Romans 1:11-12; Ephesians 2:19-20
Lesson # 2
INTRO: When studying Ephesians (doctrine), Philippians (reproof), & Colossians (correction), Paul is writing to Saints who have already had the foundation of Romans through Galatians laid. The Saints have already been established! They are now ready to be fed super structure doctrine or “meat,” unlike the Corinthians. Cf. 1 Cor. 3:2
A. Eph. 1:1; “Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the Saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”
1. Paul refers to these Ephesians, as “saints” (saved) and they were “faithful.” Faithful Saints! Their foundation had been well laid. And they were perfectly established (spiritually mature) in the fundamental (basic) doctrines of Romans-Galatians. Secure in their Justified, Sanctified Identity in Christ.
2. They were not having the same problems as the Corinthians and the Galatians; and, if they did, they corrected them by way of the doctrine. The doctrine of Romans-Galatians was now working effectually in their inner man.
3. When Paul writes to them, he acknowledges the level of edification (education) and spiritual growth they possess. He addresses them as “faithful.” These faithful Saints are now ready for the advanced doctrines. They have built upon the fundamental and foundational “milk” doctrines of Rom.-Gal; “First things First.” They are now ready for the superstructure doctrines (meat) of Ephesians, Philippians in Colossians.
4. Once growth is underway, then meat can be served, no more milk. Complex foods, more complex doctrines can be digested now. That is what Ephesians, Philippians & Colossians have to offer the mature believer. No more carnal babes (Nepios). Paul refers to these saints as perfected men, mature men, possessing the full knowledge of the Son of God
5. And that is why we must understand Romans- Galatians (Christ and the Cross) before we can move on to and fully understand Ephesians- Colossians (Christ and the Church) .
*Especially for a new convert or Bible student. NOTE: You have no business in Ephesians, Philippians, or Colossians, unless you have been established first, in Romans-Galatians.
6. Paul would withhold advanced doctrine to those (spiritually immature babes) who were not able to bear (handle) it. See 1 Cor. 3:2; “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able”. So, we see some of the evidence in vss. 3 & 4. Question for us, “Are we having the same problems as Corinthians”?
B. EPHESIANS (advanced doctrine) 2:19-22. (“dispensation” means: “program”)
1. Positionally and doctrinally in their understanding, these saints are edified, established, equipped upon a foundation that has already been laid. VS. 20
2. Paul is communicating the advanced details of the meat doctrines in Ephesians regarding the meaning of this dispensation of grace. He explains the why and reason for it in God’s plan and purpose. Paul reminds the Ephesians’ saints that they are not ignorant of the reality of the dispensation of grace.
EPHESIANS 3:1-2; “For This cause I Paul, …if you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” (Act like it! Demonstrate it!)
3. Paul is teaching these saints the “hidden wisdom of God,” the details of the “mystery,” the “why” of this dispensation, which is their (& our) inheritance in the heavenly places.
4. In vs 3, “How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words.” Paul begins the full-blown explanation of God’s wisdom, the mystery that God had kept secret (hidden) since the world began (cf. Romans16:25); (But Now), has revealed (the mystery) through Apostle Paul.
5. vs 4, “Whereby, when you read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ”. Paul wrote about the basics of the mystery in the earlier epistles of Romans-Galatians; so, I Cor. 2:7-8 states, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the Princes of this world knew: who had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”. Cf. Col. 2:15
6. Paul is saying, first understand the reality of the mystery, the fundamentals of the mystery and then you will see the Grand Wisdom of God. Advanced doctrines are to be built upon the foundation of Romans – Galatians. First the Basics, then the Reality, the Why, and then comes God’s Hidden Wisdom/Genius
7. Again, Paul calls them Saints and Faithful because they knew who God had made them to be in Christ. They were established and faithful in their identity and their edification (education, spiritual growth), unlike the Romans, the Corinthians, and the Galatians. The Ephesians were faithful to the doctrine.
