The Church in Heavenly Places
A Study of Ephesians
David W. Edwards
The letter to the Ephesian believers is a vast treasury of wealth and knowledge containing the riches of the spiritual realm. It instructs us with the influence and power that the Church, the fellowship of believers, has as an inheritance in the heavenly places. And it is a declaration of the fulfillment of the times in the church attaining to the prescribed calling and being in the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
This is an exegetical study, one where we go either verse by verse or section by section through the book, and summarize the conclusions derived from the sections in context with the theme of the study.
Ephesians is a deep revelation knowledge that only gets deeper and harder to understand, it seems, the more of it you understand and have revelation of. In other words; this is a deep and radical book that reveals mysteries. And the more that the mysteries are revealed, the more mysteries they lead to.
Ephesians is a revelation of what, how, and why the Church is. This manuscript reveals Jesus’ plan for His church in the earth and in the supernatural realm. I feel that the first three chapters describes who the Church is and what she is called to do, and the second three chapters describe how to attain to this calling and identity. Essentially, I feel the letter to the Ephesians is vital in the understanding of the Church, the direction we must go, in order to get where we are called to be. Therefore I have entitled this study; The Mystery of the Church.
Acts 19 describes when the apostle Paul first came to Ephesus. This is background and context for understanding his intent in the letter which he would later write to them.
There were disciples in the city of Ephesus but they had only received John’s baptism. Paul preached Jesus to them and they believed and were baptized in His name. Next, Paul laid his hands on them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit (vv 1-6). And now a church has been planted in the city.
Paul and his 12 disciples (v 6) began the work of the kingdom in the city. God began to move in very powerful ways. Handkerchiefs that had touched Paul’s body were being brought to the sick and healing them while driving out the evil spirits. The people of the city brought their magic books together and burned them and the word of the Lord was growing mighty and prevailing (20).
To say that this church started in revival would be an understatement. This is a fellowship that knows the power of God and the function of a church in the midst of a society that is steeped in witchcraft. They were able to overcome these things in their foundation as a church.
These are the same people Paul is communicating with in his letter and this will help us understand the context better. He is writing to believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit, on fire with God, healing the sick, driving out demons, and overcoming witchcraft!
In Ephesians 1, he hits the ground running right away in his description of heavenly places. Even though he is not there, he knows they are still in the midst of this supernatural battle and encourages them that in this place, they are blessed (see verse 3).
For more background and information, you can read any commentary, also read Revelation 1-3, where Jesus writes his own letter to the church at Ephesus.
So, we have our context set up to begin going through the book. My aim is to post 1 blog per week on the chapters. Each chapter will consist of 1 or 2 entries, so check back regularly for updates.
I pray that this will be a blessing to you, with a fresh outlook on a deep and rich portion of Scripture that many of us cherish and admire, as with all Scripture.
Christ in the Heavenly Places
“Nowhere is the Spirit of revelation more evident than in this letter. Charles Hodge rightly observes: ‘The epistle reveals itself as the work of the Holy Ghost as clearly as the stars declare their maker to be God.’ “
1. 1:1-3 After some opening remarks and greetings, Paul launches us right into a deep and profound statement. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Heavenly places are obviously not earthly places. Here we have an introduction into the spiritual realm. We are opening the door into a vast uncharted territory. This is a realm that needs to be entered into, and a realm that the majority of the church knows little about. This is the Supernatural Realm. This is (relatively) where God is. The secret is that we not only have access to this realm, but we are blessed with Christ here also.
- 1:4-8 We were chosen to be blameless before the world. Only the blameless ones have access to the things of the Spirit. We are blameless because of Jesus’ blood was shed for us and now we can enter into God’s presence (v7).
- 3. 1:9-10 The mystery of God’s will was made known to us according to the kind intention–Christ graciously dying for us not only to save us, but to give us access to the Spirit that we might shake the heavens and the earth in Jesus name–which he purposed in Him. With a view–sight, illumination–to an administration-stewardship, plan. The mystery of His will made known to us–the church, a mature body of stewards revealing the mysteries to natural and supernatural creation, seeing–with a vision of–administering His will will bring about fullness–completeness of Christ manifesting and manifested in all things natural and supernatural. We are chosen (v4) to know the will of God and make it known in the correctness of time and proper stewardship of a full and mature church, which sums up everything in Christ. The verse could read: With a view to a ministry suitable to the fulfillment of the times that sums up, and is summing up all things in Christ. The mystery of His will is that through us He is fulfilled because His power is toward us who believe (19), we are His body (23), we are fulfilling His call, bringing all things into fullness (see note on 2:6).
- 1:11-12 Us being in these heavenly places and being blessed, knowing the will of God and having a spiritual inheritance, is a demonstration that the church is to function in this, and not only that, but to flourish. As stated in v10, only a church with fullness can be the fullness thereof and demonstrate the fullness of Christ to the earth and spirit, bringing about the fullness of the times. This is His purpose. The counsel of His will is for us to know His will, which brings us as the church into fullness, which in turn brings about the fullness of the time. Christ died so that we would walk in this. This is the plan of the ages; to bring us into maturity and out of that maturity, to carry out the commission of the Gospel, fulfilling the plan of God. And all of this is basically summed up here in these verses, and it’s out of this foundation and context, and with these lenses on that we will continue through the book.
- 1:13-17 As stated in verse 11, we have an inheritance in God, in the supernatural realm. When we believe in the Gospel, we are saved and the Holy Spirit gives life to our spirits, causing us to be born again in the spirit. We are sealed in this spiritual life with the Holy Spirit. God dwells in us and this is the pledge of not only our inheritance of eternal life, but that we have access to all the blessings of that eternal life here and now in through the Spirit of God. A church that knows about these things and understands, and operates in them is a church that is moving in, and moving toward fullness (v17). Remember, as we progress, we are building on what we have already learned. We are blessed in the heavenly places to know the mysteries of God, being sealed by the Spirit, to access of an inheritance, bringing fullness about. Next, all this will culminate.
- 18-23 Christ – the Source of the Body
- 1:18-19 The greatness of power. Coming right off the knowledge vs (17), we see that our eyes spiritually must be opened to see these things–these blessings in heavenly places, inheritance, the riches, the calling. It will take us understanding this to realize what he means in v 20-23. We have God’s power in us as believers in Jesus (v 3:20-this power in us). He has given us intimate access to Himself and all the power that it curtails. He died just to give it to us His church, His body.
- 1:20-21 The strength of God is demonstrated in a crucified, yet resurrected Savior. He is at the Right hand of power. There are none who are above Him. He is the ultimate and supreme Ruler and Source of power any and everywhere ever. Now and in eternity, He is it. He is the highest rank, a rank which only He could obtain by shedding His blood.
- 1:22-23 Everything in the entire universe, heavenly places, eternity: it is all subject to Him. And gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Do we realize the magnitude of this? All this aforementioned authority Christ has, God has given to us through Jesus name. All the fullness of who Christ is should be seen here and now, in His Church, His Body. We should be walking revelations that Jesus Christ is real, Lord, and that everything He said and everything we say about Him and what He did and can do is real. Paul and the Spirit do not leave us here, but as we go through more of the letter, the Spirit will show us how to reach this mature and full state and how to continually grow in it and become more like Jesus!
The Church in the Heavenly Places in Christ Chapter Two builds on Chapter One. The position from which we start Chapter 2 is this: Christ Jesus is at the highest heavenly place. above all (1:10), and all of the focus, blessings and power of that position is toward us. We are His fullness, the church-the fulfillment of His position towards creation.
- 2:1-3 This is a description of our lives before we meet Christ. When we walk in accordance with the lust of the flesh; then we are walking in accordance with the prince of the power of the air (6:12 – if we are walking with him, then how are we going to defeat him?).
- 2:3-5 This is the way we formerly walked. He died for us while we were still sinners to bring us from our former life, to our new spiritual life in Christ
- Romans 8:1-4 The Law is the rules of righteousness that God gave men to live by, but no one could do it. This is the reason for the sacrifices-to atone for the sins of breaking this Law. Jesus fulfilled the Law by walking out every inch of it in our place. Then He paid our penalty for breaking it and died in our place. When we believe this we have new life with God in the Spirit.
