exist today! It is a paradox of history that we in the famous United States in a land of many churches about 19 years later read of a non-existent province, now within the borders of Turkey–a little known country and of a church which has disappeared.  Greeks from Athens established Ephesus as a missionary province for Greek culture. St. Chrysostom wrote in the 4th century: “Ephesus is the Metropolis of Asia and was consecrated to Artemis.” The Romans when they conquered the civilized world called this goddess Artemis, the Greeks called her Diana and even though in approximately 64 A.D. when Paul wrote Ephesians Rome controlled the world, the locals still shouted, as recorded in Acts 19, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians”. To Demetrius, a silversmith to whom the worship of Diana was both a religion and an occupation, Paul and the other Christians were considered a threat, “whom all Asia and the world worshipped”.

Demetrius, having called together “the workmen of like occupation”, said: “Sirs ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed  ” (Acts 19:25-28 KJV)

Paul preached and taught in Ephesus for two years. The book of Acts does not give us the specific content of his messages, but it must have been similar to what he preached in Athens at Mars’ hill when “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.” (Acts 17:16 KJV) The problem was the same in Athens and in Ephesus: “we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver “and Paul preached that “God made the world, things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth … (Acts 17:24 KJV) while in Ephesians he writes “that the universe, all in heaven and on earth, might be brought into a unity in Christ” (Eph. 1:1 NEV); at Athens it was “seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25 KJV) while in Ephesians it is “who has bestowed on us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms” (1:3 NEV); and while at Athens it was “(God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26 KJV), it is in Ephesians “so as to create out of the two a single new humanity” (Eph. 2:15 NEV).

History of the Christian Life.

The history of a church is a combination of the histories of the individual Christian lives within that church. Ephesians has a great deal to say, especially in chapter two, about the individual Christian life. In fact, a progression is notice able in the book from a discussion in chapter one of all the spiritual blessings of all God’s people to one individual life–before and after a Christian–to how all the members, while growing toward Christian maturity–an individual unity, then find their place as members of the same body and that body has a larger unity.

The individual Christian attains to the unity inherent in the Christian faith yet doing it at the same time as all other Christians: “So shall we all at last attain to the unity inherent in our faith and our knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood, measured by nothing less than the full stature of Christ.” {Ephesians 4:13,14 NEV)

The individual Christian finds his place as a member of a body of Christ. “Bonded and knit together by every constituent joint, the whole frame grows through the due activity of each part and builds itself up in love.” (Eph. 4:16 NEV)

A SHORT COMMENTARY

Ephesians is short, and it flows: ONE commentary is short, striving to present without discontinuity that flow in the “Exegesis” PART of this book with comments before and after the exegesis that serve to prevent missing the full depth of that flow.  You can read Ephesians in from 10 to 20 minutes, and each time you read it, you catch additional significance that contributes to the flow of great themes. God wants us to a adopt children (1:5 KJV). He has made known to us the mystery of His will (1:9). a mystery that through revelation will be made clear in the flow; those like Paul that first trusted in Christ (1:12) and those that later believed through their word are for the praise of God; all are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (1:13 KJV), our earnest; Christ is the supreme name in this world and in the world to come (1:21); we, like other children of disobedience did walk in the desires of the flesh and the mind (2:3); Christ as our peace reconciled Jew and Gentile into one body by the cross (2:6), preaching peace to the far ones and the close ones (2:17) and providing both access by the One Spirit to the One Father (2:18); the mystery is now made known (3:9), “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (316 KJV), and thus by the church the manifold wisdom of God is made known (3:1’); praise be to God, before whom Paul bows (1:14), and after whom the whole big family of Christians in heaven and on earth are named (3:15)1 God wants mature or perfect men like the full stature of Christ (4:13) which comes with unity of faith and more knowledge of Christ–LEARN CHRIST, Paul will say later (4:2’), be renewed in the spirit of your mind (4:23), speak truth as “we are members one of another” (4:25), and in order “that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (4:29 KJV); it is indecent to put in print what other Gentiles do in secret (5:12); “submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (5121 KJV) prefaces the section on husbands and wives but primarily concerning the church (5:32), and then a reminder of the first of the ten commandments with promise, (612), to honor father and mother; God doesn’t respect the position of persons (6:9); “above all” (6:16) pick up the shield of faith; and pray for Paul, and other ministers, that they might boldly make known the mystery of the gospel (6:19).

