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Ephesians chapter 4 verses 1 to 8 - Service - What is Holding me Back - JS Gillespie  

 

Paul, the anointed apostle to the gentiles, called as a prisoner, but he walked worthy of it!  

Whatever God gives you to do – walk worthy of it!  

In walking worthy as the servant of Potiphar in his household that was part of the path to greater service over Egypt  

In walking worthy as the servant of Moses that was the path to leading the nation onto victory in the promised land 

In walking worthy as the servant of Elijah that was Elisha’s path to becoming the man of God for the nation.  

In walking worthy as a captive in Babylon that was the path for Daniel to become a prince and a prophet.  

The Lord does not entrust as with much if we do not prove faithful in that which is least.  

For service in His church 4 key attributes: 

Lowliness – Don’t get puffed up 

How Paul served at Ephesus: 

“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews” (Acts 20:19) 

It was the solution to the divisions at Philippi: 

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Philippians 2:3)   

 

Lowliness - Don't get puffed up

Meekness – Don’t blow up

 

Longsuffering – don’t give up  

Forbearing – Put up 

 

 

All 4 of these attitudes to other are the expression of one attribute which is “love” (4:2)  

This is a love which has as it’s source the Lord Himself (3:16ff)  

A love which comes in back in Ephesians 3:17 

Lenski points out that the love in Ephesians 3:17 is our love towards Christ / God, just as the thought continues that it is our understanding or comprehension of God in verse 18 that flows from this love of verse 17 and so it must be our love for God.  

Something happens in these verses 16 to 17 that brings out this response of love towards Christ. The only significant event is the answer to that prayer for strength (Ephesians 3:16). In that answer by the Lord to our need we are assured of His love to us, His care, His commitment, and we are able to get over that stumbling block of Adam in Genesis 3 where we harbour the grudge, that just maybe we have a God who holds back on us and who cannot be trusted, who does not always want the very best for us!  

Vs 3 – We do not produce the unity, that is already given by the Spirit, rather we keep the unity.  

Vs 4 to 6 – 7 fold unity  

Verse 7 to 8 – the Grace Christ gives are manifest in His gifts  

Gifts given for use amongst His people.  

Verse 8 helps me understand the strange phrasing of Ephesians 2:2; the interesting title for Satan in Ephesians 2:2 “the Prince of the Power of the air” 

Why not Satan? 

Why not the Devil?  

What is the significance of the “Prince of the Power of the air”? 

Herein is the domain of Satan; above the kings of this earth, below the throne of the God of heaven!   

As believers we have been removed from and taken from that domain! Our status is not that of REFUGEE! Our status is that of REDEEMED! We are no like those souls we here of who escape from North Korea, from the concentration camps or the oppression of China or Iran where they escape but the regime stands as powerful as ever! We escaped but it stands as strong as ever! This is not the case with Satan!  

The bestowal of spiritual gifts by Christ (4:8) is linked to the ascension of Christ. This is distinct from Hebrews chapter 2 where it is the resurrection of Christ breaking through death and the grave, the gifts here are given subsequent to the ascension of Christ as He ascends (4:8) and leads captivity captive. This is not the grave nor death, the ascension is after the resurrection this is the leading of captivity captive after His death and resurrection as He ascends, through the domain of “the Prince of the power of the air”! 

Let me draw an illustration from Israel heading from the Exodus to the promised land! A story through which we can read the whole of the Ephesian epistle! The narrative of Exodus to Joshua is onwards and upwards, pressing forward through the red sea and the wilderness. Yet do something for me! Just for a moment, as you drive inexorably forwards, just for a moment, glance into the rearview mirror! What do you see? Israel are not refugees! Israel are the redeemed of God! Refugees leave their country as it was, intact. Israel has ransacked Egypt and left behind them a scene of total devastation! The grave yards are full of the firstborn of Egypt, the cattle slaughtered, the stink of rotten frogs and polluted rivers  and the Red Sea floating with corpses. Egypt has been subdued.  

In gifting to His people His gifts of Grace for the up building of His people and the spread of the gospel Christ has removed the enemy and forces that would hinder that work! That means there is nothing left to hinder us as His people!  

Dr J Stewart Gillespie