- Romans 8:13-14 When we walk according to the Spirit, we will not walk according to the flesh. In our spiritual walk, we may sin and fall, but we repent and get back up stronger and we learn to resist the temptations of the flesh. Our walk is our lifestyle. Our overall lifestyle is characterized by walking with Jesus in the Spirit, even though we may fall. Our old lifestyle was walking in the flesh and we did not care if we sinned. Now we are slaves to righteousness and when we sin, the Spirit convicts us to repent and this makes us more like Him; this is walking in the Spirit and putting to death the deeds of the flesh.
- 2:6 We are in the heavenly places with Christ because of His grace. This is above the prince of the air. Therefore in Christ, we have authority overall wickedness v 6:12. This verse reiterates 1:20-21: This describes where Christ is in the heavenly places and we are right next to Him there! He, as the head, desires us, the body, who is seated right next to Him, to minister His rule to the heavens and the earth. When we operate in this kind of fullness, it brings the times into fulfillment as His kingdom rules.
- Matthew 16:18-19 This is the very foundation of the church. It is the first time that Jesus uses the term. The power of the revelation that Jesus is the Son of God and that we believe in and serve Him puts the church, even in its most infant state far above all rule and authority with Christ.
- John 14:12 Not only do we do what Christ did, but He has given us the Spirit to do even greater things.
- 2:7-10 All that we are to do for God is already prepared for us. We are supposed to walk in these good works, which makes it all the more important that we no longer walk according to the flesh if we want to fulfill our calling and be beneficial to the kingdom. Remember not to quit when we do fall, the Lord will always be there to pick us back up. The worst part of struggling is the failure to get back up. When we get back up, we put the flesh to death, demonstrating that we are indeed walking in the Spirit and that we are sons of God. The world does not know how to get free, but when they see it in us then will know there is a way (John 14:6).
- Romans 8:19-21 Only when the church starts revealing Jesus’ will the world take notice and turn from walking in the flesh to walking in the Spirit.
- He set it up so that we would be right next to Him in the highest place; a demonstration to all that He is Lord. Since we are in the heavenly places with Christ, if we sin, we are pulled down mentally (not positionally) to where we were before. This is below the prince of the air in submission to his way. This will limit us from access to all the power and fullness or fulfillment that comes from relating properly to Christ and the place in the Father He has given us. Sin is bad because it prevents and limits you from being who you were created to be.
- These three verses (5, 6, 7) are vital to the understanding, I believe of all of Ephesians. In chapter 1, Jesus’ place above all is described. Then in the second chapter, our place below all is described. And now, verse 6 ties it all together: Here we are, at the lowest place, then, suddenly Jesus comes, raises us up with Him, smashing us right through the realm of the prince of the power of the air, and takes us all the way to the top of the top. He sits us right next to Him at the pinnacle of all creation. When we start to understand and live this out, impossibilities will become possible, and we will fly where we used to be afraid to crawl (see Ephesians: Heavenly Places for further study).
- This is not an every-so-often high. We should live everyday as we are, seated right next to Jesus, acting like His best friends.
- 2:11-18 Because He shed His blood, both Israel and the gentiles now have access to the Father through Jesus Christ.
- Romans 6:23 If we continue in sin, we will pay with death, but if we receive salvation, our debt is paid with Christ’s death and we receive eternal life.
- Israel and Gentiles Together This section sets up the beginning of the third chapter, so it is important to understand what he is saying here. Gentiles–from then Jewish point of view–were anyone who was not an Israelite. They were unclean and had no access (for the most part) to God, less they be circumcised, convert to Judaism, and obey the Law. Because the Law was fulfilled in Christ, all now have access to the Father, who believe v 13. We obey Him and the circumcision is a circumcision of the heart and not of the flesh. What he is saying here v 14 is that no longer would we have to join Israel to get to God but both Jews and Gentiles now have access through Christ. We join with Israelin God’s household forming a new spiritual kingdom in the earth.
- 2:19-22We are a part of God’s house and we are growing into a holy temple–a place where the Lord dwells–in the Spirit. This is what the church is supposed to be: a massive generation of Jesuses (like but not equal), driving out wickedness in their lives, and in the world, advancing the Kingdom.
- Daniel 2:31-35;44-45 This statue represents the evil empire and the stone represents the revelation that Jesus is the Son of God (Matt 16:16-19), this revelation is the foundation of the church. This mountain that fills the earth is the church, the kingdom that cannot be destroyed. We win. We should not resolve to be merely Christians, but world changers who destroy evil and usher in the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Hebrews 11, 11:40-41 We are the culmination in the plan of God to fulfill the grand callings in all these men and women of faith lives and also in our own. We the church, people filled with God, are the mystery of the Gospel.
The Mystery of the Church
1. 3:1-8 Introduction: Now you can see how, beginning from v 2:11, God is building His Body (church) in the earth, and how He is spiritually connecting and putting things together. All who believe are apart of God’s household, whether Jew or Greek(Romans 1:16). And all are being built up for a purpose, which will culminate in vv 3:9-12.
- 3:6 Two opposite and unique bodies are now one in Jesus and they bring the ministry, or administration, of the mystery–Israel and the Church. And, in doing so, the many wisdoms of God are made known as it is revealed through His church to the heavenly places, the supernatural realm. His rule and authority in this realm is made known to the rulers and authorities there by us, those whom are at His right hand. [I am not neglecting the 3rd heaven (2 Co 12:2), just pointing at the supremacy we have in Him in all things spiritual and supernatural.]
- 3:9-12 Part of the mystery is that God has brought the two groups together to form one body–His Body. The unity of the one Spirit and those who join together in Jesus name, sealed by His Spirit–as the great mystery–will not only have significant impact, but a complete global one. Jesus is forming a people in the earth with a view to ministering in the fullness of Christ, which will shake all generations (past, present, and future), and will threaten and overthrow demonic powers. It will summon the return of our Lord Jesus and cause multitudes to be saved. It will bring the greatest persecution ever known and the greatest victory ever fathomed. As we said earlier, all creation is waiting for this (Rom 8:19-21), all those who have gone before us are waiting for this (Heb 11), and heaven is waiting for that one generation (Heb 11:40) to arise from the dead (Eph 5:14).
- 1:9-10 He made known His mystery to us (Christ in us). All things are complete in Christ and for His glory.
- The chapter begins with “For this reason…,” which may be applied to the latter verses, particularly 3:10: “…so that the manifold wisdom of God…” Chapter 2 ends with the church, all believers, being built together, “for this reason,” ” so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” To see the passages in contextual flow is essential in proper interpretation and application.
- The mystery of the Church is that we are one body sitting at the right hand of Jesus (as His bride) fulfilling His intended plans and purposes in the earth. This is, in itself, the manifold wisdom of God as it is decreed to the rulers and authorities. (Once again ref. the Heavenly Places study which will be the last part of the series.) Many have tried to understand the “why?” behind this passage. I do not claim to have the answer, which would be another study altogether, but I do believe the major significance relates to the fall of Adam in the garden, the reversal of spiritual authority, and all Jesus did in the liberation of that authority to bring us once again to the heavenly places.
- 3:11 Art Katz ask us; “How many churches have this as their purpose, making known the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places?” This is mind blowing in relation to common church paradigms. Our purpose as church is to not only to consider such realities, but as Robert Gladstone puts it: “BE the thing!” (The mystery revealed) This is in essence our vocation (see Sparks, The Prophetic ministry). The reason behind the next three chapters of becoming mature and belonging to the fullness of Christ: Only a people in fullness can make the living proclamation needed in 3:10.
- 3:11 This is part of His eternal purpose and plan for the ages; to redeem mankind through a Messiah, who would send His Spirit to transform them into the image of God. This is the meaning of life and creation. God’s judgment and grace is therefore demonstrated in them from this restored state.
- 3:12 We are at his right hand. We know who, where, and what we are. We should be bold before Him in what He calls us to do. This is not a place of timidity. Timidity is not humility. We should big strong humble bold lion copies of Jesus.
