A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The concept that the elect Jews and Gentiles compose the one family of God, the one holy nation, is a central theme of the Book of Ephesians.
The traditional idea, that God deals in one manner with the Gentile Christians and in another with the Jewish Christians, and that the races are identifiable in Christ, has created havoc in the interpretation of the Scriptures—particularly the writings of the Hebrew Prophets.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:5)
Table of Contents
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
1.On what authority was Paul an apostle of Christ?
2.To whom is this epistle addressed?
3.With what does Paul bless the saints in Ephesus?
4.What does Paul give to the Father?
5.What has the Father done for each saint?
6.What did God do for the saints before the creation of the world?
7.For what has God predestined us?
8.On what basis did God predestine us for adoption as His sons?
9.How is each Son of God to respond to the goodness of God that has been shown to him?
10.Through whom has the Father endowed each of His sons?
11.What special blessing comes to us through Christ?
12.What have the wisdom and insight of God brought to the saints?
13.What has been the Father’s plan all along?
14.What have we obtained in Christ?
15.On what basis were we predestined to become sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom?
16.What does Paul say concerning the original Apostles and disciples of Christ?
17.When did the Ephesian saints come to believe in Christ?
18.What happened to the Ephesians after they believed in Christ?
19.What is the Holy Spirit?
20.What does the stamp of the Holy Spirit on us indicate?
21.What will result from our being glorified in the Day of Christ?
22.What report was Paul receiving concerning the Christians in Ephesus?
23.What effect did this good report have on the Apostle Paul?
24.What was the burden of Paul’s prayer for the saints in Ephesus?
25.What are flooded with light when we receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God?
26.What "hope" is possessed by each person whom God has called into the Kingdom of His Son?
27.What are "the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints"?
28.What else does the Spirit of wisdom and revelation make known to us who believe in Christ?
29.What Divine energy is it that is directed toward those of us who believe in Christ?
30.How high has Christ been raised (and we in Him)?
31.How much of the creation of God has been put under the feet of Christ?
32.What is the relationship of Christ to the Church?
33.What is the Church?
1.What was true of each saint at one time in his life?
2.How did we "walk" or behave before we received Christ?
3.In whom is Satan working today?
4.What was true of us before we believed in Christ?
5.What did our nature reveal us to be?
6.What is God’s motive toward the saints?
7.In what is the God of Heaven rich?
8.In what condition were we when God called us?
9.What did God do for us, according to the riches of His mercy and His love, while we were yet dead in our sinful behaviors?
10.By what means have we been saved?
11.What is the central act of redemption, the act made possible through the shedding of the blood of Christ?
12.Where is every Christian saint located in the present hour?
13.What does the Father have in mind to do, now that He has lifted us up from the spirit of this world and has established us in Christ at His right hand?
14.On what basis have we been separated from the world and seated at the right hand of God in Christ?
15.What must we exercise in order to lay hold on such a magnificent blessing?
16.Where does our salvation originate? Who brings it to pass?
17.Did we attain our escape from the world spirit and our ascent to the right hand of God by our struggle to live righteously and please God?
18.Can any saint boast that he has saved himself by righteous works?
19.What is each saint?
20.In whom are we being created a new creation?
21.To what end are we being created in Christ?
22.What had the saints in Ephesus been before they had received Christ?
23.What term did the Jews employ when referring to the Gentiles who had become Christians?
24.What was the condition of the new Christians before they received Christ?
25.What is true of each of us Gentiles—we who at one time had been far from the God of Israel, far from the promises of the Scriptures?
26.What is Christ to us?
27.What has Christ accomplished?
28.What hostile force separated the Jew from the Gentiles?
29.What did Christ do with the "enmity" of the Law and ordinances?
30.What did Christ accomplish by doing away with the Law of Moses, the "enmity" that had separated the Jew from the Gentile?
31.What instrument enabled Christ to reconcile the Jews and the Gentiles to God in one new man, one body?
32.What is it that was able to put to death the hostility of the Law of Moses?
33.What does the Lord Jesus do, on the basis of His death on the cross?
34.What do both Jews and Gentiles possess through Christ?
35.What is true of Gentiles who have received Christ?
36.On what foundation have the Gentile believers been established?
37.Who is the chief Cornerstone of the building of God?
38.Who is the Reference Point and Guiding Principle of every element of God’s building?
39.What is being constructed?
40.For what purpose are we being constructed in Christ?
1.What had Paul become on behalf of the Gentile nations?
2.What did God give to Paul?
3.How did Paul learn the hidden aspects of this Divine grace—that the Uncircumcised were to become fellow members of the Body of Christ, fellow partakers of the promises in Christ, rooms in the eternal Temple of God?
4.What would the saints of Ephesus understand as they read this letter that Paul was writing to them?
5.Was the understanding of God’s plan in Christ available to the peoples of previous generations?
6.To whom has the mystery of Christ been revealed through the Holy Spirit?
7.What is the Good News that has been revealed?
8.Of what was Paul a servant, a minister?
9.What was it that enabled Paul to be a minister of the Gospel?
10.What did Paul judge himself to be?
11.What grace did the Lord God give to Paul?
12.What Divine secret was Paul empowered to bring into the light and make plain to all people?
13.How was the universe brought into being?
14.What is God ready to reveal now?
15.Through what instrument is God’s multifaceted wisdom being demonstrated?
16.To whom is the many-sided wisdom of God being revealed?
17.According to what design has God been revealing Christ, and demonstrating His many-sided wisdom to the angels of high rank?
18.What do we receive when we place our trust in Christ?
19.In view of God’s purpose in Christ, and the confidence that each saint can have when he receives Christ, what does Paul request of the saints in Ephesus?
20.Why was it necessary for Paul to suffer the things he did?
21.What name is borne by all of the Lord’s people?
22.From what store of resources will God the Father grant to the saints in Ephesus the blessings that Paul is requesting for them?
23.What is the first aspect of Paul’s prayer to the Father on behalf of the saints in Ephesus?
24.What else does Paul mention in his prayer for the saints?
25.In what is the Christian to be rooted and founded?
26.When we have been strengthened with power by God’s Spirit in our inner man, when Christ is dwelling by faith in our hearts, when we are rooted and established in God’s love, what are we able then to do?
27.What is the final outcome of being strengthened with power by God’s Spirit in our inner man; the ever-increasing faith that grows in us as Christ is formed within us; being rooted in and founded on God’s love; and coming to know the incredible love of Christ for us?
28.What does Paul ascribe to our Father who is in Heaven?
1.How does Paul describe his current state?
2.What does Paul exhort the saints in Ephesus to do?
3.What traits of character are seen in a true Christian?
4.To what end must every saint labor diligently?
5.How many bodies of Christ are there?
6.How many Holy Spirits are there?
7.How many hopes of our calling are there?
8.How many Lords are there?
9.How many Christian faiths are there?
10.How many kinds of water baptisms are there?
11.How many Gods are there?
12.What has been given to every member of the Body of Christ?
13.Read Psalms 68:18.
14.What did Christ lead captive?
15.What does the fact that Christ ascended suggest to us?
16.If Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth, and then ascended up far above all the heavens, what, then, is true of Him?
17.What are the "gifts" that the ascended Christ gave to men?
18.Why did the ascended Christ give these gifts to men?
19.What do these ministries achieve as they serve the Lord?
20.Toward what goals is the glory of the ascended Christ moving us?
21.What are we to be no longer?
22.How does the Apostle Paul define a spiritual infant?
23.What are the sources of the shifting winds of doctrine?
24.What is each member of the Body of Christ to do?
25.What is being constructed from the Virtue that is in the Head?
26.What does Paul therefore testify in the Lord to the saints in Ephesus?
27.What is true of people who have not been made alive in Christ?
28.What else is true of the unconverted?
29.What is true of each of God’s saints?
30.What had the saints in Ephesus been taught?
31.What had the saints in Ephesus been instructed to do?
32.What did Paul encourage the saints to do?
33.With what were the saints to clothe themselves?
34.In view of the fact that they were to clothe themselves with the new man, what were they to do?
35.What is true of each Christian person?
36.What does Paul teach us about anger?
37.What are we doing when we hold onto anger for a period of time?
38.What must the thief do immediately upon becoming a Christian?
39.What rule governs the mouth of the Christian?
40.How is the Christian to behave himself?
41.Of what is our possession of the Spirit of God a sign?
42.What does it mean to be sealed to the day of redemption?
43.What must God’s saints put away from themselves?
44.How should the members of Christ’s Body act toward each other?
1.Of whom should we be followers and imitators?
2.How are we to walk?
3.What did Christ’s love toward us cause Him to do?
4.What behaviors must never be found among the saints?
5.What is true of such behaviors?
6.What behavior is suited to the saint?
7.What do Christians know with certainty?
8.What are we not to do?
9.Why are we not to listen to teachers who emphasize grace to the point that godly living is not s necessary aspect of the Christian redemption?
10.What is every saint not to do?
11.What were we before we received Christ?
12.What are we now that we have placed our faith in Christ?
13.If we are light in the Lord, how should we behave ourselves?
14.What is the nature of the fruit of the Spirit?
15.What are the true saints always seeking to discover?
16.How is the Christian to respond to the unfruitful works of darkness?
17.What is true of the secret practices of the ungodly?
18.What happens when the light of Christ comes to us?
19.What force makes all things visible?
20.What should every person who is sinning do when the Light of Christ comes to him?
21.What will happen to the individual who arises from the death of sin and rebellion against God?
22.How should the Christian person behave himself or herself?
23.What is the Christian’s responsibility toward the days and hours that God gives him on the earth?
24.What are we to avoid?
25.What are we to seek to understand?
26.What is to be our attitude toward wine?
27.What is true of the person who is filled with the Spirit of God?
28.What is to be our attitude toward the Father?
29.What is to be our attitude toward our fellow members of the Body of Christ?
30.What is to be the attitude of the wife toward her husband?
31.What is the husband’s relationship to his wife?
32.What is Christ to the Body?
33.In what way are the wives to be subject to their husbands?
34.What is to be the husband’s attitude toward his wife?
35.What is Christ doing for His Bride?
36.What is Christ accomplishing concerning the Church?
37.What will Christ present to Himself?
38.How ought husbands to love their wives?
39.What is the attitude of an individual toward his own physical body?
40.Why does a man leave his father and mother?
41.What does human marriage illustrate to us?
42.What does Paul conclude?
1.What are children to do?
2.Read Exodus 20:12.
3.What are we fathers to refrain from doing?
4.What are the fathers to do with their children?
5.What commandment is given to bondslaves?
6.What must those who work for other people avoid doing?
7.How should a Christian work for another person?
8.What is to be the attitude of the Christian worker?
9.What is true of every person, whether a slave or free as judged by human society?
10.How should Christian masters and overseers behave toward their servants and employees?
11.What does Paul charge the Ephesian saints to do?
12.What are the saints to put on?
13.Why must the saints put on the full armor of God?
14.Against whom are the saints not wrestling, not struggling?
15.Against whom are the saints wrestling?
16.In view of the fact that we are struggling not against human beings but against angelic authorities, against fallen dignitaries of high rank in Heaven, what are the saints to do?
17.Why are the saints to put on the full armor of God?
18.How do we learn to yield to God’s Spirit so that He may wield the Word of God with effect?
19.How often are we to offer prayer and supplication in the Spirit?
20.What does Paul encourage each Christian warrior to do?
21.For whom else does Paul request prayer and supplication in the Spirit?
22.For what in particular did Paul request prayer?
23.What did Paul consider himself to be?
24.What request did Paul desire that God would grant?
25.How were the saints in Ephesus to learn of Paul’s circumstances and welfare?
26.For what purpose had Paul sent Tychicus to the saints in Ephesus?
27.What benediction does Paul invoke on the saints in Ephesus?
28.Toward whom is the blessing directed?
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
1. On what authority was Paul an apostle of Christ?
The will of God.
2. To whom is this epistle addressed?
To the saints who live in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ.
The Bible, the Old Testament and New Testament, is addressed to God’s people. The promises and the judgments, for the most part, are directed toward those who are called by the Lord’s name.
This is important to realize, especially when reading the letters of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus. Their letters are filled with exhortations and warnings concerning godly behavior. It appears that today these admonitions are treated as though they were directed toward the people of the world. The truth is, they were written to the people of the Lord.
3. With what does Paul bless the saints in Ephesus?
Grace and peace from the Father and from the Lord Jesus.
Grace is the goodness and favor of God given freely to us. Grace includes vastly more than forgiveness. Grace well may be the most misunderstood term in Christian thinking.
The grace of God has come to mean "God’s riches at Christ’s expense." The concept is that God has done everything for us and all we are required to do is believe and receive His salvation.
The concept is correct in some aspects but it is not being correctly applied. To truly believe and truly receive is infinitely more than a mental acceptance of biblical statements.
God indeed from the beginning of the world has perfected our redemption. But the working out of the Divine redemption requires the most rigorous application and cooperation on our part.
To be saved is to be removed totally from the influence of Satan, to be transformed into the image of God, and to be brought into union with God through Christ. The grace of God makes such change possible by giving us the Spirit of God, the new birth, the written Word of God, the gifts and ministries of the Spirit, the body and blood of the Lamb, and the numerous tribulations through which the Holy Spirit guides us. We enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation.
The current understanding is that redemption takes place the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus. Redemption does take place the moment we place our faith in the Lord Jesus, in the vision of God but it has to be worked out by a life of patient, cross-carrying obedience. For the redemption to take place in actuality we must embrace the Divine vision of what God has spoken concerning us and then set out on our pilgrimage.
The grace of God is not just a legal declaration of Divine truth and forgiveness. Rather it is the Substance, Virtue, Truth, Strength, and Glory of God in action through Christ.
The grace of God comes to us each day in the form of Divine Virtue, strength, and guidance. Each day is filled with evil and with the challenge to overcome the evil through Jesus. If we appropriate the grace of God for the day, overcoming the evil of the day, we move forward in the program of redemption.
If we do not attend vigilantly to the Holy Spirit, neglecting to seek the mind and grace of God for the day, we cannot overcome the evil of the day. In that case, we did not move forward in the program of redemption. We were not "saved" that day.
We are not stating that we are saved or lost each day. Rather we are referring to the fact that salvation is a continuing process—a process that can be stopped if we do not do our part.
The reason Christian thinking is clouded concerning the program of redemption is that attaining eternal residence in Heaven is considered to be the goal of salvation. The prevailing belief is that to be saved is to go to Heaven when we die.
This is not scriptural. The goal of redemption is not eternal residence in Heaven. The goal of redemption is deliverance from Satan, transformation into the image of the Lord, and union with God through Christ. Therefore to not follow the Holy Spirit in the process of sanctification is to not be saved—for to be saved is to be delivered from sin and brought into the Presence of God.
The current understanding of grace is that our belief constitutes the transformation. The reasoning is as follows: "Since the Bible says I am a new creature, therefore I am a new creature regardless of observable change in my behavior. The Apostle Paul declared, `I have been crucified with Christ, and I am not living anymore but Christ is living in me.’ Therefore such is true of me immediately, independently of any program of transformation or any faith and obedience to God on my part."
One can understand how the new believer could arrive at this understanding by selecting a verse here and there, but his relatives and friends, and the rest of the world, can see that his old nature is very much alive. The new Christian must be taught that his position in Christ is just as Paul states, but his actual experience of redemption may not as yet have attained the vision.
The concept of an abstract grace that operates independently of any change in our behavior is a mammoth error of Christian thinking. The result of the current teaching of "grace" is churches that believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures but do not read and practice what the Scriptures teach They do not practice what is commanded because (according to the current teaching) keeping the commandments of Christ would be "works," and we are not saved by works but by faith. It is a removal from reality.
The person who actually loves the Lord Jesus is the one who keeps His commandments. The "believers" who do not keep His commandments and who teach others to not keep His commandments are Christians in name only. They do not know or love the Lord.
Obviously, to ignore the commandments of the New Testament because they are perceived as works, but to hold to the New Testament statements concerning forgiveness and legal position in the Lord Jesus, is inconsistent. If one is true the other is true. If one is applicable the other is applicable.
God is not leaving it to the Christian churches to climb out of this doctrinal fog. The judgments that will fall on the Western nations, the traditionally Christian nations, will be so catastrophic that the churches as we know them will be blown about uncontrollably. Many true Christians will be martyred. Some will fall away from the faith. Others will become part of the great babylonish (manmade, man-centered, man-directed) denomination that is at hand.
From this hodgepodge of religious confusion will be drawn a holy remnant, a Gideon’s army. The remnant will be a firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb. The remnant will understand the difference between true faith and righteousness, and the current concepts of faith and righteousness.
The grace of God is not God’s riches at Christ’s expense. Nor is it true that grace is merely unmerited favor, in the sense that we remain corrupt in personality while God covers us with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus.
Grace is best defined as the love and favor of God flowing toward us through Christ with the purpose of delivering us completely from Satan’s works and influence, conforming us to the image of Christ, and bringing us into perfect, complete union with the Father.
True Divine peace is the deeply felt assurance that we are abiding under the protection of God, that our prayers are being answered, that we are moving toward the fulfillment of the desires of our heart.
The most comprehensive definition of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
4. What does Paul give to the Father?
Blessing, that is, heartfelt love and worship.
5. What has the Father done for each saint?
He has conferred on him every conceivable spiritual benefit in the heavenlies.
6. What did God do for the saints before the creation of the world?
God chose them in Christ that they should be holy and blameless in His Presence.
The Scriptures teach us that God’s callings and choices are sovereign. God deals with each individual on the earth according to God’s own will. The fact that human beings cannot understand how God can do this and still hold us accountable for our actions does not in any manner detract from the power of the Divine predestination and foreknowledge. The Scriptures will remain true and intact when Heaven and earth pass away.