C. A PRAYER FOR THE DOCTRINAL POSITION OF MATURE SAINTS
1. Paul prays for Superstructure (Advanced) Knowledge and Power in the saints. Eph. 1:17-19; Paul prays for “the eyes of their understanding be enlightened; That they may know, (a) what is the hope of His calling”; (b) and know “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the Saints”;(c) “and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward that believe.”
2.The Purpose: Knowledge & Power for the Edification (education-growth) which is now in view: Eph. 4:12; “For the PERFECTING (fully equipping-complete maturity) of the Saints, for the WORK OF THE MINISTRY & for EDIFYING of the BODY OF CHRIST.” Cf. 2 Tim. 3:17; “thoroughly furnished.” Here comes the Goal:
VS 13. “Till we ALL come in the UNITY OF FAITH, and of the FULL KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST:”
*The Goal of Edification is to produce Perfected Saints! Who possess the Full Knowledge of Christ! Fully educated Saints. Because Perfected Saints carry out the Work of the Ministry (Evangelism)! Doctrinal Maturity is the desired End Result! Knowledge of who God has made you to be in Christ Jesus. Justified, declared righteous, Sanctified, set apart, made Holy & baptized into the Church, which is His Body.
3. The GOAL of Romans-Galatians is = ESTABLISHMENT (laying the foundation). The GOAL of Ephesians-Colossians is = PERFECTION of Saints.
4. Ephesians 4:14, admonishes us “that henceforth (from now on) be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine”. “But speaking truth in love may GROW UP into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ (15-17).
D. GOD’S WILL: “Who will have all men to be saved, AND to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4.
1. Again, the moment you place your faith in the finished cross work of Christ, (that is the death, burial and resurrection,) two Judicial transactions are made on your behalf. Our Standing before God changes! (The way God views us now!)
A. Justification= Declared righteous, by grace through faith. 2 Cor. 5:21
B. Sanctification= Set apart, made holy, baptized into His death, by grace through faith. Cf. Rom. 6:3-5, (6:1-10)
2. These first two judicial actions are a result of Gods response to your faith. But after Salvation God wants us to grow up to be fully educated Saints. You cannot become a fully educated adult without going through elementary school first. That is what Romans through Galatians is all about for the believer.
3. FOUNDATION: Think of the worlds education system. A child’s starting point is elementary school. He learns to add, subtract, multiply, divide, read, write, and phonics. (Laying the foundation for learning). This is designed to edify, educate, fully equip the child to function with the MILK SUBJECTS as he progresses toward the BRIDGE that takes the child to the Higher Learning of high school.
the Now that the foundation of elementary learning has been laid, the child now is able to learn ADVANCE courses such as geometry, algebra, calculus, trigonometry, computer science, etc., and these are = MEAT SUBJECTS!
*A SPIRITUAL ILLUSRATION*
4. A foundation is what Romans thru Galatians (Christ and the Cross) is to the new convert or beginning learner. It is God’s divine design for the edification of the BOC (Body of Christ). Romans is the starting point, the first things first. The elementary school where the subjects of Justification, Sanctification, Dispensational Truth, and Walking Worthy are the MILK DOCTRINES! This is the bridge to the advanced doctrines of Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians (Christ and the Church); this is for perfected, mature, and faithful Saints. This is advance, superstructure doctrine is designed for saints fully established in Romans thru Galatians. Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are MEAT DOCTRINES = Advanced, Superstructure Doctrines where the BOC learn to FUNCTION as spirit filled believers.
E. PHILIPPIANS: (reproof). The Theme of Philippians is Christian experience. Paul would teach us that Christian experience is not something which is going on around the believer, but something which is going on within the believer. Soundness (stability) of doctrine is visible. There is nothing in church order to set right. Philippi is a normal New Testament assembly, “Saints in Christ Jesus,” with bishops, elders, and deacons.
1. Paul begins Philippians praying for the Saints, (1:3-7). The Philippian Saints were as mature as Paul was. They were faithful brethren, and they understood the divine perspective of rejoicing and suffering for Christ’s sake. They understood advanced, superstructure doctrine and there was no end to their edification, spiritual growth. (1:6; 9).
