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Posts Tagged ‘Epistle to the Ephesians’


(Scripture from the KJV and NKJV)

– I listened and heard, but they spake not aright; no man repented of his wickedness, saying “What have I done?”  Every one turned to his course, as a horse rushes into the battle, – Jeremiah 8:6

– The more you defend a lie … the angrier you become. – Mitch Albom

Over the recent holidays, I watched one of those crime shows on TV with my parents.  This particular program had the usual suspects – five people with potential motives for two related murders.  Among them was a mother whose son had been previously killed by one of the later victims.  When she was brought in for questioning by the police, her demeanor was calm and innocent – at first.

The woman became increasingly louder and defensive as detectives started putting holes in her alibi.  Protests such as “I haven’t done anything!” started pouring forth from her mouth.  My dad pegged her as the killer half-way through the episode.  I asked him later how he was so sure.  He said, “It’s the people who holler and protest the most you have to watch.  They’re the ones usually lying.”

Kids can often get like this when they know they are guilty of doing something they’ve been told not by their parents.  Professing their innocence with loud protests such as “What have I done!?”  The parent will then counter with calm, firm words like, “You know exactly what you did wrong.”  In situations like this, loudness is a good indicator of lying – calmness is a good indicator correction is coming.

The child then stomps angrily down the hall, or up the stairs to their bedroom.  However, don’t they often stop after opening the door, and make sure everyone in the whole house hears their cries of  “This is so unfair!”?  This is frequently followed by a door slam – with an equally far-reaching noise. Christians who do not understand the purpose of God’s correction – may do similar things.

Protests of “What have I done?” are unwise when God corrects us as Christians.  As a sign of His great love – we will all undergo things like chastening (Hebrews 12:6-7 ).  It won’t seem joyous during it – but all discipline in life can hurt at times (Hebrews 12:11).  Try to remember, His commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3).  God never afflicts or grieves us willingly (Lamentations 3:33).

The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies (Ezekiel 18:32).  God is long-suffering with all of us – not wanting anyone to perish into the pit – but to come unto repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  This is a commandment for Christians (Acts 17:30).  We can no longer be ignorant about sin’s eternal wages (Romans 6:23).  It means we obey God unto death, just like Jesus did (Philippians 2:8)

Any claims we have of being faithful Christians means we are obedient to our faith.  Why?  Jesus – our only power to obey God – dwells in us by faith through the power of the Spirit (Romans 16:26, Ephesians 3:16-17).  We can’t claim innocence about sin anymore when corrected by God (Jeremiah 2:35). Obedience requires such.  Jesus is the author of salvation to all who obey God (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Christ shed precious blood for us at Calvary.  It is the very same blood sprinkled on our hearts daily as a salve for our sins (Hebrews 10:22, 1 Peter 1:2).  We have to learn not to offend Him anymore with them (Job 34:31).  If we are still walking around raising our voices at God, saying things like “What have I done!?” every time He corrects us; we don’t have the faith we may be loudly proclaiming.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Even so, the tongue is a little member – and boasts great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles. – James 3:5

– And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown – but we an incorruptible one. – 1 Corinthians 9:25

Just as the tiny rudder of a great big ship can be used to control its movements, steering its direction along certain courses (James 3:4) – so can our tongues steer the path of these days God has given each of us.  Depending on what we say – or don’t. The commentary which comes out of our mouths can steer conversations into contention, confusion, or contentment.  The direction of our day follows.

Death and life are in the power of our tongues – and those who love it will eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  Words from our mouths can be hurtful and wounding – helpful and healing (Proverbs 12:18). Our tongues can touch off wildfires – the flames of which can be tough to tame (James 3:6).  Wars of words often ensue.  We’re warned not to do this as believers (2 Timothy 2:16).

What comes into us from the outside can’t defile us. But just like our bodies, our hearts and minds are vessels.  They can only hold so much in before something spills out.  What then flows forth from our lips can quickly defile us.  Wrong words from our tongues seal the deal of defiling our whole bodies (Matthew 15:11,18-20).  The damage is done once words are out (James 3:6).

It’s hard to hold our tongue back sometimes – but it’s much harder to take our words back once spoken. Even when we say we’re sorry – sorrow has been sown.  We could have reopened a wound in another person’s heart – scarred by a previous hurtful word spoken years ago by someone else.  It takes asking God to set a watch before our mouths at times – to keep the door of our lips closed (Psalm 141:3).

This is where temperance comes in as Christians. Just as a ship’s captain gently steers the course of any vessel with a rudder, so does a shepherd gently steer the course of any flock with a staff.  We have been born again of the Spirit as Christians (John 3:5).  We were once astray – but have now been returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  All control now belongs to Christ.