7. For what has God predestined us?
For adoption as His sons through Christ.
8. On what basis did God predestine us for adoption as His sons?
His pleasure and will.
Paul expresses the same thought in the Book of Romans:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory (Romans 9:23).
9. How is each Son of God to respond to the goodness of God that has been shown to him?
He is to praise the Father for the glory of the riches of God’s favor that has been given to him.
10. Through whom has the Father endowed each of His sons?
Through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is through Him that all the goodness of God is given to us.
11. What special blessing comes to us through Christ?
We have redemption by the offering of the blood of Christ, that is, the forgiveness of our sins.
The forgiveness of our sins is part of the wealth of Divine benefits and goodness that have been showered on us through Jesus Christ.
12. What have the wisdom and insight of God brought to the saints?
The mystery, the secret, of His will—the Father’s good pleasure that He Has purposed and has kept hidden within Himself.
13. What has been the Father’s plan all along?
That in the fullness of the times God will govern all things through Jesus Christ. He will gather together and center in Christ all things in the heavens and all things on the earth.
14. What have we obtained in Christ?
15. On what basis were we predestined to become sons of God and heirs of the Kingdom?
The purpose of the Father, who brings everything to pass according to the counsel of His own will.
16. What does Paul say concerning the original Apostles and disciples of Christ?
The Father has ordained that those who first trusted in Christ should give glory to God by what has taken place in their lives.
17. When did the Ephesian saints come to believe in Christ?
After they heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of their salvation.
18. What happened to the Ephesians after they believed in Christ?
They were sealed, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit.
19. What is the Holy Spirit?
An earnest (pledge, firstfruit, guarantee, deposit) of our redemption.
20. What does the stamp of the Holy Spirit on us indicate?
That the Lord Jesus will return from Heaven and redeem (release from the enemy) us who have been stamped with the Holy Spirit, resulting in praise to God’s Glory.
In the present hour we possess the Holy Spirit as a firstfruit, a foretaste of the coming Kingdom of God as well as a guarantee of the redemption to come. Meanwhile we are carrying about a physical body that is full of sin and death.
At the coming of the Lord from Heaven the Holy Spirit will loose us from the bondages of our mortal, sin-prone body. Our body will be filled with the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. Then we will have been completely redeemed and set free in Christ.
The redemption of our mortal body is part of the inheritance that is to come to us in the Day of the Lord.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23).
21. What will result from our being glorified in the Day of Christ?
All the children of God will worship and adore the Father because of the love and goodness He has lavished on them. He has called them, He has declared them to be righteous, He has created righteous works in them, and now He will have filled them with incorruptible life in their bodies, their souls, and their spirits.
22. What report was Paul receiving concerning the Christians in Ephesus?
He was hearing of their faith in the Lord Jesus and of the love they were showing toward other Christian people.
23. What effect did this good report have on the Apostle Paul?
Paul kept on giving thanks to God for the saints in Ephesus. He prayed for them unceasingly.
24. What was the burden of Paul’s prayer for the saints in Ephesus?
That God the Father would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.
What is one of the great needs of Christian people today? It is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.
Man has created a substitute for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. This substitute is the discipline called theology. Theology is an effort of the human mind to systematize what is known and assumed concerning the Christian religion. Theologians have a tendency to disagree over their conclusions. It really does not matter whether or not they agree because most of such endeavors are empty of the Spirit of God.
The Kingdom of God cannot be measured by the human mind. The Kingdom of God comes only by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, as Christ is formed in us.
We need to pray for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God. We need to pray that God will restore apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers to the Body of Christ. We need desperately to be fed the living Word; the Word that nourishes the inner man with Christ; the Word that is the body and blood of Christ; the Word that transforms; the Word that brings light and peace to our minds, enabling us to escape being molded by the influence of the wicked world in which we are living.
Information added to the mind can be helpful at times, but more often than not, theological information makes us proud of our "knowledge" and divides us into warring camps.
The Spirit of wisdom and revelation creates unity and maturity in the Body of Christ. Every saint can receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of the almighty God. Paul shows us that the way to such understanding is through prayer. We need to pray every day that God will bestow on us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may increase in the true knowledge of God Himself.
It is important to the working of the new covenant that each saint receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation and begin to know Christ and God for himself.
And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest (Hebrews 8:11).
25. What are flooded with light when we receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God?
The eyes of our mind and heart.
26. What "hope" is possessed by each person whom God has called into the Kingdom of His Son?
The hope that when the Lord Jesus returns he shall be received into His everlasting Kingdom with joy, and that he shall be released from his sinful body, which is filled with sin and death.
As the Spirit of wisdom and revelation abides on us the reality and nearness of the Kingdom of God becomes increasingly clear to us.
27. What are "the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints"?
God has given to Christ the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth for His inheritance. Because we are coheirs with Christ our inheritance consists of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.
Why is this inheritance in us? It is in us because God’s love for the nations is in us. God’s love flows to Christ. Christ’s love flows to us. As Christ comes to maturity in us, the love of God that is in Christ flows to the peoples whose spiritual welfare has been entrusted to us.
Our glorious inheritance is, first of all, the Lord Himself. Then, our inheritance is to be filled with the love of Christ for the nations of the earth, and to minister to the nations as Christ’s love works in us.
28. What else does the Spirit of wisdom and revelation make known to us who believe in Christ?
The exceeding greatness of the power of God Almighty that is directed toward us.
29. What Divine energy is it that is directed toward those of us who believe in Christ?
The stupendous energy God exerted in Christ as the Father raised Him from among the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenlies.
The fullness of the Divine Life raised Jesus from the dead and established Him at God’s right hand. The same Divine Life is working in each Christian. We are a continuation of the one resurrection of Christ. We are part of His resurrection. In this sense, the resurrection that began in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea is continuing every time a human being receives Christ into his heart.
We Christians are the demonstration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because He lives, we live. As He is, so are we in the world. In order to overcome us, Satan must overcome the resurrection of Jesus Christ—and this he cannot do.
When we were baptized in water we were immersed into the death and into the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the world we portray in ourselves the suffering and death of Jesus, and also the eternal life of Jesus.
The power of Christ’s resurrection is far beyond the ability of any human being to grasp. It is sufficient to enable us to overcome every sin, every sickness, every problem we encounter.
Christ was "delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25). Through His death on the cross our sins were forgiven.
The power of the eternal life that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead is abiding in each believer. This incorruptible life overcomes the sin and death that is in us, creating the righteousness of Christ in us. The new creation, which is Christ formed in us through the eternal union of our substance and Christ’s Substance, walks righteously before the Lord God of Heaven.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Romans 8:10).
Whoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God (I John 3:9).
The death of Christ forgives our sin. The mighty power of His resurrection life enables us to walk before God in righteousness and holiness.
The power of Christ’s resurrection life in us is demonstrated as we overcome the world, Satan, and the lusts of our flesh. Little by little we are overcoming the world and Satan through Christ’s Divine Life.
When Jesus appears in the clouds of glory, His resurrection life will shine as the sun for the world to see. Part of the shining will be the resurrection life that is in the saints. Christ and we will flash as the lightning from the farthest reaches of the heavens to the farthest reaches of the earth.
In Christ, being filled with His resurrection life, we are eternal, incorruptible, more than conquerors.
We behold the power and glory of the Divine Majesty when the eyes of our heart and mind are illuminated, as the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God rests on us.
30. How high has Christ been raised (and we in Him)?
To the right hand of the almighty God.
Christ is far above all other rule and authority, all other power and dominion, all other lordship. Christ is far above every other name that is named, not only in the present age but also in the coming age.
31. How much of the creation of God has been put under the feet of Christ?
God the Father has placed all persons and things in Heaven and on the earth under the feet of Jesus Christ.
32. What is the relationship of Christ to the Church?
Christ is Head over all things to the Church.
33. What is the Church?
The Christian Church is the body of Christ. The Church is the fullness of the One who fills everything in every manner.
We noticed in verse ten that it is the plan of the Father to place Christ as the head of all things in the heavens and on the earth. When Christ died on the cross the whole creation of God died in Him and with Him.
Then He arose from the dead, the beginning of the new creation. Next will come the Church, which is His Body. The Church rises from the dead as it is filled with Christ who Himself is the resurrection from the dead.
Christ is the Head. We Christians are being created as His fullness, the fullness of Christ. When the Body has attained the full stature of Christ to which it has been called by the Father, the glorious Head will descend on the mature and unified Body (Zechariah 4:7).
As soon as the Head is on the Body and in control of every member of the Body, the work of Christ, the servant of the Lord, the Israel of God, the new creation, the Kingdom of God—call it what you will, will proceed to bring justice to the nations of the earth (Isaiah 42:1).
Every saint is called to be part of the fullness of Christ. Christ Himself, God’s beloved Son, is the supreme Head. There are many members of the Body of God’s Christ.
As soon as the Body has been filled with resurrection life, at the appearing of Christ from Heaven, the Body will go forth in the fullness of the Spirit of God to minister to the remainder of the peoples of the world. The Body will bring the Glory of Christ to them.
When the ministry of the Body of Christ to the peoples of the earth has been completed, Christ will be seen in every saved person and thing in the creation.
This is the Father’s plan.
1. What was true of each saint at one time in his life?
He was dead in his trespasses and sins.
2. How did we "walk" or behave before we received Christ?
We behaved according to the ways of the world. We behaved according to the desires of Satan, the "ruler of the authority of the air."
The peoples of the earth are dominated by wicked spirits, by fallen angels. These evil princes sit on thrones located in the air above the surface of the earth. We cannot see these princes or their thrones because they are of the spirit realm.
The wicked spirits are real and "substantial." We can see the effects of the evil spiritual authority enthroned in the air over our heads. The behavior of people on the earth reflects the foul natures of the ruling personalities.
God is training each of His saints very carefully because we are to be established on these thrones in place of the present occupants. If we will obey the Holy Spirit as He teaches us to overcome through the Virtue of Christ, we will inherit the thrones that govern the peoples of the earth.
The reason I Thessalonians 4:17 specifies that we will meet the Lord Jesus in the air rather than in Heaven or some other place, is that the purpose of the resurrection from the dead is to change the occupants of the thrones that govern the earth from wicked persons to righteous, holy governors.
As soon as the Lord returns and we are placed on the spiritual thrones (such placement being dependent on our deeds as a Christian, for rulership is a reward for serving Christ), the spiritual atmosphere of the earth will change. Because the saints will be exerting their Christ-filled influence on the peoples of the earth, it will be much easier for the nations to keep the laws of the Kingdom of God. The laws of the Kingdom of God are taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven).
The reason the principles and commandments of Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven are so difficult to receive and obey at this time is that the governing wicked spirits are in rebellion against the Lord and His righteous ways. Therefore people on earth are continually being provoked to lust, to the worship of money, to sorcery, to violence, to drunken merrymaking. Such is the nature of the evil princes and they keep pressing for such behavior, continually deceiving the peoples of the earth.
Because of the sin and death in our mortal body it is difficult to withstand the desires of the wicked principalities in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
When the Lord Jesus comes, His victorious saints will be assigned to the spiritual thrones in the heavenlies, the "authority of the air." The peoples of the earth will respond immediately to the change in the spiritual atmosphere.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion [the Body of Christ] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3).
The placing of the saints on the thrones in the air is the coming of the thousand-year Kingdom Age to the world. The thousand-year period that will be dominated by the Kingdom of God is being created now in our heart if we are following the Lord.
If we are faithful during the inner transformation of our character, working with the Holy Spirit as Christ is being formed in us, then, when the Lord appears, what has been wrought in us will pour into the spiritual atmosphere of the earth. The flowing of the new creation from the saints will bring the Kingdom of God, the rule of God in Christ, into the earth. The result will be righteousness, peace, and joy throughout the world.
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him (Daniel 7:27).
3. In whom is Satan working today?
In the children (sons) of disobedience.
4. What was true of us before we believed in Christ?
We lived as one of the sons of disobedience. We followed the desires of our flesh. We practiced the things determined by our flesh and human mind.
5. What did our nature reveal us to be?
Objects of wrath, just like the other peoples of the earth.
6. What is God’s motive toward the saints?
His great love for us.
7. In what is the God of Heaven rich?
8. In what condition were we when God called us?
We were dead in our offenses against His Law.
9. What did God do for us, according to the riches of His mercy and His love, while we were yet dead in our sinful behaviors?
He made us alive together with Christ; He made us part of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
10. By what means have we been saved?
By grace, by God’s mercy and love extended to us according to His own will and good pleasure.
Salvation always operates according to the foreknowledge and predestination of the Lord. Yet the human being must accept the Lord’s redemption; and every person remains accountable for his own moral choices.
When Christ is presented to us we are held to a strict accounting concerning whether we receive or reject Him, and concerning our choices and behavior during the remainder of our days on the earth.
Much is required of the person to whom much has been revealed.
11. What is the central act of redemption, the act made possible through the shedding of the blood of Christ?
The raising of the saint with Christ, lifting him from the sin and death of the spirit of the world and making him alive with Christ.
12. Where is every Christian saint located in the present hour?
He is seated together with Christ in the heavenlies, far above every other name, authority and power.
We see, therefore, that the Kingdom of God presently is located at the right hand of God in the heavenlies. The Kingdom of God is Christ and the person in whom Christ is being formed and is abiding.
The first act of Christ, Israel, the Servant of the Lord, is to "plant the heavens."
And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people (Isaiah 51:16).
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:3,4).
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23).
The resurrection and ascension of Christ to the right hand of the Father and the resurrection and ascension of the newly born spiritual nature of the believer with Christ to the Father are the planting of the heavens with the righteous Person and Nature of Christ, as proclaimed in Isaiah 51:16 (above).
The appearing of Christ with His saints will be the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, the beginning of the thousand-year Jubilee, the laying of the foundations of the earth.
And it is time today to say to God’s people, particularly the Jews, "You are God’s people."
13. What does the Father have in mind to do, now that He has lifted us up from the spirit of this world and has established us in Christ at His right hand?
He will show to us, throughout the coming ages, the exceedingly great riches of His goodness as He expresses His kindness toward us through Christ.
14. On what basis have we been separated from the world and seated at the right hand of God in Christ?
On the basis of the grace of God, His rich love and mercy that has been extended to us, according to His own pleasure, as a gift.
15. What must we exercise in order to lay hold on such a magnificent blessing?
We must exercise faith.
The faith that saves us by laying hold on the promise of God is not just a mental assent to the truth of the promise.
Saving faith is not merely a belief in or knowledge of the Scriptures. True faith is a laying hold on Christ to the extent that our actions, words, and motives are transformed by being filled with Christ. True faith brings to material reality the fact of our position in Christ at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
A grasp on Christ to the point that we are transformed brings forth the necessary fruit of the Christian discipleship, which is the image of Christ, the new creation, wrought in us. This is the true salvation—the creation of the Presence and rule of God in us.
The saint is known by the image of Christ in His life, and the Presence of the Lord and of the Holy Spirit.
We do not find one instance in the four Gospel accounts where the Lord Jesus stated that at His coming He will take issue with someone’s religious beliefs. But we do find passages in the Gospels where Jesus warned that He will take issue with the manner in which the believer behaved himself or with his lack of possession of the Holy Spirit of God.
But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; (Luke 12:45).
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out (Matthew 25:8).
If we receive Christ into our heart as Lord of our conduct and Savior of our soul, placing our complete confidence in His shed blood to forgive our sins, looking forward to His glorious appearing, we will be saved in the Day of the Lord. If we truly believe these things, and are baptized in water into His death and resurrection, we will live as a stranger and pilgrim on the earth.
But if our "faith" is only head-knowledge we may attempt to use Christ as a means of our success in the world. Christ then will not become our life, our All-in-all. We will not come to know Him. We will not possess the saving faith of Ephesians 2:8.
16. Where does our salvation originate? Who brings it to pass?
Our salvation, that is, our removal from the spirit of the world and our placement in Christ at the right hand of God the Father, is the gift of God to us. We did not choose Christ, Christ chose us (John 15:16).
17. Did we attain our escape from the world spirit and our ascent to the right hand of God by our struggle to live righteously and please God?
18. Can any saint boast that he has saved himself by righteous works?
19. What is each saint?
Of ourselves we could never attain the standard of behavior presented in the Scriptures. But we can attain such a standard when we become God’s workmanship.
20. In whom are we being created a new creation?
21. To what end are we being created in Christ?
To the bringing forth of good works, which is righteous behavior, in our lives.
Notice the parallel:
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you (John 15:16).
We are "created in Christ unto good works." We have been chosen and ordained that we "should go and bring forth fruit" and that our fruit should remain.
What is the fruit of the Christian discipleship? What is the new creation that results from God’s mercy and love being lavished on us in Christ? To what end have we been chosen and ordained of Christ?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: . . . . (Galatians 5:22,23).
These are the "good works that God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Love, joy, peace, and the remainder of the fruit of the Holy Spirit are of the moral image of Christ. We have been foreknown and predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
The fruit of salvation is a transformed personality. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and every other mark of God’s nature are being wrought in us.
The fruit of the Spirit is the Kingdom of God being formed in us.
Ephesians 2:8,9 speaks of a salvation by Divine grace that we receive by faith. The salvation given as a gift includes at least three aspects:
Our deliverance from Satan and the behaviors of the world.
Our placement in Christ on the highest throne of the universe.
Our transformation of personality such that we are increasingly filled with the patience, kindness, faithfulness, love, joy, and other characteristics of the indwelling spirit of God.
Ephesians 2:8,9 often is viewed as meaning that God’s purpose in saving us through His grace is that we may avoid Hell and go to Heaven when we die. But such is not the purpose of salvation.
The purpose of being saved is that we may begin to reveal the righteous nature of God in our personality. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God to us.
