Category Archives: Bible Study

Walk Worthy

Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

When I first read this verse quickly, I have to ask myself how can I possibly walk worthy of all that God has done for me? When I was a young Christian I thought this would be impossible. But as I grow in the Lord I realized that nothing God tells us to do is impossible. Therefore there must be a way to walk worthy in God’s eyes. So we have to try to see ourselves through God’s eyes, and figure out what it would take for us individually to walk worthy in the vocation where we’re called.

The important thing to remember in this is he is talking about walking in your vocation. Do you attribute your job situation as a blessing from God? Do you thank God for the job that you have, which is the vocation that you have? The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that God has put us where He wants us. The vocation that you are called into is the job that you currently have. If God opens up a door for a different vocation, than that is where you’re called. So now we can put this in a little more perspective. He wants us to walk worthy in a job situation, or in a ministry.
What exactly does that mean? There are many admonitions in the Bible to obey those in authority over you. Are you praying for your bosses and not talking about them behind their back?  Are you doing the tasks that they give you as good as you possibly can? If you are then you’re walking worthy. Do you always get there on time and not take extra time for breaks or lunch?  Do you respect your time when you’re using the computer? If you are then you’re walking worthy. Do you do the task your given without grumbling or complaining and do you do them to the very best of your ability each and every time? If you do then you’re walking worthy.
You see it is a testimony to the world when we work hard and do it with joy. People notice and they will ask, especially if you have a difficult boss and difficult coworkers. Now if you happen to be the boss, walking worthy entails being respectful to your employees, treating them as you would want to be treated, and supplying them tasks that they can accomplish. The work that we do, the vocation we have, should be a testimony to the Lord and should bring him glory. Remember we are a light on a hill, and God says we should  do our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven. When we do that we’re walking worthy

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Now here’s the hard part.  You might be doing all those things above, but are you doing them with loneliness, which is humility? Are you not being prideful about them, but doing them in a total sense of servitude, not looking for any Glory or any praise.  You are just making sure you’re getting the job done. Are you doing your job or your vocation with meekness. I define meekness as having the power but knowing where it comes from. The power comes from God and it is not ours. When we are meek we are not showing off and being boastful because it is God that supplies our strength and not us.
The next one is longsuffering, or patience. Do you have patience with your coworkers when they might not get a piece of work done that needs to get done before you can proceed? Do you have patience to carry out a task,  or maybe a machine is broken down, or your computer doesn’t want to work right? Do you have patience with you boss?  Or if you’re the boss, with your employees?  Can have patience with their imperfections, because we all have them. And forbearing one another in love.  Do you see others as more important than yourself?  Do you try to solve disagreements instead of causing disagreements?  Do you put up with all the other people’s imperfections?  Remember that they have to put up with yours! And all of these things should be done in love. Remember it’s a testimony to the lost.

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

And why do we have to do all these things? To keep Unity. Whether it’s in the church or in the workplace, we have to do everything we can to bring peace to that atmosphere. Remember as Christians we have been given a peace that passes all understanding. We should carry that with us wherever we go. If it’s in the church then we must make sure that we are an element of Peace, not partition.  We must make sure that we are not causing conflict in our church, or in our home, or n our workplace. When Paul talks about walking worthy of the vocation that we’re called, this is relevant to the church and the workplace and the family. In each one we have a different calling, a different vocation, and we have a responsibility to carry it out. The way that we carry it out will either bring unity or division. Let’s make sure that we’re bringing unity in all of our situations. That will be a much better testimony for God.

 

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All About Love

Ephesians 3:17-19

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. I have talked to so many people and told them how Christ changed my life. Some of them will tell me that they were glad that I found religion, but it was my decision to make these changes that made the difference. That is so untrue. They just don’t understand the difference that Christ makes when we accept him into our hearts by faith. Faith in the transforming power of Jesus Christ, and the fact that he comes and dwells within us when we ask him to, is the power behind the transformation in a Christian. And it doesn’t just last for a few days. It lasts the rest of our lives. As long as we have a desire to grow, God will continue to move in our lives and increase our faith and our knowledge of Him. By faith Christ lives in our hearts.

 We Are rooted and grounded in love. If your spiritual walk is not rooted and grounded in love then you’re going the wrong direction. Jesus and God are all about love. It was God’s love that sent Jesus to this earth. And it was Jesus love that brought Him to the cross. We need to be all about love. Everything we do for Christ needs to be about love.

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

Do you comprehend what is a breath, the length, the depth, and the height of that love? How far do we really need to reach in love?  God reached all the way down from heaven! Should we do any less?  Can you tell me anybody that you know that doesn’t need love?  Our mission, and God’s will, is that we spread the love of Christ to all we meet.If we don’t understand how far we need to reach out and love then we will never reach far enough. God requires us to reach out to everybody and share His love. That’s what we have to comprehend. Now I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully comprehend why he loves us so much. I mean, we are His creation but we are so undeserving of His love. I was a wretched sinner before I came to Christ. I did not deserve any bit of His love. But He loved me while I was still a sinner. How much more should I love others on this Earth with the love He has given to me.  He did not give me His love to just hold onto it.  He gave me His love to share!

