This week my senior high girls are campers. Gotta love the action songs at camp, especially when my loves are in the front row (third from the right). 🙂
I’m continuing to march thru Ephesians. This is my journal of verses 1-16. 🙂 I learn by writing, so I really do just jot in a notebook what I’m understanding as I read. Sometimes the pages end up with a lot of extra notes and arrows… and it’s helpful to be able to look back on later and re-read and remember.
I am reading from a NASB, using the study tools at blueletterbible.org.
This is my personal paraphrasing that helps me study/understand. PT=personal thought.
If you choose to read through with me, please check with actual scripture so you get the whole context. Your understanding may be different than mine.
vs.1– Walk worthy of your calling. PT: Saved, children of God… it is a high calling.
vs.2–How do we walk worthy?
- with humility and gentleness
- with patience
- showing tolerance for one another in love
- being diligent to preserve unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The first three bullet points will lead to this last.
vs. 4-6– There is:
- 1 Body
- 1 Spirit
- 1 hope of our calling / the eternal inheritance in Christ for the Church
- 1 Lord
- 1 faith
- 1 baptism
- 1 God and Father of all, who is also over and thru and in all. (ch. 3:15–one father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name).
vs. 7– (On the other hand) to each believer (individually) grace was given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. PT: Salvation. Jesus was the gift that covered every sin, from beginning to end, once and for all. With salvation comes unique abilities we call spiritual gifts, to each believer, to be used for God.
vs. 8– “When He ascended on High, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.” It is originally written: Psalm 68:18
vs. 9– Paul says if Jesus ascended (to heaven), he had to have first descended (to earth as a man). PT: There may be other interpretations of this, but this makes sense to me. And we know that it was not until Jesus ascended that the Holy Spirit could come and bring the spiritual gifts.
vs.10–Jesus ascended far above all the heavens so that He might fil all things.
vs.11– He gave some to be: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. PT: These are considered administrations that are filled by those with gifts that help them in their responsibilities.
vs. 12–The responsibility of these people is to equip the saints/train the believers for the work of service to build up the church
vs. 13– until we attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, grown up into the fullness of Christ.
vs.14- (so that) we can’t be misled like children.
vs. 15-16–Instead, speaking the truth in love, we’re supposed to be mature Christians, fully yielded to God’s will individually working with and for the church body as a whole, building each other up in LOVE.
So what are the nuggests here?
There’s only one way to heaven.
Just 1 Triune God who provided only 1 way for Salvation. And we read here that those who accept that ONE way have a high calling. They become the sons and daughters of God, and as such they obtain an inheritance that is greater than just a fire insurance policy. Saved out of hell (which, by the way, is separation from GOD), but saved into God’s family and an entire inheritance of grace.
In my family, our kids are super petite babies with a significant amount of hair. They all have BIG, BLUE eyes. 🙂 A HUGE smile. And when they open their mouths to use their voices, there is a really loud praise machine in there–I mean, they are GIFTED with voices that can SING!! And they love to sing to the Lord. This is their inheritance by way of our family genetics. It’s in their DNA. People take one look at our new babies and say that they can just tell they belong to our family.
Well, our kids are born knowing how to batt their eyes and manipulate the old people to give them what they want. 😀 But they’re not born knowing how to sing harmony and play the collection of instuments we have accrued. They’re gifted to do it. But they still need training. And so that’s the same in the family of God. Every person who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior is saved. The consequences for their sin is removed–they are fully forgiven and accepted by God. He gives them the Holy Spirit to be their on site parent, kind of. 🙂 He is their seal of their promised eternal destiny. The Holy Spirit says, this person is mine! And He gives his children gifts that are compatible with God’s character and the purpose of the church. BUT, just like my kids need some vocal and instument training, the church needs some training to know how to use their giftings to the fullest. This is a new idea to me. But it makes sense that we can walk in different levels of our gifts. So God appointed some special teachers, starting with apostles (builders of ministries), prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, to train up God’s children to be mature followers of Christ who can keep maturing and disciple others.
The second half of chapter 4 will talk about some ways to do this and some ways to not do this.
Our kids go to camp and come back with a sort of spiritual high that is wonderful, but when we land we still need to know the practical ways to remain faithful and obedient to God and this high calling. So thankful for scripture that leads us in practical discernment in living daily for Jesus. I go back to praising God that He always upholds His will. This is my comfort these days. God is always faithful. He is our blueprint. And He ALWAYS upholds His will.
Thank you for giving us your Word to teach us and prepare us to be able to walk worthy of the calling you have for us. Thank you for salvation. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, our helper.
Thank you for our church leaders. Please give them wisdom, discernment, and any other gift needed to fulfill their calling in teaching and training your church body to grow up mature in Christ. I pray for their maturity because they cannot lead others where they have not walked! And I pray strength and protection for them because in order to be prepared, in order to grow, in order to lead, I understand there has to be some warfare and some pruning and some purifying in order for them to have understanding and be ready.
Thank you for your spiritual gifts, which you give to each believer as you see fit. God, I ask that you will provide teachers to help the Body of believers recognize their gifts, and opportunities to train and grow so that each believer can serve with joy and maturity. I feel like we need to pray to be filled up by you, Lord, and not look to one another for that filling in order that we can serve… contribute… build up, be the blessing.
Remind us each day to come to you for a fresh filling. Not that we need more of you, Lord. You are all sufficient and have given yourself to the church. But be stirred up in us each day with exactly what you know we need for growth and faithfulness each day. Help us to live wise and to never be misled.
I’m asking for your will in my life each day, knowing you uphold your will. Thank you Lord. In Jesus name, Amen