The Prison Epistles #2

Southern Christian University

James A. Turner


Please read all of the references. They will help to gain a better understanding.

Lesson #2 Beginning with Ephesians 2:13 to end of Ephesians.


We now begin lesson two with Ephesians 2:13 which reads, "But now in Christ Jesus ye that were once were afar off  (Gentiles) are made nigh in the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one (Jew and Gentile), and brake down the middle wall of partition."  The middle wall of partition was the law.  It really made a separation between Jews and Gentiles because it was not given to the Gentiles.  Verse fifteen, "having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances that he might create in himself of the two, one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile them both in one body unto God, through the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: That one body is the church, the spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4)."  When Christ died on the cross, he fulfilled completely the Old Testament law (Matthew 5:17-18), and took it out of the way as we read in Colossian 2:14, nailing it to his cross, and so that is what he is talking about here. 


Verse seventeen, "and he came and preached peace to you that were afar off, (Gentiles) and peace to them that were nigh: (Jews) for through him (Christ) we both  (Jews and Gentiles) have our access in one Spirit unto the Father. So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners but ye are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone."  Remember how Jesus talked to the people about that “stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner and it is marvelous in your eyes”.  That was when he concluded the parable of the wicked husbandmen, (Matthew 21:41-46).  "In whom each several building fitly framed together growth unto a holy temple in the Lord.  In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit."  So the body of Christ is a spiritual building where those who have obeyed Christ are built together for habitation of God in the Spirit. 

Chapter Three

"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you Gentiles."  Why does he say that he was a prisoner in behalf of the Gentiles?  If Paul had not stood up for the gospel truth that circumcision and the binding of requirements of the Old Testament was not to be bound on the Gentiles, the Jews would not have tried to kill him (Galatians 2:4-6; Acts 21:30-32, 23:12-13, 25:3, 25:11-12, 26:30-27:2).  So he was very definitely a prisoner in behalf of the Gentiles.  "If so be that ye have heard of the dispensation of that grace of God which was given to me to you-ward."  He is talking about the Lord making him an apostle.  A footnote in my Bible for dispensation says stewardship, which is a better word there.  In other words God had given Paul the stewardship of giving the gospel especially to the Gentile people (I Corinthians 4:1, 9:16-17; II Corinthians 3:4-5).  "How that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words whereby, when you read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ.”  What mystery?  It remained a mystery that the Gentiles by Christ's death on the cross would become fellow citizens with the saints, and the household of God (2:19-20) until it was revealed to the apostle, and when Paul revealed it to the Ephesians it was no longer a mystery.  When that which was a mystery is revealed, it is no longer a mystery. 


Verse five, "Which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, even as it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and the prophets in the Spirit."  The Holy Spirit in giving them that knowledge guided them.  "To wit that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of that grace of God, which was given me according to the working of his power.  Unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints."  Combine verse eight with I Corinthians 15:9-10 and I Timothy 1: 12-16, and we see that Paul speaks of himself as, “less than the least of all the saints,” because he led a great persecution against the church of God and sought to destroy it.  "Unto me, who am less than the least of all the saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."  It is talking about how that Christ had called him to be an apostle to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, to carry “the unsearchable riches of Christ” to them, those riches that are just beyond our ability to comprehend and understand.  "And to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery, which for ages hath been hid in God, who created all things:  To the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God."  God does not send angels to make his wisdom known, and he does not send in some miraculous way to make his wisdom known, but it is to be done through the church. 


And on the basis of verses ten and eleven that was according to his eternal purpose, which means that if the church does not carry the good news of the gospel, the manifold wisdom of God will not be made known, and the kingdom of God cannot increase (Luke 8:11). “The manifold wisdom” means the many things about God's great wisdom.  "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:  In whom we have boldness and access in confidence through our faith in him.  Wherefore, I ask that you may not faint (lose heart, NASV) at my tribulations for you, which are your glory."  God was willing for Paul to suffer that the Gentile people on a greater scale would be able to hear and know about Christ.  And it looks like that when he wrote Ephesians and Colossians that he did not fully understand all about that, but when he writes the Philippian letter sometime later, he said, “I would have you know that my bonds have turned out to the furtherance of the gospel.” 