God has reached down and opened our eyes so we may behold and believe in the Lamb of God who was crucified for our sins. As an expression of faith and acceptance of what we were shown we have been baptized in water.
By being baptized in water we are testifying that we have died to our former way of life, we are leaving the world, and we now have been raised to abide in Christ at the right hand of God in Heaven.
If we truly have placed our faith in Christ, believing with all our heart that we have died to the world and have been raised in Christ far above every wicked spirit, we will begin to show in our personality the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus. The purpose of the Father in our death and resurrection in Christ is that His will may be demonstrated in what we are, what we do, what we say, what we think.
We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do good works. The purpose of salvation by grace through faith is that we may behave in a righteous, holy manner.
Apart from such good works there is no Kingdom of God. If over a period of time there is no transformation of our personality, no new creation, no righteous conduct, no obedience to the will of God, we are not being saved; we are not in Christ; we are not fulfilling the purpose of God; we are not grasping by faith the salvation that has been given us as the gift of God’s grace; we are neglecting our salvation (Hebrews 2:3).
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: . . . (John 15:2).
The Christian salvation is not an issue of believing in good works, it is an issue of practicing good works, as previously defined.
22. What had the saints in Ephesus been before they had received Christ?
They had been Gentiles.
There is no such thing as a "Gentile Christian," or a "Gentile Christian Church." As soon as a Gentile receives Christ he no longer is a "Gentile." He is a full-fledged member of Israel. The Ephesian saints at one time had been Gentiles. Now they are no longer Gentiles.
23. What term did the Jews employ when referring to the Gentiles who had become Christians?
24. What was the condition of the new Christians before they received Christ?
They were separate from Christ. They were excluded from the commonwealth, the citizenship, of Israel. They were foreigners to the covenants of promise, to the promises of the Scriptures. They were without hope and without God in the world.
What, therefore, can we say about a non-Jew the moment he receives Christ into his heart?
The non-Jew becomes part of Christ. He becomes a citizen of the Israel of God. He becomes an heir of the promises of the Scriptures, of the writings of the Prophets of Israel. He possesses the hope of the Kingdom of God. The God of Israel now is his God.
That is why we state that there is no such thing as a "Gentile Christian." The moment we receive Christ we become part of the Israel of God. In the Israel of God there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The reason for this is, the Kingdom of God consists of the new creation that comes into being when a human being receives Christ. The new creation is neither Jewish nor Gentile, male nor female.
There is no racial identity in the Kingdom of God. The Jew ceases being a Jew, in the Kingdom. The Gentile ceases being a Gentile, in the Kingdom of God. There is only the one Body of Christ in the Kingdom of God. All else is of the first,adamic creation and the first, adamic creation does not enter the Kingdom of God.
This does not mean that a Jew loses his valuable heritage when he receives Christ. Christian teaching has required that the Jew become a Gentile in order to become a Christian. This is an error. If anyone must change, it is the Gentile. Christianity began with the Jews and will end with the Jews. The Gospel of Christ always is to the Jew first.
The Jew remains a Jew and the Irishman remains an Irishman. Neither is required to abandon his culture or customs. But in the spiritual Kingdom of God there is no racial distinction between the Jew and the Irishman because the Kingdom of God is the new nature that has been born of God, not of earthly parents.
25. What is true of each of us Gentiles—we who at one time had been far from the God of Israel, far from the promises of the Scriptures?
The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ has brought us near the God of Israel, who is the only true God. The gods of the Gentiles are demons.
26. What is Christ to us?
Christ is our Peace, our peace with God and our reconciliation to the Israel of God.
27. What has Christ accomplished?
Christ has brought both the Jews and the Gentiles into one new man. Christ has broken down the wall that had divided the Gentiles from the Jews, the wall that had cut off the Gentiles from the glory of the Kingdom of God.
28. What hostile force separated the Jew from the Gentiles?
The Ten Commandments and the Levitical ordinances.
29. What did Christ do with the "enmity" of the Law and ordinances?
Christ did away with the power of the Law of Moses to divide the Jews and the Gentiles. Christ accomplished the removal of the power of the Law by keeping the Law perfectly Himself, and then suffering the penalty for breaking the Law. Because of this, Christ can transfer to any person whom God gives to Him the righteousness that He possesses as a result of His keeping the Law.
Christ abolished the "enmity," the Law of Moses, "in his flesh" by keeping the Law and then being slain in the flesh on behalf of those who have broken the Law. Every person on the earth has at one time or another broken the holy laws of God.
30. What did Christ accomplish by doing away with the Law of Moses, the "enmity" that had separated the Jew from the Gentile?
Christ received into Himself all who believe, whether Jew or Gentile. All believers are gathered together into "one new man." The "new man" is the Body of Christ. In the new man there is peace between Jew and Gentile and there is peace with God.
The concept that the elect Jews and Gentiles compose the one family of God, the one holy nation, is a central theme of the Book of Ephesians. The traditional idea, that God deals in one manner with the Gentiles and another with the Jews, and that the races are identifiable in the Kingdom of God, has wrought havoc in the interpretation of the Scriptures, particularly the statements of the Hebrew Prophets.
The Dispensational teaching of a "Gentile Bride" having an eternal destiny in Heaven, while the Jews inherit a kingdom on the earth, is incorrect. The doctrine of two brides, a Gentile bride and a Jewish bride, is incorrect. The doctrine of two kingdoms, a heavenly kingdom and an earthly kingdom, is incorrect. The doctrine of two comings of Christ, one to remove His Church and the other to set up His Kingdom on the earth, is incorrect.
There is only one holy city, one new Jerusalem. It shall be the Throne of God on earth forever. If such is the case, and the Scripture states it is, how, then, can there be a heavenly kingdom and an earthly kingdom?
Let all sincere believers cast away the false teachings of Dispensationalism. They have come from Satan in order to confuse the minds of Christians as the one Kingdom of God approaches the earth. Satan understands well that God’s one Kingdom always will come to the earthly city of Jerusalem when it is set up on the earth.
Satan’s plan for preventing the entrance of Christ into the earth to rule the nations is to split off the Christians from the nation of Israel. His plan will not succeed because of the power of the Father; but Satan and the other wicked spirits do not seem to grasp that they and their devices are doomed to failure. They keep fostering confusion and destruction. God uses their efforts to perfect His holy remnant.
31. What instrument enabled Christ to reconcile the Jews and the Gentiles to God in one new man, one body?
The cross of Calvary.
32. What is it that was able to put to death the hostility of the Law of Moses?
The cross of Calvary.
33. What does the Lord Jesus do, on the basis of His death on the cross?
He preaches peace to the Gentiles who were far from God, and peace to the Jews who were near God.
34. What do both Jews and Gentiles possess through Christ?
Access by one Spirit to the Father.
35. What is true of Gentiles who have received Christ?
They no longer are foreigners, aliens, heathen. They are fellow citizens with all saints, Jewish or Gentile by race, and members of the one household of God.
36. On what foundation have the Gentile believers been established?
On the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, all of whom were Jewish by race.
No new foundation was laid by the Lord when He began to call the Gentiles to Himself. There is only one foundation of the Kingdom of God, and that is the Word of Christ that has come from the mouths and lives of God’s holy Prophets and Apostles. Whether David, or Jeremiah, or Malachi, or Peter, or Paul, or James, only one testimony concerning Christ has come forth, only one Spirit of Christ has spoken to God’s elect.
When we divide the Kingdom of God into Jews and Gentiles we contradict Paul, we establish two separate foundations, and we make impossible any coherent understanding of the Scriptures.
There is only one foundation, and that is the Word of Christ brought into being through God’s Apostles and Prophets. The Prophets of the old covenant, and the Apostles of the new covenant, spoke of the same chief Cornerstone and stood on the same chief Cornerstone. Although all the Apostles and Prophets were Jewish by birth, they spoke of a kingdom that is spiritual, that is constructed from all those in whom Christ has been formed.
The new Man, who is the Body of Christ, stands solidly on the Rock, Christ, as He has been revealed through the Apostles and Prophets of the Lord. There is no connection or relationship to the race of the old man, whether he was born a Jew or born a Gentile. These distinctions cease forever in the Kingdom of God.
37. Who is the chief Cornerstone of the building of God?
A cornerstone is laid first, and it is from the cornerstone that the remainder of the building is determined. Therefore the cornerstone of any construction must be laid with the greatest care.
Christ indeed is the chief Cornerstone. He has been chosen and established eternally in His place by the Father with great care.
38. Who is the Reference Point and Guiding Principle of every element of God’s building?
39. What is being constructed?
A "holy temple in the Lord."
Ephesians 2:21 is a significant statement. Some passages of the Scriptures teach us of God’s ways. Other passages of Scripture inform us of God’s purpose, God’s goal, God’s mark toward which He is pressing.
Ephesians 2:21,22 is one of the passages that emphasize God’s purpose in all His workings. He is creating a holy temple. The Temple of God is being constructed. The eternal Temple of God, the House of God, is Christ—Head and Body.
Here is one of the central truths of all Scripture. God is seeking an eternal habitation. Never again, as Stephen informed the Council, will God dwell in a temple made by hands. God will dwell only and forever in Zion, in Christ.
Christ is the House of God. In Him dwells all the fullness of God in bodily form. But Christ is not to be the only room in the House of God. If that were the case He would have told us so.
In God’s House, in Christ, His eternal Temple, there are to be many rooms. Christ went to prepare a place for us. He went to the cross. There His body was broken and His blood was shed. His blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in Heaven. Then His body and blood were given to His Church to eat and drink. This is how Christ is preparing a place for us.
Each believer, each saint, is being constructed as a room in the eternal Temple of the most high God. Each individual room is being fashioned by the Father with extraordinary care. No resource of Heaven will be withheld when one of the rooms is being measured and perfected.
In the fullness of time the Lord God will give the proclamation. Then the rooms of God’s House will flow together in unimaginable unity and maturity. The finished construction will be breathtakingly beautiful, superbly refined and adorned, a Bride for the Son having neither spot nor wrinkle nor any blemish of any sort whatever.
Such is the eternal Temple of God, Mount Zion of the Psalms, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb.
In God’s House there are many rooms. Christ is the Cornerstone. Each member of the Body of Christ is an eternal abiding place, a living stone, in the House of God. Here is the fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.
40. For what purpose are we being constructed in Christ?
We are being built for a habitation of God through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is dwelling in us now. He is taking of the virtues of Christ and applying them to our personalities in such a manner that we are being built up in faith and holiness until we are able to receive the Fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).
The Temple of God is the new man of which Paul speaks. There is neither Jew nor Gentile in the new man, in the eternal Temple of God. The Temple of God is Christ, and only Christ, for God will dwell in none other. It is only as Christ is formed in us and abides in us that we can receive the indwelling of the Father. God has purposed that Christ shall be All and in all.
Our task is not to attempt to build some program of our own in order to please the Father. Our part is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He builds us into a room in which the Father and the Son can dwell permanently.
Building into maturity the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God, is one of the main teachings of the Book of Ephesians (4:13).
The first verse of Chapter Three begins with the phrase, "For this cause." As we learned from Chapter Two, Paul was ministering to the Gentile nations so that those people may become fellow members of the Body of Christ, fellow partakers of the promises in Christ, rooms in the eternal Temple of God. This was Paul’s burden for prayer and service.
1. What had Paul become on behalf of the Gentile nations?
The prisoner of Christ.
2. What did God give to Paul?
An administration, a stewardship of God’s grace directed toward the Gentiles.
3. How did Paul learn the hidden aspects of this Divine grace—that the uncircumcised were to become fellow members of the Body of Christ, fellow partakers of the promises in Christ, rooms in the eternal Temple of God?
The Holy Spirit of God taught the Apostle Paul by revelation the mystery of the new covenant.
None of the other Apostles understood as clearly as Paul the nature of the new covenant. To Paul was entrusted the transition from Moses to Christ. To Paul was entrusted the explanation of justification by faith. To Paul was entrusted the mystery of the Body of Christ—the other writers of the New Testament do not use this expression.
If the New Testament consisted only of the four Gospels, Acts, and the writings of Peter, James, John, and Jude (the writings of Paul being absent), the principal explanation of the new covenant would not be available for us to study.
The new covenant was explained to Paul by the Holy Spirit during the season that Paul went away to Arabia, shortly after his experience on the road to Damascus (Galatians 1:17).
It is surprising that God would entrust such important spiritual understanding to one man. The Scriptures teach us that God prefers to use individuals whom He perfects and has communion with rather than committees or organizations.
The sacred secret that Christ revealed to Paul is described in Chapters One and Two of the Book of Ephesians.
4. What would the saints of Ephesus understand as they read this letter that Paul was writing to them?
His understanding, his insight into the hidden things of Christ’s salvation.
5. Was the understanding of God’s plan in Christ available to the peoples of previous generations?
6. To whom has the mystery of Christ been revealed through the Holy Spirit?
To God’s holy Apostles and Prophets.
7. What is the Good News that has been revealed?
That through the Gospel the Gentiles are coheirs and fellow members of the one Body of Christ and sharers together of God’s promise in Christ.
8. Of what was Paul a servant, a minister?
The Gospel of Christ.
9. What was it that enabled Paul to be a minister of the Gospel?
The gift of God’s grace, a portion of God’s power that is working to bring God’s purpose in Christ to fulfillment.
10. What did Paul judge himself to be?
Less than the least of all the saints.
11. What grace did the Lord God give to Paul?
The grace to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
12. What Divine secret was Paul empowered to bring into the light and make plain to all people?
The salvation that is in Christ, the plan that God has kept hidden throughout the ages.
13. How was the universe brought into being?
God created all things through Christ.
14. What is God ready to reveal now?
His manifold wisdom.
15. Through what instrument is God’s multifaceted wisdom being demonstrated?
The Church of Christ.
16. To whom is the many-sided wisdom of God being revealed?
The rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by [through] the church the manifold wisdom of God, (Ephesians 3:10).
Ephesians 3:10 is an astonishing statement. It is one of those verses that reveal the breadth of the Divine plan in Christ.
Why would the Lord God be interested in making known His multifaceted wisdom to rulers and authorities in the spirit realm? Exactly who are these exalted beings? Why has God decided to speak to them through the Church?
First of all, there is no doubt that God is demonstrating His wisdom to angelic leaders. These authorities are of high rank, some obedient to God and some wicked and rebellious. Paul speaks of both types.
Paul mentions "elect angels," suggesting that they have a direct interest in the manner in which Timothy behaves himself in the household of God:
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality (I Timothy 5:21).
Does God choose (elect) angels?
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels (I Corinthians 11:10).
Paul speaks also of the fallen angelic rulers:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [heavenly] places (Ephesians 6:12).
Several passages of the Scriptures imply that before God created the heavens and the earth there was a rebellion against His rule on the part of a large number of angels—some of high rank in Heaven.
We notice that as soon as God created man in His image, Satan, apparently the leader of the rebellion, was on hand to spread the poison of sin and death in the personalities of the new type of creature.
The Father withdrew into His own counsels and created a plan that would accomplish several major goals:
A living temple for Himself.
A wife for the Lamb.
A multitude of sons in His own image, and younger brothers of Christ.
Rulers, trained in obedience, who will be able to assume the thrones presently held by the rebellious angels.
Judges through whom God will be able to exercise righteous judgment in the creation.
An army of mighty men, strengthened in righteousness and holiness—valiant heroes who will serve eternally as an honor guard, a wall of defense around the new Jerusalem.
Priests, perfected in holiness toward God, and understanding and compassion toward people.
Sin will be judged and destroyed from the creation forever. An honor guard of sons will stand eternally vigilant and ready to drive all traces of sin from the Presence of God throughout the eons to come. The Personality of Christ will grow and increase until the whole universe is filled with Christ.
All these marvels will be brought forth though the Church, the Body of Christ. Both the elect and wicked angels are studying the saints intently so they may understand exactly what the Father is accomplishing. The elect angels are rejoicing, always being supportive of what God is working through Christ. The wicked angels are scheming, plotting, always seeking to prevent the accomplishment of God’s plan.
One of the reasons for the vicious resistance of the angelic authorities is that they desire to maintain dominion over the material creation, whereas God has turned over the creation as an inheritance to His new sons, whom He has made heirs of all things through Christ.
The angels are seeking to understand what is taking place.
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves [the Hebrew Prophets], but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into (I Peter 1:12).
The most important aspect of the eternal plan of God is that all things in Heaven and on the earth, all things of both the spiritual and the material realms, are being gathered together and centered in Christ. Christ has been designated as the Possessor of all of God: of all God is, of all God does, of all that belongs to God.
The rebellious angels appear to resent the giving of all things to Christ and His brothers, but they will not be able to prevent it. Their resistance results only in the creation of wisdom and strength in the sons of God.
The Word of God, Christ, became a Man in whom was revealed the Fullness of the Father. We who are members of the Body of Christ are having Christ formed in us so that there may be an even fuller and expanded manifestation of the Lord God to His creation (Ephesians 1:23; John 17:21-23).
The angels can only understand what is in the mind of the Father as the Father reveals Himself in Christ, and then through Christ in the Body of Christ.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory (I Timothy 3:16).
17. According to what design has God been revealing Christ, and demonstrating His many-sided wisdom to the angels of high rank?
According to the eternal purpose that God accomplished in Christ our Lord.
18. What do we receive when we place our trust in Christ?
Boldness and confidence in approaching God.
19. In view of God’s purpose in Christ, and the confidence that each saint can have when he receives Christ, what does Paul request of the saints in Ephesus?
That they would not be discouraged and lose their confidence when they learn of the great tribulations that have fallen on Paul.
20. Why was it necessary for Paul to suffer the things he did?
Paul’s sufferings were necessary so that the life of Christ could flow from his personality, bringing salvation to the Gentile nations. It was Paul’s desire that the Gentiles would glorify God, realizing that Christ Himself was speaking to them through Paul.