- 1:20-21 He is the ultimate authority and He chooses to enforce it through us His church (1:23). The One who fills all in all decided to fill us with all the fullness of Himself. The Church should be the fullness and completeness of Christ in the earth today! We are the supernatural ones in the earth and in the heavens (but often our minds are on the earth).
The wisdom of God, the filling of man with Himself–Jesus being the prototype–is to be demonstrated to all, even the demonic powers that deem to rule the earth. We take them down in Jesus name! It is the eternal purpose of the church to do these things.
3:13-21 - The 4th Dimension – The Spiritual Realm
This section seems to transition from the theme of describing the church’s function to how to get the church to function and to walk in that fullness of unveiling the mystery of Christ in the earth. We have established the significance of our heavenly place, now how do we live that out here in the earth?
- 3:16 Therefore we cannot comprehend nor understand our place in this realm unless, according to His riches–as the highest place there is–by His Spirit which strengthens us with power in our inner man. Then the love that causes us to be effective in this realm will fill us up with all the fullness of God.
- If we are going to walk this walk (4:1), then our inner-man must be full of the power and person of the Holy Spirit. Who are we on the inside–the place where only Christ can see? (Matt 6:6) If who we are in public is not who we are in private, then we are fake. Does who we are on the outside, accurately reflect who we are on the inside? Is our private life filled with sin, or precious time spent with Jesus?
- This is the contextual set-up of the following verses: We are strengthened with power in the inner man to: 1) Have Christ dwell in our hearts; 2) Comprehend with all the saints what is the breath, length, height, and depth of His love (18); 3) And to know the love of Christ which results in all the fullness of God (19).
- 3:17 Can those around you see Jesus in you? Can people tell that you have been with Jesus? Does Jesus dwell in our hearts to the extent that we love everyone around us the way that Jesus loves them? The more time you spend with Jesus, the more you will become like Him. “You are what you eat.” If you spend lots of time being entertained and pleasured by the world, then you will resemble the world. If you spend time in prayer and in the Word, and in fellowship with other believers, then you will resemble them and God.
- i. This is very important for the church in walking in fullness. The individuals that make up the body must not rely on the “pastor’s”  prayer life. They must have their own intimate time with Jesus. A church that walks in fullness is a church that knows Jesus, and is comprised of multitudes who know Him as well.
- 3:16-19 – Contextual Each verse has special meaning, but there is a flow that goes through all four verses that has a broader and deeper significance. 16 – Our inner-man is strengthened through the power of the Spirit, 17 – causing Christ to dwell in our hearts. This, after we study 18 will culminate in 19, filled up to all the fullness of God.
- i. 3:18 The Four Dimensions of God: we live in a three dimensional world. I believe that the fourth dimension is the spiritual realm. We can apply this observation to previously stated verses: 1:3-Blessed in the heavenly places; 1:13-Sealed in the Spirit realm; 1:17-We have wisdom and knowledge in this realm; 1:20-21-Christ has complete authority in this realm, so this fourth dimension that we cannot see can only be accessed through faith (3:17; Heb 11:1). 1:23-The church is not natural, it is supernatural, born of God; 2:6-We are with Jesus in the spiritual realm; 2:22-Out place is in this realm. The church’s purpose is to be built together as a dwelling for God. He longs to fill His Bride with himself (5:31). We dwell with God in this spiritual realm, and from this place (3:10), we demonstrate the wisdom and power of God to the earthly and spiritual realms. That is the mystery of the church and a church that is beginning to walk in fullness.
- ii. 3:19 With the spiritual understanding that we now have, we can somewhat realize this great love that He has for us to allow us this life in the Spirit; not only to bring us into this realm, but also to set us at Jesus’ right hand and use us to demonstrate Himself. The thematic implication of this verse is simply that God loves us so much it’s four dimensional. •John 3:3-12 Before we are saved, we have no access (Eph. 3:12) of faith. Because it is faith that Jesus is Lord (Jn 3:16-17), that leads to this spiritual life. 3:5-We must be born again in the Spirit, because the kingdom is a supernatural kingdom that also happens to control the natural one. 3:8-The natural is limited, the spiritual is not. 3:12-Nicodemus is having a hard time believing and comprehending the reality of the existence of a supernatural realm in the manner the Jesus is describing. Eph 3:18-We comprehend with all the saints these things, that leads to the beings filled up with all the fullness of God.
- 1Corinthians 2 – Spiritual Understanding and Comprehension 2:1-We can see some of what we have been discussing described here. 1:1-5-Part of the reason the church is not walking in fullness is because they rely on their own wisdom and not God’s. 2:6-9-No one understands these things because it requires spiritual sight(Eph 1:10 view). 2:11-16b-We know the mind of Christ, because the Spirit of God lives inside of us and possesses us. Our calling is to demonstrate this wisdom and this power in the earth just like Jesus did. 4:1-20-This is the revelation of the mystery to the earth: God is real and powerfully demonstrated in love and compassion. We do not need tricks to evangelize, we need His power and presence, and then the mystery will become clear: Jesus Christ is Lord over all.
- 3:20-21 Now that we have a glimpse of spiritual understanding, we realize that this vast spiritual realm is ruled by a great God who can do anything, is far beyond anything we can fathom. Still He chooses to work His unfathomable power through us; what a mystery! This power works within us, the church.
- Believe and there will be no limits. This natural realm, all that we see with our eyes is subject to the spiritual realm. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished when we are in the Spirit! Smith Wigglesworth would say “only believe”. We know in our heads, but do we believe in our hearts that Jesus can do anything? When we speak in faith about what we cannot see, it will change what we can see. When faith resides in us; we know God can do anything. 2 Kings 6:12 -1 The servant was afraid of what he saw with his eyes. Elisha saw the spiritual realm with his eyes and knew God was with them. Then he said that those for us are greater than those against us (v.16). We should never be afraid of what we see with our eyes even when faced with death. (Rev 12:11) There is always a greater spiritual force on our side than the devil’s side. (Eph 6:12, 2 Ki 6:17).
The Authentic Church
1. 4:1-9 Fulfilling the Call We must walk worthy of this calling. ”Calling’” in context with this study, refers to building on our position in Christ, seated at His right hand in the heavenly places (2:6), fulfilling His call and administering His fullness to all things on heaven and in the earth.
This is a very important thing we do: preach the Gospel. It should be taken very seriously. It is the whole reason for our existence; the privilege of sharing with others out of our relationship with Jesus. After describing all these great mysteries and the purpose of the church, and the secrets of the Spiritual Realm, he urges us, out of the seriousness of the Gospel–of which he is imprisoned–to walk out this stuff that he has been describing, which is Our calling, to walk worthy of this great and privileged calling to which we’ve been called.
a. 4:1- Honor of Persecution - He is a prisoner of the Lord: this is a brash statement considering he is imprisoned by men. The Lord made Paul worthy to suffer imprisonment, which is a great honor in the kingdom (Heb. 11, Acts 5:4), because of all that Jesus suffered. Paul may be limited in the natural, but he still has access to God in the Spirit (Eph. 3:12) and still causes movement and change in the spiritual and natural realms. His person was imprisoned but his Spirit was free. (2 Tim. 3:12) Many in the church are afraid to even speak of this (in the West) but in many ways it’s a gift to make us more like Jesus. As stated here (2 Tim) it’s a mark of genuine authentic Christianity. We shouldn’t be weird and long for pain but when the trials come, we can have faith and press through in Jesus. In the latter part of this verse, Paul’s essentially saying ‘if I’m in prison for this Gospel, the least you can do is walk worthy’. He doesn’t just encourage us–he implores us with all urgency–that if we’re going to walk in the fullness, then we must in character and conduct, and in all function walk worthy of the call.
2. 4:2-6 Unity In The Body as there is unity in the Trinity, a mature church doesn’t fight against each other, they’re in unison. Not only must we individually learn how to walk in fullness, we must learn how to walk in fullness within the Body. There is only one body to be apart of and we must get along.