Verse fourteen, "For this cause I have bowed my knees unto the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant unto you, according to the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inward man."  How is a child of God “strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inward man”?  By his learning what the Spirit teaches and having real faith that will move him to do according to the power of the message of the Spirit. And you remember how Paul said in that second Corinthian letter that  ‘though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day-by-day.”  And so that inward man should continue that course of being strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inward man.  "That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, be rooted and grounded in love."  Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first great commandment and the second is like unto it that thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-40). When every thing is rooted and grounded in love, everything else falls in the proper place. 


Verse eighteen, “May be strong to apprehend with all the saints, what is the breath, and length, and height, and depth, to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God."  He wants them to be able to understand in a fuller way the extent of Christ's love, verse eighteen, but verse nineteen, he says, “it is beyond knowledge”.  It is beyond our ability to fully comprehend and understand the love of Christ, but as we study and do his will; we can know more about the love of Christ.  "Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.  Unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, forever and ever.  Amen."  It looks like that man is prone to try to limit the power of God.  You remember when God told Moses that he was going to give the people flesh to eat, not just for a few days, but for a full month, it looks like Moses doubted that, and God said, “Is Jehovah’s hand waxed short? (Numbers 11:19-23).” God had no difficulty in bringing in quail by a wind (Numbers 11:31). If God is able to do all that we ask or think, that would still be a great God, but it says that he is, “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think."  So there is no limit to what God can do for us, and we need to keep that in mind.  Unto him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, for ever and ever.  Amen." So when we serve God faithfully we give glory to God “in the church.”

Chapter Four

"I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you” There is a big difference between being a prisoner because a person has violated the law, and being a criminal in some way, and being a prisoner for the Lord's sake; and Paul was always a prisoner for the Lord's sake. to walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye were called."  And the calling, of course, is living the Christian life.  They had been called by the gospel (II Thessalonians 2:14), and they had been called to engage in those works which God had afore prepared that we should walk in them.  And Paul is encouraging and exhorting these brethren to walk worthy of the calling, which means he is exhorting them to be faithful to the Lord and be good servants, good slaves (I Corinthians 6:19-20).  "With all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love."  To walk worthily of the calling, we must follow, according to verse two; we must have that lowliness of spirit, and meekness.  We must have that long suffering, and forbearing spirit, forbearing one another in love.  "Giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  So on the basis of verse three, whose responsibility is it to keep unity in the church?  Every member is to have a part in keeping “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  It takes effort on the part of every member to have the kind of peace in the church that we need. 


With verse four we begin with the ones, or the unities, of the Spirit.  In days gone by, when political parties tried much harder to live up to the terms of their platforms than they do now, some of our brethren preached sermons entitled, The Christian’s Platform.  There is one body.”  And, of course, they would emphasize that one body is the church. It is just as unscriptural to talk about many kinds of faith and churches, as it would be to declare that there are many Lords, Fathers and Holy Spirits, and one spirit, that person that is called the Holy Spirit in the scriptures.  "There is one body, one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; that is eternal life at the end of the way, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all, who is over all and through all, and in all (4:4-6).”  So from the standpoint of what is said here, you might as well talk about more than one Lord, and more than one Spirit, more than one heavenly Father as to talk about many faiths, many churches, many hopes, and many baptisms.


There is one body” and that one body is the church the spiritual body of Christ. There was only one church during the first century. The nearest thing to denominationalism in all of the New Testament is the division that existed in the church at Corinth, and Paul reproved them over and over, and over and over, and over and over because of that division (I Corinthians 1:10-15, 3:1-3, 3:16-17, 4:14). In I Corinthians 12:14-26 and Romans 12:3-5 Paul shows how that each member of the spiritual body of Christ is important like each member of your physical body is important, and how all the members of a local church are to work together in harmony for the building up of the body.


And one Spirit” That one Spirit is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead. It looks like the Holy Spirit put the finishing touches to creation of the world (Genesis 1:2, 1:26; Job 26:13). We know that the Holy Spirit did the finishing work to the gospel scheme of redemption (John 14:26, 16:6-14; I Corinthians 2:10-13; I Peter 1: 12-13).


One hope of your calling” That one hope is eternal salvation at the end of the way. (I Peter 1: 9-13; Romans 8:24-25). Hope is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:18-20).


