Preaching Outline of the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Twenty Three

The Letter to The Ephesians   Message Twenty Three

The Lord warned us again through Paul that we can hide the light.  There is a bushel, a basket that we put over the light, hiding it – it is the basket of willful sin. 

Paul gives us a list of things that we might know what to stay away from – he warned us away to protect us from the chastening hand of God.

Which group do you identify with?  We are not to sin against others and we are also commanded not to sin against ourselves, which confuses the testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ in the minds of unbelievers.  The common excuse is “I am not hurting anyone – this is my body and I can do what I want, what I feel like doing”!  This being the case, God led the Apostle Paul to deal with this argument and remove any excuses –

XI.  Prohibitions, Proving, and Praises    Ephesians 5:3-21

God gave us this Word that we should –

  A.  Be Warned of the dangers before us.   (Prohibitions)                                                The danger of –

    1.  Seeking the satisfaction of the flesh –

Ephesians 5:3-6  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

    2.  Seeking the attention of others-

Ephesians 5:4  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

    3.  Seeking to live as an unbeliever –

Ephesians 5:5  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20   What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

If one desires to live a life glorifying the body and pursuing the lust of the flesh instead of living a life glorifying God and serving Him, they have a serious problem and need to cry unto the Lord for salvation!

    4.  Seeking to be liked by those you are around each day –

Ephesians 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

People will encourage you to sin by telling you that you are simply doing what is natural for you!  They will say that God has made you this way and no one can tell you how you should feel.  The excuse always comes back to the beginning – ‘This is God’s fault, not yours’.  Remember Adam’s excuse –

Genesis 3:11-12  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

God did not excuse Adam then and He does not excuse us now.  God has given us this message that we should –

  B.  Be Wise   (Proving)   Ephesians 5:7-17   “…be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

When we are wise and understanding what the will of the Lord is, we will –

    1.  Be different –

Ephesians 5:7  Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

    2.  Be devoted –

Ephesians 5:9  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

    3.  Be discerning –

Ephesians 5:11-13  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.   For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

    4.  Be diligent –

Ephesians 5:14-16  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

‘Circumspectly’  – Not looking out for the wrong ways, but keeping our eyes on the right way!

Ephesians 5:17  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Do you understand what we are being told today?  We are to make a difference in this world – be light in the darkness.  Help people to see that there is hope in this life and that Hope is in God through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are to illuminate the world through Him. To accomplish this, we must –

  C.  Be Submitted   (Praise)    Ephesians 5:18-21

    1.  Pursue after His will –

Ephesians 5:18  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

      a.  Reject the desires of the flesh –

Do not argue with God because of the desires of the heart, as many do –

Deuteronomy 29:19  And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:

Other people who call themselves Christians are drinking alcohol.  I should be able to also –

Hebrews 12:14-15  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

What men may claim as liberty to consume alcohol will poison and destroy them and others with them because of the rebellion against God.

  • Although only in moderation – Be warned about this lie of men by knowing the Word of God! –

 Proverbs 20:1  Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Proverbs 23:29-35  Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

Reject the pursuit of evil and –

      b.  Receive the blessings of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit and the fulness He gives.  “…but be filled with the Spirit.”

    2.  Praise Him for His presence –

Ephesians 5:19,20  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

   3.  Present ourselves to Him in service to one another –

Ephesians 5:21  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

2 Timothy 2:24-26  And the servant of the Lord (…in the fear of God…) must not strive; but be gentle unto all men,  (submitting yourselves one to another…) apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Are you being a light to those with whom you come in contact? 

Does your life draw them along with you to walk in obedience and service to the Lord or –

Does your life give them the excuse they want to continue to fulfil the lust of the flesh?

Lets all be a help and a blessing to others, living for the Lord to His glory!

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Preaching Outlines of the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Twenty Two

The Letter to the Ephesians     Message Twenty Two

We find in the first part of this chapter the command to reflect the Lord in our lives.  We are instructed in this by walking in love, giving thanks, avoiding sin, revealing truth,  proving God’s Will, redeeming the time, and being wise.

How are we to accomplish God’s will , to fulfil His purpose for us in our lives.  We will note three things that we must act upon this –

X.  Pattern of new life. 

The Lord has been teaching us about the church (the assembly). Not just any church (any assembly), but His Church (His Assembly) which when assembled (coming together), is His Body and represents Him to the world through His Word.

Do you what this assembly is – it is a place of miracles – not the miracles that we often hear of, but of great miracles, eternal miracles.  Remember what the Lord told us through what He told His disciples as recorded in –

Luke 10:17-20  And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Sinners become saints, and saints become students, and students become servants!