3. 2:7-9 We’re not all the same. God has ordained it that way, each of us are called specifically to our own unique and individual calling. All of these different gifts and callings come together as one Revelation of Jesus Christ in the Earth. You’ve got a spiritual body–working in unity in their spiritual gifts–that form a spiritual people in their spiritual gifts, and that form a spiritual people in the earth. In the context of the flow, he is taking us into the maturity of the fullness of Christ, and setting us up for the way the church is to function in its leadership which is to properly attain and reach this maturity to a greater degree. This is an authentic church. This is the way the Spirit set up the church so it would be full.
4. 4:10-16 The Ministry of Fullness
a. 4:10 He is far above and fills all things. This is significant, because the one who is above all in all (v.11) is about to give the gifts (of these ministries–or you could say some of himself) the church, which needs these functioning properly and in unity for the church to be the fullness of Him who fills all in all. That’s why this section is preceded with character development and working together, so we understand the significance of those gifts and their functioning harmoniously in the body to be an accurate and complete representation of Christ in the Earth. The gifts which he is about to describe are foundational and absolutely essential for a properly living and breathing community of believers
b. 2:20.4:11- The Ministry Gifts – The Fivefold MinistryThis is NT church structure. This is not for the sake of ruler-ship, but servitude. As we saw in the previous verses, these gifts are for serving the body in unity. Helping one another achieve maturity helps the whole body achieve maturity. And, as we will see in the later verses, these gifts must be present and functioning within the body (church), for it to be real and alive, and fulfilling the call of God. We are seeing these gifts restored to the church, and thank God for that. Hhowever, unless they are fully restored and begin to grow and mature into their rightful place in the Body, then the church will never walk in the fullness of Christ as mature believers. The very reason God gave these gifts was so that the church would walk in fullness. He has called us to maturity and He has given us the gifts to us here.
- Apostles – The apostle serves all and helps all–even the other ministry gifts–attain, develop, walk in, and release them in their calling. They are the builders and foundation layers (along with prophets). They assure proper growth of the over all body. They walk in the power of God, and are commissioned by Jesus–sent ones–building the kingdom of Heaven in the earth. The term comes from a title given to a Roman general sent to change the culture of a conquered land to that of Rome in attempt to lessen the chance of a rebellion. In application we can see that apostles are sent by Jesus to change the culture of earth to the culture of heaven. Remember where we are seated in heavenly places, we are meant to bring that to this realm.
- Prophets – Prophets do not just prophesy. They are prophetic. They discern the time and seasons. And direct the body in the right direction. Their life is a revelation of the Word carried out.
- Evangelist – NT evangelist would go out, often to new places, and demonstrate the power of God as witness to Jesus as Lord. They usually confront the local spiritual authorities and relinquish them of their power. They showed the locality Jesus.
- Pastors – They shepherd and teach . They help individuals and fellowships in their walk and in the growing process, keeping watch over their souls.
- Teachers – Similar to pastors; they teach all aspects of the Christian life: the Word, the things of the Spirit, operation of spiritual gifts; and equipping for ministry.
- c. 4:12 The reason for these gifts is for the equipping of the saints. This is active; we are always being equipped for what lies ahead for us to do for the Gospel. Ministry is service. We serve others and God by ministering His life to their needs. We are the ones that administer His kingdom to the earth and we need these gifts to fulfill the calling. The saints must be equipped for the work of ministry for the Body to be built up. 2:21-The building is being fitted together and is growing only if theses gifts are present and ministering according to their vocation. In a practical sense, these gifts are the trades that are required if the church is going to grow into a building that fills the earth. An authentic church-that which is real- has these gifts in full and proper operation. Anybody that denies these gifts as a vital part of the church, will not reach maturity, the knowledge of the Son, or walk in fullness. This is unauthentic and unreal according to the biblical mold.
- d. 4:13 We will go phrase by phrase through this verse to dissect its meaning and application to the context of which we have been studying and that of the authentic church.
- i. Until is a strong word to start the sentence here. Many use this to say that these gifts haves passed away and are no longer needed today. First of all, has the church reached what is described in this verse? Not hardly. Secondly, if we read in context with verse 12, we see it used differently. Building up of the Body, until we all attain to the unity…knowledge of the Son of God… a mature man… fullness. We are built up to attain these things: this place of knowledge, maturity and, fullness in Christ. The ministry gifts are given to make us reach this goal. Until, is not used to indicate that the gifts will be taken when the building is finished (even though the church is not even close to completion–theoretically). Until means that the goal of these gifts is the Fullness of God; the place we are reaching for.
- ii. Unity – In v 4:3, we read: being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This is necessary in the function of the gifts, because part of the purpose of the gifts is for the church to attain to the unity of the faith. Imagine all the dividing walls in the church coming down and there is one massive Body with Jesus at the head, pushing back and destroying the gates of hell, and advancing the kingdom with signs, wonders and miracles.
- iii. The Knowledge of the Son of God – These gifts mentor us. Imagine someone representing all these gifts. They have lived a lifetime walking with God, knowing Him, knowing Jesus, knowing the Holy Spirit, knowing the Word, knowing the power of ministry in the Spirit, knowing His suffering, love, etc. And, while I am still a young man, the person comes to me and pours all they know into me. I may still lack the experience, but I will have gained a lifetime of the knowledge of God from them. In essence, I will start where they are leaving off. I will receive the baton from them instead of starting the race over for myself.
•2Kings 2:11-14 Elisha was with Elijah when he was taken to heaven. Elijah had poured all of his life into Elisha. Elisha saw what God had done for Elijah. When Elijah was gone Elisha had a deep knowledge of the Lord. Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah? He knew, even without the personal command experience, that God would answer Him, just as He had done for Elijah, and the water parted.
– Where are the Elijahs of God? We need the fivefold gifts in total operation for true discipleship to flourish. Where are those who know God and pour that knowledge into the young ones?
– Malachi 4:5-6 – This is the restoration of the hearts. Instead of the older revival generation cursing the younger one, as being not of God; they raise them up.
With this kind of generational transfer, the kingdom will ignite in the Earth. This is the hearts of the sons turning to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers turning to the sons; learning from and loving each other.
•Remember 1 Cor 2: The church musthave this spiritual knowledge of Jesus. We are next to Jesus at the highest place in the spiritual realm (Eph 2:6). We should be masters at spiritual matters. This is where we really live, not here; yet, that is how we can have so much impact here.
- iv. Mature Man – We are being built up to attain maturity. The church has been amateurs long enough. Our profession is to dictate the supernatural theory as fact, as a result of our faith in Christ. Do we possess supernatural theology or just head knowledge? We need to be individually mature and corporately mature, which is why he stresses unity here. We need to stand as one body, not a divided one. If we seek to bring out the best in others, then we will bring out the best in ourselves!
- v. Measure of the stature – Fullness of Christ –We measure up to Christ. The Body needs to be like Jesus. We put ourselves down and then use it as a reason/excuse not to grow up. Because of his blood, He allows us to measure up to Him. He seated us next to Himself and wants us to do greater things than He did. Now, when we understand our real position in Christ; we will understand measuring up to a stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. A church in fullness will be like millions of Jesuses changing the world.
- C. 4:14 This is grown up Christianity. Knowing our place in Christ and walking it out. The devil knows that once this machine starts producing power, it cannot be stopped. He will try to keep the church from growing and reaching any level of maturity or fullness, with all of his might and forces. Paul prepares us for this attack and resistance from the wicked with the armor of God listed in chapter 6. The church in Acts changed not only their generation, but every generation since then. What would a generation that walked like that do today? What about a generation that has even greater power than they? How much could the world handle? How many generations of fathers raising up sons in the Gospel of power would it take to totally change things for good? I believe that with this kind of testimony it would not be long before all Israel was saved and Jesus return. This is a mature and authentic church.
- a. Maturity is grown up. We are now solid in our faith and doctrine, no longer bouncing form here to there. This why the devil deceives us. Every group thinks that they are the right ones and many refuse to work together as a body.
- D. 4:15 – These verses describe an authentically living body working and growing together in Christ. All aspects of our walk should be in maturity.
- E. 4:16 - This culminates in this section: These are different gifts. Not everyone who does something in the kingdom will look and act the same. We must understand that the one who is different than us is doing their part. If we abuse them we are only hurting ourselves. I would not smash my finger in the door because I scratched myself too much. Every part must be working for growth to occur. The mortar that holds the building (the church) together is love.