“One Lord” And that one Lord is Jesus Christ our Lord. He was the Word that was in the beginning with God, and all things were made through him (John 1:1-6; Colossians 1:14-18; Hebrews 1:2-4). He left the riches and glories of heaven and came to earth that we “through his poverty might become rich” (I Corinthians 8:9; Romans 8:16-18). He became flesh (John 1: 14) to show us the Father (Hebrews 1:2-4; John 8:12, 14:3-7). He came to save us and forgive us of our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6, 53: 10-12; John 3: 14-18; Romans 5:6-8; John 10:16-18).


One faith” That one faith is one faith in Christ. When the scriptures are interpreted correctly there is only one doctrine and one faith. God is a benevolent and compassionate God (Hebrews 11:6), and he is not a God of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33) Jesus in his long prayer before the cross prayed that we might be one that the world might believe that God sent him (John 17:20-21)


One baptism” In the New Testament we read of six baptisms, so how could Paul correctly say in about 61or 62 A.D. that there is one baptism? The baptism of the suffering of Christ upon the cross was fulfilled when he died on the cross (Matthew 20:22-23; Luke 12:50) John’s baptism, and the baptism of Christ and his apostles under the limited commission had been fulfilled when the baptism of the great commission (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20) became effective on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:38). Holy Spirit baptism had been fulfilled (Acts 1:4-5, 1:8, 2:1-21, 10:44-46, 11:15-18). Fire baptism is hell fire (Matthew 3:11-12), and it will be administered when Christ comes in his second advent (II Thessalonians 1:6-10). So when Pail wrote Ephesians there was only one baptism, and that one baptism was first given on that first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-7; I Corinthians 12:13).


One Father” From him “every family in heaven and on earth is named (Ephesians 3:14). He is a God of truth (Romans 1:25, 3:4) and he cannot lie (Titus 1:2) He is the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort (II Corinthians 1:3)”, but he is also “a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-6; Hebrews 12:28-29) and disobedience provokes his wrath (I Corinthians 10: 21-22; Romans 11: 22). His love is manifested in Christ (Romans 5: 5-8, 8:39; John 3:14-18).


Back to Ephesians 4:7, “But unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore he saith, “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."  When Christ ascended he had brought the captive power of the devil to naught (John 12: 31-32; Hebrews 2:14-16; I John 3:8), and he empowered the apostles with miraculous gifts (Acts 2:1-21; I Corinthians 14:18, and by the laying on of the apostles hands they could impart miraculous gifts to others. (I Corinthians 12:4-7; Acts 8:13-23; II Timothy 1:6). The primary purpose of the apostles being baptized with the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, 16:7-16; Acts 1:5, 1:8, 1:46-2:2) and the miraculous gifts (I Corinthians 12:4-11) was to aid in the giving and the confirming of the New Testament.


Verse eleven, And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministry unto the building up of the body of Christ, till we obtain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full grown man unto a measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:  that ye be no longer children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and craftiness, after the wiles of error,  but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things, unto him, who is the head, even Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed together through that which every joint supplieth  according to the working in due measure of each several parts, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love."  Think how this passage parallels I Corinthians 13:8-13 where he speaks of the miraculous period as the child hood age of the church. So when the members of a church become mature, they can continue to build one another up in love (Romans 15:14-15).  They will be no longer children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. 


Verse seventeen, "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart."  When men's hearts are hardened, they want to stay ignorant of God’s truth,  "who being past feeling."  That means that they did not have a conscience any longer. They had seared their conscience (I Timothy 4:1-3) "Being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."  The latter part of the first chapter of Romans gives more details about that.  "But ye did not so learn Christ, if so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus." There is no doubt on the part of Paul that they had heard about Christ and were taught, but the “if” here means just as surely as you have heard and been taught about the truth that is in Jesus. Now, because you have been taught this way, what do you need to do?  "Put away as concerning your former manner of life the old man, that waxes corrupt after the lusts of deceit."  Now, he begins and gives the negatives and the positives of every day Christian living.  Living the Christian life is a continuous process of putting off those things that belong to the way of the flesh and putting on those things that belong to the way of Christ.  None of us get to the point that we are so holy and so righteous, that there is still not something that we need to be putting off and something that we need to be putting on.  And again this is one of the many parallels in Colossians as given in 3:5-15.  Instead of talking about putting off and putting on, it talks about put to death therefore, members of your body. 