Matthew 28:19-20  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This miracle involves grace, and faith, and submission, and service,

Ephesians 2:8-10  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

– which is a greater miracle than that which much of the Christian world acknowledges!  They want to see fireworks and hear explosions, but salvation is a quiet birth from above, leading to service is a steady growth day to day, declared righteous and with the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, may able to live a holy life –

1 Peter 1:15-16  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Have you chosen to obey the Lord in salvation and then in service?  Look what the Lord is focusing on again as He led Paul to continue writing about obedience and growing in the Lord –

Ephesians 5:1,2  Be ye therefore followers (imitators) of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Have you considered the difference between ‘dear children’ and the children of this world? 

“…As dear children…” – a real difference between the children of the Lord and the children of the world –

2 Kings 2:23  And he went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

Dear children will reverence God and respect believers.  The children of this world will reject God and revile believers as the world teaches them to do.

  A.  We are to be like Him, following in His steps – imitating as ‘dear children’ –

1 Peter 2:21  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

  B.  We are to be loving as He loves –

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

  C.  We are to be living as He lived –

         John 20:21 As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you

Sometimes we may not even notice the changes that are taking place, but you may be sure that if we walk as He walked, and love as He loved, and live as He lived, we are changing!  The Light in us is shining brighter in this dark world.  This light is Christ –

Colossians 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Jesus warned us that we should not hide the light –

Luke 11:33  No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

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Preaching Outline of the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Twenty One

Ephesians 4:17-32  Message 21

The church is to grow up into the fulness of the stature of Christ.  We represent Him to the World.

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

Paul is instructing us how we are to show the world outwardly what is going on inwardly –

IX .  Personal Growth.  Ephesians 4:17-32

        The beginning of the new life.    New creatures with old habits!

         “…that ye henceforth….”  The second ‘henceforth’ in three verses – from right now, stop being children and begin growing up to maturity!

    A.  The insistence that we must change    Ephesians 4:17

         “…This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord…”

Paul is calling on the Lord to bear witness to the truth that the believer not only is a child of God, but should live like it!

A difference must be known by the believer, and be known by those observing the believer.  A beginning point (henceforth), a new beginning must be known by the believer and from that moment, the moment of the new birth, the birth from above, the birth by the Spirit of God, must present evidence to all who will ask or see, that a change has taken place –

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

The believer, you, are no longer what you were, and you must now live like what you are – a child of God.

You are like one of those blocks of marble that is seen while traveling north up the North-South Highway.  Looking over to the right, the marble can be seen embedded in the hillside.  On the left side of the highway the individual blocks sit on the ground.  These blocks have been removed, cut out, from their natural place and have been positioned where they will be changed into something useful, something beautiful, something inspiring. 

Now those blocks of stone do not participate in the ‘putting off of the old and the putting on of the new, we as believers do have a responsibility to act upon what we learn!

    B.  The incentive to change – 

      1. Consider carefully the life of the unbeliever

Ephesians 4:18,19  Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

The believer is now able to change! 

Again I say ‘Why would you want to be like this’?

1 Corinthians 2:9-14  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

      2.  Consider now the truth of God, that you are no longer blinded to the truth and able to know and do the will of God according to the Word of God.

Ephesians 4:20  But ye have not so learned Christ;

      3.  Consider the decision that you will make today –

Ephesians 4:21  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

Will you follow these instructions to guide you to a life that will result in a life that glorifies God and fills you with the joy of the Lord?  The Lord set forth the pattern of the work through the Word in –

2 Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

You need to know the TRUTH!  The Holy Spirit must work in all of this!

You are going in the wrong direction!

You need to go in the right direction – knowing you are wrong is not enough!

You need walk in the way of God through His Word!

    C.   The instructions for change.  Ephesians 4:22-32

      1.  My participation is required –

Ephesians 4:22-24  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

      2.  My practice must be conformed to the will of God.   

           Ephesians 4:25-32

        a.    Tell the truth –

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

        b.  Trust the Lord.  “…Vengeance is mine saith the Lord…”

Ephesians 4:26,27  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.

Remember the danger of pent up anger is that it quickly turns to hatred –

Hosea 7:6  For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.

        c.  Turn from serving only self to serving others –

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

        d.  Teach others those things that you have learned that they may be blessed and be a blessing. 

