In much of Ephesians chapter two up to this point the Apostle Paul has been reminding us by the Holy Spirit of the circumstance that we were in before we came to Christ. In these last few verses he is going to emphasize what we are after we come to Christ, not as individuals but as a body of believers. Ephesians says, Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Those who come to Christ enter into everything that God has to offer the human race.
If you are no longer a stranger or a foreigner, then what are you?
You are a fellowcitizen with the saints. You are a citizen of the
If you are going to think about a house, then also think about how a house is built. Ephesians says, And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Every house has a foundation. The household of God has a foundation also. According to this verse, the Lord Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner stone. What does it mean by saying that Jesus is the chief corner stone? It means that everything else in that house is built off of the chief corner stone and is based upon that chief corner stone. There is, by the way, only one chief corner stone. Jesus is our Savior. It is only because of Jesus saving us that we can even be a part of the household of God or that a house can even be built. Jesus is our Teacher. All of the great doctrines of the New Testament find their basis in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the very things that Jesus Himself taught.
If you want to find the important issues on a certain doctrine, go find what Jesus taught about that doctrine. For example, Jesus was the first one to speak about the church. What He said about the church is the basis for everything else that has been written about it. If you want to find what salvation and justification by faith are all about, start with Jesus and find what He said in relation to those subjects. The same can be said about marriage and divorce, money and the believer, prayer, authority and the believer, and a host of other subjects. You must know what Jesus taught about them, and then build on that. Jesus is the Teacher. Jesus is the chief corner stone. If there is something that you need to know, make sure that you go to Jesus first. If you want to know how to be the best parent that you can be, go to Jesus first. Find out what He said about children and how He treated children and that will be the foundation for how you should treat yours.
How did the teachings get from Jesus to the rest of the believers down through the centuries? From the time of Jesus God had a plan and a program that He put into effect so that the foundational teachings that center on Jesus would be spread to all believers. That is why Ephesians says that the household of God is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. We know who the apostles were: the twelve although one had a devil: the twelve including one born out of due season, the Apostle Paul. Who are the prophets that are referred to hear? These are probably the direct associates of the apostles, some of whom were also used as penmen of the New Testament scriptures. For example, Mark and Luke were not apostles but they were associates of the apostles. The apostles and the prophets gave us the New Testament scriptures by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. No wonder Paul told Timothy to preach the Word. The living Word is the Lord Jesus Christ. The written Word is the teachings about the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the chief corner stone.
Therefore, if you start with Jesus, and if you build constantly upon that start with the teachings of the apostles and prophets; then you get what is described in Ephesians 2:21. It says, In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. The Lord calls the church here the building fitly framed together. A building is made of many parts. For a building to be properly put together, each person must be in the right place doing the right thing for them based upon the gifts and calling that God has given to them. That is the will of God and of Christ: that each Christian find his proper place in the church so that the church will be everything that it can be. One of the reasons that God wants you to be what He wants you to be is so that the church will be what He wants it to be as you take your place, your fitting place, in it.
Notice that is says, fitly framed together. There is this common bond between believers. There is this interaction between believers. There is this teamwork between believers. We need each other. We benefit from each others gifts. We become what Christ wants us to become only as we have this involvement with each other, only as we are fitly framed together in His church.
Lets look closely at the last phrase of Ephesians 2:21, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. We know that when a person first receives Christ as Savior, that person is a babe in Christ. In order for a babe in Christ to grow there are some necessities. It is necessary to stay in fellowship with the Lord through the confession of sin daily. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9). It is necessary for that new Christian to have daily prayer and Bible study. I Peter 2:2 says As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby. It is clear from what it says in First Peter that we cannot grow like we nee to without the Word of God. It is also clear from the last part of Ephesians chapter two that we will not be able to grow as we need to without the proper involvement in the church.
When we do grow, it says that we grow unto an holy temple in the Lord. In this context the temple of the Lord is the church. Remember that the church is not a building, but the church is the believers: united, fellowshipping, and serving Christ together. Yes, the Holy Spirit lives within each believer, but also Gods presence is manifested somehow in a special way when believers are united and involved together in the church. Jesus said, Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Do you want to more aware of the presence of the Lord? Become more involved with your fellow-believers in the church.
The church is called a holy temple. The church is holy because God has made each member holy when He pronounced us righteous when we put our faith in Christ. The church is a holy temple in the Lord. The church is said to be holy because as a congregation grows in the Lord, it will become more holy as each member turns from temptation and sin. Be ye holy for I am holy, saith the Lord. Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, washed in the blood of the Lamb.
In Ephesians Paul says again what he had just said and then adds one thing to it. He writes, In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Again we are told that we are being built together. Again we are told that God is dwelling in us as a body and not just individually. The things that is added this time is the phrase through the Spirit. There are a lot of things that the Spirit does. He brings lost souls to Christ. He glorifies the name of Christ. He leads believers. And according to this verse, the Spirit also works in the body of the church to build the church into what God wants it to be. It is the work of the Spirit to build the church. It is important to be led by the Spirit for a number of reasons. One reason is to go in the direction that God sends you. Another reason is to know what God wants to be done in the church. The Spirit of God leads individuals, and He also leads churches so that the church will become more what He wants it to be.