Jesus now dwells in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So we start producing the spiritual fruit God requires – to show the results of our mutual abidance in each other (John 15:1-5).  One such desired fruit is temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).  Temperance is the practice of always controlling our actions and feelings – regardless of situation or circumstance.

It’s moderation and self-restraint in behavior and expressions.  So we don’t always act or speak on assumptions; jumping to conclusions (Joshua 22:1-34).  So we don’t always give people a piece of our mind with our mouth.  We’ve been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  So ours are no longer conformed to the world – but transformed to be like Christ’s (Romans 12:2).  To give us peace of mind.

Still, we are flesh.  Even with the Holy Spirit in us – the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.  They are contrary – one to the other (Galatians 5:17) – so we don’t always do or say the things we would (Romans 7:19-20).  In order to learn mastery – to be temperate in all things (second lead verse), we have to be taught so by the Master.  It’s essential to taming our tongues.

Everything we speak, starts as a thought.  These thoughts travel from our brains to our tongues.  For example, emotions often emerge from our mouths in word – when we’ve thought about things like love or hate long enough.  Once we start talking, people may want to stay with us – or walk away forever, depending on our words.  Once a person leaves because of them – it’s hard to get them back

As our minds are transformed daily by God’s truth, we should begin talking much more about the Word (Philippians 3:20) – and much less about the world. However, even speaking the truth requires some temperance.  Jesus didn’t always talk and teach. Christ also spent time praying and reflecting. When the Son of man did speak, it was always relevant to the situation.

The words which leave our lips about the Lord can go a long way to drawing the lost closer to the Cross – or driving them away (Romans 10:14, Ephesians 5:6).  Yes, whatever we say requires a tongue of temperance – whether it’s truth or not.  Remember, God always knows our words before we say them (Psalm 139:4) – and we will be judged for every idle word we ever spoke (Matthew 12:36).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But you, beloved – building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.  Keep yourselves in the love of God … looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. – Jude 1:20-21

– The church is a gift from God – assembly is required. – Church sign in Florida

Would you go live in a house being built for you if it wasn’t finished yet?  Perhaps the roof wasn’t on, the windows weren’t in, and the electrical and water hookups hadn’t been made.  You might go over one day and walk around inside the framework of your house.  You might imagine what it would be like when finished – but moving in was not possible yet.

Incomplete physical structures are unfit to live or work in.  They also have to be built a certain way so they stand firm and solid when fully completed. Otherwise, they are eventually going to suffer damage or collapse from shoddy workmanship or materials.  One bad storm can bring down any structure – physical or spiritual.

However, God always knows what He is doing (Deuteronomy 32:4) … His only Son was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).  Carpenters can’t just show up at a construction site one day and start guessing about what to do.  Imagine if Jesus had walked about on this earth with such an approach – without any knowledge of what God wanted done next.

Before a carpenter starts working on a physical structure, they have to know what they are building. They have to follow and abide by blueprints and instructions drawn up in advance.  First measuring, marking, and arranging the materials – before any construction starts.  These materials are then cut and shaped according to specifications.

Everything then begins to be fastened with nails, screws, staples, etc..  In the last stages of construction, the carpenter checks the accuracy of their work with things like levels, rules, and surveying equipment.  To make sure the building won’t fall – and is fit for someone to live or work in. The same goes for spiritual buildings (Isaiah 44:13).

We can’t have prefabricated buildings of belief to move into when we first become born-again Christians.  We can’t send our spiritual materials off somewhere to be put together.  So they are returned fully constructed a few weeks later.  They have to be built up in our hearts the right way from the start – starting with faith (2 Peter 1:5-11).

It takes longer.  We have to make sure one step is completed before moving to the next.  Jesus warned us about climbing the wrong way up to heaven (John 10:1).  If we start with temperance, then try to add faith – or start with faith, and skip the step of virtue – there’s a good chance we’ll have an up-and-down spiritual life – full of frustration.

Everything also has to be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief cornerstone.  So everything is constructed according to His plan for our spiritual life – not ours.  So the building is fitly framed together unto a holy temple in the Lord – for a habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22).

As Christians, we can lay no other foundation than what has already been laid in our hearts by God from above – which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). How things are assembled from this point on is essential to our spiritual stability.  Unless the Lord builds the house – we labor in vain if we try to do it ourselves (Psalm 127:1).

We have to keep our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23).  A careful and persistent effort daily – to ensure we are not building our Christian lives upon any other man’s foundation (Romans 15:20). This can happen when one thinks they have become a believer just by associating with Christian things (Luke 6:32-34); but not by the Holy Ghost.

Even being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5) – we can still build the wrong way – like adding worldly things to the Word.  We are God’s husbandry, and His building as Christians (1 Corinthians 3:9).  God gives us grace to be wise master builders.  We are to always take heed as to how our spiritual houses are being constructed (1 Corinthians 3:10-17).