Ephesians 4b-Learning to Walk in a Mature Manner
- 1. 4:17-24 Walking in Maturity 1 – What Goes In
a. In context with verse 15, which stated that we grow up in all aspects, I believe this next section deals with some aspects that can hinder our growth if we do not deal with them and grow out of them. What goes in: Verses 17-24 deal with things that we allow into our lives, minds, and spirits, that influence us. I title the next section, vv 25-32, What Comes Out. This pertains to how we influence, act, speak; essentially our character. The order is significant because what we allow in will affect what comes out. These things that we must grow out of are childish; so the next point is going to be about putting aside childish things. b. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 - We individually and corporately are presented with a revelation of Jesus Christ the more we grow and the closer we get to the return of Christ, the more clear that revelation becomes. The ministry gifts and the spiritual gifts are given so that all the pieces (the partial) may come together to give us a greater and greater revelation of Jesus until we see Him fully revealed and face to face (12). The knowledge of Him will increase until we know Him fully just as He has fully known us. These gifts are given until Christ is full unveiled in glory. When this happens, we will not need the partial (gifts) that bring revelation of Jesus because we are in His presence. Love will remain, so we need that hear because that is the greatest revelation of Jesus to any one and when we are looking Him in the face, the gifts will no longer be needed, but until then, we need all the revelations that He gives us of Himself so we can be like Him, (but not neglecting to love).
- c. 4:17-19 Getting closer to and growing up in Jesus means putting away things we got away with when we were spiritual babies. And we are still doing them; we will grow by putting them aside. Gentiles, here, refers to unbelievers since most of them were possibly gentiles. He is referring to a way of living which he is about to describe rather than a race of people.
- 4:20-24 These childish and worldly things are not characteristic of Christ. We came to Him in His perfection and in our weakness. We grow by turning that weakness into strength (Eph 3:16). The darkness is driven away the closer we get to the light of Jesus. We should not try to remain as we were before we met Christ. 22 – We lay that old self down renewing our minds, and putting on the new self in Christ. We are walking toward fullness and not continuing in sin.
2. 4:25-32 Walking in Maturity 2 – What Comes Out
- a. 4:25 We must be real with each other speaking the truth in love. Remember if we hurt another member of the Body we are actually hurting ourselves. We are also hurting the body as a whole.
- b. 4:26 We will be angry and that is not wrong. There will be disagreements within the body. This is our family and we should lovingly resolve our problems.
- c. 4:27 When we get mad and gossip or let bitterness build up, we are giving satan a foothold, room for deceit and division. Not letting the sun go sown may mean dealing with the problem quickly and no letting it settle in our hearts.
- d. 4:28-29 The Body is the source and we must help all with all their needs. Our words have power. They affect all who hear them; us, people, God. We need to bless and lift up. We need to not sin when we are angry by saying something that we will regret. If we want our words to have power when we speak then we need to watch what we say!
- e. 4:30 All these things we do and say can hinder us in our ministry. They grieve the Holy Spirit. If He strengthens our inner-man, and we grieve Him, then we are weakening our inner-man. Growth is giving place to the Spirit in all things. Our life is not our own it belongs to God. He leads us and guides us as sons. Let us not act like bastards. Embrace His presence in our lives and He will lead us away form these things. If we resist Him in this then there will be resistance in our ministry. For growth inside and out, we must not grieve the Holy Spirit.
- f. 4:31-32 All of these things divide, but we must seek the unity of the Spirit in the Body. We must be forgiving in all things. Authentic church consists of authentic believers who are not false with one another, but they are real with each other, and are able to forgive because they love each other.
Living in the Light
1. 1-2 As we grow, we imitate Christ, and walk as He walked, in love. When we imitate Him, we become more like Him, and less like the world. This will mean the more like Him we will become. We will live more pure and sin less. Sin is a stench in the nostrils of God. And when we are living like Him and imitating Him, we will be a fragrant aroma.
2. 3-5 We learned in the previous verse what a fragrant aroma is, and now we have a description of what it is not. We adhere to the highest standards, not because we are religious, but because we love God so much, that we do not want to sin.
a. 4 – These seem like little insignificant things that do not matter much. However, their presence can be just enough to hinder our relationship with the Father that we miss the greater opportunity in the Spirit, or it may keep us from growing in and flowing in our gifts. Song of Solomon 2:15 states “The little foxes are ruining the vineyards.” They may not appear to do much damage, but in harvest time, the fruit of our lives could be half eaten away, just because we tolerated a little joke here and silly talk there. We must examine every aspect of our lives and lay it all on the altar, if we want to reach all the fullness that God has for us in this lifetime.
- 5 – In verse 1:11, we read of our inheritance in the Spirit, in Christ. Here we have the contrast of that which describes those who do not receive an inheritance. We have been raised up and seated with Christ (2:6), and there is a requirement on our part to walk out that position and inheritance as we grow in Christ. God does take us from where we are at (2:1-5), and gives us spiritual life. This life in the Spirit is the power to overcome sin and live according to that very Spirit. If you live the way as described in this verse, you have not an inheritance. God saw us in our sinful state, separated from Him and gave His life to restore us to our proper place (2:1-6). When we return to that state, we forsake our inheritance. God will always accept us back, but we must be growing into His image. “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live.” (Romans 6:13)
3. 6-14 Into the Light – Christ Shines
a. 6-7 Empty words are boasts of things which someone may proclaim, but does not walk in. “For I will come to you soon… and shall find out not the words of those who are arrogant but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power.” (1 Cor 4:19-20) Paul, when writing to Timothy, describes men like this, that they “[hold] to a form of godliness, but have denied its power.” (2 Tim 3:5)
- 8-11 If we walk the way we used to walk, then we are walking away from our inheritance, away from our heavenly position, and back into darkness. This is walking away from the light, not toward it. We are ministers of light, not ministers of darkness. We are ministers of life, not ministers of death. We are always fleeing darkness, and pursuing light. Pleasing Him, not doing what does not.
- c. 11-14 What is done in darkness is shameful and unfruitful. What is done in light produces fruit (9). We as the church expose what happens in darkness, shinning the light of Christ there. How can we do that if we live there or have occasional visits? These things of darkness are of satan, and we should not even mention them. We expose it and bring the light of Christ there. In darkness, there is death, but the light of Christ will make the darkness visible, and transform the death into life. You cannot see without light. The world is in darkness and we must shine the light.
- i. Much of the church either lives there, in the dark, or somewhere in between. They have a little light here and a little darkness there. The church, the body of Christ must awake from this death. Christ shines in us and we must shine to the world.
- ii. 14 This verse fits here and also in context to everything that we have studied in Ephesians up to this point. The church must wake up to these things and embrace the mystery of who she really is, and the power that she really possesses in the heavenly places. Only when there is an authentic church, awake, walking in the fullness of Christ, will the world see the truth of the gospel-Jesus Christ is Lord!
- iii. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden: nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-17)
Walking in Wisdom and the Spirit, and The Mystery of Christ and the Church
II. The Mystery of Christ and the Church
1. 22-24 Wives were created to be subject to their husbands just as the church was created to be subject to Christ. This is not bondage, this is liberty. This is the place where the wife is in her realm. She is free, doing what she was created to do, helping and strengthening her husband.