Paul gloried in his infirmities, and he wanted the Ephesians to glory in them also so that the power of Christ would be revealed.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (II Corinthians 12:9).
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you (II Corinthians 4:10-12).
Ephesians 3:14-21 records the prayer of Paul for the saints in Ephesus. This prayer is worth studying carefully because it reveals to us the path to maturity along which the Holy Spirit will guide each saint. The elements of the prayer teach us of the Father’s will for each of us.
21. What name is borne by all of the Lord’s people?
The name of God, who is the Father of our Lord, Christ, and also our Father. We pray to Him, knowing that He will hear and answer His children as we ask for grace to serve Him.
Paul has been speaking of the Jews and Gentiles being one family of saints, and so we assume he is repeating this idea. The concept of the oneness of Jewish and Gentile believers, which began in Chapter Two, is repeated in Chapter Four: "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:6).
All of God’s people, His elect, in Heaven and on the earth, are one family. They are the Lord’s "wheat" that He has planted. Also living on the earth are the "tares." These are not the children of God but of Satan. They are the wicked, of whom the Psalms speak so often.
In the Day of Judgment, the tares will be harvested and burned in the fire. The wheat then will appear in the Kingdom of their Father.
22. From what store of resources will God the Father grant to the saints in Ephesus the blessings that Paul is requesting for them?
The riches of His glory.
There is an important thought here. When we pray we are to ask largely, and we are not to direct God concerning how He should answer our prayers. Because we are human beings of limited and meager resources, we often ask God in terms of what we suppose He is able to do.
God does not answer our prayers on the basis of our feeble understanding of His wisdom and power. His resources are not limited by what we have experienced or what we know of history.
Jesus taught us that all things are possible with God and that we should ask what we will, not what we think is possible according to our limited experience and faith.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. It strengthens us to read the Scriptures carefully and see what the Scriptures state God will do.
God does not answer our prayers in terms of what we have ever known or heard, or what our condition or the condition of the world indicates is reasonable. God is God. All things are possible to Him. The riches of His glory are beyond anything we can imagine were we to search our brain for many days.
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jeremiah 33:3).
"Which thou knowest not"!
God is God. God’s Word through Paul teaches us that God perfects His saints by His riches in glory, not by the limited resources of the saints’ personalities or the surroundings in which they find themselves.
God’s riches in glory are sufficient wealth to accomplish anything we can imagine. Let us look up to Heaven, to the Throne of God Almighty, for the strength and help we need. We are not required to deliver or heal or strengthen ourselves or to solve our own problems.
God is waiting for His saints to look to Him for His delivering power, His strength, His wisdom. When we do, the healing and strength and wisdom will flow down from the throne of the Almighty. We shall receive a share in the inexhaustible, limitless, infinite riches of God’s Glory.
23. What is the first aspect of Paul’s prayer to the Father on behalf of the saints in Ephesus?
That they would be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man.
The "inner man" of the saint is the new creation within him, the eternal blend of Christ and his personality. The inner man is the born-again being who is neither Christ, nor the old personality, but a new person who has been born of God through Christ.
The inner man of the believer, being newly born, must be nourished until he is strong—stronger than the old personality of the saint. The old personality of the Christian will keep attempting to work his will, to exert his influence, long after the new inner man has been conceived.
The victorious Christian discipleship consists of our cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He leads the old man to the cross and strengthens the new man who is in us.
The new inner man is the Kingdom of God. The inner man is full of resurrection life and cannot sin because he is born of God.
To be a disciple of Christ we must leave the desires of our first personality and follow the Holy Spirit as He builds the new inner personality—that which is born of Christ. Each believer, each day of his or her life, either is ignoring the new man and pleasing the old personality, or he or she is denying the old personality and working with the Holy Spirit in the nourishing and strengthening of the new born-again inner man.
It is important that we nourish the new man because the new man is our resurrection. Christ is the resurrection. When the trumpet of God sounds it will be the new personality who rises to meet the Lord in the air. If we neglect the new man so that he dies, then, when the trumpet blows, there will be no response within our personality to the call. We slay our own resurrection when we do not allow the Lord to create resurrection life in us.
Notice how the Scriptures deal with the subject,
And that [the Word of God] which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:14,15).
For if ye [saints] live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Romans 8:13).
Paul is speaking here of spiritual life, because we die physically whether or not we live after the flesh. He is referring to the eleventh verse (two verses previous), which is describing the resurrection of our mortal body into immortality. If we, having been born again, continue to nourish our old nature and ignore our new inner man, we will kill our own resurrection.
Becoming a room in the eternal Temple of God, which is one of the teachings of the Book of Ephesians, depends on our being "strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." Our old personality is a fragile, earthen vessel that by no means is able to contain the mighty Christ of God. New wine requires new bottles.
Our destiny is to be "filled with all the fullness of God." Our old personality could no more contain all the fullness of God than a thimble could contain the oceans and seas of the earth.
Christ alone is able to contain all the fullness of God. Christ alone is the Kingdom of God, the Resurrection, the Life, the Way, the Truth.
The Holy Spirit is strengthening our inner man by forming Christ in us. The new inner man is Divine, having been born of God. He is not a resolve on the part of our old personality to try to be like Jesus. He is from Heaven, having been produced by the union of our spirit and soul with Christ. He is born to rule, being a coheir with Christ.
The saint is alive no longer. It is Christ who is alive in him. The creation of Christ in our hearts and minds is the new covenant.
24. What else does Paul mention in his prayer for the saints?
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith."
As we press forward in faith, Christ dwells in us to an increasing extent.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (I John 5:4).
The true Christian discipleship is one of ever-increasing faith. When we are born again, that is, when Christ is born in us, that new Life brings into our personality both the desire to overcome the ways of the world and also the power to overcome the ways of the world. God places in us the desire to do His will each day and the strength necessary to accomplish the Divine will.
As we use the faith God has given us by actually doing the things God has placed before us, Christ enters us in a greater way. As Christ enters us in a greater way, His will and power grow stronger in us. We then are to walk in our new understanding and spiritual strength, doing the will of God with increased ability.
As we walk in the Spirit of God we pass from grace to new grace, from glory to new glory. Christ is increasing in us. Faith is increasing in us. The result is that we are shining as sons of God in the midst of a crooked, perverse, blind generation.
True Christian faith is demonstrated in a life that is being conformed to the image of Christ in deed, in word, in motive. Faith apart from such Kingdom works is dead. Living faith tears down and tramples on the wretched, filthy works and imaginations of the present evil age. The faith that proceeds from Christ, who is being formed in us and who is dwelling in us, conquers the world.
25. In what is the Christian to be rooted and founded?
In God’s love.
Divine love, steady, strong and sure, is the mortar of the Kingdom of God. Acts performed outside God’s love are not recognized by Him, not accepted by Him. Of all the virtues and powers of the Kingdom of God, the greatest is God’s love in Christ working in us to perform God’s pleasure.
26. When we have been strengthened with power by God’s Spirit in our inner man, when Christ is dwelling by faith in our hearts, when we are rooted and established in God’s love, what are we able then to do?
We are able to grasp firmly, along with all saints, the breadth and length and depth and height of God’s eternal purpose in Christ. We are able to know the love of Christ, a love far beyond our ability to know and understand until God strengthens and enlarges us. Christ’s love far surpasses human understanding and human love.
27. What is the final outcome of being strengthened with power by God’s Spirit in our inner man; of the ever-increasing faith that grows in us as Christ is formed within us; of being rooted in and founded on God’s love; and of coming to know the incredible love of Christ for us?
We are able to be filled with all the fullness of God.
"Filled with all the fullness of God"!
What a word this is!
It is written of the Lord Jesus Christ that He is filled with all the fullness of God:
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).
The Lord Jesus Christ, being filled with all the fullness of the Godhead in His Person, is the Revelation of the Father to us. All that God Is, is in the Lord Jesus Christ. All that Christ Is, is in the Father.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect and complete Revelation of God in Heaven and on the earth.
The saints make up the Body of Christ. If the Head is filled with all the fullness of God, the Body must be filled with all the fullness of God if it is to serve the Head adequately.
It is not possible that in one individual the head can be of one nature and the body of a different nature. When we first become Christians we are not fit to serve as the body of our Head, Christ. As we become strengthened with Christ in the inner man and filled with the love of God, we are being prepared to receive the fullness of God that flows down to us from the Head.
It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (Psalms 133:2).
Paul was praying for the saints in Ephesus that they may be filled with all the fullness of God. Is it possible for us frail mortals to be thus endowed by our Creator?
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (Ephesians 3:20).
The Scriptures are stating here that the saints are to be so strengthened in the inner man, so filled with Christ’s faith, so rooted in God’s love, that they will be capable of grasping and holding the breadth and length and depth and height of the inheritance the Father has designed for us.
The Glory of God being revealed in us proceeds only from the fullness of the Glory of God that is in the Head, Christ, and that flows through Him to the Body—the Wife of the Lamb.
No matter what we can ask, no matter what we can think, God has promised to perform, according to His Divine power that even now is working in us, a work of redemption stupendously above our ability to imagine. We have been born of God. We are His sons. What we will become if we receive Christ totally exceeds any state of glory we can envision at this point in our development.
28. What does Paul ascribe to our Father who is in Heaven?
Glory in the Church and in Christ, to all generations forever.
1. How does Paul describe his current state?
As being the prisoner of the Lord.
Paul was in prison in Rome at this time.
2. What does Paul exhort the saints in Ephesus to do?
To walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which they have been called.
3. What traits of character are seen in a true Christian?
Bearing with one’s fellow saints in love.
4. To what end must every saint labor diligently?
To maintain the unity of the Holy Spirit in the bond of peace.
Every experienced Christian warrior knows well how Satan labors diligently to make sure such unity is not maintained.
5. How many bodies of Christ are there?
All Christian denominations must bow to this verse, recognizing that their organization is a temporary device at best, capable of harm at worst. The Church of Christ recognizes no divisions in its ranks.
Also, referring back to the second chapter, Paul (who would not have had Christian denominations in mind) probably was referring to the oneness of the Gentiles and Jews in Christ.
6. How many Holy Spirits are there?
Every true Christian has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. There is no Christianity apart from the Holy Spirit. No person who is not a Christian has the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him. The Presence of the Holy Spirit of God distinguishes the Christian from the non-Christian.
The Church, the Body of Christ, possesses the Holy Spirit of God, and is anointed by the Holy Spirit of God in order to bear witness of God’s Person and purpose.
It appears likely that during the troubles of the last days, so much pressure will come on the church people that the true Christians will be separated from the mass of followers of the Christian religion. Then the Body of Christ, the true Church, will shine in the glory of the Father. The part of Christianity that has never been of God will be filled with all wickedness and unrighteousness. In this manner the tares will be identified for all to recognize.
7. How many hopes of our calling are there?
Our hope is that of salvation, of eternal life, in the Day of the Lord. Eternal life in the Presence of God is the common hope of Christian people.
The Christian doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is contrary to Paul’s teaching of one hope. The rapture holds out one hope to Gentile Christians and a different hope to Jewish Christians. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is opposed to the Apostle Paul and is anti-Semitic.
8. How many Lords are there?
Every Christian in Heaven and on the earth worships the same Lord, Christ.
Paul is building up to his teaching concerning the perfecting of the one Body of Christ (verses 8-16). Christ, Head and Body, will consist of perfect members. If one member has not been brought to perfection the Body then is imperfect. The "one new man" of Chapter Two includes all of the members of the Body of Christ whether Jewish or Gentile by race.
In calling our attention to the oneness of the elements of Christianity, Paul is systematically cutting away any possible basis for the existence of a special denomination of Christians, of a special grouping of God’s people. It is not possible in Christ to distinguish between Jew and Gentile. The two constitute one Body of Christ, one true Israel of God, one nation of royal priests, one holy city, the new Jerusalem.
9. How many Christian faiths are there?
Every Christian on the earth believes in the one Redeemer, placing his or her trust solely in the shed blood and mighty resurrection of Christ. There will be no recognition of any denomination when the Lord appears and gathers His elect to Himself.
10. How many kinds of water baptisms are there?
In water baptism we were "planted together in the likeness of his death" (Romans 6:5). It follows that we shall be "also in the likeness of his resurrection."
How powerful, how unifying, are the bonds that bind the members of the Body of Christ into one Spirit-filled whole! Each of us has been united with Christ in His death and His resurrection. The mode of our baptism in water, the words that are pronounced as we are baptized, is not nearly as important as the fact that by faith we have entered His death on the cross and His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God.
It is this common death and resurrection that makes the Body of Christ one living creation in the Presence of God. How could there be any division in the one Vine, Christ, Head and Body, that fills the heavens and the earth?
11. How many gods are there?
How many fathers are there in Heaven? Every saint understands well that there is but one God the Father in Heaven. The Father is over all. The Father is through all. Each true Christian without exception has the same Father.
12. What has been given to every member of the Body of Christ?
Christ has given a portion of grace to every member of His Body. The portion that has been given to him or her enables the member of the Body to share with other people an essential part of the Glory of the ascended Christ.
The physical body is an illustration of the Body of Christ. Every part of the physical body has a usefulness that it shares with the whole body. Although the head does the thinking, the deciding, the communicating, yet the whole body is involved. A human head can not accomplish much without its supporting body.
So it is true of Christ. Each member of the Body of Christ, each believer, without exception, has been given a specific area of usefulness. The whole Body of Christ looks to that individual member for its contribution to the Body. Each member shares the glory of the Body.
One of the major aspects of the work of restoration of the Christian Church is the bringing of each Christian to the recognition of his or her unique place in the Body of Christ. The coming of the Body of Christ to complete and perfect unity and maturity depends on "that which every joint supplieth."
13. Read Psalms 68:18.
Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them (Psalms 68:18).
The above verse is of particular significance because it explains the purpose of the gifts and ministries of the new covenant. The purpose of the Christian ministries is that the Lord God of Heaven may have a dwelling place, a resting place.
As the ministries strengthen and guide us we cease from our rebelling. We learn to receive Christ into our heart. Over a period of time we become suitable as a dwelling place for the Lord. God is able to enter His rest within us.
14. What did Christ lead captive?
By the power of His ascension to the right hand of the Father, the mighty Christ made every imprisoning power His prisoner, Christ bound every power that has the power to bind. He took dominion over every authority and power in the universe. He is the undefeated Conqueror.
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:18).
Anyone who possesses the keys of a prison is the master of that prison. He comes and goes as he will, and everyone else comes and goes according to the will of the possessor of the keys.
So it is with Hell and death. The conquering Christ possesses the keys of Hell and death. Hell and death hold mankind captive. Christ holds Hell and death captive. Truly, Christ possesses all authority in Heaven and on the earth.
15. What does the fact that Christ ascended suggest to us?
That first He had descended into the lower parts of the earth.
The Scriptures seem to teach that departed spirits have been kept, and many may yet be kept, in the interior of the earth. It appears that spirits that have rebelled against God are being held captive within the earth.
16. If Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth, and then ascended up far above all the heavens, what, then, is true of Him?
He fills all things of the creation.
17. What are the "gifts" that the ascended Christ gave to men?
Apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherd-teachers.
It is our understanding that the ascended Christ gives these gifts of ministry during every generation. There always is a need for apostles. There always is a need for prophets, for evangelists, and for pastors and teachers.
There are apostles and prophets today. However, the names of the "twelve apostles of the Lamb" are in the foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem. The original twelve Apostles (we assume that Paul was the twelfth, in the place of Judas) occupy a place of distinction in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 21:14).
The fact that Barnabas is termed an apostle in the Book of Acts opens the door for there to be more apostles given to the Body of Christ, although they may not occupy the same high place of distinction that is true of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb (Acts 14:14).
There definitely were teachers and prophets in the early churches (Acts 13:1).
An apostle is a person who is sent by Christ to perform a specific work among a specific people, as Paul was appointed to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. The witness and the teachings of an apostle are of benefit to all the members of the Body of Christ. We think that Watchman Nee of China would be an example of an apostle of modern times.
A prophet is a Christian who has a strong perception of the current burden of the Spirit of God and is able to declare his burden authoritatively to the churches. Every believer may prophesy, but some of the saints possess a gift of prophecy that distinguishes them in the Body as a prophet. David Wilkerson, the author of The Vision, is speaking today as a prophet to the Body of Christ.
An evangelist travels throughout the land announcing the Good News of salvation through Christ. Billy Graham is the best known evangelist of recent years.
Shepherds and teachers are Christian people whose callings and gifts equip them to work with believers as they begin to grow into strong members of the Body of Christ. After an individual receives Christ he should become part of a group of believers that is watched over and taught by experienced elders who minister to the flock the Word of God.
In the days in which we are living it is difficult for most Christian people to make much progress by themselves. Interaction with fellow believers is essential to healthy growth into sainthood.
The Christian who attempts to be a disciple by himself is almost certain to fall into deception no matter how pure his intentions may be. Christ has placed specific ministries and gifts in His Body. Each ministry is vitally necessary.
The believer who does not place himself in a position where he can receive from and contribute to a body of believers that is under the spiritual authority of godly elders, almost certainly will fall short of his proper place in the Kingdom of God.
Sometimes it is impossible for a disciple to have fellowship with other fervent believers. In that instance, God will help. But it is a dangerous condition.
The days of the unwalled Paradise are over. The days when an individual Christian can do what is right in his own eyes are over. The Kingdom of God is at hand, and the Kingdom of God is a realm of authority. The believer who resists that authority, choosing instead to live in his own little realm, will be deceived and destroyed by the enemy.
The wall is being built around the spiritual Jerusalem today, and only those inside the wall will be able to stand. Let him who has "ears" hear what the Spirit is saying to him.