Verse twenty-two, " put away as concerning your former manner of life the old man, that waxes corrupt after the lusts of deceit.  And that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind."  No one can continue to go the way of Christ without his mind being renewed, and that renewing comes by studying and thinking on the word of God, and with that good spirit and attitude, “Lord speak and thy servant will obey.”  "And put on the new man."  If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, (II Corinthians 5:17) and he is raised to walk in newness of life Romans 6: 4-14), and that is what he is talking about here.  "That ye be renewed in the spirit of mind put on the new man, after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.  Wherefore putting away falsehoods, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor:  For we are members one of another."  Nearly all of those Gentile people had been big liars before they were converted to Christ.  Among the people of the world today there are surely many liars. So put “away falsehood."  What about the man, who says, “Well, I have told so many lies, I am just going to close my mouth and not speak any more.”  I do not think he could live up to that, but if he could, he would not be doing the right thing.  He is to use his mouth for the right purpose.  He is to speak the truth, each one with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  It is our responsibility to be our brother's keeper, and to help encourage and exhort and encourage one another to grow up in Christ.  "Be ye angry and sin not:  Let not the sun go down upon your wrath."  So it is not wrong to be angry, if a man controls his anger. If he lets the sun go down upon his wrath, what about it?  He is giving place to the devil.  I know of surety from my past conduct that, I violated that passage.  Just as sure as a man goes to sleep mad, he is going to give place to the devil!  I do not claim perfection, but I know I have made a little improvement.  I can remember the day when I would get mad, and the more I would think about it, the madder I would get.  I would go to bed mad and get up mad, but that is the wrong thing to do.  And thus he says in verse twenty-seven,    neither give place to the devil”.  If you go to bed mad, you are giving place to the devil.  And we surely know the devil is going to take every opportunity we give him.  Please remember that the devil does not have any power of control over us as long as we hear and follow the will of Christ. 


Let me emphasize again, that Jesus said,   my sheep hear my voice, and they know me, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.  And no one is able to snatch them out of my hands.  And my father who has given them unto me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand”.  But if a child of God ceases to hear and follow Christ, he gets himself out of Christ’s hand and God's hand.  But the devil does not have the power to take him out, unless he is willing to be taken out (I Corinthians 10:13; Romans14: 3-4).  So do not give place to the devil.  Control your anger.  Now, any man that has much backbone, you can make him mad, but the thing that counts is whether or not he controls his anger.  "Let him that stole, steal no more:  But rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need."  I guess you have heard the story about the man who changed the punctuation and read, “let him that stole, steal, no more working with your hands.”  But suppose a man just quits stealing and says, “I will not steal any longer so you folks need to help me,” and he sits down as a beggar.  He is not carrying out the positive side, which is necessary.  And let him labor, working with his hands, the thing that is good.  We do not need to be engaged in making strong drink, and other wrong employment on the basis of that statement. Work with things that are good, and Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things, (food, clothing and shelter) shall be added unto you.”  So let us choose the right kind of employment.  "Working with his hands, the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need."  What about the man who says, “Well, I am going to work for what I eat, or for what my family needs, but that is all?  We have responsibility to work in order to be able to give to those in need.  "That he may have whereof to give to him that hath need."  Any person who violates this has violated the law of God.


"Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as good for edifying, as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear."  So learn to speak the kind of language that will build up, encourage, and edify those who hear.  "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption."  We grieve the Holy Spirit of God when we go contrary to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit has given us all of our Lord’s instructions (John 14:26; 16:6-16). If a person does not pay any attention to it, and goes the contrary way, then he grieves the Holy Spirit of God.  "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing be put away from you, with all malice."  Bitterness would be that inward resentment, and malice would fit in that category.  Clamor and railing would be the outward expression of it, like when a man throws a fit.  "And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, for giving each other, even as God also in Christ for gave you."  And what does the latter part of verse thirty-two emphasize?  If we forgive as God forgives, are we going to hold back anything?  Is it the spirit, “Well, I am going to forgive you this time, but if you do it again, you can expect me to bring out the hatchet.  That is not forgiveness according to this reference!  When Christ forgives, those trespasses are not brought against us again (Hebrews 8:12-13).  They are forgiven completely and forever, and that is what true forgiveness is all about.  Now, it may not mean that we entirely forget, but there will be no spirit of ill will against the person when we forgive. 

