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The Source and Significance of Spiritual Gifts: Ephesians 4:7-10

What does Christ expect of me as a Christian?The answer is that he expects you to walk worthy of his calling.This is what Paul beseeches his readers to do in the first verse of the application section of his letter to the Ephesians.It is the banner that waves over the entirety of chapters 4-6.In some sense, everything that Paul will say from this point on is just an exposition of what it means to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we have been called.
He begins with a call to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (4:3).  For Paul, unity was essential because we live out the Christian life in the context of the Christian community, the church.  Paul clearly believed that spiritual development and maturity happens as we rub shoulders with other believers (cf. 4:16).  But that is not going to happen if you can’t get along with other believers.  And this is not always easy, which is why Paul exhorts us to be lowly and meek and longsuffering and forbearing, all in a spirit of…
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Keep the Unity of the Spirit: Ephesians 4:1-6

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is very clearly divided into two parts.  Chapters 1-3 give us doctrine and chapters 4-6 give us duty.  So with the word, therefore,” the apostle is moving from exposition to application, from the credenda to the agenda.  In the first three chapters, Paul uses the imperative only once (2:11); he uses it forty times in chapters 4-6.  It is important that we know certain things; that is the point of chapters 1-3.  But we must put what we know to practice, and this is the point of chapters 4-6. 
We must have both doctrine and duty.  I know some Christians prefer doctrine over duty and they decry as legalistic all who preach sermons directed to the life.  But such people are mistaken.  Those who hold doctrine without duty only possess a useless knowledge and a barren intellectualism that spreads division and death in the church.  On the other hand, there are those who prefer duty over doctrine and think that too much time spent on doctrine is time wasted.  Ge…

Soli Deo Gloria – Ephesians 3:20, 21

What causes you to worship God?What sorts of things move your heart to overflow in praise to God?And I’m not just talking about Sunday morning when you are singing hymns that you didn’t write.I’m asking: what are the kinds of hymns that regularly emerge from your heart during the week?What are the wells of joy that your soul draws from that causes you to break forth into singing?Are they things that make your life easier during the week?Is it that promotion you have longed for all those years?Is it deliverance from some temporary setbacks?
Now, don’t get me wrong: we are to thank God for everything, and therefore everything, the good and the bad, the surprising and the mundane, ought to all provide subject matter for the believer’s worship: “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess. 5:18).But when we look to the NT and see what sorts of things caused the apostles to start singing, we come face to face with the first doxologies of t…

The Love of Christ, the Fullness of God – Ephesians 3:18-19

In these verses, we reach the pinnacle of Paul’s prayer for the saints in Ephesus, and, indeed, the pinnacle and climax of all Christian experience.Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in one of his sermons on this text, rightly said, “There is no more staggering statement in the whole range of Scripture than this.”[1]It is something we could not dare to pray for were it not in Scripture itself.It is this: “that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”That is what Paul is ultimately praying for.The reason they needed to be strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man was so that Christ would dwell in their hearts by faith, so that, being rooted and grounded in love, they might be able to comprehend the love of Christ so that they would be filled with God’s fullness.It all leads to that.
Now it is important to see that the culmination of this prayer really explains what it means to be filled with all the fullness of God.The structure of Paul’s thought here requires that it be explaine…