18. Why did the ascended Christ give these gifts to men?
So that these five ministries, as well as all the other ministries and gifts given by the Spirit, may be properly equipped to build the members of the Body of Christ to maturity as measured by the full stature of Christ.
19. What do these ministries achieve as they serve the Lord?
They build the Body of Christ.
One of the purposes—if not the purpose—of the past two thousand years of the Christian Era has been the creating of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the representation of Christ, and God in Him, to the world.
The Church, the Body of Christ, is not of the world, It consists of people who have been chosen out of the world to become part of Christ, to become the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:23).
As yet we possess but a faint understanding of what God means by the Church. The prayer of the Lord, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John, helps us grasp the extent to which the Church is separate from the world, having been chosen to be one with the Father through Christ and to be filled with the same Glory the Father has given to the Son.
We are as far from what Christ prayed in John, Chapter 17 as the dry bones of Ezekiel, Chapter 37 are from the "exceeding great army" of the Lord.
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 17:21).
The "very dry" bones in the valley, among which Ezekiel passed (Ezekiel 37:2), were about as far removed from being an army as one could imagine. Yet when the Spirit of God moved on them they were re-created as human beings and filled with life. There they stood, the army of God, ready to enter their inheritance.
As we pass among the churches of today, and think of the Lord’s prayer "that they all may be one," the question comes to us again: "Can these bones live?"
Only the Lord God of Heaven knows the destiny of the Church of Christ. The Spirit of God has proclaimed in the Word that the Church shall be perfect and unblemished, the holy city, the new Jerusalem. Therefore we look up to God in absolute faith and trust that the Christian Church eventually will be one Body of Christ. It will be one in the Father and the Son, radiant with the beauty of holiness.
We humans cannot join two bones together, much less cover the joined bones with sinew and flesh and skin. Neither can we breathe life into them. We can and do prophesy and proclaim what God will perform. We behold in vision a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle, filled with the fullness of the Father and the Son, the manifestation and vehicle of the Holy Spirit, the revelation of God in Christ throughout the heavens and the earth.
Notice the expression, "that the world may believe."
If we could grasp this expression we would have a better understanding of the Church of Christ. All mankind has been divided into two Divinely ordained groups—the Church and the world. The Church has been called out from the world. The meaning of the term church is "called-out."
The world is not of the Church and the Church is not of the world. The Spirit of God dwells within the Church but not within the world. Christ is married to the Church but not to the world. The world is not the Temple of God. The Church is the Temple of God.
The world hates the Church because the Church is not of the world but of Christ. The seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John separates the Church from the world with terrible authority and power. The wall between the Church and the world is the highest, thickest, sturdiest wall in the creation of God. It is impenetrable and indestructible.
Notice in the following expressions the wall of separation and distinction between the world and the Church:
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word (John 17:6).
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; . . . . (John 17:9).
. . . I am glorified in them (John 17:10).
. . . these are in the world, . . . . (John 17:11).
. . . keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are (John 17:11).
. . . those that thou gavest me I have kept, . . . (John 17:12).
. . . the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17:14).
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, . . . . (John 17:15).
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (John 17:16).
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world (John 17:18).
That they all may be one; . . . that the world may believe . . . . (John 17:21).
. . . the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; . . . . (John 17:22).
. . . that they may be made perfect in one; . . . that the world may know that thou . . . hast loved them, as thou hast loved me (John 17:23).
. . . I will that they . . . be with me where I am; . . . . (John 17:24).
. . . the world hath not known thee: . . . these have known that thou hast sent me (John 17:25).
. . . I have declared unto them thy name, . . . . (John 17:26).
. . . that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:26).
We can begin to understand, from these portions of Christ’s prayer, the awesome distinction and separation between the Church and the world.
The saints were chosen from among the inhabitants of the earth. They belong to Christ in a unique manner. They are His possession.
Christ does not pray for the world. He makes intercession for the Church—for the people whom God has given to Him.
Christ is not in the world, but the members of His Body are in the world and He is glorified in them. Our role in life is not merely the informing of other people concerning Christ of history. Our role is to demonstrate, to reveal His indestructible, incorruptible resurrection Life that is dwelling in us. He is glorified in us.
Christ’s prayer is that the Church will be one as He and the Father are One. We see anything but that today. Nevertheless the true Church always is one in Christ and in the Holy Spirit. Some day the world will be able to see that the Church indeed is one in the Father and the Son.
Christ takes care of and protects His Church. The world hates the Church because the Church is not of the world just as Christ Himself is not of the world.
The Christian Church is not merely a social institution. It is not of the world. It is not just a collection of well-intentioned people who are attempting to put Christ’s teachings into practice.
The Christian Church is the incarnation of Christ, just as Christ is the Incarnation of the Father. The church is bone of Christ’s bone, life of Christ’s Life, flesh of Christ’s flesh, spirit of Christ’s Spirit, mind of Christ’s mind, strength of Christ’s strength, being of Christ’s Being, joy of Christ’s joy.
The Church is the fullness of Christ in Heaven and on the earth. When the Church has been perfected and glorified, he who sees the Church will be seeing Christ.
It is not true today that seeing the Church is the same as seeing Christ. But God speaks of things as being accomplished before we can see them in actuality.
Before the foundation of the world the Father saw the holy city, the Bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem. Two thousand years ago the Father permitted the Apostle John to glimpse the vision. The city is the Church, the Bride. He who beholds the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, beholds the Glory of Christ and the Father in Him. This is what the Father has purposed, and this is what shall be brought to pass.
The world hates us because it hates Christ. The world hates Christ because He bears witness of the world that its works are evil. The true Church also bears witness of the world that its works are evil.
It is not the will of Christ that the Church be taken from the world. Jesus does not pray to that end. Rather, He prays that the members of His Body will be guarded so that the devil cannot touch them.
The wall between the Church and the world is not a wall of distance such that the Church is in Heaven and the world exists on the earth. Distance by no means is the wall. Geographical distance apart does not present the same barrier in the spirit realm that it does in the physical realm.
Rather, the wall between the Church and the world is the wall of the holy power of the Spirit of God. The saint is in the world but the world cannot harm him because of the protection of the angel of the Lord. "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee" (Psalms 91:7).
Israel dwelled in Goshen, a suburb of Egypt. But when the plagues fell from the heaven there was a wall between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The wall was not that of distance. The wall was the Presence of God.
Little is accomplished in the Kingdom of God by removing the saint from the earth, which is his inheritance. Much is accomplished in the Kingdom of God when the saint learns to make the Lord, the most High, his refuge and his habitation. This is why Jesus, in the seventeenth chapter of John, does not pray that the Father take the saints from the world but that He guard them from the evil one.
The Father sent Christ into the world as the living Revelation of the Person, the purpose, the way, the nature, the Substance, the Word of the Father. All that the Father is He has placed forever in the Lord Jesus Christ so that Jesus is the perfect and complete manifestation of all that God the Father is and does.
Christ has sent the Church, His Body, into the world as the living revelation of the Person, the purpose, the way, the nature, the Substance, the Word of Christ. All that the Lord Jesus is He has placed forever in the Church so that the Church is the perfect and complete manifestation of all that Christ is and does.
Christ and His Father are One. The Church, the Body of Christ, is being created, is being perfected, is being incorporated, as an integral, indivisible, incorruptible substance and expression of the one God.
The Church, the Body of Christ, shall be made complete and perfect in the Father and the Son, according to the prayer of the Lord Jesus. The Church shall be spotless, unblemished, without wrinkle. The creation of a complement, a counterpart, a companion of the Lord Jesus is not the ambition of mankind. It is the vision and desire of the Father—God Almighty.
Because the perfecting of a wife for the Lamb is the vision and desire of God Almighty it shall come to pass. The members of the Body of Christ were known to the Almighty before the foundation of the world. Such is the proclamation of the Scriptures.
The work is of God, not of man. Whether an individual saint grasps his or her marvelous inheritance as a member of the Body of Christ is decided by the particular person. Our task is not to bring into being the vision of God. He will do that. Our task is to learn what God has stated in the Scriptures, place all our faith and trust in that, and be obedient to the Holy Spirit.
There is no question whatever. All that Jesus has prayed for will come to pass in its entirety. Whether or not we participate in it is decided by us.
The world is dependent on the maturing of the Body of Christ. The world cannot be released from the bondage of futility in which it labors, apart from Christ. Christ will not release the inhabitants of the earth by Himself. He has chosen (and it is stated in the Scriptures and therefore cannot be changed) to release the earth by working through His saints.
And saviours [deliverers] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s (Obadiah 1:21).
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19).
Today the world is in the worst condition of its history as far as spiritual bondage is concerned. The Church is a long way from the unity and maturity that is required before Christ will work through the Church and release the creation. The world labors in darkness and death, awaiting—without realizing it—the perfecting of the Church.
The world will not be forced to wait much longer. The Father will move swiftly, bringing both the tares and the wheat to maturity. He will quickly finish in righteousness the work of redemption. Then the righteous will shine as the sun in the fullness of the Glory of Christ, and the nations of the earth will come running toward that eternal life and light.
The fruit of each saint in that day will be in proportion to his willingness now to "fall into the ground and die." He who saves his life will lose it. He who loses his life in Christ will reap a staggering harvest of souls—his crown in the Day of the Lord.
Within the one Church there are many different callings, many ranks of achievement. There is oversight and organization—all under the direction of the one Holy Spirit. Satan has used our immaturity and ignorance in such a way that the differences among us have caused division and suspicion rather than the fullness of expression that is intended. God’s efforts in the last days will overcome all division and suspicion among the true members of the Body of Christ.
And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord (Ezekiel 37:6).
Notice the "I will." The Christian Church is the handiwork of God. What the Lord God has purposed to do He shall do. No wisdom or power in Heaven or on the earth or in Hell beneath can stop Him.
The sinews will bring the Body of Christ together and give it eternal strength. The flesh will adorn the Body with the beauty of holiness, the beauty of the graces of God. The skin is the wall of defense that God is creating around all the glory.
The breath is the incorruptible eternal life that Christ will breathe into His Body as soon as it becomes unified, strong, beautiful, and separated from the poison of the world. The necessary separation will occur as a result of giving God’s Glory to the Church, the fires of great tribulation, and the development in the saints of the ability to distinguish between good and evil and to choose the good and resist and reject the evil.
All that Jesus prayed for in John, Chapter 17 God shall create.
God has chosen to bring the Church, and indeed shall bring the Church, to this state of completeness, unity, and maturity. All the ministries and gifts of the Spirit are being restored to the members of the Body of Christ in order to assist in the perfecting of the Body.
We are learning to recognize that the Holy Spirit is God in our midst. The responsibility of creating the Wife of the Lamb belongs to Him.
Every member without exception of the Body of Christ is to be supplying his or her part in the work of building the Body of Christ.
The Church is to be separated altogether from the world. Remember Samson!
The cross will enter the personalities of the members of the Body of Christ so that self-will and self-seeking will cease.
God shall create His Church, as we noted in the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel.
The glory that the Father has given to the Son, the Son has given to us. There is no doubt that the Father has shed on His beloved Son the fullness of the Glory of God. There is no doubt that the Son has shed on His beloved Church the fullness of the glory that God has given to Him.
The glory that is spoken of here is so magnificent in grandeur, so galactic in scope, so awful in authority and power, that no human language could in any manner begin to portray or define it. It is the fullness of the Glory of God—that which creates and upholds all nations, all things, all forces, all the universe.
When the fullness of the Glory of God flows through the Son to His Church, the Church will become one with the Oneness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Such absolute oneness is far beyond human comprehension at this moment. The world shall behold the Glory of God in the Church and will know indeed that God has sent Christ and loves the Church as He loves His firstborn Son.
The voice of Divine, eternal love cries out, "I will that the people whom You have given Me be forever with Me where I am." We are married to the Lamb and shall be with Him forever, ages without end.
The world does not know the Father, The true saints realize within their personalities that Christ has come from God. Christ has proclaimed the true God to us. Christ is introducing us to the Father and is revealing the Father to us (Matthew 11:27-30).
God has ordained from the creation of the world that the love with which He loves His Son will dwell eternally in each member of the Body of Christ. Christ abides in Divine love in each member of the Body of Christ with the end in view that he may be filled with "all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).
20. Toward what goals is the glory of the ascended Christ moving us?
The unity of the faith.
The knowledge of the Son of God.
A perfect, mature man.
The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
There is no question concerning the Divine goal for the Body of Christ. There is no question concerning the adequacy of God’s wisdom and power for accomplishing all He has determined to accomplish.
Christ is the finisher, as well as the author, of our salvation. What He has commenced He shall complete. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.
One of the principal Divine truths that burns in the heart of the conquering saint is that God will bring the whole Body of Christ, and each individual member of the Body, all the way to the fullness of the image of Christ, in spirit, in soul, and in body. He who has called and justified us will also glorify us.
The ministries and gifts given by the ascended Christ will labor until each member of the Body of Christ is filled with the same refined gold of love, faith, trust, confidence, courage, and perseverance in the Person of God in Christ.
The ministries and gifts given by the ascended Christ will labor until each member of the Body of Christ comes to the full knowledge of Christ, until each member perceives Christ as filling all in all in the heavens and on the earth.
The ministries and gifts given by the ascended Christ will labor until the whole Body of Christ, and each member of the Body of Christ, has developed into a full-grown, mature man. The standard of maturity is the full stature of Christ.
We understand, from this passage of Scripture (Ephesians 4:13), that God will be satisfied with nothing less than perfection in the Body of Christ. Since one imperfect member would make the whole Body imperfect, each saint must be perfected "at the quarry" and then placed in the Body at the proper moment.
And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building (I Kings 6:7).
It is obvious, in Ephesians, Chapter Four that the Church, the Body of Christ, was conceived in the mind and heart of the Lord God of Heaven. It is likely that the creation of the Body of Christ, the bringing of it to unity and maturity, is the central purpose of the history of the world to this point.
If we would have a true understanding of the redemption that is in Christ we must realize that all that is taking place is, first of all, for God’s benefit—to accomplish His purposes. It is when we view the workings of the Spirit of God as primarily for our benefit that our interpretation of the Scriptures becomes distorted.
The plan and purpose of God includes the creation of the eternal Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb, the sons of God and brothers of Christ, and the judges who will crush Satan, release the inhabitants of the earth, and govern the creation in righteousness. God’s will and delight are fulfilled in these and other accomplishments. When we view the work as being of God, in God, for God, we have no trouble believing that each objective will be achieved perfectly.
Each of the Divine objectives can be achieved only by bringing into being the Christian Church, the unified and mature Body of Christ. All that God desires will be realized in the glorified Body of Christ.
The perennial error of Israel and the Christian churches is to attempt to use the gifts and graces of God to benefit the world, and to seek to force the unregenerate to behave righteously. We read in current Christian journals that the Lord wants to raise up powerful ministries to meet the needs of a dying world.
While meeting the needs of a dying world may appear to be a godly ambition, it is not the purpose of the giving of the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ. The purpose of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit is the perfecting of the Body of Christ. As soon as the Body of Christ has been perfected, the entire Christ—Head and Body—will return to the earth.
When the Lord and His holy ones appear to the earth, sin will be judged and removed from the presence of mankind. God will meet the needs of a dying world by the appearing of the perfected Christ, not by the ministries or efforts of the churches of our day.
This is not to say that Christians should not improve the condition of people whenever possible. But it must be kept firmly in mind that the Lord’s Kingdom is not of this present world. His attention is directed toward the perfecting of His Bride. As soon as this has been accomplished, the world will be ministered to successfully.
The Christians churches throughout their history have been drawn into social issues, attempting to force their will and ideals on a disobedient, reluctant mankind. It is so today. Believers turn their eyes away from the Lord toward the needs of mankind, stating that the practical Christian will get out and do something to help people and not just warm a seat in the church building.
It sometimes is true that the more we attempt to improve social situations the less good we do for people from the standpoint of eternity. The more we turn our attention to God and the things of Heaven, the more practical and eternal good is done for people. The Lord Jesus was completely occupied with the worship and service of His Father. Yet He did more practical and eternal good for the world than any other person.
There have been instances where God has directed Christian people to work in a social endeavor. In this case, actual good will be accomplished.
The problem of the world is not physical in origin, but spiritual. When we rage at the physical symptoms of spiritual bondage, such as homosexuality, we lose sight of the fact that the homosexual is bound spiritually. It would be like raging at a dog because he barks.
In order to spoil the strong man’s house, the strong man must be bound. The power of Satan must be broken before people can behave righteously.
When the sins of society become blatant, outraged Christians may tend to ignore the Lord, except in token prayers, and attempt to force righteousness by politics or some other physical means. What Christians should do, when there is a social problem such as abortion, is to go to prayer, seeking the Lord’s solution.
The Lord may provide the believer with a practical manner of approaching the problem. Or, the Lord may point out to the believer that the world practices the abominations it does because it is bound with evil, and God is preparing the Church to remove the evil from the earth.
The world, without realizing it, is awaiting the maturing and unifying of the Church of Christ. When the ministries have performed their work, and the Church has arrived at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Christ will return and the world will be delivered.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law (Isaiah 42:4).
God eternal, universal purposes can be accomplished only in a perfected Church. He has given gifts and ministries to bring into being an unblemished Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ.
God has a long-range plan which shall be totally successful. Because of our lack of prayer and communion with the Lord, we may spend ourselves on short-term solutions, only to find the same problems appearing later in a worse form. It is wise to spend ourselves on God’s long-range plan, while being totally diligent in the good works the Lord may lead us to do in the present moment.
21. What are we to be no longer?
22. How does the Apostle Paul define a spiritual infant?
As a believer who is tossed to and fro, being carried about by every wind of doctrine.
23. What are the sources of the shifting winds of doctrine?
Men who through trickery and craftiness have become skilled in fabricating lies and propounding error.