In Ephesians chapter three Paul is going to go into a lot of
detail regarding the church. He is going to speak of the church as having been
a mystery to those who lived in ages past. Paul is also going to speak about
his own particular ministry that God had given to him in regards to the church.
In Ephesians 3:1 Paul wrote, For
this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles. Paul knew that he had been given a work
to do to build up the church especially in regards to the Gentiles. Paul was a
Jew. The church is made up of Jew and Gentile, and God called Paul to be the
Apostle to the Gentiles. So Paul had this great calling. In our day and age God
calls people to reach out to maybe smaller groups: God calls some to go to a
certain nation or a certain city or even a certain neighborhood or some other
grouping. But Paul knew that his particular message was somewhat unique because
no one had ever gone to the Gentiles in that way to bring them into the
Notice that Paul called himself the prisoner of Jesus Christ. Paul was sitting in a Roman prison when he wrote this great epistle to the Ephesians. One interesting thing about this situation is that Paul did not blame anyone for the bad things that happened to him. He did not think that it was someones fault, not his own and not anyone elses. That is because Paul lived by faith. He put his trust in the fact that God was allowing everything into his life that the Lord wanted in his life.
Paul said that he was a prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles. By living a life of faith, Paul knew
that what was happening to him had a purpose to it. The purpose ha to do with
other people that God was trying to reach. Jesus said, The Son of Man is come to seek and to
save that which was lost.
Christ receiveth sinful men, because He is a friend of sinners. Jesus wants to
save every sinner and make something out of their lives. Jesus wants to take
every Gentile and give them faith and bring them into the church, the
Paul speaks of the ministry that was given to him. God gives us salvation as a free gift, and then He also gives us a ministry as a free gift. God has something for you to do in this world. It is very important because it is what He wants you to do. You do not earn it or deserve it, but if stay surrendered to His will, He will give you the gift of a ministry. Concerning this principle, Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:2, If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.
The word dispensation means administration. God gave something to Paul to administer and Paul knew it. He was given the grace of God to administer. That is why some people call this age in which we live the age of grace. Another name for this age is the age of the church. Both go together: the grace of God and the ministry of the church go together. A person comes into the church by the grace of God. The message of the church to the rest of the world is the message of grace. We do not teach law, and we do not teach works, and we o not teach human obligation. We teach and preach the grace of God that is found in Christ Jesus. Without the grace of God we would have no hope. Because of the grace of God everyone has hope, even the greatest of sinners: especially the greatest of sinners, because the greatest of sinners will appreciate and welcome grace knowing that grace is their only hope.
In Ephesians 3:3 Paul tells us how he came to know about the grace of God and its true meaning in Christ and because of Christ. It says, How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words.) Paul is writing about the mystery: the mystery of the church that Jesus purchased with His blood: the mystery of the fact that Jew and Gentile would be partners in the church as co-believers in Jesus. It is called a mystery because up until the time of the apostles, it was a teaching not known to man. God had not yet revealed it. That is where truth comes from. God reveals it. Unless God reveals it, man cannot know it. Paul realized that it was not because of how smart he was and it was not because of how hard he studied; but it was only because God had revealed it to him that Paul knew the mystery and was then able to explain the mystery to others. He obtained his message by revelation. That was one of the key purposes for an apostle. When Jesus told the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth, Jesus was telling them at least in part that they would be the recipients of certain special revelation, and of course we know that they were moved by the Holy Spirit to put those things down in written form, obviously so that every generation of believer would be able to benefit from the great teachings. That is why Paul said here, As I wrote afore in few words.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:4, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ. Paul knew that God had revealed certain important truths to him. Paul wrote those truths down. Paul knew that other believers would be blessed by reading those written words. Paul also knew that the things that had been revealed to him were not for him alone, but were for every believer. The truth is in this book. Read it, study it, learn it, and be blessed by it. Dont be ignorant, but understanding the will of the Lord. It used to be a mystery, but it no longer is. Make sure that this revelation that was made to Paul is not a mystery to you.
Notice what Paul says about the mystery. First he mentions that there is a mystery. Paul said in Ephesians 3:3, How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery. Then Paul called it the mystery of Christ. He said in Ephesians 3:4, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ. This means that the mystery is about Christ: it centers on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are going to think about the mystery, then you must think about Christ: what He did and who He is. If you are going to teach about the mystery like Paul did, then you must teach about Christ: what He did and who He is. One more thing that Paul said about the mystery in this passage is that he called it in Ephesians 3:9, the fellowship of the mystery. In other words it has to do with the fact that Christians are workers together. They share the common faith. They are members of the body of Christ. It is the will of God that believers are together serving the Lord in His church. Only Christ can accomplish this kind of unity among people who come from such varied backgrounds. That is the fellowship of the mystery. We are united in our common faith in Christ our Savior.
Copyright; 2004 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved