“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints (16) cease not to give thanks for you — making mention of you – in my prayers; (17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (18) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened – that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what (are) the riches of His glory of the inheritance in the saints. (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe- – according to the working of His mighty power (20) which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places (21) far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (22) and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) which is His body – the fulness of Him that filleth all in all!” [Eph.1:15-23]
This section of scripture, among other things, gives unto us the true method, message and maintenance of genuine and Holy Spirit effective evangelism. The method is the bold heralding forth of the announcement of the pure truth of the everlasting gospel of God’s great grace (Rev.14:6). Once evidence is seen that the message has been favorably received – genuine evangelism follows up with Spirit led prayer. The first chapter of the epistle of Ephesians – from verses 3 through 14 — succinctly describes the pure truth concerning God’s message of eternal salvation by God’s grace, alone, through the person and work, alone, of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is dogmatically declared to be “according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace…” (vs.5-6); and, again, from vs.7 – it is descriptively declared that our eternal redemption is entirely “according to the riches of His grace”. And, because the apostle Paul had heard that God’s grace had been effectually bestowed upon the Ephesians – resulting in their truly believing in the Lord Jesus, and which in turn resulted in the love that they were displaying unto all the saints – he did not, nor could not – cease to lift them up to the Lord God in his earnest prayers! This is the Holy Spirit-led maintenance that descriptively marks a vital part of the true evangelistic process. And, just exactly what is it that Paul was specifically led to pray that God would do for them?
He prayed that God – the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ — the incarnated eternal Son of God – would give unto the grace-blessed Ephesian believers the Holy Spirit of “wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”. “Wisdom”, to walk through the maze of trials in this fallen-in-sin world (Col.3:15); “Revelation” whereby they would consistently realize the relationship with Christ that they have on a daily, step by step basis (1Jn.1:7); and, “Knowledge” – the full knowledge of our Lord and Savior that we continually grow into according to the sovereign will of God (2Pe.3:18).
Next, Paul’s Spirit-led prayer addresses the illumination of the eyes of their understanding – so that they may know what is the hope of God’s calling into the riches of His holy glorious inheritance in His saints (Col.1:12). As well as, for them to understand what is the exceeding greatness of the power of God’s grace that is bestowed upon us who truly do believe. It is the same glorious and gracious power that God the Father exercised upon His Beloved Son – our blessed Savior – “when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places – far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this world, but also in that which is to come – and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church – which is His body – the fulness of Him that filleth all and in all!” Amen! Praise His Name! If it’s not all Christ – then it’s all wrong!
For Christ’s Glory Only! -John Carpenter
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things – may abound to every good work. (9) As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad – He hath given to the poor! His righteousness remaineth forever.” [2Cor.9:8-9]
“…my God shall supply all your need – according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (20) Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever!” [Phil.4:19-20]
These precious words of gospel truth are comparable with one another. They point out the ever abiding presence and fellowship of an all-governing – all-gracious — eternally loving, guiding and providing Savior. These verses substantiate the words of our Lord Jesus from Jn.16:33 from where He tells us, “These things I have spoken unto you – that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer – I have overcome the world.” Praise His Name!
Only the God of all grace is able to do this for us! Especially, while we are in this weak and ever vulnerable – fallen-in-sin worldly condition. We are so completely dependent upon our Lord and Savior at all times, for all things – and all that we need, in this adverse and affliction-filled world! Yet — He is so completely dependable unto us no matter what we have to face – no matter what we have to go through in this world in order to enter the all-glorious reality of the “Kingdom of God”. We are ever reminded of Ac.14:22, which says: “…confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith – and that – we must through much tribulation – enter into the Kingdom of God.” While “much tribulation” is a fact of life in this world – it is also an eternal gospel truth that our faithful God is able to make all grace to abound into the time of our trials so that nothing can detour nor delay our being able to enter into the eternal safety of His eternal Kingdom and glory! What good work that He has ordained for us to fulfill – His all sufficient enabling grace will see that it gets accomplished!
In order for any true believer to successfully and safely get through this fallen and cursed world, the sovereign grace of God is absolutely necessary! In order for us to even be able to repent for our sins – we need God’s enabling grace. In Ac.5:30-31, the scripture says that God raised up Jesus and exalted Him with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, “for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” In 2Ti.2:24-25, the scripture once again tells us that, “the servant of the Lord must not strive – but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (25) in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves – if God peradventure – will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…”. True saving repentance is a grace that only God can – and does – give – bestow — upon each of His eternally loved, chosen and saved children!
