The greatest need of professing Christians today is a better, deeper, and fuller knowledge of Christ. The Christian life can be described as getting to know God better every day. Every Christian should regularly?daily?read the Word of God. We should find time for quiet time or personal devotion.
For over 20 years I have been using commentaries in my devotions. The blessings derived from the commentaries is overwhelming. I am writing this commentary to share some of those blessings and lessons I have learned over the years.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)|
Read an Excerpt
EphesiansA Pentecostal Commentary
By Matthew N. O. Sadiku
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Dr. Matthew N. O. Sadiku
All right reserved.
Verse 1a: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
1 Greetings are very important in most cultures. For example, Africans regard someone who does not greet as rude. Paul takes the time to greet his readers in a manner that communicates both his love and care for them.
Paul was originally known as Saul (Acts 7:58). He was a Jew, from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5) and may have been named after Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul is a Hebrew name which means "prayed or asked for." "Paul" is a fully Romanized name (meaning "small") which is perhaps reflective of his self-designation as the "least of the apostles." The Lion of the tribe of Judah had cut him down to size. The change in name from Saul to Paul took place in Acts 13:9.
Saul of Tarsus became Paul the apostle. Paul saw himself uniquely as the apostle to the Gentiles. An apostle (apostolos, Greek) means "one who is sent." It is what we would call a missionary or an ambassador sent out by one's native country. According to Harold Hoehner, "apostle was an official delegate of Jesus Christ commissioned for the specific tasks of proclaiming authoritatively the message in oral and written form and of establishing and the building up of Churches."
In the Bible, the word "apostle" is used in two different ways. First, it refers to each of the twelve apostles that Jesus called. To be an apostle in this sense, one must have been with the Lord in His earthly ministry and witnessed His resurrection. Second, there are apostles besides the twelve who were not with Jesus in His earthly ministry. These include Paul, Barnabas (Acts14:4,14), Matthias (Acts 1:26), James (the Lord's brother) (Galatians 1:19), Timothy and Silvanus (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2:6).
When exactly did Paul become an apostle? We know that he was first called an apostle in Acts 14:14 but some believe that Paul became an apostle when he had an encounter with the Lord on the Damascus road (Acts 9). Since apostleship is a spiritual gift, the apostle could have received it at conversion. We know that His apostleship was not of his choosing or of his own merit. It was by the will of God. It was a calling, a vocation. Paul was convinced that God had a plan for his life. Are you?
Paul's reference to his apostleship served two purposes. First, it identified him as one on a commission from the Lord and one representing Him. In other words, he wanted to show that he was sent by Jesus. Second, it showed his authority to speak as a leader or as one representing the Lord.
Verse 1b: To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus
Paul uses two words to describe those he is addressing in the letter: saints and faithful. The word "saints" (hagioi, Greek) means "holy ones." The LXX (Septuagint) used the word for the people of Israel—God's chosen. A saint is one who has been set apart. Sainthood is not an accomplished perfection but a position that we have been given in Jesus Christ. "Every Christian is a saint and every saint is a Christain." You are a saint. You are a child of God. You have royal blood flowing through your veins. You may now have to learn to act and talk like a saint. People tend to become what they think they are.
The word "faithful" (pistos, Greek) means "trustworthy." It refers to our loyal commitment to maintain a good relationship with the Lord. "Believers" is probably a better translation. The saints and the faithful or believers refer to the same group. In togetherness, we are saints and faithful brethren.
The majority of surviving, oldest Greek manuscripts contain the words "in Ephesus." However, these words are missing from only three of them (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and a second-century papyrus). It may be that the letter was a circular intended to be read among the various Churches in the Ephesus area or Asia Minor.
The phrase "in Christ" occurs 35 times in Ephesians. Believers are in Ephesus and also in Christ. Every believer has a human address and a divine address. In other words, we operate in two spheres: the human and the divine, the visible and the invisible.
We are in Houston and in Christ.
We are in London and in Christ.
We are in Beijing and in Christ.
Believers today are people of dual citizenship. Though we live in this world, we belong to heaven, where our heavenly Father, our Savior, and our loved ones reside. As citizens of heavenly dominion, we hold all the rights and privileges that citizenship grants, although we are living in a "foreign" land. As Dermot McDonald rightly put it, "the believer has a heaven in which to breathe and an earth on which to live."