It always is dangerous to attempt to use the things of Christ as a means of our own advancement and exaltation. The Christian teacher does his best work when he is buffeted by tribulations and is given wisdom and strength by the Holy Spirit. The only true Christian ministry is that which proceeds from the cross.
24. What is each member of the Body of Christ to do?
To speak the truth of God’s word in the Spirit of love, thereby building up himself and his hearers into the Head—Christ.
25. What is being constructed from the Virtue that is in the Head?
The whole Body. The Body is being joined and knit together by that which every joint, every part is supplying. Every part is contributing what the Holy Spirit enables it to give. The Body of Christ is, in love, building itself up into unity and maturity.
It is interesting to note the similarity between Ephesians 4:16 and the following verse from the Book of Ezekiel:
And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord (Ezekiel 37:6).
The Body of Christ indeed is the army of the Lord that will march when Christ appears from Heaven.
26. What does Paul therefore testify in the Lord to the saints in Ephesus?
That they no longer should behave themselves after the manner of the unconverted Gentiles, who walk according to the futile thoughts of their own minds.
27. What is true of people who have not been made alive in Christ?
Their understanding is filled with darkness. They are alienated from the Life of God because of the ignorance that dwells in them. They are ignorant of God’s Life because their hearts are hardened against God.
28. What else is true of the unconverted?
They are callous, having cast off all shame, all conscience. They have given themselves to sensuality, practicing every filthy work to which their greedy lust draws them.
29. What is true of each of God’s saints?
He was not instructed in Christ to behave himself in a filthy manner.
30. What had the saints in Ephesus been taught?
The way of life that is in Christ, a way of behaving that is not like the manner in which the unconverted behave themselves.
31. What had the saints in Ephesus been admonished to do?
To lay aside their former way of behaving themselves, putting off their old nature that is corrupted by lusts and desires that cause deception.
32. What did Paul encourage the saints to do?
To be renewed in the spirit and attitude of their minds.
33. With what were the saints to clothe themselves?
The "new man" that in and through God is created in true righteousness and holiness.
34. In view of the fact that they were to clothe themselves with the new man, what were they to do?
They were to put away from themselves falsehood, and each person was to speak the truth to his neighbor.
35. What is true of each Christian person?
We all are members of the one Body of Christ.
36. What does Paul teach us about anger?
If we become angry we are to be careful that our anger does not lead us into sin. We are not to maintain our anger throughout the day so that by sunset we are still bearing a grudge.
37. What are we doing when we maintain anger for a period of time?
We are providing an opportunity for Satan to bring about destruction. "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).
38. What must the thief do immediately upon becoming a Christian?
The thief must stop his stealing. He is to go to work in some useful occupation so he may be able to help the believers who are destitute.
39. What rule governs the mouth of the Christian?
No unwholesome or foul word ever is to come from the mouth of a member of Christ’s Body. Every word that proceeds from our mouth is to be a useful word that will meet the needs at hand, bringing the grace of Christ to the listener.
40. How is the Christian to behave himself?
In a manner that will not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
41. Of what is our possession of the Spirit of God a sign?
Our possession of the Spirit of God is a sign that we have been sealed to the coming day of redemption.
42. What does it mean to be sealed to the day of redemption?
It means that God has placed His identifying mark on us, setting us apart from the peoples of the earth. In the Day when Christ returns from Heaven, which is the day of the redemption of the earth, those who possess the seal of the Holy Spirit will be carried into the Presence of the Lord and given a body of eternal life.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23).
The day of redemption has to do with the restoration of the dead physical bodies of the saints. One of the goals of the saint is to attain the first resurrection from the dead.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead (Philippians 3:11).
When the Lord Jesus returns, a firstfruits of the Church will regain their bodies.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).
Participation in the first resurrection must be attained, it is not guaranteed by our profession of belief in the atonement. Paul sought to attain the first resurrection and we must seek to attain the first resurrection.
The first resurrection is attained as we enter the power of Christ’s resurrection and share in His sufferings. We must win Christ, and we do so by turning away from every other goal, and everything else in which we have trusted, and placing our faith in Him completely.
43. What must God’s saints put away from themselves?
All wrath, anger, indignation.
All clamor, abusive language, slander.
44. How should the members of Christ’s Body act toward each other?
We should be generous, kind, tenderhearted, affectionate, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven us.
1. Of whom should we be followers and imitators?
Of God Himself. He is kind and affectionate toward us and we should be kind and affectionate toward one another.
2. How are we to walk?
In love toward other people, just as Christ loves us.
3. What did Christ’s love toward us cause Him to do?
Christ’s love caused Him to give Himself for us as an offering to God, as the pleasing smell of an acceptable sacrifice.
4. What behaviors must never be found among the saints?
Filthy, foolish, silly talk.
5. What is true of such behaviors?
They are not suited to the saints.
6. What behavior is suited to the saint?
The giving of thanks.
7. What do Christians know with certainty?
We know that no person, who is a fornicator or is unclean or covetous (an idolater), has any inheritance or share or place in the Kingdom of Christ and God.
The wrath of God falls on those who practice these things.
We should view these words seriously. The gift of God’s grace in salvation has been emphasized to the point that multitudes of God’s people would not receive such a warning. They would protest that we are saved by grace, and if we are fornicators or unclean we will be saved in any case because salvation is not by works but by faith.
How are we to address ourselves to such confusion? Those who take such a position on grace are basing their arguments on the teaching of the Apostle Paul in the early chapters of the Book of Romans. But in Ephesians 5:5 and in other passages the same Paul is telling us that those who are practicing sin will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Is Paul addressing the unsaved, in Ephesians 5:5? Indeed he is not. He is warning the Christian people in Ephesus concerning their behavior,
What do we conclude? We conclude that those who are stressing grace to the point that behavior is not a crucial aspect of the Christian redemption are in error. They will be responsible for the people whom they lead astray with their overemphasis on grace.
If we will receive the Apostle Paul as Christ’s spokesman, let us not saw his writings in half. Forgiveness has its place and godly living has its place. To overemphasize one at the expense of the other is to create confusion in the Kingdom of God and to invite destruction on ourselves and on those who follow us.
8. What are we not to do?
We are not to allow teachers to deceive us with empty, vain words. The empty words, of which Paul is speaking, are the words that teach us that we can practice fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness, and still inherit the Kingdom of Christ and God.
9. Why are we not to listen to teachers who emphasize grace (forgiveness) to the point that godly living is not a necessary aspect of the Christian redemption?
Because the wrath of God falls on the unsaved who practice fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness. How much more, then, will the wrath of God fall on those who have been taught of Christ and still persist in filthy deeds, words, and imaginations?
10. What is every saint not to do?
He is not to partake with the unsaved of the works of Satan.
11. What were we before we received Christ?
12. What are we now that we have placed our faith in Christ?
We are light in the Lord.
13. If we are light in the Lord, how should we behave ourselves?
We should conduct ourselves as children of light. If we claim to be a Christian we should act like a Christian.
14. What is the nature of the fruit of the Spirit?
Goodness, righteousness and truth. If the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us, goodness, righteousness and truth will be evident in our deeds, our speech, and our imaginations and motives.
15. What are the true saints always seeking to discover?
How to please the Lord in their lives.
16. How is the Christian to respond to the unfruitful works of darkness?
He is to have no fellowship with them. Whenever he has the opportunity, as the Lord guides, he should reprove them, exposing their foulness.
17. What is true of the secret practices of the ungodly?
It is a shame even to speak of them.
18. What happens when the light of Christ comes to us?
All things are made visible.
19. What force makes all things visible?
20. What should every person who is sinning do when the Light of Christ comes to him?
He or she should wake up from the sleep of death, the death of sinful practices.
21. What will happen to the individual who arises from the death of sin and rebellion against God?
Christ will shine on him.
22. How should the Christian person behave himself or herself?
He or she should walk carefully and diligently, seeking to please God, to build up fellow members of the Body of Christ, and to demonstrate to the unsaved the righteous and holy ways of the Lord. The wisdom to behave in this manner is found in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit helps us obey the wisdom of the Word of God.
23. What is the Christian’s responsibility toward the days and hours that God gives him on the earth?
Every moment of the Christian’s time is to be dedicated fully to the Lord Christ. The days in which we are living are evil. There is no time to devote to what is not of benefit to the Kingdom of God.
The Christian is never to waste time or money or strength or words or any other resource that God has given him. Even though the Lord Jesus was able to multiply food He insisted that the fragments be gathered.
One day the Lord will return. One day we will give an accounting of the deeds we have practiced in our body. In that hour we will be full of joy if we have been diligent in the use of our talents.
Christ died for us, therefore we belong to Him. Our time is His time. Our money is His money. Our body is His body. We are not to waste anything but are to be diligent at all times, making certain that the Lord’s will is being performed in our life.
24. What are we to avoid?
25. What are we to seek to understand?
The will of the Lord Jesus.
26. What is to be our attitude toward wine?
We are not to be drunken with wine, which is moral corruption, but filled with the Spirit of God.
It is best for the overcomer that he abstain from alcohol. Every soldier of Christ is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, ready at every moment to hear and act on the Word of the Spirit of God. Even a small amount of alcohol dulls the ability of the Christian warrior to respond instantly to Christ.
In the present hour, as the Day of the Lord draws near, the saint who is caught off guard for one hour may pay for his carelessness with grief and anguish that will require years to heal and repair. There is no time left to devote to debating about whether or not we should drink alcohol.
27. What is true of the person who is filled with the Spirit of God?
He continually is praising the Lord, singing psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in his heart to the Lord.
How wonderful and uplifting it is to be around Christian people who are singing praises to God!
28. What is to be our attitude toward the Father?
We always are to be giving thanks to Him for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
29. What is to be our attitude toward our fellow members of the Body of Christ?
We are to submit ourselves to one another in the fear of God.
The proud, independent person who does not fear God will not submit himself to another individual. Instead he will insist on following his own desires, even when it causes harm to another person.
The meek saint who fears God will listen to those around him, being ready to profit from the wisdom being given. Of these two types of individuals, the meek is the stronger. He is stronger because God keeps supplying him with wisdom and strength, whereas the self-centered person has only his own wisdom and strength to rely on.
30. What is to be the attitude of the wife toward her husband?
The wife is to be subject to her husband, submitting herself to him.
There is wisdom in this. A ship can have only one captain. A household can have only one head. When the wife or husband cannot accept the Divinely ordered authority, confusion will arise. The home soon will be chaotic. The wife may leave because she cannot accept being thwarted in her desires. She breaks away from God’s rule, thereby bringing herself into terrible bondage.
This is not to say that the Christian wife should be overly submissive to an ungodly husband. The Christian wife should not practice sin in order to be "in subjection" to her husband. Participating in his sin will never bring him to Christ.
Only God can give the wisdom for the individual household. If the ungodly should leave, let him leave. Then the Christian wife should seek the counsel of the elders of the church in an effort to determine the Lord’s will for her life.
31. What is the husband’s relationship to his wife?
The husband is the head of his wife, just as Christ is the head of the Church.
Human marriage is a type of the marriage of Christ and His Bride. Because of our self-centeredness and countless imperfections we fall far short of this ideal relationship. Nevertheless God has stated that the husband is the head of his wife. The more perfectly this relationship is established in the home, the more godliness and peace we are able to obtain.
Whenever the husband forfeits his role, allowing himself to be dominated by his wife, both individuals suffer. The Holy Spirit will help the husband as he attempts to become the head of his wife. The Holy Spirit will help the wife as she accepts what God has stated concerning the line of authority in the home. Both people will profit from the effort made to obey the will of God.
32. What is Christ to the Body?
He is the Savior of His Body, the Church.
33. In what way are the wives to be subject to their husbands?
As the Church is to Christ.
34. What is to be the husband’s attitude toward his wife?
The husband is to love his wife with a self-sacrificing love just as Christ loves the Church with a self-sacrificing love.
When the husband sacrifices his own interests in order to benefit his wife it becomes easier for her to accept him as her head. When the wife is willing to receive her husband as her head it becomes easier for him to sacrifice his own desires on her behalf.
The idea of the wife being the "weaker vessel" is that she may not be able to control her emotions as readily as the man (this is not always true). When an irritating situation arises it is the man’s responsibility to keep the peace in the marriage and home. If he is willing to control his emotions and keep peace with his wife, overcoming his anger by the Spirit of the Lord, he will grow in the Lord.
If it is left to the wife to make peace she will become the stronger of the two. She will grow spiritually and her husband will remain a baby who must be pampered so he does not become angry and destructive.
The relationship of the stronger male (if such be the case) who governs by sacrificing himself for his wife gives us some faint idea of the relationship that exists between the Lamb and His Bride.
35. What is Christ doing for His Bride?
He is sanctifying her, cleansing her, washing her, making her pure. His first step was to shed His blood on the cross so she may be received of God through His blood.
The purification of Queen Esther is a type of the purification of the Bride of the Lamb.
Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;) (Esther 2:12).
The Bride of the Lamb washes her robes in the blood of the Lamb.
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14).
Notice that Christ cleanses His Church with His holy blood and also with the washing of water by the Word:
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you (John 15:3).
The solid-bronze Laver of the Tabernacle of the Congregation is a type of the Word of God in cleansing. The Word of God cleanses our thoughts, our speech, our actions.
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word (Psalms 119:9).
Each Christian is to keep himself, if at all possible, in the position where he is hearing the preaching of the Word of Christ frequently. He is to read the Word, meditating on its sayings. He also is to gather together regularly with fervent believers.
The hearing of the Word, that is, hearing it with the intention of understanding it and obeying it, has a cleansing effect on the human personality.
Believers who neglect the regular, consistent hearing of the Scriptures, the Words of Christ, soon become "dirty." Their behavior falls further and further from the holiness that the Lord loves.
The Word of Christ has a pruning effect on us. As we hear it and do what it says, the works of the flesh drop from us. Every time we gather together with the saints and hear the Word of Christ taught and preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit we leave the assembly clean and refreshed. We do not enjoy leaving the holy atmosphere of the assembly and going back into the filthiness of the world; but that may be necessary for a season while we are being perfected and while we are serving the Lord in our appointed tasks.
Let us hear the Word! Hear the Word! Hear the Word! Then we will be pure and holy so we can be received of our holy Lord, Christ.
When we determine to do what the Word of God commands, the blood of Jesus helps us by forgiving our sins and the Holy Spirit assists us by providing the power and wisdom whereby we can turn away from our sins. We wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb by confessing and turning away from our sins, continuing to resist them by the help of the Holy Spirit of God.
36. What is Christ accomplishing concerning the Church?
Christ is sanctifying the Church by His blood, by His Spirit, by His Word, and by bringing the saints victoriously through suffering.
37. What will Christ present to Himself?
A glorious Church, a Church without any spot, a Church without any wrinkle, a Church having no blemish of any kind whatever, a Church that is holy and blameless.
The Church of today in not in unity and filled with the Glory of Christ; in fact, it is divided into many competing factions.
The Church of today is full of spots.
The Church of today is full of wrinkles.
The Church of today is full of blemishes of all kinds.
The Church of today is neither holy nor blameless.
If such a discrepancy exists between what the Scripture states and what actually is a fact, we know that one of two events will take place: (1) the Lord Jesus will not present the Church of today to Himself; or (2) the Lord Jesus will purify the Church of today so He can present it to Himself. Which is it going to be?
It is our opinion, and we think it is based on the Scriptures, that the Lord Jesus will bring His Church to the perfection that the Word teaches. It is not the way of God to begin a work and leave it unfinished. We have several passages that teach us that Christ is both the Author and the Finisher of our salvation.
The authority and power that flow from the cross of Calvary perform a work in preparing the Bride of the Lamb. The gifts and ministries that flow from the ascended Christ also have a part to play in bringing us to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
John, Chapter 17 tells us that the Glory of God will bring the Body of Christ into the unity of the Godhead.
There are other passages that indicate it will be the sufferings of the great tribulation that will finally purify the Church so it will be prepared to be received by Christ.
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning (Isaiah 4:4).
Sufferings make us worthy of the Kingdom of God. We must suffer in order to enter the Kingdom of God.
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (II Thessalonians 1:4,5).
Notice in the above passage that our sufferings are the judgment of God on us in advance of the Day of Judgment that will fall upon the world. The judgments that come on us are chastening and purifying us so we will not be condemned with the world; so we may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which we are suffering.
We find the same concept of early judgment falling on the saints, in the fourth chapter of I Peter. Such early judgment is necessary if we have any hope of becoming the Wife of the Lamb without blemish of any kind.
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin (I Peter 4:1).
How is the Wife of the Lamb chastened and prepared for His coming? By suffering in the flesh.
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:16,17).
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby (Hebrews 12:11).
The Scriptures are clear that suffering cleanses our personality. Christ Himself learned obedience to the Father through the things He suffered.
It appears, from the seventh chapter of the Book of Revelation that the great tribulation will produce a cleansed company of worshipers:
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14).
Three brave young Israelites were bound and cast into the fiery furnace. They walked from the fire freely, having suffered no harm, because the flames had burned only their bondages.
First will come the latter, harvest rain in order to bring both the wheat and the tares to full stature. Then the burning sun of persecution and tribulation will harden the mature stalks so they can be harvested.
It is neither scriptural nor reasonable to state that the Church of today is ready to be received by the Lord. But before Jesus returns, the Church will be made ready, according to the Word of God.
38. How ought husbands to love their wives?
As they love their own bodies. The man who loves his own wife actually is loving himself because his wife is part of him.
39. What is the attitude of an individual toward his own physical body?
He is concerned about it; he does not hate it.
People have a high regard for their own body, feeding it, clothing it and attending to its needs if a bone is broken or if blood is flowing from a wound. People enjoy making a good appearance in the flesh and desire to be healthy and strong.