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

Be confident in God’s will for your life.  (Barnabas and Saul)

        e.  Turn away from sin –

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

John 16:8  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Do not continue in that which you have already been reproved of!

        f.  Treat others as God has treated you for the sake of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:31,32  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

We reply to this that God is asking a lot!  This is true, but He is not asking more than He is able to accomplish in us and through us.  We cannot do it on our own, but He expects us to be conformed to His will and He will help us in the doing of it. 

Romans 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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.

He is willing – are you willing to do your part?   “Henceforth”

Have you heard Him?

Have you responded to Him and turned to Him for salvation?

Have you recognized that God has changed you and you are growing up in Him?

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Preaching outline of the Letter to the Ephesians, Message Twenty

The Letter to the Ephesians   Message Twenty

From message nineteen  leading into today’s message – Twenty

We have reviewed these truths as given by God through the Apostle Paul, learning of –

    c.  The Preparation of believers to serve the Lord. 

        (1).  The responsibility of the office holders – Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers.

John 15:11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

            (a).  The revelation from the Lord

            (b).  The reason for the revelation from the Lord

            (c).  The results of the revelation from the Lord

        (2).  The responsibility of the church members.

“…for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

    4.  The Purpose   What is the Lord looking for as the final result?

We are being equipped and should be equipping others to be –

  D.  The Committed Church serving and growing together.       Ephesians 3:13-16

God has revealed –

    1.  The Characteristics to be desired.  (The complete body) 

      a.  Unity    b.  Knowledge    c.  Maturity     d.  Image

    2.  The Childish attitudes are to be discarded    4:14-16.  That we henceforth be no more children, (without understanding, changeable…) –

Attitudes and actions of those who never mature were condemned by the Lord –

Matthew 11:16-19  But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children (little boys) sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. (natural born child of its parents) 

Decisions are often based on peer pressure instead of careful consideration of the facts.  If a teacher can present a course of action based on what the majority of others seem to be doing, he can convince many to follow him without considering the reasons for their decisions.  A Biblical example of adults acting like children, participating in an action that they do not understand is recorded in –

Acts 19:32-41  Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And when the townclerk had appeased the people……..Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

They were unreasonable and instead of seeking out the facts of why the townspeople had gathered together, they simply joined in, their ignorance adding to the chaos.  They were acting like children and had to be threatened with punishment in order to get them to be quiet and orderly.  These are not the actions of mature men and women.

Paul gave –

    3.  The challenge to the childlike believer –

Ephesians 4:15-16  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Work together for the glory of God, not self .

Illustration – giving of self to others for a higher cause.

The city where we live has a military base which is known as the home of The Blue Angels.  They are a precision flying group which promote the US Navy, The US Navy air wing, and above this, the United States of America.  They travel throughout the States, amazing audiences with their skill in close order flying, often their wingtips only half a meter apart! They operate under one name – The Blue Angels – and they fly as one group.  They are constantly practicing and learning to work together.

It is interesting as you watch them to consider that there are hundreds of people involved – aircraft mechanics, electricians, computer specialist, doctors that monitor the pilot’s health, ground crew that fill the tanks with petrol and some that wash and polish the airplanes, and the pilots themselves.  All of them are simply known as The Blue Angels and the Blue Angels represent the USA.  They endeavour to be united in this cause.

If those of the world will give themselves to work together for something greater than themselves, how much more should we, as the children of God, work toward glorifying the Lord through our love for Him and showing that through our love for one another.

Think for a moment of a church that glorifies the Lord Jesus in every way.  Think of what it takes to grow into Him to the fulness of His Body.

Do you want this church, your church to reflect the image of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Remember what God stated in the beginning –   “Let us make man in our image”

This is the desire of our Lord – that we, His church, would be in His image. 

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Preaching Outline of the Letter to the Ephesians, 4:13-14a Message Nineteen

The Letter to the Ephesians   Message nineteen 

    C.  The Preparation of believers to serve the Lord. 

Which we learned of last week –

        (1).  The responsibility of the office holders – Evangelist, Pastors and Teachers.

“…For the perfecting of the saints,…”

How?  By the preaching and teaching of God’s Word!

John 15:11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

            (a).  The revelation from the Lord

            (b).  The reason for the revelation from the Lord Read John 15:11

            (c).  The results of the revelation from the Lord Read 1 John 1:1-4, 2 John 4

        (2).  The responsibility of the church members.

“…for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

We must note that the gifts given by the Lord to the church were certainly the leaders, but also extend to the members as the member’s service is a direct result of the service rendered by the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, and Pastors and teachers…”

Today we begin with –

    4.  The Purpose   What is the Lord looking for as the final result?

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

Colossians 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Do you understand the purpose of your position in the church, the place where God has placed you?

