Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy and Influence – Ephesians 5:8-20 – Week 13 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians

Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 5:8-20

Week 13

Rob Covell

Introduction – As we continue in Ephesians chapter 5:8-20, Paul continues to exhort the Ephesian Church to consider their former lives without God, and to see the grace, mercy and new reality that we live in Christ. From the tone of the Letter to the Ephesians, we do not see corrective words like Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. But we do see the warnings that flow from the heart of a loving Apostolic father, to his spiritual children in Ephesus.

As much as it is the responsibility of spiritual fathers and mothers to love, it is their responsibility to warn and teach their spiritual children to love God and live lives that are congruent with the faith we confess in Christ. True spiritual maturity engages the journey and process of having Christ formed in each of us, and produces spiritual fruit that confirms our faith.

Paul, exhorted Timothy to do the very same things as Timothy led the Ephesian Church after Paul.

1 Timothy 4:16 – Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Ephesians 5:8-10

a) Paul reminds the Ephesians that their former lives without Christ, was a life without light. It is interesting that Paul says directly that “you were once darkness”. Greek – darkness – skotos – the darkness of night, the darkness of being blind and the metaphor for being spiritually darkened as the result of being ignorant of God, and being under the influence of supernatural darkness.

b) “Now you are light in the Lord” – Greek – phōs – of truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity associated with it, the power of understanding esp. moral and spiritual truth.

c) These verses are encouraging because we are reminded that we are new creation in Christ, and as a result, we are illuminated with His light, His thoughts and His desires for our lives. God sees His Church in high esteem; He calls us light, salt, children, bride, saints, living stones, new creation, disciples, royal priesthood and a holy nation. These titles given to us by God should empower us to live in these realities.

d) The result of living as children of the light produces the fruit of living in the light. See Galatians 5:22-25.

e) Finding out what pleases the Lord – The Greek word for “finding out” literally means to test as in testing a metal to prove it genuine, and to examine to determine authenticity. Paul, being the apostolic spiritual father to the Ephesians is inviting them to examine their lives, test their ways and align their lives with Christ. To find out what pleases the Lord implies relationship and experiential knowledge of God.

Ephesians 5:11-13

a) “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness” – Proverbs 10:16 – The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.

b) Notice that spiritual darkness and aligning with the devil and demonic values, do not produce the fruit of life. Paul is inviting the Ephesians and us, to pick which path we will walk.

c) Breaking the power of darkness, is to expose that darkness to the light of Christ and the reap the benefits of the illuminating light that purifies our hearts, that comes only from Him. James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

d) Notice that Paul says that to merely talk about sin is shameful, because to merely talk about sin, does not bring redemption, forgiveness and restoration that is found in the light of Christ.

e) Notice that Jesus is the only One who can take away spiritual blindness and transform our hearts to be illuminated with His light. We can see in the text, that everything that the light of Christ touches, becomes a light that reflects His light. John 8:12- Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Ephesians 5:14

a) Paul quotes an ancient Christian worship song in verse 14. In fact, in Ephesians 5:19, we can see the creativity and Spirit-led worship in the apostolic Church was dynamic, spontaneous and participatory.

b) This ancient worship song followed the theme of Jesus being the Light of life, and that echoes Jesus’ words in Luke 9:60 – Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Ephesians 5:15-16

a) The exhortation in verses 15-16, is for each one of us to recognize the power of our freedom in Christ. The power to choose determines our life path, and the power to choose and choose wisely, proves that we love Christ.

b) NKJV – redeeming the time, because the days are evil. – The NKJV interprets the Greek literally here in verse 16 and is a better translation. Greek – redeeming the time – exagorazō kairos – to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good, so that zeal and well doing are as it were the purchase money by which we make the time our own, a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for.

c) These two Greek words carry the thought that, in light of the present world that is influenced by evil (poneros – hardships, toils, annoyances, originating from sin), we can overcome these by making them sacred opportunities that find a greater reality in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:17-18

a) It is best to understand the context of the culture when we exegete verses 17-18. Paul is contrasting the joy, life and bliss of the Holy Spirit, to the Roman god of wine and debauchery, Bacchus. The Ephesians, living in the shadow of the Temple of Artemis/Diana would have understood Paul’s contrast to the false freedom of the libertine god, Bacchus to the true freedom and joy of life that is given to us in the Holy Spirit. During bacchanal, the people would drink until all prohibitions were gone, and they described that as liberty. The Holy Spirit brings true liberty to the soul and true joy to the heart.

b) Being filled with the Spirit – The grammar in the Greek words, “be filled” reveals 2 important truths. 1 – The verb is in a passive tense. This teaches us that to be filled with the Holy Spirit is not a work, but something to be received. 2 – The verb is imperative, which means we should all seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is an ongoing dynamic result of making ourselves available to the Holy Spirit to influence us.

