This is the original Mona Lisa in Louvre Museum Paris
Ephesians 4: 17-32
VV 17-19, 17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Greek for futility is “mataios”, which means moral depravity or vanity. Greek for lewdness is “aselgesia”, which means licentiousness. We should not behave as the non-believing Gentiles, morally depraved, misinformed, spiritually dead, ignorant, and blind, surrendered to licentiousness, uncleanness, and greed.
VV 20-24, 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Now that Paul’s audience, (and we), had heard and taught by Jesus Christ in truth, we must put away the old self-controlled by the flesh and put on the new man controlled by the Holy Spirit, created by God in righteousness and holiness. This is the spiritual warfare between the old self of the flesh, old man, and new self of the Spirit, new man.
Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish”.
Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”.
VV 25-28, 25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
Paul commanded his audience, (and us), not to lie, not to sin when angry, not to steal, get employment, and give financial assistance to those in need.
VV 29-32, 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Paul commanded his audience, (and us), not to speak unwholesome words, and not to grieve the Holy Spirit. We are to speak gracefully without bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and malicious words. We are to show kindness, tenderhearted, and forgiveness just as Christ had forgiven us.
Ephesians 4: 7-16, unity in diversity
VV 7-10, 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”, what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
After His resurrection, Jesus Christ gave grace and spiritual gifts to all Christians in proportion to their faith. According to their level of faith, some may receive more and others may receive less. Ephesians 4:9 is problematic. Does this verse mean that Jesus Christ descended into hell before His resurrection, as stated in the apostles’ creed? Most biblical scholars do not think so. One interpretation on “He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth” just means that Jesus Christ was buried into the grave before His resurrection.
Ephesians 4:8 is a quotation from Psalm 68:18, “You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the Lord God might dwell there”.
1 Peter 4:6, “For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit”.
VV 11-13, 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Jesus Christ raised up leaders to equip, edify, teach, and unite the body of Christ, the church, through the 5 fold ministries. These are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Although there is a diversity of spiritual gifts, there is unity in one Holy Spirit.
Romans 12:6-8, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation, he who gives, with liberality, he who leads, with diligence, he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness”.
1 Cor 12: 7-10, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all, for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gift of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kind of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues”.
V 14, that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
The diversity of spiritual gifts is for sanctification, maturity in the Christian faith, and discernment of false doctrines taught by false teachers.
VV 15-16, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supply, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Paul commanded his audience (and us), to speak the truth in love to other Christians with a pure motive and a sincere heart. Jesus Christ is the head of the body of Christ, the church, and Christians are the different parts of the body connected together into a living organism.
Colossians 1: 18, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence”.
Colossians 3:15, ‘’Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful”.
1 Cor 1:27, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it”.
1 Cor 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit”.
Ephesians 4: 1-6
V 1, I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
Therefore, is the connecting bridge to Ephesians 1-3. After saying those things in Ephesians 1-3, he had these things to say. Paul said he was a prisoner of the Lord and not a prisoner of Nero Caesar. He was put imprisoned by the will of Jesus Christ, his master. Greek for beseech is “parakaleo”, which means to encourage. Greek for worthy is “axios”, which means, befitting. Greek for walk is “peripateo”, which means to conduct one’s self. In response to all that God had done for them, Paul encouraged his audience to conduct themselves in a manner befitting of their calling.
V 2, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
Greek for lowliness is “tapeinos”, which means humility, poor in spirit, dependence on the Lord, and not on self. Greek for gentleness is “praus”, which means meekness. Meekness is power under control. Jesus had omnipotent power at His disposal and yet He was very gentle. Long-suffering in Greek is “makrothumos”, which means patience or perseverance. Greek for love is “agape’’, which means unconditional or sacrificial love.
Paul encouraged his audience to conduct themselves in a manner befitting themselves of their calling, by showing humility, meekness, patience, and sacrificial love for one another.
Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”.
Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.
Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”.