We are being equipped and should be equipping others that the world may know that Jesus is Lord.

  D.  The Committed Church serving and growing together.       Ephesians 3:13-16

God has revealed –

    1.  The Characteristics to be desired.  (The complete body)  

(Remember Paul compared the church to a human body)

When we think of a complete person, we are thinking of the person that has everything.  God is supplying everything that we need with the intention that we use all that we have for His glory!

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

In order to accomplish God’s purpose, we must want to be what He will have us to be!

      a.  Unity

      b.  Knowledge

      c.  Maturity 

      d.  Image

           Boys often want to ‘measure up’ to the height of their fathers. When they are teenagers, they want to stand back to back to see if they have reached their goal, or they challenge him to an ‘arm wrestling’ contest to measure their strength.

God desires that a likeness, which cannot be physical, but of character and holiness would be manifested in our lives. His desire as stated  Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…. His character revealed through a holy life.

We should all want to measure up, testing our stature and our strength that we have in and through Him.

It is God’s purpose that we individually and collectively grow into the image of His Son –

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

As adult believers, we are expected to have been changed from the way we lived when under condemnation, lost and in bondage to sin –

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

No doubt, but we are also expected to have changed from the way we lived as babe and little children when we were first born into the family of God.

We are commanded to grow up to maturity –

    2.  The Childish attitudes are to be discarded.

         We all begin as ‘babes in Christ’.

4:14-16.  That we henceforth be no more children, (without understanding, changeable…) –

….That we henceforth be no more children….

From now on not to be what we were – a change should have taken place –

      a.  We are to anticipate normal growth –

1 Peter 2:1-2  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

1 Corinthians 13:11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Consider this – I would like to read a book about travel and adventure

Jane said, “Look, look. I see a big yellow ear. See the yellow car go.” Sally said, “I see it. I see the big yellow car. I want to go away in it. I want to go away, away.

Dick said, “Look up, Sally. You can see something. It is red and yellow. It can go up, up, up. It can go away.” Sally said, “I want to go up. I want to go up in it. I want to go up, up, up. I want to go up and away.”

(excerpt from the Dick and Jane series readers)

Consider – Is this how God sees us – you?

We are equipped with all that we need to grow – ‘milk, childish things’.

Provided for our good and our growth.

Parents anticipating growth – shoes before you could walk, tricycle when you could walk,

But the time comes that we grow past these things and we put them away.  We apply ourselves to continue growing!

2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Too many believers display No growth in their lives.  They are as those challenged by Paul –

Hebrews 5:12-14  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Attitudes and actions of those who never mature were condemned by the Lord –

Matthew 11:16-19  But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children (a little boy) sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. (natural born child of its parents)

The phrase so often repeated by children and young people – “Why can’t I have this, all of the others have them”? 

The decisions are often based on peer pressure instead of careful consideration of the facts.  If a teacher can present a course of action based on what the majority of others seem to be doing, he can convince many to follow him without considering the reasons for their decisions.  A Biblical example of adults acting like children, participating in an action that they do not understand is recorded in –

Acts 19:25-32  Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

They have the same desire as Peter Pan and the Lost Boys….

To never grow up, just continually live out the fantasies of their imaginations –

Expect reward without responsibility.

Expect to receive without giving – not sharing

Defiant instead of dependent

Seek to break down instead of build.

They are –

Ephesians 4:14b  – tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

The next message will give us the answer to the Lord’s command to grow up –

    3.  The challenge to the childlike believer –

 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Are you K4, Primary 5, Secondary 3, university? 

If you are supposed to be k4, great but if you should be Secondary and are still in k4, that is a problem, but it is a problem that you can solve by deciding to grow up in the Lord as He desires you to. 

What is your decision this morning?

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Preaching Outline of the Letter to the Ephesians 4:11-12 Message Eighteen

The Letter to the Ephesians   Message 18

Last week we reviewed the message of Paul from chapter 4, verses 1 through 6.  We need to review again the responsibilities before moving on learning of the committed church growing and serving the Lord together.

C.  The Corporate responsibilities established.  Ephesians 4:7-13

We noted the –

    1.  The provision to serve – God has given us grace to serve

    2.  The Provider – The grace is given through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    3.  The Plan –  which we learned of in the previous message –

Ephesians 4:11-12  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

The plan of the Lord involved a number of particular actions necessary for the accomplishment of His purpose.  According to His sovereign will we learn that “…he gave…”.  We saw –

      a.  The People to serve Him.  Both –

         1).  Their faith –  And –

        2).  Their potential, not their past! (Peter, Matthew, Paul)

We must always remember the Lord placed men into –

      b.  The Positions needed to establish His churches –

“…apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;…”

This morning, let’s look more closely at these offices –

        1).  Apostles

          a).  A special position –

Luke 6:13-16  And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

A requirement that could no longer be met with the deaths of these believers. 