2. 25; 28, 29 Husbands must not take advantage of this and lord over his wife his position. He must love her and serve her. What wife, who is loved, will not joyfully subject herself to her husband? He must put her first in everything, just as Christ put the His bride (us) first, even in death and life. This is the husband laying his life down for her, daily putting her before him. He must nourish her, giving her all the physical, intimate, mental, and spiritual food that she needs. He must cherish her. She is a gift, not a toy or a slave, etc…
3. 25-32 Christ and the Church
a. Christ treated us like His own wife. He died in our place, so we could live. He cleansed us of our sin, washing us in His blood, so we would be a virgin on our wedding day. This is also why Paul told us earlier to stay away from things that make us filthy. Jesus does not want a filthy bride. He meets us in that state and removes from us the filthiness and makes us ready in the Spirit for the wedding day. So we must walk this out. We have a wedding to attend and we must be ready for it. When husbands love their wives, they will respect and love him back. She will obey him because she is loved. Christ loves us and gives us life, so we will freely love Him back. We are not forced to obey, He wants lovers, not robots. We are free and compelled to obey all that He commands of us, because we love to be loved by Him.
b. When we are married, we leave our parents to become joined with another. We are joined to that person, and in intimacy there is no distinction. We become one entity-connected. Christ left His Father to be joined with us, His bride. He created a bride for Himself who would love Him because He nourishes and cherishes, and laid His life down for Her. He longs to fill us with Himself, as the marriage illustrates. Remember we are His dwelling, and we are filled with His Spirit.
c. This is supernatural, not natural. Being intimate with God means getting out of bed with the world. We are married and joined to Him and Him alone. This is total freedom. An authentic mature church is one that is married to God and subject to Him in everything. This is a great mystery and I am not attempting to complete an explanation here, just providing revelatory insight into the understanding of the context.
d. 33 We must have properly loving marriages and families that make up the church. They must be string if the church is going to be strong. Paul starts the next chapter with emphasis on this. Only when we understand the relationship between Christ and the church can we properly relate to each other as husband and wife, and as a family.
I. Strength in the Body
1. 1-4 Strong Families: For the Body to be strong, the families that make up the body must be strong. Husbands are the heads of the family just as Christ is the head of the Church. Husbands must be the spiritual leader of the family. If the husband and the wife lead the children with love, then the children will want to obey all that the parents ask of them. Their motivation will be more out of love and respect–not wanting to let their parents down–than out of fear of punishment (although that is necessary as well, but not frightful). This is not only fulfilling but also honoring the parents’ command. Just as with his wife, the father must nurture the child: punish when it is due, but not unjustly or out of rage, and always in love. This will make the child convicted of sin and not mad at the punisher. This will hold the family together and make a stone for building a strong fellowship of believers.
2. 5-9 Strong Relationships
a) Serving Others (5-8):Everything we do is a witness. When we are under someone’s leadership, we should serve them the way we expect to be served. We must offer good service and good stewardship of that which they entrust to us. How can we be trusted with the mysteries of heaven if we cannot be trusted with earthly responsibility? Act as if we are serving Christ, because that is ultimately who we are serving. Do not just serve because you have to, but do it as unto the Lord. We must sincerely want to do a good job pleasing the person in charge and our Lord. All that we do, we do before God. Whatever we do in His will, we do for Him.
b) Leading Others (9):This is where having a strong home can develop a strong community. If a man has his home in order, then he will be a strong servant and strong leader. In the same way he leads his house he can lead others. Just as he does not lord his authority over his wife and kids, he does not lord it over his servants either. Love them and seek to bring out the best in them through encouragement and discipline. Do not over work nor mistreat them. Both they and you serve Jesus, so fear God.
II. Strength in the Spirit Part 1
1. 6:10-17 The Armor of God
a) The Strength of His Might (10): Remember it is He who strengthens us in our inner man. Our strength comes from Him (3:16). “The Lord strong and mighty (Psalm 24),” lives in us and gives us the strength to overcome, not only in the natural, but also in the supernatural. We are strong in the Lord when our walk is strong (4:1).
b) Full Armor (11): The strength of his might and us being strong in Him is the basis for putting the armor on if we are going to withstand the plans and attacks of the enemy. [Example: 1 Samuel 17 - David defeated Goliath because he fought in the Spirit. In v. 39 David removes the armor and lays down the sword given to him by king Saul, because David already had his spiritual armor on, and that is all that he needed to defeat Goliath.] Every piece of the armor is important and must be on if we are going to stand.
c) Struggle in Heavenly Places (12): This is a much debated verse as to the context, doctrine, and theology of its meaning and interpretation. In context with this study this is a observation of the language and descriptions used in scriptural context. This is not a dogmatic theological statement of a stance on the exact rank, placement, and identity of the spirits in heavenly places. [The descriptions below are my opinion based on my personal studies.]
We can misunderstand easily here as Christians if we lose sight of the spiritual battle and take out the fight on people. Although we deal with flesh and blood everyday we must stay spiritually focused.
Against the rulers: There are four different levels of spiritual forces listed here that we struggle against. Some people develop whole hierarchical doctrines here of demonic rank. I am not going that route. There is a clear distinction made here: It seems to start at a lower level in the former part of the verse, then lists “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” in the latter, which appears to represent the higher level of demonic activity. Rulers obviously rule over something. They seem to be under others here, at the lowest reference. Paul likely is listing them in ascending order. They may represent a locale, or areas of thought–perhaps thought processes of a particular kind that influence different situations and understandings.
Against Powers: These seem to be over rulers, possibly controlling several locales or regions; strongholds such as small philosophies or minor factions of false religions and cults.
World Forces of Darkness: These have “world” authority and move ranks and states, and even countries. Also they may control major areas of worldwide influence such as MTV, pornography and mental issues such as depression.
Spiritual Forces of Wickedness in the Heavenly Places:These are the “principalities and powers.” They control entire strongholds in the spiritual realm, such as; false religions such as Islam–a spirit of religion that denies a relationship with Jesus–as well as the spirits of death, murder, and suicide. Also, major world thoughts such as evolution. They have the ability to persuade masses of people into believing a common lie that will prevent them from believing the Truth. Theses are commanders of the demonic armies. They control the lower forces in the locales, and they may influence the main deception of the evil intent or empire’s agenda or “schemes (11).”
The theme throughout this teaching has been that we are seated above these powers. We will be better prepared to defeat the enemy by understanding his tactics. I do discourage studying anything satanic however, the Holy Spirit will guide us in the wisdom and power to over come these obstacles that try to slow the powerful advancement of the kingdom of heaven.
I do not subscribe to the “heavens are brass” or the “airways are cluttered” with demons common teachings. We have direct access to the Father. Our place is way above their place and Paul specifically made this clear early on in the book, so we would realize our position before he even mentioned the position of the demonic.
Ephesians 6b & Conclusion
III. Strength in the Spirit Part 2
a) 13-17 Taking up the Full Armor: As previously stated, each part of the armor about to be mentioned must be present if we are going to be able to stand. Each armor piece represents a virtue (inner strength and moral excellence). We must have these virtues intact, because they are areas where the enemy will attack us. They are necessary to have a solid walk and to stand firm when the enemy comes.
I always hear that Paul was comparing battle in the spirit to a natural one, and that the armor was a reflection of the Roman armor of the day. This is true but not complete. There is a deeper spiritual meaning also. In Daniel 2, the statue, I believe, represents the evil empire, and this description of the armor is similar. Also, Goliath’s armor is similarly described in 1 Samuel 17. Now in contrast to the evil counterfeit, and in line with the entire context of Ephesians and the believer’s place in the spiritual realm, here is a picture of our battle gear, out armor. We have a direct and more powerful answer to the weapons the enemy possesses. Paul here gives light to something David understood centuries before, and shows us the secret to defeating theses powers. When we have it on we will be able to stand against the aforementioned evils. This understanding prepares us for the following analysis of the pieces of armor.
Belt of Truth (14a): The belt holds all the pieces of the armor together. We must know the truth so we will not be deceived. Our weapon is the Sword of the Spirit–The Word of God. And we must know the truth of the Word if we are going to effectively use it.
Breastplate of Righteousness (14b):His blood makes us righteous and because of that there is forgiveness of sins. If we have the breastplate on we will stand when sinful temptations come our way. The breastplate covers the vital organs. In the spirit it covers and protects vital parts of our walk and relationship with Jesus, making us ineffective in spiritual battles.
Shoes of Preparation of the Gospel of Peace (15): If you are in a fight you must be ready to stand your ground; ready and well balanced to stand against the angle of attack the enemies of God bring against the Gospel. Peace destroys war, therefore if we are ready with the good news of Jesus, the peacemaker, it will erase their plans. We must be ready to preach the Gospel at all times.
This is why the armor is listed in this order. When we walk in truth protecting our hearts from unrighteousness, we are ready to go when the Lord commands.