2. The key verse in Philippians is, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (1:21). Therefore, proper Christian experience, then, is the out working of the doctrine, whatever one’s circumstances may be, of the life, nature, and the mind of Christ living in us. (1:6, 11; 2:5, 13).
3. They were perfected men, fully educated Saints, understanding God’s plan and purpose. They understood what God is doing with His Son. (3:15-16).
F. COLOSSIANS: (correction). The theme of Colossians is the full and preeminence (supremacy) of Christ, the head of the body, and the full completeness of the believer in Him. (1:18).
1. The Colossians also were faithful, perfected (mature) Saints, possessing full knowledge of the Son of God. And able to handle advanced doctrine or meat.
2. The Apostle prays for these Saints, to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that they might walk worthy of the Lord and be fruitful and every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God. And that they might be strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, and increasing in the knowledge of God. (1:9-14). (MEAT!)
G. 1 THESSALONIANS: God gave to Paul, His master builder, the blueprint for building a spiritual edifice of sound doctrine in our spirit and soul. A house of doctrine constructed of godly wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in our inner man. He began by laying a foundation, which is Romans. (Picture Paul’s 13 letters as a two-story house).
1. The Corinthian letters and Galatians form the walls of the first story. The foundational doctrine of Romans must be understood before proceeding to the advanced doctrine of Ephesians. The foundation of the second story is Ephesians (Mystery), with Philippians and Colossians forming the walls of this second level or story. Then the Thessalonian letters put the roof on top with the Blessed Hope of the First (1 Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-13), and Second coming of Christ (1 Thess. 5:1-3; Rev. 19:11-21).
2. The Thessalonians were a model church, with a model minister (Paul), and a model brother, Timothy. And they displayed a model walk according to the doctrine, and they understood the pre-tribulation rapture. They understood they were not in the day of the Lord.
3. They were examples (1:7), perfected Saints. Paul commended them and referred to them as “a work of faith,” they had been saved under Paul’s ministry. And they were a “labor of love,” they were “examples” evangelizing, sounding out the word of the Lord (1:7-8). And their “patience of hope” saved them from wrath to come. They were examples of edification, “the word of God, (doctrine) was effectually working in them as they believe” (2:13).
4. In 2nd Thessalonians the converts were “shaken in mind” and “troubled,” (because of a forged, counterfeit letter supposedly written by the hand of Paul (behind it was really Satan’s plan of evil via false doctrine). The false ministers had come in and redefined the “day of Christ” from good to bad. In other words, these converts thought the rapture (the “Day of Christ”) had already come and they had missed it.
5. These Saints thought that their “sufferings” was because they were in “the day of the Lord” (wrath and judgment to come=Tribulation period). Paul corrects and comforts them by reminding them of, (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 2:1-6). “The day of Christ,” the rapture, the “catching away” of the Church, which is His body. “Our gathering together unto the Lord” (2 Thess. 1:1,) indeed had not yet come. “The day of the Lord,” refers to wrath and judgment (Rev. 19:11-21.) Paul says,“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? “And now ye know what witholdeth…..” (Body of Christ); (2 Thess. 2:5-7).
H. PASTORIAL EPISTLES: I & II TIMOTHY, TITUS, PHILEMON.
1. As God’s spokesman, Paul usually began his letters with “grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” but in the pastorial epistles to Timothy and Titus, he added “mercy” (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 2:2; Titus 1:4). “Grace, Mercy and Peace.” Grace is getting what we do not deserve; while Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. Paul, a blasphemer (1 Timothy 1:13,) received mercy From God.
2. A pastor’s job is to produce the edification (education) that leads to perfection, maturity of the Saints for the work of the ministry and the edification of the body of Christ.
3. FIRST TIMOTHY: Paul’s charge (command) is that no other doctrine than his (Gospel of the Grace of God) is preached. The doctrine is the truth that the local assembly is built upon. The truth for God’s heavenly people results in godliness. Paul was given Gods divine design for the godly edification (education) of the Saints. Paul gives instructions for church governance, order, purpose, and function. “God will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2 4.)