Acts 1:21-22  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

No one could be, no matter what claim they make, a chosen apostle following the deaths of these men!

          b).  A special power –

Matthew 10:1  And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Acts 5:16  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.

We must mention –

          c).  A special person – Paul

1 Corinthians 9:1  Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?

1 Corinthians 15:7-9  After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

2 Corinthians 12:12  Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.  

His position was acknowledged by the other apostles and leaders in the church –

Galatians 2:8-9  (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Another special office that is no longer operating is that of the –

        2).  Prophets

1 Corinthians 14:3  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

This office involved two aspects –

            a).  The Foretelling of God’s Word revealed.

1 Corinthians 14:29-32  Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

2 Peter 1:19-21  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

            b).  The Forthtelling of God’s Word, having been revealed.

Acts 11:22-23  Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.

Read – 1 Corinthians 14:1,3,22,24-25

The foretelling of God’s Word revealed has ceased with the completion of the Scriptures, which were completed with the Revelation of Jesus Christ penned down by the Apostle John.

The forthtelling of God’s Word having been revealed is continued by those in the following two offices which are operating today –

        3).  Evangelist 

The office operating since it was established by the Lord, through His leadership, through the Church, and commonly called today – the missionary.

Acts 8:26-40  And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached (evangelized) in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

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

2 Timothy 4:5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

        4).  Pastors and teachers

This office was established in order that the members would be taught the whole counsel of God and is also in operation today.

This office is three-fold, one man with three primary responsibilities

Acts 20:17  And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.

Acts 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

The offices were created by the Lord for the proclamation of the Gospel, the planting of His churches, –

Ephesians 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

1 Corinthians 3:10-11  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

As well as for –

      c.  The Preparation of believers to serve the Lord. 

Which we will continue to learn of next week.

Today I ask you if you understand that God’s will in all of this is for His Glory, the exaltation of His blessed Son – the Lord Jesus Christ, the salvation of men, and the establishment of His church?

Do you take each of these purposes of God seriously?  How do you show these things in your lives?

Do you care about obeying God each day?

Do those who know you know that you are in Christ Jesus?

Do people who know you know that you will be in church at service time?

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Preaching Outline of the Letter to the Ephesians 4:7-13 Message Seventeen

The Letter to the Ephesians       Message Seventeen

We should review chapter four, verses 1 through 6, in order to remember the context of Paul’s message in these verses.  The choices to be made, the church unity demanded, and then overview today the corporate responsibilities established.  First –

A.  The Choices to be made.  4:1-3

Ephesians 4:1-3  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

    1. The choice Paul made in his life that God is always in Control.

    2. The choice of an obedient attitude.  Ephesians 4:1b

    3. The choice of observable actions.

Beginning in Ephesians 4:4 we have –

  B.  The Church unity demanded     Ephesians 4:4-6

Ephesians 4:4 -6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

These are nonnegotiable characteristics of a church that are necessary for growing to perfection.

They preached a consistent message to all of the churches –

1 Corinthians 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Philippians 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

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

And so we should follow the advice given –

Philippians 2:5-11  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In other words, Be Single Minded!

    1.  One Body

    2.  One Spirit

    3.  One Hope of your calling

    4.  One Lord

    5.  One Faith

    6.  One Baptism –  speaking to the church

    7.  One God and Father of all

With these truths in mind, we turn to –  

  C.  The Corporate responsibilities established.  Ephesians 4:7-13

    1.  The provision to serve –

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

      a.  We have been accepted by the Lord to serve Him in His church.

           “…given grace…”  

As our Captain, He has called us into His service.  He has given each of us –

        1).  The Place of membership. 

1 Corinthians 12:18  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

        2).  The Position to fill

1 Corinthians 12:14-18  For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

and –

        3).  The Power to accomplish it.

1 Corinthians 12:7  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

      b.  We have been directed by the Lord to the place of service in His church. 

Each member has a responsibility to serve in the church. 

Each member has a place of service in the church.

This place of service is defined and determined by the Lord as we will see in the following verses.

    2.  The Provider –

Ephesians 4:8-10  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?   He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

He set us free from bondage in sin to freedom, redeeming us with His own blood.  We are now free to serve Him!

