Lord's Day Evening Meditations June
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
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
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.