Shield of Faith (16): Faith blocks doubt. If we have a ready defense, not only can we cover ourselves, we can cover others. Then we will have a ready offense. Any doubt can be blocked with faith with faith and allow us to counterstrike with the sword of the Spirit. In our battles our faith with shield us from any weapon the devil uses against us. Imagine an advancing army and all of their weapons and firepower and extinguished instantly through faith. Now they are completely vulnerable.
Helmet of Salvation (17a): This covers our most vulnerable area. If the devil can attack our salvation it will wear on us. One way is a mortal wound that will cause us to backslide or lose it. Another way is to make us think we have it when we took it off along time ago. We must be sure of our salvation and continue in it. This is why it is compared to a helmet. We must wear it at all times and not remove it. When we walk in assurance of salvation and are guarding it with truth, righteousness, and readiness of faith, this demonstrates that the Word of God is not just knowledge, but is alive in us making us warriors. When the Word is real in us we can speak it to destroy the enemy.
Sword of the Spirit (17b): This is our weapon. Every time the enemy came at Jesus, He used it to stop him. Once the Word goes forth, it continues on forever. Jesus is the Word (John 1:1). Everything He ever said pulled down darkness! We are seated next to Him and in one sense, our weapon is Him–He is the Word.
When we speak the name of Jesus, all of creation is called to attention.His Spirit dwells in us. The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God is all the fullness of the Trinity. When we speak in His will with His armor on us, God’s Word, we are in essence speaking Jesus, and God will accomplish His word. We reveal God by speaking God. In Jesus’ name, we can do anything! God is our weapon. His Word is all the fullness of His power and majesty coming forth from our lips to accomplish what He has called us to do. The dead will have to live, the sick will have to heal, demon will have to flee. His words do not fail. Here is the mystery–His words in us do not fail either.
Do we realize what this verse is really saying? Does in digest in our hearts or simply pass through our minds? The gravity of the situation is magnetic, awe-inspiring, utterly powerful, and if its magnitude were captured, it would shatter the expectancy of common faith. That is to say that if we can take hold of this and live it, our lives would change, those around us will change, and ultimately the earth will change. Imagine this taking hold and catching like fire, consuming both the new believer and the seasoned. And this is contained in these simple statements of the current revelation revealed. Now imagine it combusting with your revelation, expediting the elevation of our understanding of all that can actually happen in our lifetime for the Gospel! You’ll never know the stamp you leave on the world until you view it from eternity. Come on church, wake up! Brothers and sisters, every time we read, pray, and fellowship, it is a call to arms. We are as David, armed in the Spirit. David spoke the Word to Goliath (1 Sam 17:46-47), therefore the stone could not miss, for it had to carry out the Word of the Lord. See, the Word is our weapon, and our Sword of the Spirit.
b) 18-24 Power of Prayer
18 – Prayer is the “know how” of using the spiritual armor.We must communicate with God to know His will and for His Spirit to dwell in us. You are in constant contact with those you love the most (Mt 6:6), in the Spirit, praying as the Holy Spirit guides you at all times. This simply means we are constantly praying, directing our thoughts and intentions towards God. And it is out of this vein we are enabled to effectively pray for others.
19-20 – Paul wants us to pray that when he is called to earthly account we may be in the Spirit and testify boldly they mysteries; even which we have been studying.
21-24 – Closing remarks, exhortation always in love comfort, faith, and peace.
Conclusion: As you may have noticed this study became more in depth as I proceeded with its compilation. Much time was not spent on Chapter 1 in comparison, but is so rich much that more expositions could be written. This is the second version of the notes and the urge to expound more is present in me, so hopefully this will be the foundation for a future expanded version. Remember this was not a normal Bible study, but I tried to present this awesome book from the angle of study and revelation God has shared with me. Thank you for your time and I pray that those of you who have read this have been enriched in all the wisdom and knowledge and revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that the words of His Spirit that were contained in this study will endure.
[There will be an appendix to finish out the series called The Church in Heavenly Places. This was a study I posted on a forum when someone asked the question of what Paul meant by heavenly places as mentioned in Ephesians. The study was the foundation for this notebook on Ephesians so I wanted to share it with you as well. It has a specific order that sheds light in neat view when the verses on "heavenly places" are compared.]
It seems that heavenly places essentially describes a position in the supernatural realm. This realm dictates all aspects of the natural. Heavenly Places is mentioned four times in the first three chapters of Ephesians. I believe that this supernatural aspect of the heavenly places and the Church’s position there is the overriding theme of all of Ephesians.
In Eph. 1:3, we see that our lives in Christ carry spiritual blessings. In vv 9-10, we see that those blessings involve revelation of mysteries in His will and how the fullness of time is all things summed up in Christ. We can see the role of the Church developing here as a supernatural entity that administers Christ in all things. In 1:11, we have a spiritual inheritance; in 1:13 we are sealed in the Spirit-supernatural. We are beginning to see that every aspect of our lives as followers of Jesus is and must be supernatural, and what sums us up is Christ. This is in Whom the eyes of our hearts (18) must be enlightened to understand who He really is and His power toward us to fulfill the administration or ministry.
In vv 20-23, we have a great illustration of the powers in the heavenly places. Christ is at the right hand of God the Creator, the all powerful. This position is the highest rank, and authority; an attainable place that exists in both this age and the age to come. All other authorities and powers are not only below Him, but way below Him. He is the reason for everything. This position makes Him the Head of the Church-who is His body (23), the very extension of Him, and fullness of Him who fills all in all. So here we see the Church is called to the fullness of Christ.
Chapter 2 starts with Paul describing how Jesus takes us from our low position, lower than even the powers of the air, and He catapults us right through the heavens and raises us up with Him. After declaring Jesus’ place in the heavenly places, and how far and above and superior that position is; Can you believe or even fathom the fact that we are right there next to Him, in His absolute dominion and supreme power? Words cannot describe how awesome His place is and we are seated with Him in those heavenly places.
We are absolute Holy Spirit filled power house revelations to the earth that JESUS IS LORD! We are the fullness of Him when we administer His power to the natural and supernatural realms according to His will. What does being seated with Christ mean? I think this is a glimpse. A Church that can grasp this ans understand this will walk in fullness and change their generation just as Jesus and the apostles did.
I believe the church in fullness is the mystery of Christ. Christ in us the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), is the mystery to be revealed to the earth and the powers of the air (vv3:9-10), making His wisdom known and filling all in all with Him.
This is like the stone in Daniel chapter 2, which destroys the statue of the evil empires and becomes a mountain that fills the earth. This represents the fifth kingdom (v 44), the one which cannot be destroyed. This is the Kingdom of Heaven filling the earth. According to the Gospels this kingdom is at hand when we advance good news in His name. All of creation is waiting for this, so they to can be set free (Romans 8:19-21).
So we see the church’s position is with Christ in the highest place in the supernatural realm, enforcing His administration and will to the rest of the natural and supernatural realms. This is our goal, to understand our place in Him seated in heavenly places, living and walking in the fullness of Christ, a mature Church (Eph 4 :13).
I believe that the rest of Ephesians is devoted to teaching us how to attain to the fullness of Christ. In 4:11-13, we see the necessity of the five-fold ministry in acquiring this maturity through training and equipping, the building up of the body of Christ. Chapters 4-6 are every day areas we must consider so our lives will be in order to properly function in this position in the heavenly Places. Ephesians 6:12, the last time heavenly places are mentioned in this book is a reference to overcoming the unseen spiritual forces; to which we will be complete to make known the mystery of the Gospel (19), Christ all in all!
End Notes & Disclaimer
J. Wesly Adams and Donald Stamps (posthumously), Life in the Spirit NT Commentary: Ephesians, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999, 2003), p 1019. I thought this an excellent introductory statement. I feel the essence of Ephesians is entirely supernatural. The beginning of this quote is also impact-full: Ephesians is a majestic letter that stands as one of the mountain peaks of biblical revelation…This was a short exert form the introduction in the Ephesians section in the commentary.
 The second verse states at Ephesus; these words do not appear in many early manuscripts. The letter was written to the region of churches surrounding the church at Ephesus.