Chapter Five

"Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love.”  Love worketh no ill toward his neighbor, love therefore is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10)”. Christ willingly laid down his life for us (John 10:16-18). “Him who knew no sin, him he made to be sin in our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God through him (II Corinthians 5:21).”  Isaiah 53: 10,  "yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him.  (Christ)  he hath put him to grief when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed.  (Christians). He shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Jehovah shall prosper in his hand.  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.  By the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities."  Do you remember how Jesus prayed to the point of being in great agony that God would remove the cup “and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22: 44) that he might not have to suffer, but he said, “never the less not my will, but thine be done.” 


Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an order of a sweet smell.” Christ did exactly as Isaiah had said that he would do (Isaiah 53:10-12) and Paul says that His sacrifice was “an odor of a sweet smell to God. Verse three, "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetous, let it not even be named among you as becoming saints, There are some things that should not be named among the children of God, nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting, but rather given of thanks.  For this you know of surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater hath any inheritance in the kingdom of God."  I raise the question; do we have any idolaters attending the services in our churches?  If a man spends 98% of his income on himself, and gives a few crumbs to the Lord, where does it fit according to this reading?  After he has been taught well about that which rightly belongs to the Lord, and he continues to go contrary, this passage says that he is an idolater.   Colossians 3:5 says the same thing. This reference says those who do these things will have no inheritance in the eternal kingdom of Christ and God.


Verse six, "Let no man deceive you with empty words, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience."  Paul said, “Do not let any man, “deceive you with empty words”.  The wrath of God is surely coming upon those who go the way of fornication, and uncleanness, and covetousness, and all those other things that he has enumerated.  "Be not ye therefore partakers with them, for ye were once darkness but are now light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light."  When we walk as children of light, we turn away from the ways of the flesh (Galatians 5:24; John 8:12), and when we walk, as John says in I John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another in the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”   “For the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteous and truth proving what is well pleasing unto God; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful work of darkness, but rather reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame to speak of. But all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light; for every thing that is made manifest by the light; for every thing that is made manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee (5:9-14).”


In this reference Paul is saying that we need to wake up, and teach, and live in such a way, that we will be putting down the ways of darkness every day; that we are not only not to go in the way of darkness ourselves, but we are to be busy reproving them. We are to reprove the ways of darkness by learning, and teaching the truth (II Timothy 2:15; I Peter 3:15; II Peter 3:18), and by example of living according to the truth every day, Jesus said, “He that followeth me shall have the light of life (John 8:12), and let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16)” So the more we let our light shine, then more people will turn from the ways of darkness and glorify God by obeying him.


Verse fifteen, “Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Where be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And be not filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.” Of course when time is gone it is gone forever, but by really being busy for the Lord every day we can help to make up for time that we have wasted (Hebrews 12:12-13; Romans 13:11-14). He says that we do not need to be filled with wine, but we need to be filled with the Spirit. How may we be filled with the Spirit, by learning and doing according to the instruction of the Spirit. Every reference in the New Testament, which teaches concerning the kind of music that is to be used in worship, specifies singing (Matthew 26:30; Acts 16: 25; Romans 15: 9; I Corinthians 14: 15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12, 13: 15; James 5: 13; Revelation 5:8-9, 14: 2-3, 15: 2-3).

Argument has been made for the use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship on the word melody in Ephesians 3:19. They say that the Greek word for melody is psallo, which means, “to touch, pull, twitch, to pluck, to twang, to play a stringed instrument, or sing to a harp.” The Greek word does mean – to twitch, or pluck, like a carpenter’s chalk line, or like a stringed instrument, but Paul specifies what is to be plucked, “making melody with your heart to the Lord.” You need to be skeptical of any person who wants to rewrite the teachings of the Bible on the basis of his great authoritative knowledge of the Greek language. In the first place he does not have such authoritative knowledge of the Greek language, or else all of the better versions of the Bible are wrong. In the second place this would mean that more than ninety-nine and ninety nine hundredths of us cannot understand what is written in the Bible because we do not have that authoritative knowledge of the Hebrew language for the Old Testament, or the Greek language for the New Testament.