In the same manner Christ views the saints as being part of His own body. Christ feeds the saints, clothes them with righteousness, and attends to their needs if they are "broken" or "wounded" in any manner. Christ enjoys making a good appearance in His Body and desires that His Body be healthy and strong.
Christ cares for the members of His Body just as we care for the members of our own body.
The Christian Church is the Body of Christ. Each Christian person is part of the Body of Christ.
The Apostle Paul reveals this truth to us. There is no greater truth in the universe.
The consequences of being part of Christ go far beyond our ability to understand at this time. It is enough for us to realize that God is becoming incarnate in us just as He is incarnate in His beloved Son.
The Lord God of Heaven is enlarging His Being, not in angels but in people. We are being created an integral, eternally inseparable part of God Himself. Every person who receives Christ becomes an enlargement of Christ, an enlargement of His resurrection glory.
The Jews know of the coming of Christ to be with us. The mystery of the Gospel is that Christ is being formed in us. This is a "mystery" even to the present hour. Who is able to comprehend and receive such love, such splendor?
We are an eternal part of Christ forever and He is an eternal part of us. This is spiritual marriage—marriage to Christ for all eternity.
40. Why does a man leave his father and mother?
So he may cleave to his wife to the extent there no longer are two people but one new person who is both male and female. The two become "one flesh."
41. What does human marriage illustrate to us?
The relationship that exists eternally between the Lamb and His Wife.
Christ is One, being the Incarnation of God. The Church is one, having been created so by the grace of God.
Christ "leaves" His Father, so to speak, and becomes One with His Wife. Now there are no longer two but One. Christ no longer can be viewed alone. He has chosen to become One with His Church. The image of God now has become male and female—Christ and His Church.
It no longer is possible to divide between Christ and the Church. They are One, having been joined together by the almighty God.
Christ cannot be fruitful or have dominion apart from the Church just as Adam could not be fruitful or have dominion apart from Eve.
There is one new Man—Christ and His Wife. This is God’s eternal purpose.
Through eating His body and blood we have become flesh of Christ’s flesh, bone of Christ’s bone. He will not work apart from His Church because His Church has become part of Him.
The Wife of the Lamb means more to Him than all the universe. Heaven and earth are as nothing in the sight of Christ when compared with His Wife.
The Song of Solomon gives us some small idea of the love of Christ for His Bride.
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned (Song of Solomon 8:6,7).
We are not our own. We are not religious people who try to get something from God in return for our service. We are being created an eternally indivisible part of God Himself through His Son.
This is the love story of which all other love stories are a shadow. The heavenly romance is the reason for the creation. It is the source of all life and joy. The church in Ephesus had lost its first love. It had converted the eternal love story into endless rounds of religious drudgery.
Christ is not seeking slaves to do His bidding, He is seeking a Bride. Eliezer was not sent by Abraham to obtain another servant. Abraham had enough servants to form an army. Eliezer was seeking a wife for Isaac.
The Holy Spirit today is seeking a bride for the Lamb. The Bride is made to labor arduously in the Lord’s vineyard, not because the Lord does not have enough angels to do His work but in order to prove the love of the Bride and to prepare her for the eternal romance.
All aspects of the spiritual life are helps, are scaffolding, with the exception of one: our eternal union with Christ as His Bride. For the Bride, this is the central truth, the central purpose of all God’s working.
42. What does Paul conclude?
Each man is to love his own wife as being part of himself, which indeed she is; and the wife is to reverence her husband.
1. What are children to do?
They are to honor their parents as to the Lord, for this is their righteousness in the sight of God.
2. Read Exodus 20:12.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee (Exodus 20:12).
The fifth commandment promises long life to those who honor their father and mother.
3. What are we fathers to refrain from doing?
We are not to treat our children in such an unthinking and cruel manner that we anger them needlessly.
4. What are the fathers to do with their children?
They are to bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.
We Christians should not look to the state or other civil government to train our children in godly behavior. The responsibility of instructing and disciplining children in the righteous and holy ways of the Lord belongs to the parents of the children.
As we pointed out before, the husband is to exercise sacrificial love for his wife, placing her welfare ahead of his own. This is the foundation of a successful, lasting marriage.
In the same manner, the parents are to sacrifice their own interests for the welfare of their children.
This does not mean the children direct the household nor does it mean we are to give the children everything they cry for.
It does mean that the training of children in the ways of the Lord is the number one priority of the Christian household.
Any parent who places some other responsibility or activity ahead of the careful, diligent training of his or her children in the ways of the Lord is probably not in God’s will.
Children require great amounts of time, love, attention, thought, concern, and discipline. They must be taught from the earliest possible age the Word of God. Dedicated discipline and instruction of children, combined with copious amounts of love and affection, are of prime importance in the Kingdom of God.
People who are not willing to give themselves to children in this manner should not get married. If they wish to attend on the Lord without such constant distraction they should remain single.
If they choose to marry, they must accept the responsibility of training up young human beings as future eternal servants of the Lord.
If a father or mother refuses to take charge of the children, he or she will reap the whirlwind. This individual’s religious service is vain and unacceptable because the first task, that of the guidance of the children, has been neglected.
In the hour in which we are living, people have become lovers of themselves. They are unwilling to turn away from their own pursuits in order to guide their children. Such selfishness assures us that the end of all things is at hand.
In certain instances the state is demanding the right to train children. This is an issue concerning which we must be ready to face imprisonment or give our life. Prison, the confiscation of our property, the separation of the members of our family are not pleasant prospects for us. But to allow the civil government to train our children is to betray the Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.
Some things are worth dying for. The spiritual welfare of our children is one such top priority.
5. What commandment is given to bondslaves?
Obey your masters—those who are in authority over you in the world. Obey them with fear and trembling in the simplicity and sincerity of your heart. Obey them as unto Christ.
6. What must those who work for other people avoid doing?
Making a show of working in order to please men; working for the approval and applause of human beings.
7. How should a Christian work for another person?
As the slave of Christ, serving Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
8. What is to be the attitude of the Christian worker?
An attitude of good will, doing service to the Lord rather than to people.
Any man who seeks to gain the favor and applause of human beings is the slave of the people.
Any man who performs his work as unto Christ is a truly free man. Of all peoples on the face of the earth, only those who are the slaves of Christ are truly free. The more we do the will of Christ the more liberated we become. This is because sin and self-will are tyrants—hard, terrible taskmasters. Christ sets us free in our spirit, in our soul, and in our body. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
9. What is true of every person, whether a slave or free as judged by human society?
He or she will receive back from the Lord Jesus every act of goodness performed as to the Lord, performed with the intention of pleasing Him.
10. How should Christian masters and overseers behave toward their servants and employees?
Those who have been appointed to rule other people should demonstrate kindness and a godly concern for their welfare. Those in charge should not be threatening and abusing the workers but should treat them fairly, keeping in mind that the Master of all, Christ, is in Heaven. The masters and the slaves, the rich and the poor, are of equal value in His sight.
11. What does Paul charge the Ephesian saints to do?
To be empowered in the Lord and in the might of His strength.
12. What are the saints to put on?
The full armor of God.
13. Why must the saints put on the full armor of God?
So they may be able to stand firm against the schemes, the artifices, of the devil.
14. Against whom are the saints not wrestling, not struggling?
We are not struggling against flesh and blood, against human beings.
15. Against whom are the saints wrestling?
Against rulers, against authorities, against the world rulers of the darkness of the present age, against the spiritual power of wickedness in the heavenlies.
Apparently the rebellion of angels against the rule of the Father included many angelic rulers and dignitaries of high rank. These intelligent and capable authorities and rulers were cast down from the Presence of God and bound in chains of darkness, losing all their brightness and glory.
The rebellious angels rule the world from their positions in the air above the surface of the earth. Their king, Satan, is termed "the prince [ruler] of the power [authority] of the air" (Ephesians 2:2).
Human life on the earth would be altogether different if it were not for the ceaseless activity of the wicked angels. What are their motives for deceiving people into sin and rebellion against God? Why did the Father allow them to infect mankind with the virus of sin and rebellion?
No doubt these ruling spirits are driven by their chains of darkness, the bondages of lust and self-will, to keep attempting to destroy the heirs of salvation. Wickedness begets wickedness. The human being who lusts or smokes or drinks alcohol is driven by these chains—sometimes against his own will.
Divine justice is perfect. Those who choose to sin become the slaves of the sins they have chosen. Our choices are so important! They determine our eternal destiny.
He who loves the works of Satan will be filled with the works of Satan and with the consequences of those works for eternity. He who loves God and the works of God will be filled with the works of God and with the consequences of those works for eternity.
Each human being chooses Heaven or Hell while he or she is alive on the earth. We decide whether we want to live among the righteous or among the wicked. God gives us what we choose.
Perhaps the Father permitted the evil angels to enter the garden of Eden so that mankind would have a choice. Adam and Eve had a choice. They and their descendants have been filled with the sin and rebellion they chose, and with the consequences of their sin and rebellion against God.
Each person chooses according to the desires of his or her heart. What is your choice, dear reader, Heaven or Hell? You may select and possess what you desire.
When you die physically you will go to live forever among the spirits whose companionship you enjoy. The doctrine that a person can love Hell, fellowship with Hell, cleave to Hell while on earth, and then go to Paradise when he dies because he has made a verbal assent to the Christian salvation, is unworthy of any human being to teach or to believe. Those who are so wretched as to believe such a lie will reap the consequences of their choice.
The great error of Christian thinking is the belief that we escape Hell and enter Paradise solely on the basis of a profession of belief in Christ. Those who imagine such a form of redemption are not thinking clearly.
Heaven and Hell are not distinguished primarily by the kind of environment they have but by the kind of people who are there. If we love God we belong with the people of God. The people of God finally will be dwelling in Paradise, for that is where they belong. Our placement is not the result of making a profession of Christ, except as that profession changes us into a godly person, a person who loves God and seeks to please Him.
It does us little good to call Jesus, Lord, Lord unless we do what He says. It is not calling Jesus Lord that builds our house on the rock, it is doing His will that creates the unmovable foundation.
If we do not love God we do not enjoy the company of the people who do love God. Therefore the hope of entering the company of such people on the basis of a statement of belief is faulty. The church members who love the world, who are self-centered, self-seeking, are easily judged for what they truly are by any spiritual person—in fact, by the whole world.
Why would a worldly believer want to enter Paradise? To escape the flames? The truth is, he brings the flames of Hell wherever he goes while the godly individual brings the Throne of God wherever he goes. The hypocrite is in Hell already, although it is not as yet manifest. The godly are in Paradise already, although it is not as yet manifest.
For a worldly Christian to enter Paradise would be to bring sin, discord, and self-seeking into Paradise. Paradise would turn into Hell. Conversely, for a servant of the Lord to enter Hell would be to bring the Throne of God into Hell.
The current Christian understanding of salvation is an invention of the minds of unspiritual people. It is a significant error in many respects. It is time now for the Lord’s holy remnant to cast from their thinking the glib, heartless form of salvation that rests on a verbal assent to certain "key" passages of the Scriptures, and to return to the God of Jacob, to the Consuming Fire of Israel. We of the twentieth century have been very badly deceived!
Let us cast off the current deception. Those who love and practice righteousness will live forever among the righteous. Those who love and practice wickedness will live forever among the wicked. Such is the way of Divine justice, of Kingdom reality.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still (Revelation 22:11).
It appears to be true that the typical Christian believer is not oriented correctly toward Ephesians 6:12. Except for a relatively small number of Christians, the churches behave as though the Christian warfare is directed toward human beings who hold ideas different from ours. This is an error and has unfruitful consequences.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
Our warfare is not against the errors of people or of human institutions or governments. All human government is evil to some extent.
Our enemy is not mankind or the failings of mankind. Our enemy, he against whom we wrestle constantly, consists of angels of high rank who at one time followed Satan in rebellion against the Father. These angels never were and never will be human beings. The fact that they work through human beings is beside the point.
If every sinner on the earth were slain, sin would continue as before in the spirit realm. The sin and rebellion is not originating with people but with wicked angelic rulers. Programs designed to promote human righteousness are doomed before they are set in motion. They are doomed because they will be wrecked by sinful humans who are deceived by angelic majesties. The wicked heavenly authorities do not want righteousness practiced in the earth!
Human beings who practice wickedness are, for the most part, the unwitting dupes of angels who are far superior to them in wisdom and power.
Human beings who allow themselves to be duped by the fallen angels are heading toward a destiny so horrible as to be beyond description, just as is true of Judas.
It is Satan who informs people that God is too loving to create an eternal Hell. Satan will turn on his dupes the moment they die. Then it is too late for the human being. He has made the wrong choices and will suffer torment for eternity. This is what the Scriptures declare and they cannot be changed.
It is obvious to the thoughtful person that the manner in which a battle is fought depends to a great extent on the nature of the enemy.
If the enemy consists of bacteria, microscopes and drugs are used. If the enemy consists of wild animals, as in the case of pioneer life in the wilderness, rifles and traps are used. One would not use a microscope and penicillin when fighting wolves and bears, nor would a rifle be used against bacteria. The nature of the enemy determines the weapons and the strategies.
If our enemy were people we could use education, science, military weapons and strategies, and propaganda.
Education, science, military weapons and strategies, propaganda, large groups of people, tremendous amounts of money are totally ineffective against fallen angels.
What weapons and tactics are effective in the war against fallen angels?
Prayer, the Scriptures, faith and trust in the Word of the Father, the body and blood of Christ, the willingness of the disciple to lay down his life so Christ may live in him, the power of the Holy Spirit, strict obedience to the Father’s will, a sanctified, pure, clean, holy personality. These are the weapons and tactics that are effective in the war against rebellious, fallen angels.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11).
Hell has only one fear—the Lord Jesus Christ and His Father. The churches can, if they wish, devote time, money, talents, human competence and industry in vast amounts. But Hell continues to have no fear of human beings or what they can accomplish.
But when one person sets aside his or her own life so that Christ may come forth, Hell trembles! Trembles! Trembles!
Hell fears the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The fallen angels are terrified of God, not of the churches. When Christ is living in the members of the Body of Christ, Hell is greatly threatened.
Knowing this, we can understand why every strategy that can be conceived by the genius of Hellish rulers is employed to prevent the Christian people from surrendering their own lives and plans to the Lord. For when they do, Christ appears and brings forth His own Life and plans in the churches.
16. In view of the fact that we are struggling not against human beings but against angelic authorities, against fallen dignitaries of high rank in Heaven, what are the saints to do?
We are to put on the full armor of God.
17. Why are the saints to put on the full armor of God?
So we may be able to hold our ground in the day of evil.
There have been many evil days throughout church history. Each Christian believer will have his own share of evil days. There is an even greater day of evil looming on the horizon, as we see human beings loving themselves and pleasure more than they love God; as we see people abandoning themselves to wicked spirits.
What is the saint to do in the day of evil? He is to stand, to resist all the pressure Hell can bring to bear on him.
One way in which an enemy can disarm an opponent is by assuring him that he is in no danger. Once a nation becomes convinced there is no more threat of danger it will relax its vigilance. That is the time for the enemy to attack!
This is precisely why Satan has introduced the concept of the "pre-tribulation rapture." The ‘rapture" deception has very successfully convinced the believers that there is no need for them to prepare to stand in the evil day. They have been disarmed. When the evil day comes, and it certainly shall come, the believers will be swept off their feet being able neither to help themselves nor anyone else.
Notice the expression in verse 13: "and having done all [accomplished and worked out everything], to stand."
The above expression is speaking of mature believers who have survived the first fiery ordeals of discipleship and have become established and settled in their Christian pilgrimage. They have set themselves to endure all things to the end so they may be saved.
The task of the mature disciple is to stand. At this time we are on the defensive. We are to stand, holding the ground that Christ has given to us.
When the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven, the Body of Christ will attack, falling on sin and sinners with relentless fury in the fullness of the Spirit of God.
Our task now is to stand firm against all the wiles of fallen angels.
The following are the pieces of the saints’ armor—armor that we must put on so we may be able to resist Satan during the times when the pressures of darkness war against our spirit.
The belt of truth buckled around our waist.
It is the truth that sets us free. We must worship God in spirit and in truth.
All of Satan’s ability to harm us proceeds from deception. He must deceive us into stepping away from the protection of the angel of the Lord. Truth is of supreme importance in the Christian struggle against fallen angelic leaders.
The loins of a man speak of his hips, his strength to fight. If his hip is punctured or broken his fighting days have ended until the hip is healed.
How does Satan lead us away from the protection of Divine truth? By appealing to our love of sin and our self-will.
Satan cannot harm us while we are abiding in Christ. Satan leads us away from the protection of Christ by tempting us to live in a lie, to steal, to fornicate, to follow our own will and ambition, by appealing to our lust of the flesh, our lust of the eyes, and our pride of life.
If Satan can deceive us into removing ourselves from the protection of God he can overcome us easily.
Therefore truth becomes all-important. Satan has been very successful in our time in his program to deceive the saints. One of his remarkably successful efforts has been in the area of convincing the saints they should be prosperous in the world, enjoying every material advantage. Satan uses Old Testament passages, promises of material abundance, such as those made to Israel if they would obey the Law.
After saints have become convinced that it is the will of Christ that they enjoy every material advantage, it no longer is possible to teach them of the demands of Christian discipleship. They will not hear it. They will flee from the cross. They will not arm themselves with a mind to suffer. They no longer are of any use to Christ. Satan has knocked them out of combat by causing them to abound in worldly goods. Cunning, don’t you agree? Satan uses the Scriptures to lead the saints astray.
Satan cannot harm Christ or any person who is abiding in Christ. He does not have that power, his authority having been stripped from him on the cross of Calvary. If he would overcome the saint he must be successful in persuading him to believe a lie.