Verse 2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Here Paul combines the greetings of the Western and Eastern worlds. He combines a Greek salutation (grace) with a Jewish salutation (peace). He juxtaposes grace and peace as coming from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace (charis, Greek) refers to underserved divine favor. It is the act of giving freely when the giver is under no obligation to do so. It is favor shown by a superior to an inferior. It is an attribute of God that merits human praise. Grace is an indispensable gift from God given to believers for development, improvement, and character expansion. Without it, there are certain limitations, weaknesses, flaws, impurities, and faults mankind cannot overcome. As someone rightly said, "God in His mercy doesn't give me what I do deserve, and God in His grace gives me what I don't deserve."
Peace (salom, Hebrew) denotes completeness, well-being, and soundness. This has nothing to do with political peace, which refers to an absence of conflict, aggression, violence or hostility. Christians enjoy God's grace and peace that being in relationship with Christ brings. Christ's kingdom is characterized by peaceful social relationships— both man-to-God and man-to-man.
This is not peace with God which was made available by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). It is the peace of God which garrisons our hearts as we go through the journey of life, heading home. It is the kind of peace you have when you go though tough times. It comes from "God our Father." We enter into this blessed relationship only by the second birth, otherwise known as regeneration.
Chapter TwoThe Will of the Father
Provision of Spiritual Blessings
Verse 3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
In the original Greek manuscript, Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long sentence. English translations break it up into shorter sentences: four in the NKJV, eight in the NIV; seven in the NRSV; six in the NASB, and fifteen in the NLT. This passage may be divided into three sections:
Chosen by the Father (vs. 3-6),
Redeemed by the Son (vs.7-12), and
Sealed by the Holy Spirit (vs.13-14).
The three sections correspond to chapters 2, 3, and 4.
3 Here in verse 3, Paul presents six aspects of the divine blessing:
the blessed One, God,
the Blesser, also God,
the blessed ones, the believers,
the blessings, all things spiritual,
the blessing location, the heavenly places, and
the blessing Agent, Jesus Christ.
The word (eulogetos, Greek) translated "blessed" in the NKJV is translated "praise" in the NIV. From this word, we get the word "eulogy," which is a speech given in praise of someone. In the OT, people always responded to God in praise for deliverance and salvation. For example, Jethro (Moses' father-in-law) exclaimed, "Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly" (Exodus 18:10-11, NIV). As the Psalmist said, "Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen" (Psalm 72:18, NIV). This also reminds us of the eulogies of Mary and Zecharias (Luke 1:46-55, 68- 79). Here in Ephesians, Paul gives praise or eulogy to God. Paul cannot possibly bless God in the same way God blesses him. He praises "God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
As John Phillips aptly wrote, "The concept of God as Father scarcely appears in the Old Testament. God is revealed there as the creator, Elohim; as the God of covenant, Jehovah; and as the Lord, Adonai. He is El, the almighty; El Shaddai, the gracious giver; Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides; Jehovah Nissi, the Lord our banner; Jehovah Shalom, the Lord of peace; Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts; Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness; and Jehovah Shammah, the Lord who is there." The fatherhood of God should not be misunderstood as a biological relationship, as Muslims believe. It is rather a theological concept that recognizes Jesus Christ and God as both equal and eternal.
Under the Old Covenant, God's promises were largely material— world influence, prosperity, abundant flocks, fruitful wombs, physical protection, etc. The overwhelming promises in the New Covenant are spiritual. In Christ, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Some of these blessing are mentioned in Ephesians 1:3-14: (1) Holiness, (2) Adoption, (3) Redemption, (4) the Holy Spirit, (5) the Hope of glory. The spiritual blessings, however, are related to physical blessings.
Spiritual blessings last forever because they emanate from God and are secured in heaven. Heaven is not just a place where we go when we die. It is considered by Paul as a spiritual realm where God and Christ currently live. Jesus "is there literally, and we are there representatively, as members of his Body."
Tony Evans tells a story of Mr. Yates who owned a farm in Texas. During the Great Depression, the bank gave him thirty days to pay his back payments or face foreclosure. With just three more weeks left, a man from an oil company asked Mr. Yates to permit the company to drill oil on his farm. He gave his permission and the oil was drilled. Mr. Yates became instant millionaire. Mr. Yates was a millionaire the moment he purchased the farm, but he lived in poverty because he didn't know what was underneath the ground.
We must believe that we do have every spiritual blessing and we must ask for the blessings. Like Mr. Yates, we act as spiritual paupers when we could be living like millionaires. "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1). As Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).
An old hymn, written by Thomas Ken, puts it this way:
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Chosen by God
Verse 4: Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
4 Imagine someone selects you in holy matrimony as the person with whom he or she plans to spend the rest of their life with. You are selected out of the billions of people in the world. This is the ultimate in choosing in human relationships.