Hundreds of times you can read through Ephesians, each time picking up fresh and salient points in the flow, receiving more illumination on the revelation, and receiving grace for the struggles of life. It happens just like Paul prays for: “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened”, as God gives you the spirit of wisdom and revelation.” (1:17,18)

This is only ONE commentary. There is the definite need for the verse by verse and word by word commentaries like Simpson on Ephesians in the NEW INTERNATIONAL series. W.O. Carver in the classical GLORY OF GOD IN THE CHRISTIAN CALLING conveys the flow and the detailed exegesis with a separate section for comments and a paraphrase. While B. H. Carroll as always in the INTERPRETATION OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE offers valuable and homiletical insight, he often goes off on topics like “salvation by grace.” (told you it is a preaching and teaching commentary without any theology)_Criswell’s COMMENTARY ON EPHESIANS is really a collection of textual sermons; Ray Summer’s short, 186 page commentary flows, but is too formal for the “praise God” implications of Ephesians George in the LAYMAN’S BIBLE BOOK COMMENTARY is a good first introduction, although too short; Moule in STUDIES IN EPHESIANS and Mitton in THE NEW CENTURY BIBLE COMMENTARY like Simpson are detailed commentaries; and GOD’S NEW CREATION is probably the single best commentary on Ephesians to come out in recent years, even though it is doubtful that Ephesians can be summarized adequately under such a single theme. Yet each of these commentaries offers a valuable contribution, and others that will be mentioned throughout this book; and are certainly worth the time for the dedicated Christian scholar.

The unique contribution of ONE COMMENTARY ON EPHESIANS WITH MTD, it is felt, is to keep the flow, not on any given page bogging down in the details, yet hitting every thought that flow contributes.

MTD (Moralistic Therapeutic Deism).

And MTD is a reminder that before the close of the Preface, MTD must be explained as it is one of the best American Thought presentations of the millennium generation seen lately, but in doing so explains the American Society with the same “Civic Religion” that made them that way!  Not only does MTD help to explain contemporary American Thought and education but also American Spirit and Character.  Surely Parrington, Commager, Persons, Gabriel—all authorities in American Studies—would be proud of this Notre Dame professor in Sociology.

While many of us object to President Mohler’s overemphasis of theology over Bible and Bible preaching, conservatives have to admit that he has a lot of faithfulness and fidelity to Scripture; and we can appreciate the following observations about our teens which really indicates a present “civic religion in American” (generally SunGrist has called it the American Democratic Faith as a replacement for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.  Here is a good observation from Mohler as a Christian scholar and leader:

“We also face the realities of the millennial generation – the largest generation in American history. As Christian Smith and his associates have documented, the belief system held by the vast majority within this generation can be described as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism – not remotely close to Christianity. And where did they learn this belief system? From their parents and from their churches…”

NOTE:  MTD sounds like a disease, and maybe it is, and it is admitted that I never heard of it, so looked it up online from God Questions which often good Bible is.

Got Questions Continues on the subject–

“Based on extensive research, they identified the predominant beliefs of American teenagers, even those that claim to be Christians. They named the core beliefs Moralistic Therapeutic Deism or MTD. The five core beliefs of MTD are as follows:

  1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”

And Mohler continues–

“The total secularization of America’s academic and intellectual culture is virtually a completed project, and “Sex Week” at Yale University advertises the rejection of even Christian morality in favor of the new revolutionaries.

https://www.christianheadlines.com/columnists/al-mohler/why-understanding-theology-is-a-crucial-part-of-your-faith.html

What Peter Berger calls “cognitive contamination” now reigns in thousands of churches and theological liberalism has created a system of empty and emptying churches and seminaries. Those who hold to the beliefs of historic Christianity will lose social capital simply by opening their mouths, and the price of identification with our churches will only rise.”

NOTE:  As always you can free download a copy of this chapter at www.biblecombibleman.com/EphesiansPreface.pdf or www.sungrist.org/EphesiansPreface.pdf .

 

 

 

 

 

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