 In verse 3, he sets the stage for everything else that he is going to write. It is important for us to get on track now, and stay on track to better understand the theme and themes of the letter.
 I will use the words spiritual realm and supernatural realm at different times throughout this study, but I am essentially meaning the same thing by them. I am just switching them for different emphasis.
 Well, a majority of western church.
 There is so much to v17, I am not going to try to expound upon it all here. We must have a knowledge of the spiritual. We will study this more later and cross reference with 1 Corinthians 2, for further insight.
 This is not an excuse to sin, however. Grace is an excuse not to sin, not an excuse to get away with it; Romans 6:1-7.
 I do not subscribe to replacement theology; that the church has replaced Israel. God still has a plan for His nation specifically, as clearly seen in Scripture. The point is that all who believe are part of the body of Christ
This section seems to connect mid Ch 1 and mid Ch 3, spec. vv 1:9-10 and 3:9-10. (Something is being built and it is important to understand each piece to see the finished work clearly and appropriately.).
Hebrews 11:1-12:4 are quintessential for our study, but I am not going to exegete it here, but point put in specific verses in making the point. Faith is the access to the Kingdom, which is a spiritual one and we will touch more on the subject in 3:12.
 Gentile; Greek used for the sake of the ref to Romans.
 Jews and Gentiles.
 For the point I used this word, but loosely and in the prophetic sense, not dogmatically.
 For this statement, apply the same logic as the above footnote.
 I am talking about staying pure, not displaying publicly, private situations.
 The more time you spend with someone, the more you begin to do and act like them. You develop the same mannerisms.
 “Pastor” is used in the modern sense of the term, but not in correct Biblical function.
 At least four. I am not being dogmatic here either. Some translations word it differently than the NASB. However, I do not think that we are straying from context, nor do I think we will stray into error by implying that breadth here refers to the spiritual realm.
 Most of the church (Western) does not get past this infant stage of understanding in the Spirit. They believe Jesus is Lord, but they have baby spiritual understanding.
 This is only obtained by being in God’s presence and being filled up by Him.
 NT evangelism is not like what you see today. Men went out filled with God, demonstrating his power.
 This is not going to be an in-depth study on the ministry gifts. We will just briefly describe their role in the church and the necessity thereof; and a quick description of their function will be given. To study this and the importance of these gifts would be a separate study in itself.
 The church today has a major absence of these gifts. Especially apostles and prophets: Recently though, there has been some, and even a great deal of restoration of the gifts. We are still light-years away from where we should be though. (The Spirit can change that in an instant, though.) Even the pastoral gift is away from its NT counterpart. Many are more CEO-like than shepherd-like. These gifts have not passed away as some claim; but in reality they are a vital part to NT church life.
 The descriptions are not exacting, but general. Nor are they an in-depth examination of all that the gifts pertain to. This is just a quick summary in context to the perspective from which we are studying Ephesians.
 NT evangelism is not like what we see mainstream churches doing. Back then, men filled with the power of God would go to a place in demonstration of the Spirit’s power (1 Cor 2:4-5). This led to people believing in God rather than a new faction of men. Evangelism is not just a great and convincing speaker, nor is it handing out tracks. I am not negating these things, but this does not characterize an evangelist as we see in Scripture. Acts 8 describes Philip’s first evangelistic journey. Since he is the only one in the Bible, specifically called an evangelist (Acts 21:8), what he did here probably characterizes what an evangelist does. 8:4-He proclaimed Christ to them; 8:6-The people heard and saw signs which he was performing; 8:7-Unclean spirits were cast out and the sick were healed; 8:8-There was much rejoicing; 8:11-12-He broke the power of the spiritual authority controlling the city and got their attention on Jesus; even the sorcerer got saved (13).; 8:14-15-He worked with the apostles in planting and building the church. Later, he was spoken to by angels and transported by the Spirit. Every aspect of his ministry was utterly supernatural, shoe=wing people the existence and power of God. It is necessary that the church has proper evangelism restored. In 2 Tim 4:5, Paul is raising up Timothy as an apostle, and part of his exhortation is for Timothy to do the work of an evangelist, then He says fulfill your ministry. Timothy was an apostle, but this required proper evangelism for that to be fulfilled (I am not being dogmatic here, just relating scripture to the point).
 See footnote 23.
 The mold is a flexible one and moves like the wind-John3:8. Mold was used to drive home the point. I am not saying that these people are not saved or that they are not real Christians. I am saying that they will lack all that God has for them and will need to embrace these things if they want the fullness of Christ.
 We will specifically discuss maturity in the Walking in Maturity sections: Just putting it in context here-which will set up the aforementioned section.
 I know there is only one Jesus. I am saying that a whole church full of people that are utterly Christ-like will have a great influence and impact, changing the world.
 In using machine, I am referring to the correct functioning system of preaching, building the church and sending out laborers to plant new works.
There will always be times of growth, debate, and discussion; I am speaking of drastic doctrinal shifts when we hear the latest trend to hit the church. The TV, and even our “Christian” channels, often teaches what is popular, not what is solid Biblical truth.
 I am not saying compromise for tolerance. There is a truth doctrinally and we should aspire for that truth, but it should not keep us from working with and loving other members of the Body.
 See 1 Corinthians 12:14-26.
 This section deals with the function of the spiritual gifts and is also closely related to the ministry gifts so it is added to bridge the context as well as prepare for the walking in maturity sections.
35] When you’re face to face, the picture is not needed, but until then the picture will be of great comfort.
 Cross ref Romans 12:1-2.
 Holiness is not perfection, but the pursuit thereof. We are not perfect, but we can be perfect (Matt 5:48), as He is perfect (He being the key). We should be walking away from sin and towards the Lord.
 I am not talking about the growth of Christian in becoming more like Jesus. I am talking about those who make excuses for sin, those who still enjoy the things of the night. We must put these things away to have any real spiritual significance. Paul is getting us ready to battle in the spirit, and we will not be properly prepared if we are not continually walking in the light.
 see 39
 With so much feminism and “equality” in today’s western culture, this is being fought and even being taught from an incorrect “Biblical” standpoint. Men and women are equal as far as it comes to their relationship to God. However, they were created to fulfill different roles. These roles may change at different times and vary from person to person, but there is still a divinely created order that they generally operate in. For women to do and be what she was created to be is total freedom for her. If she steps out of these roles and tries to do what a man is created to do, she is actually straying into bondage. (I am speaking of general life and family function of having peace in your place. Yes God can raise up females to do seemingly manly things as He sees fit, and as a need may arise, especially if a man is not present nor able to act in the call. This is a response to a culture that says women have to equalize themselves with men.)
 (a reflection of the spirit)
 This is why adultery and lust is so bad. In a sense, we break the connection (and covenant) we have with our lover and join to another.
 I am not saying the Holy Spirit is a man’s seed. Earthly marriage according to the text reflects the spiritual between God and men. I am simply expounding on being joined to, and “one” with God (vv31-32).
 You must be mature to understand this and not be of a gross mindset.
These are notes of mine compiled while doing a study of Ephesians at our church. This is not a dogmatic declaration, but one of many views of Ephesians. I am sharing these notes will all because my heart burns for theses things. Feel free to do with them as you like in a way that benefits the kingdom and builds you up. I trust the authorship will remain as it is. Feel free to copy and study, however, copying in any name other than the author is prohibited. If you would like to receive a notebook with all of the notes you may email me at [email protected] Thank you for honoring the wishes of FireOnYourHead.org.
Please check back for updates and revisions. Some of the outline is in mixed formats and seems out of order. I am slowly editing the study.
These notes are written by David Waldo Edwards II. Originally titled and Internet published on this site as “Ephesians: The Mystery of the Church;” it is not intended to simulate or to be confused with the publication: Ephesians, The Mystery of the Church, A Commentary by MacDonald, WilliamPublished in 1968, H. Shaw Publishers (Wheaton, Ill).
[This study is influenced by the leaders who have taught and influenced me; particularly Robert Gladstone of FIRE School of Ministry. Many details in these notes I learned directly from his classes, messages, and notes. To hear Mr. Gladstone's newest messages click here.]