Verse twenty-two, “Wives be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, being himself the savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in everything (5:22-24).” There are several references, which teach concerning this same subjective order (I Corinthians 11:1-4, 14:33-36; I Timothy 2:11-15; I Peter 3:1-4). This does not mean that wives are inferior to their husbands, but that this is their God given right place, and neither does it mean that the husband is to be like a policeman; or that he is an authoritative commander of his wife as shown by the following verses. A husband is to be the head of the house primarily by proper behavior, leadership and example.


Verse twenty-five, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for it, that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his own wife loveth himself; for no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as Christ also the church; because we are members of his body. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church. Never- the less do ye severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see that she fear (NASV respect) her husband (5:25-33).


The marriage relationship is the closest of all human relationship, because when marriage is consummated by sexual intercourse the two become one flesh (Genesis 2:24) which is referred to in verse thirty-one, and so Paul is using the marriage relationship to illustrate the closeness of Christ and his spiritual body the church (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4; Colossians 1:18; I Corinthians 12:13). But note that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and as he loves his own body. His wife should respect the husband that does this, and she should surely be ready to be in subjection to him, because of his good treatment of her, and also because this is what God has ordained.

Chapter Six

In verses one through nine instructions is given concerning the children and parent relationship and the slave and master relationship. So both in Ephesians and Colossians Paul teaches concerning the husband- wife, the church- Christ, the parent-child, slave-master, the employee- employer relationships and all of these relations are very important. Consider what a wonderful society we would have if all of these relationships were in accord to Ephesians 5:22-6:9 and Colossians 3:18-4:1.


Children obey your parents for this is right.” (Proverbs 6:20-23). Honor thy father and mother which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee and thou mayest live long on the earth.” (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:1-9) “And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath; but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.” Proverbs 22:6 reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” and 22:15 reads,  Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” It looks like many fathers reason that the discipline of the children should be primarily their mother’s responsibility, but Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 4:21 places a lot of responsibility on the father. Note that 6:4 and 4:21 are parallels and mean essentially the same thing. One way that a father can provoke his “children to wrath” or provoke not your Children, that they be discouraged” is to never be pleased with their behavior and performance. A father who is always finding fault, and hardly any good is violating these commands. Good discipline includes a lot of patience in showing children how to do things, and speaking words of encouragement, and approval and giving commendation when they do things well.


In Ephesians 6:5-9 and Colossians 3:22-4:1 Paul gives essentially the same relationship. Verse five through nine, “Servants, be obedient unto them that according to the flesh are your master, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the dame things unto them, and forbear threatening; knowing that who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no respecter of persons with him.” So the teaching from both references is that the Master in heaven is looking at the servant and the master and “There is no respect of persons with him. Servants serve your masters with real good work, and count your service as unto Christ, and you master treat your servants well and “forbear threatening” and render unto them that which is “that which is just and equal (Colossians 4:1)”In Ephesians 6:10-18 he exhorts the brethren to “put on the whole armor of God”, and be good soldiers of God. Paul was very familiar with the armor of the Roman soldiers, and makes each piece of the soldier’s armor and uniform to represent how we are to know the word of God, and be prepared with real determination to stand and fight as a good soldier of Christ.


Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual host of wickedness in the heavenly places. Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and have put on the breast plate of righteous, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Hebrews 4:11- 12), with all power and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saint, and on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (6:10-20).”


So the Christian warfare is not a fleshly or carnal warfare, but a spiritual warfare, and in order for us to be victorious in this warfare we must “put on the whole armor of God which consists of knowing the truth of the gospel, and having put on the breast “plate of righteous” which is righteous living; and then with real determination take “the sword of the Spirit” and fight.


Please note what Paul wanted the Ephesian brethren to pray that he would “Boldly” be an “ambassador in chains.” An ambassador is a special representative, and Paul, because he was as apostle of Christ, made him a special representative of Christ to carry his gospel especially to the Gentile people.


Verses twenty-two to twenty-four, “But that ye also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord,  shall make known to you all things; whom I sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts (Colossians 4:7-9). Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible.

 End of Ephesians.