Paul goes on to instruct Timothy how he and the Saints, “ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). The church is a spiritual building (edifice) of the inner man, and the pastor is d to communicate sound doctrine, truth from truth, that produces godly edification (education). It is a classroom, and the teacher’s job is to establish the believer to perfection. This is to be accomplished by following the divine design, the pattern of sound words set forth in Romans though Philemon, for the edification of the member of the body of Christ.
4. SECOND TIMOTHY: Paul asked Timothy to come to him. He reminds Timothy of the power of God in the midst of apostasy (falling away). Satan was attacking the message. Paul was admonishing Timothy that the messenger of the grace of God would be under personal attack also. Satan’s attack if successful, would cause the preacher to fear and be silent and quit. Paul reminded Timothy that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear[CG1] ; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.” So, “stir up the gift of God” (2nd Tim. 1:5-11). And again, Paul exhorts Timothy to keep the doctrine pure. “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” 2nd Timothy 1:13.
5. TITUS: Titus was to carry on the ministry in the very midst of an apostasy, (falling, turning away from Paul and ‘right division”). Titus is charged to reach and teach believers, and edify (educate) them with sound doctrine so they deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts, live godly, and serve. Paul and Titus ministered together in Crete (1:5) but Paul departed, trusting Titus to oversee the churches, ordain elders[CG2] , and to take care of all the unfinished business there that still needed to be done.
Including guarding the pure doctrine, for there were those of the circumcision who contradicted the teaching of Paul and instead taught Jewish fables (Christ’s earthly ministry, legalism, (law). They were teaching things which they ought not teach (“teach no other doctrine” 1 Tim. 1:3). They were teaching Christ’ earthly ministry as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Those of the circumcision were unruly and would not adhere to the agreement made at the Jerusalem council. Paul wants their mouths stopped, closed, and shut up Romans 3;19-28.
Titus is in two divisions:
1. Qualifications and functions of elders, 1:1-16.
2. The pastorial work of the true elder 2:1-3:15.
Today, we are a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14.
6. PHILEMON; Is the last in the order of Paul’s letters, and it is a personal letter. It is a snapshot into the heart of our Apostle. Philemon was won to Christ under Paul’s ministry, and became a dearly beloved brother and fellow laborer (1:1). Philemon owned a servant (slave) named Onesimus (“profitable’). Onesimus eventually became unprofitable and robbed his master. He then fled to Rome where he unexpectedly ran into Apostle Paul preaching the gospel of grace. He believed Paul’s gospel and was gloriously saved. He admitted to Paul that he was a runaway slave and that he had robbed his master. Paul told Onesimus that the right thing to do, was it go back to Philemon and to make amends.
This was the godly thing to do. Paul then prepared a handwritten letter for Onesimus to give to Philemon telling hm to “receive him (Onesimus) as myself” (point being, that he was saved now, and is our brother in Christ, and would share in our heavenly inheritance. So, forgive him as Christ forgave us). “If he had wronged thee, or oweth thee anything, put that on my account.” (1:16-19). This is of priceless value in our edification, spiritual growth.
1. This letter is one of the grandest illustrations in the Bible of “Substitution and Imputation,” “receive him as myself” (1:17). Behind Paul’s plea is Christ’s plea to the father to receive the sinner as Himself. God solved the sin problem. God loves us. Christ took our place on the cross and imputed his righteousness to us so that the Father could remain just and justify us. (Romans 3:22-26). This letter is of priceless value in:
2. Practical Righteousness. 3. Christian Brotherhood. 4. Christian Courtesy.
5. Law of love.
*Why is the letter to Philemon last in the order of Paul’s letters? Because just like Onesimus returned to his master to be restored; we too as Christ servants, as members of the body of Christ, will return to our master at the rapture, to restore the heavenly places back to God. Amen. (“So be it”).
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God an our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13-14.
THANK GOD FOR THE SUBSTITUTION AND IMPUTATION OF THE CROSSWORK OF JESUS CHRIST.
AND FOR THE SHEDDED BLOOD THAT PURCHASED MY JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION AND SET ME FREE! AMEN. (So be it).