Colossians 1:13-14  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

John 8:34-36  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

As previously mentioned, this place of service is defined and determined by the Lord in accordance with –

    3.  The Plan –   

We will preview these verses  today and examine them in more detail next week, but we want to lay a foundation of understanding today –

Ephesians 4:11-12  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

The plan of the Lord involved a number of particular actions necessary for the accomplishment of His purpose.  According to His sovereign will we learn that “…he gave…”.  Look at –

      a.  The People to serve Him. 

         1).  Their faith.

         “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men….”   

         “Feed my sheep…”

1 Timothy 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

1 Timothy 2:7  Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

They trusted the Lord to work through them – His power became

        2).  Their potential, not their past!

The Lord placed men into –

      b.  The Positions needed to build and sustain His church –

“…apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;…”

Defined –

        1).  Apostles

        2).  Prophets

        3).  Evangelist

        4).  Pastors and teachers

Ephesians 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

The men placed in these position were given responsibility for –

      c.  The Preparation of believers to serve the Lord. 

        (1).  The responsibility of the church members who are office holders.

“…For the perfecting of the saints,…”

        (2).  The responsibility of the entire church membership.

“…for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

We must note that the gifts given by the Lord to the church were certainly the leaders, but also extend to the members as the member’s service is a direct result of the service rendered by the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, and Pastors and teachers…”

Are you preparing with all that is in you to serve the Lord where He has placed you?

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians 4:4-6 Message 16

VIII.  Perfection.  Ephesians 4:1-16    Message Sixteen

  A.  The Choices to be made.  4:1-3

Ephesians 4:1-3  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

    1. The choice Paul made in his life.

    2. The choice of an obedient attitude.  Ephesians 4:1b

    3. The choice of observable actions.

Once we are saved, we should be –

  1.  Exchanging our pride and self confidence with lowliness and meekness
  2. Exchanging our rejecting others in anger with longsuffering.
  3. Exchanging our impatience with others for forbearance, loving them by giving them time to grow in grace.
  4. Exchanging our inclination to destroy with the desire to unite – endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

All of which brings our attitudes and our actions into submission to the plan of God which is to grow unto perfection, revealing to the world through our lives the purpose of God – His glory.

On Wednesday night, we learned of 4 facts necessary for right understanding –

Fact 1. Not every person who is saved is a member of a church.

Fact 2.  Every person who is saved should be a member of a church.

Fact 3.  Baptism is the entry to church membership.

Fact 4.  The Lord set forth His command with the expectation that every person who called upon the Lord for salvation would follow salvation with being baptized.

The Apostle Paul took great care to instruct the people in growing to Perfection by insuring they understood what to believe and beginning in verse seven by setting forth their responsibilities on how His purpose would be accomplished through them.

Beginning in Ephesians 4:4 we have –

  B.  The Church unity demanded     Ephesians 4:4-6

Ephesians 4:4 -6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

These are nonnegotiable characteristics of a church that are necessary for growing to perfection.

They preached a consistent message to all of the churches –

1 Corinthians 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Philippians 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

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

And so we should follow the advice given –

Philippians 2:5-11  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In other words, Be Single Minded!

We cannot be united, “…the unity of the Spirit…”, in One Lord when we have many Lords.  We cannot be united in One Faith when we have many faiths……..

Ephesians 4:4 -6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    1.  One Body

Colossians 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

    2.  One Spirit

John 16:7-15  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

There are spirits of error, teaching that which is not of God.  We must know God to know the Spirit!

1 John 4:6  We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

We must know God’s Word to be able to know the difference between truth and error!

    3.  One Hope of your calling

Colossians 1:5  For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

    4.  One Lord

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Colossians 2:9-10  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

    5.  One Faith

Colossians 2:6-7  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Romans 3:22-26  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

    6.  One Baptism –  speaking to the church

Romans 6:1-6  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

1 Corinthians 1:13-15  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

Colossians 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

    7.  One God and Father of all

Exodus 20:1-3  And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Why?  Because there is no other!   –

Isaiah 44:6,8  Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God……..Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians Message Fifteen 4:2,3

VIII.  Perfection.  Ephesians 4:1-16    Message Fifteen

  1. The Choices to be made.  4:1-3

Ephesians 4:1-3  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Last week, we looked at –

    1. The choice Paul made in his life.

Ephesians 4:1a  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord…  

Paul made his choices believing with all of his being that God is in control of all things.  What about our choice?  And also we saw that having this same confidence provides us with the foundation for –

  2. The choice of an obedient attitude.  Ephesians 4:1b

“…beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,…”

      a. The exhortation    “…beseech you…”  you have a choice to “…observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”

      b. The exaltation   “…that ye walk worthy of the vocation…”

      c. The expectation  “…wherewith ye are called…”   submission to the request of He who called.