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

I need to know the love of Christ. It is much more important than knowledge. I was one who strove after knowledge when I got saved. I started reading the Bible and reading all the books. I started studying my Bible, doing word studies and history studies. I started listening to all kinds of preachers to learn more and more. I got so stoked up with knowledge that I also got full of pride. I was so concerned with gaining knowledge that I forgot to apply the love that God told me to have for those around me. See it’s much more important to know the love of Christ and to practice love with those around us then it is to have knowledge. If you are striving after knowledge I suggest you start striving after love instead.
If we know the love of Christ then we can be filled with the fullness of God.  That is because God is all about love. I want to be filled with God’s fullness. I want everything I can get from God and sometimes that will mean getting into difficult situations. Those situations are my proving ground and my training ground. That’s where God sees what I’m made, and He can see if I would treat other people with love even if they’re coming against me. Those are the times that God really knows what we’re made of.

Humility and Confidence

Ephesians 3:8-12

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

We see here the humility of Paul. I really doubt God could have used Paul if He hadn’t humbled him first on the road to Damascus. When Paul was hunting down Christians, he was very proud and pompous about the fact that the Pharisees had selected him to do that task. But when he got knocked off his horse and Jesus talked to him, he was indeed humbled. And the humility that he displays here by saying he’s less than the least of all saints should let us know how important humility is. To me, humility is one of the most important attributes we can have as Christians because it makes us teachable and pliable in God’s hands. If we have any pride within us, we will have too many places to do it our own way going to make our own decisions instead of listening to what the Lord wants. If you’re having trouble fulfilling the call of God on your life then I would take a serious look at the level of pride that you still have. Allow God to Humble you.

Paul then relates that he has been given the grace to preach to the Gentiles. This would take a great amount of grace. The Jewish people automatically looked down on the Gentiles as inferior. Paul had to take a whole new attitude in order to make the trips that he did. He also had to convince all of those in Jerusalem that it was the right thing to do. That was not an easy task. But the grace that was upon Paul was so strong and so evident that God could use him in ministering to the Gentiles. He was able to make all men see the fellowship that is in Christ Jesus.
Paul mentions that from the very beginning of the world, God hid this fellowship from everyone else. From the very beginning God intended to save the Gentiles right along with the Jews. He was not about to give up His Son for just the Jewish people. He gave his Son for all mankind. That whosoever believes in Him shall be saved. Jesus Christ is the one who all things were created from. We see in John chapter 1 that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  Everything that was made was made by the Word. In Genesis we see that God spoke and the world came into existence. He spoke the Word and the Word is Jesus Christ. Let us never forget that the one who hung on the cross is the same one by whom all things were created!

10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

The intent of Paul’s preaching is that the church might know about the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. As we get further into Ephesians we will see Paul talk about these principalities and powers that we battle against on a regular basis. Most of the battles that we face as Christians are on a spiritual level, not a carnal level. When we approach these battles trying to win them by our own strength, then we are defeated already, because in our own strength we can’t beat those principalities and powers that come against us. But when we rely on God’s strength, then we have his almighty power in the heavenly places on our side. This is why a combination of prayer and praise on a regular basis is so vital to our existence. If we are not allowing the Holy Spirit to reign in our body we are in trouble when we get into a battle
This has been the eternal purpose of God: To bring along a people who are rooted and grounded in Him and who have accepted His Son Jesus Christ as their sacrifice and Lord so that they will understand how to fight the battles. These people will rely on the principalities and powers that are in the heavens.   God purposed this in Jesus Christ long before you and I were born

12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

In Christ we have boldness and access with confidence by faith in him. How confident are you in Christ? He talks about two ways that we should be confident. The first way is with our boldness. We should be confident in our testimony. We should never back away from what God has done for us, and we should take every opportunity to witness that we can find. The world is plenty bold with their stories of despair and heartache and grief. They’re very bold in there swearing and using the Lord’s name in vain. We should be bold in talking about the love of Jesus Christ to the world. And we should be confident in that boldness,  not running away or backing down.
The second way we should be confident is in the access that we have to God through Jesus Christ. We have been given a highway to heaven you might say. We should with confidence  to tell people that we will pray for them, and stop what we’re doing right there and pray for them right now,  not say I’ll pray when I get home. If your prone to forget you should make a note so you remember to pray for them. Make it right in front of them so they know that you’re serious about your prayer life and that you’re confident because you have access to the very throne of God. You’re confident that He will hear your prayer. You’re confident that God will answer your prayer. Your confidence there will be a testimony that will come out of that prayer. Confidence in your access is a great thing. Never forget that you are able to walk into the holy of holies and ask the God of the universe your request because of what Jesus did for you

We Now Have Access!