Before anything else, we have to be positive about our calling and election (John 15:16, Philippians 2:12, 2 Peter 1:10).  If everything is assembled the way God has designed from that point on, He assures us we will never fall – if all steps are followed correctly.  So we won’t find heaven’s door locked (2 Peter 1:5-12).  We’re not there yet.

With proper construction, will be like a wise man who heard the words of Jesus – and did them (Luke 6:46).  Building his house upon the rock of God and salvation (2 Samuel 22:47).  So when the rains descended, and the flood came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house – it did not fall.  For it was founded upon a rock (Matthew 7:24-25),

If we assemble things only partially in our spiritual lives, or not in the proper order, problems are bound to arise.  If we build on the wrong – or a faulty foundation – our spiritual houses are likely heading for a fall.  We can’t see it when the weather is fair – but tiny fissures and cracks develop over time.  With each little shift in faith – with each little storm.

Then the big one hits.  Even with advanced warnings – homes can wash away.  If we failed to follow God’s instructions (Proverbs 8:33) – if we failed to hear Christ’s words – we’re like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  The rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat against it – and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:26-27).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But though He causes grief – yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.  For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. – Lamentations 3:32-33

If you have been a parent at any time in the past, did you ever have to discipline your children for disobeying you?  If you did, didn’t it pain and grieve you to punish a son or daughter when a certain situation required it?  You didn’t do it willingly – but you knew something had to be done to teach your child right from wrong.

Of course – if you were a child on the other side of the coin, how often did you hear Dad or Mom say something like “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you?”  And, you could not possibly see any sense to a statement like that.  You were the one receiving punishment.  How could a parent be pained by that?

Perhaps it was looking back on such times years later – when you finally understood your parents were really trying to help you through discipline when you were younger.  To keep you from trouble then, and still getting hurt by it today.  Something had to be done when they saw you heading down any potentially dangerous or deceitful path in life.

Hopefully, you finally realized any grief your parents caused you as a kid, was meant for your own good now.  Why would our loving Father in heaven be any different?  Who would want a God to go around arbitrarily afflicting and grieving people with punishment – without purpose – to determine eternal destinies (lead passage, Romans 3:5-6)?

Two of Charlie Brown’s most popular phrases were “Good grief!”, and “I can’t stand it!”  God cannot stand sin – the sin Scripture has concluded we’re all under (Galatians 3:22).  If we are Christians – we all know better now about the eternal wages of it (Romans 6:23).  Repenting from sin is not an option – but a commandment (Acts 17:30).

Meaning God is going to grieve us at various times – but never willingly (lead passage); so we learn Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).  According to His way – not ours.  But – we can’t learn Jesus the way God desires – unless Jesus dwells in us by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17). This is the only power we have to repent.

Old things have to pass away, so we can become new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We are no longer just God’s creation as Christians – but His children again.  Our loving Father in heaven is now teaching us His way.  Not the way we may desire much of the time; but the way He’s designed it to be – by correcting and chastising us.

Happy is the man whom God corrects.  We are not to despise it when it happens (Job 5:17).  We are not to grow weary while we’re enduring His chastening (Proverbs 3:11).  It’s going to hurt God more than it hurts us.  We probably won’t see it that way as His children at first.  It won’t seem joyous – what punishment ever does (Hebrews 12:11)?

God’s commandments are not meant to be grievous (1 John 5:3) – but designed for our own good.  Our Father assures us we will be chastened as Christians (Hebrews 12:6).  It may often seem very grievous. However, it’s a sign of His love.  We have to learn not to offend God (Job 34:31).  Therefore, we are to be zealous about repenting (Revelation 3:19).

So He can continually guide us away from the troubles and sins of this world – and towards the sincerity and truth of His Word.  To keep us from getting hurt over and over by our old sins and their sorrows.  So we are not punished eternally by sin’s motions and wages (Romans 6:23, Romans 7:5, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Luke 13:27-28).

Even if we think we are suffering wrongfully at the hands of others – we are to endure their grief.  This is thank-worthy with God – if our conscience is towards Him.  Even if we do well, and suffer grief for it – and we take it patiently – this is acceptable with God (1 Peter 2:19-20).  Remember, Jesus was fully acquainted with all we may face (Isaiah 53:3-10).

If we are Christians – and we do not fully understand this – guess what’s probably going to happen often? We’ll see God as creating grief – without having any cause to do so.  However, we cause our own grief when we walk around with any innocent  “What have I done?” mindset regarding sin (Jeremiah 8:6); or still proclaim our goodness (Proverbs 20:6).

If we are like this, we’re probably going to grumble a lot, about how could a loving God be causing us grief. This can go a long way towards grieving the Holy Spirit within us.  We’re warned not to do that (Ephesians 4:30).  Doing so can be the catalyst for blasphemy against the Holy Ghost – putting us in danger of eternal damnation (Mark 3:29).