Today we declare that –

We, believing that God is in control of all things, and having the attitude that our submission and service to God is more than just required obedience, but service from an attitude of love which becomes a life of worship unto Him that is worthy, testified of in the world by –

    3. The choice of observable actions.

Ephesians 4:2-3  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Once we are saved, we should be –

  1.  Exchanging our pride and self confidence with lowliness and meekness

Moses, an example of lowliness and meekness.  He had been a prince in Egypt, raised in the house of Pharao.  When he put that life behind him, choosing to be with his people, Israel, we note that his defense of his person or his position is never heard from his own lips.  He put his trust in God.

Numbers 12:3  (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)

He was accused by the people of not knowing where he was leading them. 

        1).  He led them –

          a).  To an impassible Red Sea     What happened?  –

Salvation to Israel    Opened to pass through on dry ground

Destruction to Egypt   Closed upon and drowned them

          b).  To undrinkable water   The pool of water, called Marah (bitter)      What happened?    Made sweet by throwing in a branch

          c).  To unimaginable hunger Exodus 16:4    What happened?  Manna

          d).  To uninhabitable wilderness  Exodus 17:1

Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.  What happened?  Smote the rock and water came forth

          e).  To an unprovoked battle     Exodus 17:8    Amalekites       What happened?  Raised his arms and the battle was won

        2).  He was also accused by family and ‘familiar friends’ –

          a).  His sister Miriam of not including her in the leadership of the people.

          b).  By Korah and 250 princes of taking the leadership for himself only.

          c).  By the people for leading them to a land they could not conquer, being influenced by men that he had chosen as leaders.

He is an example to men of lowliness and meekness of character, every time, praying to God to settle the problems and unite the people that they might follow God’s leadership into the land of Canaan.  He wanted the people to exchange their pride for lowliness and meekness.

We are to be –

  •  Exchanging our rejecting others in anger with longsuffering.

1 Timothy 1:16  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

   Jesus did not reject his friend, Peter, for denying him.

   Jesus did not reject his enemy, Saul, for persecuting him.

Through the Lord’s longsuffering, we learn what results are possible in people’s lives.  Along with longsuffering is the need of –

  •  Exchanging our impatience with others for forbearance, loving them by giving them time to grow in grace.

Colossians 3:13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

The Lord has every right to declare us guilty every day, but He does not.  He convicts us of our sin and gives us an opportunity to repent.

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We might say that we are longsuffering with people, not rejecting them, but how often do we not reject them, but with that, do not forgive them and restore them as if nothing had ever happened?  “Forbearing one another in love”.   To forgive and choose not to remember the transgressions.

Remember the hymn –    Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between –


Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor;
Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.

Can we take the words of this familiar hymn and apply them to those around us?  Are we able to forbear one another in love?

  •  Exchanging our inclination to destroy with the desire to unite – endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Psalm 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

John 3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Job 14:4  Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.

As new creatures through the Lord Jesus Christ, we must admit that the wrong things, the wrong thoughts, the wrong actions, must be stopped and the new things, the new thoughts, the new actions must be done, but it is difficult because we have lived for ourselves and so long in sin that it is a struggle to change. 

Illustrate the old nature with building blocks.  We are born with it and act accordingly.  The problem is that even when we get saved and are changed by God – we still desire to break down that which others have built.  The thoughts come upon us suddenly and we ourselves are taken by surprise at them, yet we must cry to the Lord for help as Paul did –

Romans 7:24-25  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

When we endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit, Who is in us, we will bind ourselves with others who are doing the same thing in the “…bond of peace.”

Putting off the old man and his ways and putting on the new with energy and determination.

This is God’s plan for His church, united in carrying out His command, taking His Word to the world!

Will we say today to the Lord, I –

  1.  Give you my pride and self confidence.  I want to simply be your servant.
  2.   Give my
  3.   Give you my impatience and anger toward others, and be longsuffering.
  4.   Give you my desire to tear down others and seek your leadership in my life to be an encouragement and build up others, united in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I want to be used of you to build up others and encourage them to be all that they should and can be for you!