Ephesians 2:18-22

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Access. What a powerful word that is. I could fill 100 pages talking about access but I’m going to keep this short. We go all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned against God and tried to blame each other. I’m sure you remember the incident. God at that time blocked the way to the Tree of Life  by placing Cherubim and a flaming sword there. The way to the Tree of Life was now not available to Adam and Eve, or to all mankind.

 Only Moses had direct access to God. I find this remarkable when I look at this part of the story and the access that nobody else had. It is obvious God had high regard for Moses to give him the kind of access that He did. As we go through the Levitical law, we see that the ark, which was considered the very presence of God, was put in the Holy of Holies, a place that only the high priest could enter into once a year. This was the only direct access to God that they had.
So first God blocked the way and then He made it so only one person, once a year could approach Him in person. But when Jesus came,  He made the bold statement “I am the way”. He is the way that was blocked in the Old Testament in Genesis. The way is now open to us so that we have access through Him to the Father. Oh glorious day! What a great thing Jesus has done. Down through the annals of time men did not have access to God and now He is the way. And He will make a way for you, no matter what you’re going through, no matter what the difficulty.  He will see you through and make a way.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

We’re not strangers to God anymore.  We are not out there somewhere just floating around hoping to get into the kingdom of God. We’re citizens right along with the rest of the saints that have gone before us. We belong in heaven if we have Jesus Christ as our Savior. It is our home. You’ve heard many songs that talk about being homesick for heaven. Oh it’ll be a great day when we go to heaven – a day of rejoicing and great fellowship because we’re not foreigners anymore.  We are part of the household of God. We are His sons and His daughters and we have a mansion waiting for us.
Not only are we fellow citizens, but we are built upon a foundation of great men before us. We can go all the way back to Elijah, Isaiah,  Jeremiah,  Paul and Timothy and then come into the new day with Jonathan Edwards, D L Moody, Charles Spurgeon,  CS Lewis and so many others who have laid a foundation in the gospel. This foundation is built around a cornerstone and that cornerstone is Jesus Christ. The cornerstone is there to hold the whole thing together. That’s what Jesus does with our foundation – He holds it together.. We can never take Jesus out of the church because, if we do, the whole thing will topple. He has to be the preeminent figure.

21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Everything is fitly framed together. God put you and your church family together the way He wants it. It’s not our choice who God places in our church, although we think it is. God puts the body together and He frames it the way he wants it framed so that it will be a holy temple unto the Lord. If we have a problem with somebody that God has brought into our congregation, we had better go to God with it. My guess is that God is trying to change me if somebody comes in to that congregation that I find offense with. And I better get my act straight instead of trying to condemn them. The typical responses is “Well I’m a member here so they have to go”. God might be saying “No, you need to change and accept them and love them.”
Then he says that we have been built together so that God can inhabit us. This is an interesting statement to me.  It reminds me of the verse that says that God inhabits the praises of Israel (Psalm 22:3). We use this all the time and change it a little bit to say God inhabits the praises of his people. God has formed the body together so it will be a habitation for Him through the Spirit. He does live within our churches if we are allowing him to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to services where they just don’t have time for the Holy Spirit. This is sad. I believe God would move in every church service in America and around the world if we would just give Him time to do so. Because we have been built together as a church for an habitation of God!  He is there and He wants to minister to us.  The question is – will we allow Him to?

Have You Been Quickened?

Ephesians 2: 1-5

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:. 

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

I have always loved the use of the word “quicken” in the King James Version. There is just something about the way it sounds.  I other places in the New Testament it is translated “gives life to” or “made alive”.  It denotes the spiritual life that God infuses into us at conversion.  We were dead spiritually to God in our trespasses and sin, but God infused the Holy Spirit into us, giving us life – quickening  us to His Spirit.

Before this , fulfilling the desires of our flesh,no matter where that took us. We followed the prince and power of this world, the devil’s ways.  His spirit works ijn those who are not saved.  And we were among those.  I know I was!  Drinking, drugs, women, wild parties, defying the law, defying God.  I didn’t care about anything.  I was a child of disobedience.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;

I love this “But God”.  despite all my swearing at God, cursing God, using His name and His Son,s name as a curse word every other sentence, He still sought after me.  He brought me back together with my best childhood friend at out 5th High School reunion, who had got saved while serving in the army in Germany.  we kept in contact and wrote letters to each other.  In every letter he would put a scripture verse, and I would look them up – planting seed.  A year later I came to visit him in Iowa, and received Christ as my Savior while here.  You can read the story of that trip HERE.  By God’s grace, I was saved.  Quickened!  Made Alive!