Ephesians 5:19-20

a) The result of being filled with the Spirit is the grace of Spirit-led spontaneous prophetic worship.

b) Psalms – Greek – psalmos – playing chords on an instrument

c) Hymns – Greek – hymnos – sacred songs d) Songs from the Spirit – pneumatikos – Holy Spirit inspired songs, i.e. spontaneous prophetic worship

e) Notice how the whole community produced the fruit of thanksgiving, praise and worship because of the filling of the Spirit. Also notice that the whole community engaged in worship and contributed to the worship experience.

f) We give thanks to the Father because we have experienced His goodness in the Person of Christ.

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Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy, and Influence – Ephesians 4:29-32 & Ephesians 5:1-7 – Week 12 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 4:29-32 & Ephesians 5:1-7

Week 12

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will conclude Ephesians chapter 4 and move into Ephesians chapter 5. In the verses we will look at tonight, we see Paul continuing the exhortation portion of the Epistle to the Ephesians and we will see him warning his beloved spiritual children to forsake the world and live in their identities as children of God.

Good spiritual fathers and mothers tell the truth in love, and explain all the manifold beauty of the Christian faith to their spiritual children. As we do this, we not only protect them from pain, but we secure them for eternal life, and we demonstrate the fullness of love because we are withholding no spiritual truth from them.

1 Timothy 4:16 – Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Ephesians 4:29

a) Unwholesome talk – Greek – sapros – rotten, putrefied, corrupted by one and no longer fit for use, worn out, of poor quality, bad, unfit for use, worthless – The Scripture says, that the power of life or death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21), and the things we say to one another can build up or destroy.

b) In Ephesians 4:29, we have the context for speaking to one another. 1 – We speak what is helpful for building up the person. 2 – We speak to their need, i.e. the condition of their heart. 3 – Our words should benefit (Greek – charis) the hearer. We should speak to each other in a redemptive way.

c) The exhortation in verse 29, is that Christians would speak to each other in ways that protect our hearts, builds us up in Christ and release grace to the person hearing. Obviously, this preaches easier than it lives. However, if we slow down our thought process, be slow to speak, and try to hear the other person’s heart will be successful at building one another up in our conversations and meet the needs of their hearts. See James 3:6-9.

Ephesians 4:30

a) Do not grieve – Greek – lypeō – to make sorrowful, to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow, to grieve, offend, to make one uneasy – In this verse the Holy Spirit is clearly presented to us as having deep emotions and that He is affected by our actions and choices. It is an attribute of a Person to have emotions, and this verse supports the truth that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal power or an illuminating effect from God, but that He is a real Person that we are in relationship with.

Ephesians 4:31

a) In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul includes a list of works of the flesh that mirror this verse. Bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander are all fruits of the flesh
produced by being aligned with spiritual darkness. These things are open doors for the devil and demons to exploit and bring these things forward in our lives. If these are present in our lives, then we should seek the Lord and resolve the root issue.

b) Bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander bring no benefit to our lives and in fact are emotional and spiritual prisons that keep our hearts locked up and keep us from the freedom of forgiveness. One of the greatest hinderances between us living in step with the Holy Spirit, is harboring a spirit of offense in our hearts.