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Preaching Outline on the Letter to the Ephesians Message Fourteen Ephesians 4:1-3

VIII.  Perfection.  Ephesians 4:1-16   Message Fourteen

Based on the facts set before them in the previous three chapters, “I therefore….”, Paul wrote to them about choices they should make and how these choices will influence their lives in the matter of perfection (which we will speak of later) and influence the lives of those that will follow them.

Ephesians 4:1-3  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We begin by looking at –

  1.  The choice Paul made in his life.

Ephesians 4:1a  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord…  

Paul had well learned through God’s Word and personal experience that God is in control!  When we get saved, coming to God in faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we acknowledge that God is in control and we must listen and obey Him. 

We should make a public statement of this change in our lives by telling others that we have been saved by the grace of God through faith in Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

We should also make a public statement of our salvation by being baptized, showing that we believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and that we identify with Him, not being ashamed of Him –

Romans 6:4-5  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Each day following the day of our salvation we should learn through His Word by reading the Bible, learn through our prayer time with Him, and learn through the experiences of each day as He leads us, that He is in control.

This is a truth, a fact that we must learn for ourselves.  We hear it in preaching and in the testimonies of others, but each of us must learn for ourselves. 

When we are saved, we are like a container, filled with things that need to be removed and making room for things that need to be added.  This change should be noticed by our own selves and by those around us.  We will know that God is in control!  As we throw out things and as He puts in things, we find that we are trusting in Him more and more.  During this time of growth, God encourages us to trust Him more and more.

1 John 5:13-15  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of

him.

1 Peter 5:6-7  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

We must have confidence in the Lord and whatever our situation should say with the Psalmist –

Psalm 56:3-4  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

People who have confidence in the world and the things contained therein do not understand that God is in control –

What is it that Paul is declaring in the words “…I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord…..”

Emperor Nero thought Paul was his prisoner

The Romans thought Paul was their prisoner

The centurion thought that Paul had been his prisoner

Festus thought that Paul had been his prisoner

Felix had thought Paul had been his prisoner

The chief captain of the Roman guard in Jerusalem thought Paul had been his prisoner

But God was in control the entire time and was insuring that Paul would arrive safely in Rome –

Acts 23:11  And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Even if he would be traveling Prison Class!

One of my favourite thoughts on the ‘prisoner’ status of Paul is found in Paul’s journey to Rome.  Along the journey he was to them at first a prisoner, then a preacher, then a prophet, then a protector, then a provider, and upon arrival in Italy – a prince!  And finally Paul was delivered to Nero, but he was as much Nero’s prisoner as Jesus was Pilate’s prisoner –

John 19:10-11  Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Pilate had his authority from Ceasar and Ceasar was emperor according to the will of God –

Romans 13:1  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

So Pilate was under the authority of Ceasar and Ceasar was under the authority of God – “…except it were given thee from above.”  Pilate was confused by the entire situation and tried desperately to get out of it, throwing off the responsibility to others.

Caiaphas’ authority, as the High Priest, came from God.  Caiaphas was not confused and knew exactly what he was doing, therefore having the greater sin!  In both cases, though, God was in control!

Pilate thought that he was only accountable to Ceasar and Ceasar thought that he was only accountable to himself! The day of their accounting to Him before the Great White Throne of Judgment is coming!  And Ceasar and Pilate will be standing alongside the High Priest, Caiaphas, receiving their sentence of eternal separation from God – except if they turned to God for salvation before they died.  Only God and they know if this is the case at this time.

Paul believed it was most important for us to understand this fact and so stated it three times in this letter –

Ephesians 3:1  For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

Ephesians 4:1  I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord

Ephesians 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds:

God is in control and we should make choices based on that knowledge.

Paul made his choices believing with all of his being that God is in control of all things.  What about our choice?  Having this same confidence provides us with the foundation for –

  •  The choice of an obedient attitude.  Ephesians 4:1b

“…beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,…”

  1.  The exhortation    “…beseech you…”  you have a choice to “…observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”
  • The exaltation   “…that ye walk worthy of the vocation…”

Colossians 1:21,22 yet now hath he reconciled…… In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

  •  The expectation  “…wherewith ye are called…”   submission to the request of He who called.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Next week we will look at how Paul instructs us how to fulfil the will of God – continuing to make right choices –

Conclusion –

Today we have decisions – choices to make which will affect our lives, the lives of those around us, and the lives of those that come after us.

     Do you believe that God is in control of all things?

Trust Him then and by your own choice –

Pray, asking Him for His wisdom,

Read His Word, seeking His guidance,

Live in such a way as to bring glory to God in all things.

Colossians 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

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