Antichrist does not possess the power to harm God’s people spiritually, because the Divine promises of Scripture will remain true even throughout the great tribulation. However, Antichrist, according to the Scriptures, will overcome the elect in some instances. He will overcome some of them by showing himself friendly to the churches so that the Christians will believe that the world will help them worship and serve God.
Antichrist will overcome other Christians by frightening them with economic pressure, prison, harm to their children, torture, confiscation of their property and comforts. Some of the believers will panic and abandon their faith in the Lord, removing themselves from the Christian warfare. This will be at a time when the peoples of the earth will be looking to the churches for the wisdom and power to survive the horrible spiritual darkness that will blanket the earth just before the Lord returns.
Both of these tactics of Antichrist, friendliness and threats, are being used successfully in the present hour, and both are based on a lie.
The first tactic is the overcoming of the saints with material prosperity, persuading them that the world is their friend and that they are at home in the world and should be enjoying it because they are God’s children.
The Scriptures teach us clearly that the world hates Christ and that whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God and of Christ. No Christian warrior entangles himself with the affairs of the present life. We are to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ. We are to set our affections on things above, not on the things of the world.
The second tactic is a scare tactic. In many places today the Christian people are being tortured and cast into prison. The lie emphasized here is that God cannot keep His elect from harm. God can and does keep His elect from true harm and danger, spiritual harm and danger, because we and our children obtain a better resurrection if we become privileged to suffer for the name and sake of Christ.
No matter what the great tribulation brings to us in the way of suffering, not one word of the Thirty-fourth, the Thirty-seventh, or the Ninety-first Psalms can be changed by the enemy. Every saint should learn well the contents of these three Psalms. They will stand during all periods of tribulation, including the great tribulation. The Spirit of Christ gave these Psalms. They, along with many other passages of the Scriptures, are God’s assurance to His little flock. Those who place their trust in the Lord will overcome the devil in every situation.
We can pass successfully through every period of trouble if we will place all our faith and trust in the Word of God. We can escape all the spiritual dangers that will fill the earth and finally stand in victory before the Son of Man.
Having on the breastplate of righteousness.
God will work only where there is righteousness. God will not perform His works of deliverance where there is lawlessness and unrighteousness. No saint will be able to stand in an evil hour if his chest and heart are not protected by righteousness.
There are two aspects of righteousness and both aspects are of critical importance in their place. Both aspects of righteousness form the one breastplate of righteousness.
The first aspect of righteousness is imputed (assigned) righteousness. Imputed righteousness is the acceptability to God that is freely given to every sinner who comes to God through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the gift of righteousness through the blood of the cross.
The second aspect of righteousness we may term actual or observable righteousness. Actual, observable righteousness is the keeping of God’s commandments. It is the fruit of the Spirit of God dwelling in the believer’s personality.
All of our past sins have been forgiven on the basis of imputed (assigned) righteousness. The Christian salvation brings forth a new creation. If no new creation of actual, observable righteousness is coming forth, salvation is not operating in that individual.
Can you imagine how effective the Apostle Paul would have been, how much faith we would place in his epistles, if he were a fornicator, an adulterer, a liar, a thief, a drunkard, a murderer, a worshiper of demons? So it is true that no Christian can stand in the evil day if his heart and chest are not protected by both imputed (assigned) and observable righteousness.
No fornicator, no liar, no drunkard, no dabbler in the occult, no murderer has any place or inheritance in the Kingdom of God. We engaged in such abominations before we were saved but now we have been washed from that behavior.
The individual who practices the works of the flesh cannot stand when he is being pressed by the enemy. Only the righteous can stand and bring themselves and others into the Kingdom of God.
It is folly to claim "it is not my righteousness but Christ’s righteousness that God accepts." We hear this so often! Such a statement is nothing more than an excuse for sinful, rebellious behavior. It is to call Jesus "Lord," and then not do what He commands.
His righteousness must fashion our daily behavior. If Christ is not living His life in us we are not Christians at all, as emphasized in the Book of I John.
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (I John 1:6).
Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
The idea here seems to be that we are to make ourselves ready to walk by the Gospel of Christ, which brings peace with God, and also to be always prepared to bring the Gospel to others.
There are believers today who have been taught the Christian Gospel for many years but they are unable to teach anyone else. Yet millions of people today have not heard the Gospel even one time.
It is our fault as teachers. We have not taught the believers that as soon as they receive Christ they are obligated to serve Him the remainder of their days on the earth. The idea of serving Christ and suffering for Christ has nearly disappeared from present-day Christian teaching.
No member of the Body of Christ is without a purpose, a use, a function, a job to do, a work to accomplish, a task to fulfill. Every believer who would be a functioning member of Christ’s Body must go to the Lord every day and find the Lord’s will for his life.
If he does not he will settle back in complacency. He then will have to answer for a wasted life, for buried talents, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This severe judgment of Christians shall take place, whether we believe it or not.
It is time now for every member of the Body of Christ to prepare himself or herself for the greatest ingathering of souls in history. The twentieth century awakening is at hand. Every saint must immerse himself in prayer and in the Word so that when the Spirit of God brings in the multitude of souls there will be many believers who will be able to teach them how to stand in the Lord.
God expects young and old to diligently prepare themselves with the Word of God, the Gospel of peace. Then wherever the Spirit of God directs their steps they will be able to bring glad tidings of joy to the nations of the earth.
There is no place for a shirker in the time of harvest.
Every Christian is to be a worker in the harvest of the peoples of the world.
The shield of faith.
Satan continually hurls burning arrows at the saints. These arrows will set fire to the personality if they are not warded off and extinguished promptly. We must have the shield of faith in front of us at all times so that the arrows do not wound us severely.
Faith is the means by which the saint overcomes the world, the devil, the lusts of his own flesh, and his self-will and self-seeking. The cross brings us down to helplessness. Faith in God’s person and Word raises us up to conquer the universe.
Faith is a rock-like trust in God and in what God has stated. Faith is compounded from perseverance, trust, hope, courage, and relentless determination to find "the city that has foundations."
Satan forever is shooting doubt, lust, discouragement, reasoning, perplexity, dismay, fear, dread, at our heart and our mind. We keep moving the shield of faith so that every one of these flaming missiles is kept away from our heart and mind, its fire quenched and its poison neutralized.
Faith is the healthy, strong, buoyant attitude toward Christ’s Word that keeps us striding forward, nothing daunted by the poisonous floods of lawlessness, sin, and filth that spew from the mouth of the ancient red dragon.
We want no part of him or his ways. We maintain our trust in all that God has stated. We declare that the Word of God is true no matter what our circumstances or feelings suggest. Also, we forgive everyone who wounds us and permit no bitterness to dwell in our personality.
By faith Christ dwells in our heart. By faith we gain the approval of God. By faith we live in expectation of finding the city that has foundations—the mountain of the Holy One of Israel.
The helmet of salvation.
Christ is our Head and He is our salvation. We have the mind of Christ. Christ Himself is our motives, our plans, our imaginations, our purposes. Every thought in our mind is being brought into subjection to Christ.
Paul instructs us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2).
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (II Corinthians 10:5).
It appears that the last days will be filled with the communication of concepts and ideas. Has it ever been true in the history of the world that teachings and ideas have been circulated so rapidly? There are books, radios, televisions, magnetic tapes, satellites, computers—all communicating information. Knowledge is being increased, as Daniel prophesied. Messages are flashing across the earth with the speed of light.
Every such change in the environment and culture of mankind has an effect on the behavior of people, a potential for good and a potential for evil. The dramatic rise in communication in the twentieth century will be used by both Christ and Satan. Christ is creating people in His image. Satan is attempting to create people in his image.
People are transformed by the renewing of their minds. The Christian is to keep his mind filled with the hope of salvation, with the Word of God, with the serving of Christ. We are to flee from the molding influences of the world. We are to meditate day and night in the Word of God, the Law of the Lord.
We are to fill the minds of our children with the Word of God, with the serving of Christ. We are to persuade the people around us to keep their minds on Christ. We are to preach and teach the Word of Christ. In so doing we will save ourselves and those who hear us.
The battle today is for the minds and hearts of people. The saint is to keep himself aware that he is being educated by various devices, and that the devil-inspired purpose of worldly education is to cause the saint to be self-seeking, to be his own god, to sin and rebel against God’s will in Christ.
The books and electronic devices of today offer the greatest opportunity in the history of mankind to cover the earth with the word of righteousness. Such a transforming message must be conveyed by cross-carrying disciples, by those who are dead to self-will and in whom Christ is living. It is an hour for signs and wonders; but the signs and wonders, working together with communication devices, must flow from the cross-carrying obedience of the saint.
The sword of the Spirit.
The Word of God is contained in the Holy Scriptures. The Word of God is Divine Substance, and the words of the Scriptures represent the factual, information-giving aspect of the Divine Substance.
The Word of God includes more than the words found in the Scriptures, although the conquering saint learns that the Scriptures are the Word of the almighty God and will never change.
The Word of God is Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh and raised from the dead.
The body and blood of Christ are the body and blood of the Word of God. The conquering saint learns to live by the Word of God in his mind (the Scriptures), and by the Word of God in his heart (the body and blood of Christ).
The Word of God is alive. The Word of God is the most powerful force in the universe—far more powerful than any hydrogen bomb. The Word is inconceivably powerful, capable of dismissing galaxies with one thrust.
The Word of God is not the sword of the saint, it is the sword of the Spirit of God. It is only as the saint is filled with the Spirit of God that the Spirit’s sword can be used.
The churches of Christ, in comparison with the promises of Scripture, are comparatively weak. The churches behold with dismay the armed might of the nations of today, feeling themselves to be weak and impotent—which indeed they are.
When the churches become willing to die to their own plans and ambitions the Holy Spirit will be able to clothe Himself with the churches. When the Spirit of God clothes Himself with the saints of today, as He did with Samson, He then will wield His sword. The sword of the Spirit will turn aside the armed might of the nations of today as the treads of a large tractor turn aside the petals of a tiny flower.
The Spirit of God working by the Word of God brought the universe into being. Can we comprehend power as great as this? When we insist on building the Kingdom of God by human talent, wisdom, and resources, the Spirit of God will keep His sword sheathed until we perceive the folly of our self-centered, self-seeking ways.
18. How do we learn to yield to God’s Spirit so He may wield the Word of God with effect?
By "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit."
It is not enough for the conquering saint to pray. He or she must learn to pray in the Spirit. In some churches praying in the Spirit means praying in tongues. Praying in tongues indeed is a valuable part of spiritual warfare. But we suspect that Paul here is not limiting this expression to praying in tongues, as helpful as such activity is.
Praying in the Spirit is distinguished from praying in the energies and wisdom of the human personality. It is a good practice to pray always; and the believer grows in Christ as he prays and reads the Scriptures on a daily basis.
As we make the effort to pray we learn by experience how to follow the prayer and burden of the Spirit. "The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). Praying in the Spirit means "getting into the groanings" so we are directing our prayers in cooperation with the Holy Spirit rather than in the blindness of our human personality.
We learn by experience how to follow the Spirit in prayer. We learn how to enter and flow with the burden of the Spirit. We may speak in tongues and prophesy in our time of prayer, seeking the mind of the Spirit.
The will of God in our heart begins to emerge so our Christian walk is the outward expression of the inward prayer and burden. Every saint is to become the visible expression of the resurrection life of Christ, as the Father works in him both to will and to do His good pleasure.
There is a time to stop what we are doing and to pray for the vital needs that the Spirit is pressing upon us and that we know to be important. As we enter the burden of prayer we reach heavenward for the will of the Holy Spirit so that our prayer may begin to conform to the will of God.
The wisdom and energy of the Spirit enter our prayer giving it effectiveness in binding and loosing the conditions in the heavens, in the realm of spirits. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Christ Himself makes intercession for us in the Presence of the Father and knows the mind of the Spirit.
19. How often are we to offer prayer and supplication in the Spirit?
The experienced saint is learning to pray without ceasing. This means that his whole life is a flowing forward in thanksgiving and prayer in the Spirit. It takes time and wisdom in order to learn how to enter such a walk in the Spirit.
Command upon command, rule upon rule, the Word of God is being created in our personality. As the Word of God is created within us we become increasingly able to flow with the Life of the Godhead. Our life becomes the song, the praise, the burden, the supplication, the will of God in the earth.
20. What does Paul encourage each Christian warrior to do?
To watch in prayer with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Each conquering saint learns to pray for the other saints. We refuse to entertain the accusations that Satan is presenting against our fellow members of the Body of Christ. We pray for all Christians everywhere, whether or not their doctrines and practices conform to what we esteem to be correct and desirable in the Kingdom of God.
Satan is skillful in his ability to divide the Body of Christ. He has created numerous factions in the one Body. Today, as the work of restoration presses toward the creation of the unblemished Bride of the Lamb, we are beginning to overcome the divisive spirits that have been commissioned by Hell with the task of keeping the members of the Body from working toward the maturing and unifying of the Body.
Such overcoming requires the death of the cross working in the members of the Body so that self-seeking and self-exaltation are destroyed from our personality.
We are in the days of Nehemiah, so to speak. We are restoring the wall and gates of the heavenly city of Jerusalem. Each of us is building with one hand and fighting with the other. We are not fighting against our fellow laborers and saints who are building alongside us. We are fighting against our common enemy, the devil.
Let us cease from pulling from the wall the stones placed there by saints who are not of our acquaintance. Let us rather put our own stone in the wall, Meanwhile standing back to back and side by side with every other member in the Body of Christ, praying in the Spirit for each one.
In this manner we will overcome the divisiveness, criticism, hatred, gossiping, that Satan has employed in order to keep the members of the Body of Christ from working together in the Spirit. Let us devote our time, energy, and abilities to building the one Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the holy city, the Church of Christ.
21. For whom else does Paul request prayer and supplication in the Spirit?
Every saint who is on the firing line in the service of the Lord knows how greatly he is strengthened spiritually when there are Christians praying for him. One of the most important ministries in the Body of Christ is that of prayer for those who are preaching and teaching the Gospel. The need for prayer support for Christian leaders seems to be greater than ever in the present hour.
22. For what in particular did Paul request prayer?
That the power of utterance would be granted to him, that he would be able to open his mouth with boldness to make known the mystery of the Gospel.
Those who are inexperienced in the ministry of the Word will not be able to understand this prayer request as well as those who have labored in the teaching and preaching of the Word.
We can know the Word. We can have people in front of us who need the Word. But we are fighting against angelic rulers formerly of high rank in Heaven. Of our own wisdom and energy we are not able to prevail against these personages. They are resisting the Word of Christ that is in our mouth. It is only as these hindering spirits are bound by the Spirit of God, their ability to thwart us restrained, that it is possible for us to open our mouth and declare what God has put in our heart and spirit.
Prayer in the Spirit is of the utmost importance if the saints who are on the front lines of the battle are to continue to declare boldly the deliverance that is found only in Christ our Lord.
The nations of the earth are awaiting that Word today. All the forces of Hell are determined to prevent the Word of God from releasing the peoples of the earth. As the saints pray, the Father will grant them the power and wisdom to overcome every wicked spirit and to bring life and light to the many millions who are sitting in darkness in the present hour.
Paul mentioned "the mystery of the gospel." Paul, more than any other apostle, understood the transition from Moses to Christ, from the Torah written on stone to the eternal moral law of God written on the heart. The mystery of the creation of Christ in us, the new creation, the Body of Christ, the transition from righteousness gained by conformity to a written code to righteousness gained by the crucifixion of the adamic nature and the formation of Christ in us, appears to have been given to Paul alone.
23. What did Paul consider himself to be?
An ambassador conducting his embassy while in chains.
Paul indeed was brought down to weakness by the Lord. A list of his various distresses can be found in the eleventh chapter of II Corinthians.
Paul had determined to rejoice in his weaknesses because of the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ that continually was strengthening him in his various tribulations and chains.
There have been many ambassadors of nations throughout the history of mankind. Most of them have been treated with respect and have enjoyed the material advantages reserved for those of dignity and importance.
Paul was an ambassador in chains. But no other man, with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ, has so affected the course of the peoples of the earth. For nineteen hundred years the Apostle Paul has proclaimed the mystery of the Gospel from pole to pole, from continent to island, from village to metropolis. Truly the power of Christ is perfected in weakness.
24. What request did Paul desire that God would grant?
That he would have freedom of utterance to preach the Gospel while he was in his chains.
Every disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ must come to this place of abandonment to the will of Christ. It does not matter whether we live or die. For us to live is Christ and to die is gain.
The only matter of importance is that Christ is glorified in us, whether by our life or by our death.
To lose one’s self in the ocean of God’s Person and purpose is the greatest blessing any individual can receive. The believer who is concerned over his own comforts, his own desires, his own glory, is bound in a tiny knot of little accomplishment no matter how grand his position in the world may appear to be.
The believer who abandons himself to the will of God, who lays down his life for the Gospel’s sake, who sows the seed of his life into other people that they may receive Christ, multiplies himself to a degree incomprehensible to us at this time.
The Apostle Paul was one man. His education and personality were sufficient to bring him honor and wealth in Israel. He would have been a notable Jew of his day.
By casting his life into the hands of Christ, allowing Christ to sow him in the ground of the hearts of nations, Paul has moved the world.
Would you care to estimate how many people in the history of the world have been affected in one way or another by the Apostle Paul? Isn’t it incredible what can result from one life abandoned to Christ?
25. How were the saints in Ephesus to learn of Paul’s circumstances and welfare?
From Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.
26. For what purpose had Paul sent Tychicus to the saints in Ephesus?
That they might be informed of Paul’s circumstances in prison in Rome and also that Tychicus might encourage the hearts of the believers.
27. What benediction does Paul invoke on the saints in Ephesus?
"Peace to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
28. Toward whom is the blessing directed?
Toward all who have an incorruptible love for our Lord Jesus Christ.