Ephesians 4:32

a) If we consider the forgiveness that God gave us in Jesus Christ, then we have no other option but to forgive those who have offended us, and hurt us. Forgiveness is freedom, and forgiveness keeps other people’s actions from controlling our emotions. Forgiveness is powerful because it is our choice and an act of our will, and when we forgive, we are aligned with God’s heart, because He chooses to forgive the worst sins of humanity.

b) Colossians 2:13 – When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

c) Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

d) Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant to illustrate the power of forgiveness and the obligation that each one of us has considering the forgiveness that we have received from God.

e) Forgiveness does not mean that there are no consequences. When we forgive, we simply make the choice to choose not to let the offense from the other person direct the state of our emotions. When we forgive, we give God space to work out the consequences for the person who sinned against us, and the consequences can be manifold depending on the offense. Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Ephesians 5:1-2

a) Follow God’s example (imitate) – God’s example is the way of love (agapē) as demonstrated in the Person of Jesus Christ. When we see Jesus, we see love personified.

b) Dearly loved children – agapētos teknon – beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite, worthy of love, children of God: in the OT of “the people of Israel” as especially dear to God, in the NT, in Paul’s writings, all who are led by the Spirit of God and thus closely related to God.

c) The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is described in similar terms of an Old Covenant sacrifice that brings pleasure to God. The Old Covenant sacrifices prophesied the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sin and pointed forward to His sacrifice on the cross for sin. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross pleased God and satisfied His demand for justice and holiness regarding the sin of humanity.

Ephesians 5:3-5

a) Paul reminds his spiritual children that their identities in Christ separate them from the antichrist value system of the world. Our lifestyles should agree with our identity on Christ and our inheritance in the Kingdom.

b) The sins listed in these verses are clarified by looking at the Greek text. Porneia – All sexuality outside of covenant marriage. Foolish talk/Course joking – Sexual humor that is degrading and inappropriate. Impure – in a moral sense.

c) Paul writes these verses in the context of the Ephesian culture that hosted the temple of Artemis/Diana. The idolatrous worship that revolved around the temple of Artemis was ritual sexual prostitution.

d) The Scriptures are clear to us that moral sins should not be a lifestyle for believers. Our kingdom is based on God’s heart and His value system. e) If we are struggling with these things, then stay engaged in the spiritual warfare of overcoming, receive grace from the Lord, and persevere in faith through a healing process.

Ephesians 5:6-7

a) Paul warns the Ephesian Church not to receive teaching that lowers the standard set by his apostolic teaching in the Scriptures. In our times, this is especially important for the Church to teach the whole counsel of the Scriptures and not dilute the potency of the Scriptures.

b) Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

c) We should not partner with teachers or movements that promote theologies that accept and celebrate immorality. In Paul’s time it was the Gnostics that taught that libertine behavior was acceptable. In our times it is the temptation not to preach the whole truth in the Scriptures because we are afraid of what others will say.

Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy, and Influence – Ephesians 4:20-28 – Week 11 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 4:20-28

Week 11

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will continue to walk through Ephesians 4, and we will explore verses 20-28. In Ephesians 4:20-28, Paul continues to exhort the Ephesians Church to consider that their lifestyles should be congruent to their declaration of faith. If we say we are believers, then the course of our lives should be consistent with the confession of Christ.

In this Session, we see the following movements in the text:
1 – The invitation to consider our new life in Christ and partner with the sanctification process of discipleship.

2 – The call to be transparent with one another.

3 – Anger is an open door for the devil.

4 – Hard work and generosity are a witness of the goodness of God.

Ephesians 4:20-21

a) In verses 17-19, Paul builds a contrast between the people who are not in the New Covenant, and Christians who are in the New Covenant and God’s people. Paul’s contrast is a call to repentance and the re-alignment of our hearts to God’s heart. It is the invitation to embrace the process of sanctification. Acts 26:18 – to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Paul before King Agrippa)

b) Walking with Christ is a way or a course of conduct that defines our lives. When we consider sanctification, we are meaning the following: 1 – The blood of Christ has sanctified me, 2 – I am being sanctified by the process of hearing God, responding to God, and co-laboring with God, 3 – I will be completely sanctified eternally at the return of Christ or my passing to glory.

c) Paul was reminding the Ephesians that he personally taught them the way of Christ and revealed Christ’s truth to them regarding Christian purity, morality, and developing the “mind of Christ” in them. Paul taught them spiritual power (see Acts 19) and he taught them Christian conduct. Possessing spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit and practicing them without having our lives aligned to Christ’s way, is inconsistent and compromised.

d) Notice that at the end of verse 21, Paul says that Jesus possesses truth. John 14:6 – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Ephesians 4:22-23 a) Put off the old self – palaios anthrōpos – Old – Greek – no longer new, worn by use, the worse for wear, old – The way we used to live before we knew Christ is described as a way of corruption because we lived to fulfill our own desires of the flesh. Romans 7:5 – For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death.

b) Ephesians 4:23 – NASB – and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, – If we were to compare the Greek text between verse 22 and verse 23, we would see that the NASB captures the nuanced difference between the unrenewed soul and the mind of a believer that has been renewed because we are alive in our spirit, by the Holy Spirit. (Greek text – ananeoō pneuma sy nous) 2 Corinthians 4:16 – Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

c) Being renewed in our minds is the process of developing our minds to think about the following: What does God say about a matter? How does God feel about a matter? What does God want to do about a matter? How does God want me to co-labor with Him regarding that matter?