Election is a doctrine which causes more confusion than any other among God's people. Some hate the doctrine. They try to explain it away or claim it is not fair. The mystery of God's sovereign election and human responsibility will never be solved in this life. We must let God be God. God's thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Someone has said, "The truth of election is a family secret that God loves to whisper in the ears of His beloved children." It is not something to be shared with unbelievers.
Salvation begins with God. The lost sinner does not seek God because he does not know that he is lost. God chose us; we did not choose Him. Jesus told His disciples, "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16). Election means that God chooses people, the people He wants in His kingdom. He is the kind of God who loves and seeks after a people and calls a people for Himself (cf. Deuteronomy 7:7-8; 14:2).
The election was no impulsive decision, but was made in eternity past. You are not an accident or a mistake. As far as God is concerned, you were saved "before the foundation of the world." It was before the creation of the world. God's election happened before human need or even human existence! God chose us long before our birth to be in relationship with Him.
We are not chosen for our own sake, but for the sake of what God wants to accomplish through us. We have been chosen for a purpose and part of that purpose is to be holy and blameless before God. God's desire for His people has always been to be like Him in holiness. Leviticus 11:45 says, "For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy." He chose us in order that we might be holy and without blame. To be without blame means that the Christian standard is nothing less than perfection. As Harold Ockenga well said, "the test of our election is the holiness of our lives." Holiness should therefore be our desire and the driving force should be love.
Verse 5: Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
5 In addition to God's election, He predestined us for adoption as His children. Just as election, the word adoption perplexes some. As Warren Wiersbe wrote, "Adoption is the act of God by which He gives His 'born ones' an adult standing in the family." We become members of His family through adoption. Our destiny has been determined beforehand. "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29).
Our understanding of God's Fatherhood and our adoption as sons or daughters is important to our spiritual life. For example, the Muslims believe that they are the slaves of God. They see Christians as arrogant for claiming to be sons or daughters of God. Paul said, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15). As Yusufu Turaki well put it, "Adoption is a legal process that makes believers co-heirs with Christ."
Jesus Christ is the agency of our adoption. His death was an integral part of God's determined plan to gather together a family of sons and daughters who praise Him. It is God's good pleasure and delight to adopt us as a people who become the objects of His favor. Paul says that God has saved us in accordance with His pleasure and will. This is the only reason in Scripture that explains why God elects us for salvation.
This adoption brings great gains to the adoptee. It blesses us because it assures us that God wanted us in spite of our weaknesses and faults. Nobody adopts a baby or child they don't really want. God adopted us and made us the apple of His eye. Our adoption is an act of God's grace, rooted in His pleasure and will.
Verse 6: To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
6 Having stated the cause of the Father's election, Paul now shows the goal, which is the praise of the glory of His grace. In other words, the result of God's gracious dealings with men is ultimately the praise of the glory of His grace. Let us not forget that God's grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expense. It is God's free unmerited favor lavished on those who deserve nothing but His judgment. Believers are to praise God who has benefited them with every spiritual blessing.
Excerpted from Ephesians by Matthew N. O. Sadiku Copyright © 2012 by Dr. Matthew N. O. Sadiku. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Greetings (1:1-2)....................3
2. The Will of the Father (1:3-6)....................7
3. The Work of the Son (1:7-12)....................13
4. The Witness of the Holy Spirit (1:13-14)....................18
5. The First Prayer for the Saints (1:15-23)....................21
6 The Believer's Past, Present, and Future (2:1-7)....................28
7. Salvation by Grace (2:8-10)....................33
8. The Unity of the Body (2:11-22)....................38
9. The Mystery of Christ (3:1-13)....................45
10. The Second Prayer for the Saints (3:14-21)....................53
11. Walking Worthy of our Calling (4:1-6)....................63
12. Gifts from the Ascended Christ (4:7-11)....................71
13. Building Christ's Body (4:12-16)....................77
14. Walking in Newness of Life (4:17-24)....................83
15. The Principles of New Life (4:25-32)....................89
16. Imitating our Father (5:1-7)....................98
17. Walking in the Light (5:8-14)....................104
18. Walking in Wisdom (5:15-20)....................108
19. The Christian Family (I) (5:21-24)....................113
20. The Christian Family (II) (5:25-33)....................118
21. Children and Parents (6:1-4)....................124
22. Servants and Masters (6:5-9)....................129
23. Spiritual Warfare (6:10-12)....................135
24. The Armor of God (6:13-18)....................139
25. Conclusion (6:19-24)....................147