VV 3-6, 3, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Greek for endeavoring is “spoudazo”, which means to act fervently. Paul encouraged his audience to act fervently, peacefully, and be united in the Holy Spirit. There is only one body, the Church, the body of Christ, the one new man in Christ. There is only one Spirit, the Holy Spirit. There is only one Hope, heaven. There is only one Lord, Jesus Christ. The is only one Faith, Christianity. The is only one baptism, Christian baptism. There is only one God, the Holy Trinitarian God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is the Father above all Christians, through all Christians, and in all Christians.
Ephesians 3: 14-21, Paul’s prayer
Paul prayed for his audience, the Christians at Ephesus and the surrounding region in Asia Minor (Turkey).
V 14, For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul bowed his knees in reverence to the Father in prayer. Bowing our knees is a sign of reverence and submission to the Lord. We should always bow our knees before God in prayer unless we have medical reasons like degenerative knee joint disease, knee joint replacement, and others.
V 15, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
The whole family of God on earth, “the one new man in Christ” or “the body of Christ”, and in heaven is named after Jesus Christ.
VV 16-19, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Paul prayed for his audience to be strengthened spiritually, by the Holy Spirit, experience the presence of Christ through faith, be grounded in love, understand the unfailing, unsearchable, and abundant love of God, and be filled with the fullness of God.
VV 20-21, 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3: 20-21 is a doxology. Jesus Christ is omnipotent and is able to do exceedingly more than what we could ever ask or imagine. Christ’s omnipotent power works in us through the Holy Spirit. Paul prayed for Jesus Christ’s name to be glorified in the Church throughout all generations forever and ever.
Ephesians 3: 1- 13, Mystery of Christ revealed
The word mystery appeared 3 times in this passage.
V 1, for this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles,
Paul called himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ, even though he was a prisoner of the Roman emperor Caesar Nero. Paul’s master was Jesus Christ. He was in jail for the Gentiles according to the will of Jesus Christ. The Jewish religious leaders were responsible for putting him into prison with trumped-up charges and false accusations.
V 2, if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,
Paul preached the gospel to the Gentiles by the grace of God in the dispensation of grace.
VV3-6, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
Greek for mystery is “musterion”, which means the mystery of a secret doctrine. This mystery of Christ was hidden in the Old Testament but now revealed to Paul by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Here is the mystery. Jesus Christ demolished the wall of separation between the Jews and the Gentiles, Ephesians 1:9-10. The Gentiles were reconciled with the Jews into a “one new man in Christ” called the Church, sharing the same body, same family, and same promise through the gospel.
Galatians 3:28, “In Christ, there are no Jews nor Gentiles, no slaves nor free, no male nor female, no Greek nor barbarians”.
V 7, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
Paul was a minister to the Gentiles by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. Greek for minister is “diakonos”, from which the word deacon is derived. ‘’Diakonos” means servant. Greek for power is “dunamis”, from which the word dynamite is derived. ‘’Dunamis” means strength or ability.
V 8, To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Paul, the greatest of the apostles, called himself the least of the saints. Paul’s preaching ministry to the Gentiles was by the grace of God. Greek for preach is “kerugma”, which means proclamation. Greek for unsearchable is “aneksereunetos’, which means impossible to fully discover. The riches of Christ are beyond anyone’s capacity to fully discover.
VV 9-10, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
The purpose of God revealing the mystery is to teach the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers, the hierarchy of satan’s demonic spirits. Greek for principalities is ‘’archon”, which means satanic rulers.
VV 11-12, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
Creating a “one new man in Christ” was God’s eternal purpose accomplished in Jesus Christ. Having been reconciled with God, we can come boldly before Him.
Hebrews 4: 14-16, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.
V 13, Therefore, I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Therefore, do not be anxious, despair, or fear tribulations. Tribulations will work towards your glory. Greek for glory is “doxa”, which means splendor or excellence.
Romans 12:12, ESV, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”.
John 16:33, ESV, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
James 1:2. ESV, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds’’.
Romans 8:18, ESV, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present21 time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”.
Romans 8:28, ESV, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose’’.