Ephesians 4:24

a) To put on the new self – New – Greek – kainos – in respect to an object – recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn, – in respect to substance – of a new kind, unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of.

b) The Greek word for “put on” literally means to change one’s clothes. From this we can imply that our becoming more like Jesus is a process, just like changing our clothes. Our being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ takes place over time by us persevering in faith.

c) These are the ways we can partner with God to put on the “new self” – 1 – Invest our time in relating to Him in an experiential way (prayer, Word, dialogue, baptism of the Spirit, etc.). 2 – Become an integral part of local church community and get connected to people that are on the same journey and get connected to leadership. 3 – Serve the Body of Christ and demonstrate your love, 4 – Live a lifestyle of generosity. 5 – Discover and use your spiritual gifts.

d) Matthew 16:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

e) “Created to be like God” – This is not the demand of perfection or living a perfect life, by it is like the thought in Genesis 1:26, that we are made in God’s image; and because we are made in His image, we would in an inferior way, mimic His nature and character in course of our lives.

Ephesians 4:25

a) Paul transitions the thought in the text by using the word therefore. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul is saying, because we have been called to embrace the new life we have in Christ, we need to activate faith, make the choice to partner with God in our sanctification process, and make real changes in the way we live.

b) The thought in verse 25, is that we would be transparent with one another. (Greek – pseudos) Because we are members of one Body, we are exhorted to live in a way that is transparent, and not put up religious fronts, or present our ourselves in a way that is not consistent to us being believers.

Ephesians 4:26-27

a) Paul quotes Psalm 4:4 (Septuagint) in verse 25 and teaches us that anger is a door for the devil to gain influence in our lives. Anger influences our decisions, hardens our hearts, produces bitterness, robs us of love, keeps us from forgiveness, aligns our hearts with a dominion of destruction and not the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 2:28

a) One of the greatest Christian witnesses is dedication to work and providing for ourselves. 1 Timothy 5:8 – Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Titus 3:14 – Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

b) The exhortation is so that we would be generous. Generosity mimics God’s generosity, and as we are generous, we are the conduits of provision for the needy. A mark of Christian maturity is hard work and generosity. These things open the door of blessing in our lives.

Epistle to the Ephesians – Identity, Intimacy, and Influence – Ephesians 4:14-19 – Rob Covell

Epistle to the Ephesians Identity, Intimacy, and Influence

Ephesians 4:14-19

Week 10

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will explore Ephesians 4:14-19 and continue to follow Paul’s transition from the earlier portion of this letter that focused on building up the Church regarding her identity, authority and unity in Christ, to the exhortation section of the Epistle to the Ephesians that began in Ephesians 4 and continues all the way through to Ephesians 6.

Paul truly displays the concern and love of a tender Apostle and Spiritual Father to this Church that he planted 12 years earlier. We can see this by the structure of this letter. He begins by speaking life into them, praying for them twice and encouraging them to pursue the experiential love of God that produces identity and authority in their lives. As Paul ends the first section of the letter in Ephesians 3, he moves his hearers to respond by living lives that are aligned with the truths that were presented to them in the first section.

This is because we cannot be successful in our walks with Jesus unless we have confidence in the love of Jesus for us, the experiential knowledge of His love, and live from our identity as sons and daughters of God through Christ. Then we will can put off the old nature and lives from the new creation we are in Christ. Much of spiritual our immaturity and sinful indulgences flow from ignorance of the love of God in Christ and our not hearing and responding to the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:14

a) No longer infants – Greek – nēpios – an infant, little child, metaph. childish, untaught, unskilled – Paul explains to the Ephesian Church that the purpose of the 5-Fold Church Government was for building up each individual member of the Body of Christ so that we attain spiritual maturity. The express purpose for all Christians to engage the discipleship process, join themselves to a local church, and build relationships with leaders, is so that we would be unmovable in our faith and not be influenced by false doctrines by false teachers.

b) There were 2 groups operating in the Apostolic Church Era that were bringing false teachings about Jesus Christ. The first group was the Judaizers that Paul addressed in Ephesians 2 and Galatians. The second group were the Gnostics, who were addressed by John in 1 John, who put forth libertine doctrines that denied the incarnation of Christ, and promoted immorality on the basis that the spirit of man was good and the body was corrupted and beyond redemption; therefore, a lifestyle of sin was acceptable based on that premise. It is one of the primary motives of the enemy to attack the collective Church with a religious spirit, or the deceiving spirit of false teachers, who serve themselves and not God.

c) In Revelation 2:1-7, it seems that the Ephesian Church did a good job in protecting their community from the influence of false apostles and teachers, but
in that struggle to maintain good doctrine they left their first love, Jesus Christ. When communities of believers devote themselves purely to the Word, the tendency is to deny the supernatural or experiential knowledge of God and lose their dynamic relationship with God as He manifests His presence.

Ephesians 4:15

a) The answer for false teaching and the attack of the religious spirit is speaking the truth in love. Greek – agapē – unconditional love and affection that seeks, and contends for the best, for the object of that love. So much of Christian correction comes in the form of argument and not in a spirit of love, mercy, and patience for those who are in error, or who are not believing truth about Jesus Christ.

b) Teaching that is seasoned with love, becomes the onramp for the discipleship process and journey that develops and produces spiritual maturity in our lives and in our churches.

c) We must always see that Christ is the Head, and all the members of the Body of Christ should be aligned to the will and purpose of Christ, who is the Head.

Ephesians 4:16

a) Paul repeatedly uses the typology of the human body to communicate that as Christians who are aligned with Christ, the Head, we will be unified and working together synergistically, to accomplish the will of Christ through us, both individually and corporately. Paul presents this typology in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians.

b) Notice that each member of the Body of Christ has a function that is unique to them. A healthy Body/Church is one that is working together. When we neglect our calls in Christ and isolate ourselves from the Church, we deprive one another of the gifts and graces that God gave us. Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Ephesians 4:17-18

a) At this point in the Epistle to the Ephesians, the Holy Spirit moves Paul to point the Ephesians to consider their high calling as deeply loved sons and daughters of God who were shown mercy by the blood of Christ, members of the Body of Christ, who have been spiritually blessed in every way, and to live in a way that honors these truths. To live contrary is to deny our identities in Christ, and not participate in New Creation life that comes from the Holy Spirit.

b) Paul describes the condition of those who are not in covenant with Christ and warns God’s sons and daughters align with Him. Let’s look at the spiritual condition of those who are not enlightened in the knowledge of Messiah.

c) Futility in thinking – Greek – mataiotēs nous – what is devoid of truth and appropriateness – the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining – As Christians we have access to the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We can know His desires for us, the way He feels about things and what He likes. We know His thoughts through the Scriptures and through the Holy Spirit. We have a tremendous opportunity to operate in godly thoughts and apply His solutions and ways to our lives.

d) Darkened in their understanding – Greek – skotoō (skatao) – to darken, cover with darkness, metaph. to darken or blind the mind – There is no enlightened or illuminated thinking outside of the mind of God.

e) People are separated from the life of God by hardness in the heart. The inability of the heart to be moved by the conscience produces ignorance that keeps people from knowing the Lord. This is a terrifying condition of the soul that should birth the deepest most heartfelt intercession for the people around us who do not know the ways of God. There should be no judgment projected toward the world, but tear-filled intercession of love and each one of us becoming ministers of reconciliation.

Ephesians 4:19

a) The fruit of nations that have abandoned the knowledge of God produces mass sensuality and immorality, that manifests in their culture, with a desire for more. In Ephesians 4:20, it says that this is not the path or the “way” we learned when we were taught about Jesus Christ.

b) As the Beloved of God, we have 2 responses; 1- Repent for any area of our lives that are not aligned with the way of Christ. 2 – Re-image Christ in our lives and engage our culture so that we might preserve it through the message of Jesus Christ, and through our influence on the culture as the catalyst which reforms it.

Prayer Activation