Lord's Day Evening Meditations June 29, 2003

Ephesians 4:13-5:33

Further Thoughts From

The Teachings of the Apostle Paul

We will continue tonight with further thoughts from what Paul wrote to the Ephesians, beginning at chapter 4, verses 13 - 16.

"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, " This shows the body of Christ in unity. We, as children of God, are not to be "tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine," or the "cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive." We can be kept by the Word of God.

Verses 17 - 24. This is speaking to ourselves, for we are Gentiles. In times passed we "walked according to the course of this world," but now we are to walk as God's children. This is quite different from walking according to our natural tendencies - "the old man." We are to walk according to the Lord in "the new man."

Verse 25. "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour." In the Old Testament it seemed a very small thing to tell lies. In the New Testament, in John 1:17 we are told, "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." So lying is to be put away, with all the different things that were natural to us before we were saved, and we're to turn to the Lord.

Verses 26 - 28. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour that he may have to give to him that needeth." This is speaking of believers. See how things have completely changed from the Old Test-ament.

Chapter 5: 11 - 14. "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Another translation reads, "Arise from among the dead." As we go through this scene we sometimes come together to read the Word, then, after a while, these same ones may be found in centers of amusement which the world has set up. This verse is speaking to saints who are asleep as to their condition. If you saw those saints in amusement centers, could you tell them apart from the rest? I remember children, who are now grown up, who had been taught how saints should be dressed, who came home and said, referring to certain ones they had seen, " - - - are not saved." They looked only at the outward appearance. Those same children are now grown up and they are found in those places of amusement. If they looked at themselves, and judged according to what they learned as children as to how saints should be dressed, they would say that they themselves were lost! "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from among the dead."

Those children who judged others as not being saved are now finding themselves in the same position today in those places. Their condition has changed through the years, but Scripture hasn't changed. If they looked at themselves now, the way they looked at others then, what would they say of themselves? We are not saying that people who do not walk with the Lord are not saved, but this Scripture says, "Arise from (among) the dead." It is a serious thought.

Verse 15. A brother used to tell of a shelf in a house that had all kinds of trinkets on it. The cat used to walk on that shelf, through all the trinkets, and not knock any down. That's walking "circumspectly." As we walk through this scene, do we "walk circumspectly," or does our behaviour turn others away?

The end of verse 14 says, "And Christ shall give thee light." When the time of the 1000 year kingdom of Christ comes, the assembly, the Bride of Christ, will be a source of light to this world; the earth will walk in the light of the assembly. That light will be the glory of the Lord Himself, shining through His people. Today the assembly is here on the earth; it is the same people but not yet glorified. Still, we should be a source of light now, to the world around us. How much light do we show? "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from (among) the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." If we walk as children, and walk "circumspectly," then we will show light to those around us. In a coming day the nations will walk in the light of the assembly. They should be getting some light from the assembly now. It is hard to say how far we are from doing that. It should make us think seriously.

Verses 17 - 20. These are touching words, spoken to the saints, to those who are saved. Are we like verse 19 says? The Lord says in Proverbs, "My son, give Me thine heart." We can be swollen up with a lot of knowledge, and know all about the Lord's ways, but unless we give Him our hearts, we're a poor lot.

Verse 25. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself or it." Husband, are you worried about loving your wife too much? Can you surpass the love of Christ? All these things are written for us, and should be part of our ways. Verse 33 says, "Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." If the husband loves his wife and the wife reverences her husband, it won't be hard to do; it will be a pleasure.

We'll turn now to Second Timothy. This letter was written some time after the one Paul wrote to the Ephesians. He was a prisoner in Rome when he wrote the second letter to Timothy. He wasn't in prison yet when he wrote the first.

Chapter 1:15 - 17. In Acts we saw how the truth had spread from Ephesus thoughout all of Asia. Paul had worked so hard in Ephesus, for 3 years, warning "every one night and day with tears." Now, they had all turned away from him: "All they which are in Asia be turned away from me." They had not turned away from the Lord, but they had turned away from Paul. Today the writings of Paul are not known. Paul was given the truth of the assembly and he wrote of it in his letters. Others, such as John, Jude, and Peter, wrote giving individual instruction. It was Paul who brought out the truth of the church, and he laboured to present the assembly "as a chaste virgin to Christ." 2 Cor. 11:2. That's why he said, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from (among) the dead." But many have "turned away from" the teachings of Paul and gone their own way so that now you can't tell a believer from an unbeliever. It is serious.

Chapter 2:1 - 2. This is quite an exhortation: "My son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." He then brings out a class of men - "faithful men." We may find many nice men, but "faithful men" are hard to find. Paul told Timothy to instruct "faithful men," those who would go on and be faithful to the Lord, and would "be able to teach others also." The assemblies of Asia had left the teachings of Paul, but Timothy was to commit those teachings to faithful men who would go on with the Lord and pass them on. Those faithful ones are few in number. Do we follow the teachings of Paul? When believers don't like to live Paul's teachings, they go their own way.

Verses 11 - 13. "For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him." We sing a hymn that says,

Jesus died, and we died with Him;

Buried in His grave we lay.

When we will "live with Him" we will show forth, as we said before, the splendor of Christ to the world. We should be doing that here and now also. But, to do that, we have to realize this truth of being dead with Christ. Is it so that the things of the world hold no interest for us each day? If we accept His will and walk with Him as far as we can, and do not deny Him, then Christ will be seen in us.

God's Word is truly wonderful. Here we have the Apostle Paul, in prison, instructing others how to walk more closely to the Lord. The Lord grant us to be more faithful to Him for all He has done for us. He has taken us out of darkness and brought us into His marvellous light so that we might show forth, in a small measure to others, how much we value our Saviour. E.B.