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(KJV Scripture)

– And He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said unto me, “Write: for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation 21:5

Everything new we have in life eventually gets old; some things quicker than others.  Even when we take some material object and restore it – it doesn’t last.  Time marches on – and it becomes old again. It’s a repeated process throughout our brief lives on earth (James 4:14).

Trying to become new or better people every January 1st – even as believers – is very unwise.  It’s trying to change, contain, or control our worldly situations and circumstances by meaningless numbers on a piece of paper called a calendar.  A calendar doesn’t know what any day will ever bring forth (Proverbs 27:1) – God does.

It’s also trying to do the same with God and His only Son.  Both who do not change – who will be the same yesterday, today, and forever (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8).  The only way all of us can become the new creatures in Christ which God wants us to be (2 Corinthians 5:17), is from the inside-out; not the other way around.

This can’t be done without Christ in us.  It’s why we all must be “born again” of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5) to enter into God’s eternal kingdom.  We can only learn Jesus the way God wants us to (Ephesians 4:20-32) – by Him giving us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

This cannot happen unless Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So God can start to renew our inner man daily (2 Corinthians 4:16), and transform our minds (Romans 12:2).  This is through the continual regeneration of our souls by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

We can’t do it simply by trying harder to be like Jesus – without Jesus dwelling inside us.  We can’t do it by wishing or hoping we change because the calendar tells us to.  Without God’s help (John 15:5) – we can’t make the lasting changes He desires (Galatians 5:22-23).  To make our old creature new, once and for all – without going back.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ. – Philippians 1:27

The word “become” means “beginning to be”.  It’s the start of steadily growing into something different from what anyone is at a particular point in time.  In earthly marriages, a man and a woman “become” one flesh (Mark 10:8).  “Become” also means looking good or fitting well on someone – such as saying to a person, “That suit becomes you.”

If we are true believers, we’ve been born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5).  Our conversation from that point on should slowly and steadily become more and more like Christ – because Christ has come to dwell in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It’s not an instant conversion – but a continual process.

This is done through the daily regeneration of our hearts, minds, and inner man by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).  It doesn’t stop until we die.  So we eventually get to a point where people who falsely accuse our good conversation in Jesus – are ashamed of themselves for doing so (1 Peter 3:16).

Our conversation is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  We are not to hinder the path of those still being led to the Cross by God (John 6:44) – but to help them. We do that when Christ’s kindness, calmness, and compassion is reflected in all our talk and actions. When our love is fervent and unfeigned – from obeying the Spirit of truth in us (1 Peter 1:21).

If Jesus is not our constant conversation – someone or something else will be.  We were given Christ’s mind from God (1 Corinthians 2:16) when we received the Holy Ghost.  Won’t it appear we may still be minding the world, or minding any other wise and great person’s words first (Job 32:9, Ephesians 5:6); before Christ’s – by our conversation and actions?

Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, and not do the things I say (Luke 6:46)?”  Our daily conversation and actions reflect the true Master of our life (Luke 16:13).  How can we enter God’s eternal kingdom, if we don’t learn how to walk, talk, and act like Jesus – and follow peace and holiness with all men (1 Peter 2:21, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 12:14)?

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– All day long have I stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. – Romans 10:21

The Lord is my shepherd – I shall not want. – Psalm 23:1

All of use are to give thanks always, for all things unto God (Ephesians 5:20).  Not just for all the things we always want to have in this world – at any given point in time.  Any desire to gain goods – and the good of this world; and then receiving such – is not a reason to say we love the Lord – because He has answered our prayers accordingly in this regard. This creates a very conditional Christian.  It leads to disobedience.

Where our contentment and faith is founded on how much we can get from Him – and how many blessings He can bestow on us because we call ourselves believers.  How difficult will this make it for us to give as purposed in our hearts – from such things as we already have.  With cheer – not grudgingly, or out of any necessity for ourselves in return (2 Corinthians 8:11-14, 2 Corinthians 9:7, Hebrews 13:5)

Only by pride comes contention (Proverbs 13:10).  If we’re not content with our wages, or trying to exact more than what God has already appointed us – won’t we become contentious; desiring gain  – and becoming ungodly in the process (Luke 3:13-14, 1 Timothy 6:6)?  This can create a very bumpy walk with God; like we’re on a roller-coaster ride – where we’re never content in our current state (Philippians 4:11).

Our souls soar high when our eyes are satisfied with worldly things (Proverbs 27:20) – then sink when we suffer loss; especially people we don’t want to leave yet.  This world whizzes by daily with all its wants and temptations – and it can make us dizzy with desire.  If we long for such things – and base our love of the Lord on getting them, how can we count it all as loss in order to gain Him (Philippians 3:7-8)?

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