If We Are The Body

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Notice again here that it’s the Father who did the work in Christ. Christ didn’t pull this off by Himself. He had the help of the Father and the Holy Spirit when he was raised from the dead, and He was set in the highest place of authority, on the right hand of God. That places Jesus in the position of the highest authority in heaven, except for God. And we know that in heaven, Jesus is our mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). When a prayer rises up as incense before God (Rev 8:4) Jesus takes them to the Father as a mediator, and they talk about an answer to our prayer.  I can’t imagine hearing the conversations while millions and billions of prayers are going up and they’re deciding which ones to answer now, which to delay the answer,and which to say not now! They are definitely on a different timetable than we are.

This places Jesus in a position far above anything on this earth and any name on this earth.  Nothing in this world today or in the world that is to come, which is heaven. The only one He’s not above is God. That means that eventually every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil2:10). God The Father’s Son will be exalted, even by those He who do not exalt Him now. That is why we praise Him on this Earth. That is why we give Him glory and honor everyday of our lives, even when the bad times come.  Our circumstances should never dictate our  praise. He deserves our praise no matter what is going on in our lives. I hope you will learn that lesson and practice it well

 

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all

God has placed all things under Jesus feet. That means you, me, all of our friends, and all of our enemies. Jesus is authority over all of them. He has the ability to stomp them out anytime He wants to. And have you noticed that usually He doesn’t? Do you ever wonder why? Could it be perhaps that He’s put them there to teach you a lesson, to change you? To bring your attitude in line with what the Father would like to accomplish in your life? And I believe that’s true. He hasn’t removed an enemy, and by enemy I mean somebody who abuses you either physically or emotionally or spiritually, then perhaps He’s using that enemy to make a change in your life. Now I’m not condoning anybody stay in a relationship that is physically abusive.  Never should you stay in that relationship. That’s the devil at his worst. But we do need to do all we can in a workplace environment or church or someplace else, if somebody is emotionally attacking us, seek the Lord to see if we should be changing. Is our attitude towards them correct?  Do we love them as we should?  Pray for them?  It is something to consider.
Jesus is also the head over the church. God is giving him that authority is well. And the church is His body. What kind of a body are we? I like the song by Casting Crowns and I’m putting the YouTube video link of that song at the end of this post.  “If we are the body why aren’t His arms reaching,  why aren’t  His hands healing, why aren’t His words teaching?” The church if His fullness.  It is what He came to do. Not only to save the world but to establish that church. The church is Jesus Legacy you might say. We need to keep it alive. The church needs to rise up and fulfill its mission. We have talked about this before in the previoes Philippians study and I’m sure we’ll talk about it more. God help us if we don’t rise up as a church and start to love the way we’re supposed to love.  Put aside our foolish pride and humble ourselves. God hates pride and He wants us to love all people. Christ loved all people and we are supposed to be an extension of Him as His church. Do you know that even if you’re not attending a church, you are still a part of the church? The church consists of all the saved, and we all need to fulfill this mission that he has given us because that is what fulfills Christ’s mission. Let’s just do it, Church!

 

Virtual Reality vs. Virtue

Philippians 4:8 Part 7

Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoever things are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,

think on these things.

 

Virtue is an interesting word, isn’t it?  Before doing this study, I thought of virtue as decent, respectful and with integrity and high moral standards.  And I was partially right.  I looked it up!  In the Greek this word means excellence and is translated hat way for this verse in the New American Standard Bible and the NIV.  This excellence is an excellence of moral character according to Strong’s.

As I look in Webster’s dictionary, virtue takes on many more meanings.  It says behavior that shows high moral character and then it lists synonyms for virtue which is quite a list of things: 
goodness
, virtuousness, righteousnessmoralityintegritydignity,rectitudehonordecencyrespectabilitynobility, worthiness and purity.  Now that’s quite a list!

As we look over this list, we can see how far our culture has moved away from virtue.  We see corruption I our highest government offices, and a lack of high moral character there as well.  Dignity and decency have gone out the window in our society (have you ever seen pictures from a gay pride parade?), and our internet is filled with all kinds of indecency and deception.  ESPN gave its highest honor to a man who became a woman!  What does that tell us?  Virtue is disappearing from our landscape.  The church must stay relevant and virtuous, or all hope is lost for our country.

Paul changes the wording here to say that if there is any virtue, we should think about that.  Maybe he foresaw the day when virtue would start to fade in our cultures.  Paul knows the value of virtue in a society having seen the atrocities of Rome first hand.  He knows that a society that starts to lose virtue will implode eventually.

The church must not let that happen.  We need to rise up a virtuous army of people and restore decency to our culture.  It’s not up to our politicians to do this, it’s the church’s responsibility.  This is what 2 Chronicles 7:14 is all about.  Each of us, individually, becoming virtuous and praying for or nation.  Let’s make virtue more common than virtual reality once again!