In fact, true saving faith is also obviously a grace! Eph.2:8-9 clearly states: “For by grace are ye saved through faith – and that not of yourselves! It is the gift of God. (9) Not of works – lest any man should boast.” Jesus, Himself, explicitly declared from Jn.6:29 “This is the work of God – that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” All who truly and savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are each one descriptively declared from Ac.13:48 in this manner: “…and as many as were ordained to eternal life – believed.”
The Lord Jesus is full of grace and truth. It is He who hath dispersed abroad and given His righteousness to the destitute. His righteousness endureth forever. His righteousness eternally justifies us!
For Christ’s Glory Only!
– John Carpenter
(11) “Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. (12) Those by the way side are they that hear – then cometh the devil and taketh away the Word out of their hearts – lest they should believe and be saved. (13) They on the rock are they which when they hear – receive the Word with joy – and these have no root – which for a while believe – and in time of temptation fall away. (14) And that which fell among thorns are they which when they have heard – go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life – and bring no fruit to perfection. (15) But that on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart – having heard the Word – keep it – and bring forth fruit with patience.” [Lk.8:11-15]
(105) “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet – and a light unto my path.” [Ps.119:105]
Here is an accurate gauge by which we may determine if we have truly been born from above by what Paul referred to in Col.1:5 as the “Word of the truth of the gospel”. Peter speaks of the same thing in 1Pe.1:23 when he literally says: “Having been born again – not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible – by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever!” And, then he goes further on and explicitly declares from vs.25: “And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you”.
The apostle James was Holy Spirit inspired to write of our regeneration from Jas.1:17-18 of his epistle: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights – with whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning. (18) Of His own will – begat He us with the Word of truth….” Now this verse is more literally rendered – “Having willed – He begat us” Or, in other words, He brought us forth to new life in our Lord Jesus Christ! And then he urges us from vs.21: “Wherefore…(or, consequently) lay apart (or, put away) all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness (or, all moral dirtiness and surplusage of depravity) and receive with meekness the engrafted (or, the implanted) Word – which is able to save your souls!”
The Spirit of Christ – the living Word of God – who is the incarnated eternal Son of God – according to the eternal purpose of God the Father – causes us to receive a regenerating revelatory experience that we are, indeed, His eternally loved and chosen sinner-saved-by-grace-children. We come by grace to understand that we – and He – have been personally united with Him – in His beloved and only-begotten Son! Ro.8:16-17 plainly tells us that: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit – that we are the children of God (17) and if children – then heirs – heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ…” Before the magnitude of the majesty of our all holy – all-glorious sovereign God – we are all — nothing but little children. But, we are His little children! And, especially, while we are here in this fallen-in-sin world – we “grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…”
How do we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior?
By constantly feeding on His wonderful Word! We ever abide in the words of our Savior. Jesus said in Jn.15:3 – “Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” Then He went on and said from vs.7 “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you – ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” It is no wonder that the Psalmist was inspired to descriptively declare: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet – and a light unto my path!” Everything wonderful about being in Christ – is descriptively declared in the treasures of His wonderful Word! Amen.
For Christ’s Glory Only!
“Wherefore, as by one man – sin entered into the world – and death by sin – and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…”
“For, if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace – and of the gift of righteousness – shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (18) Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation – even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life! (19) For as one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners – so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (20) Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But, where sin abounded – grace did much more abound: (21) that as sin hath reigned unto death – even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Ro.5:12;17-20]
What a wonderful passage of scripture this truly is! Herein is declared – in this fallen-in-sin world – the right now realities of the pure truth of the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ! It declares two great spiritual realities that, in fact, contrast one another. There’s a dreaded eternal death being contrasted over against a glorious eternal life. Both of which have become inescapable realities in this fallen world – each brought to pass by one man respectfully.
When it says, “by one man’s offense – death reigned by one” – it’s referring to Adam when he fell into sin in the Garden. His deadly offense made him sinner, as well as, all those who have been conceived as his progeny in this world (both physically and spiritually). Then this scripture declares — to ever so greatly contrast Adam’s fall into failure and deadly ruin – “much more” [which means: to a much greater degree] “they which receive abundance of grace – and of the gift of righteousness – shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ!” Adam – before we were even born – threw us under the bus of reigning sin — and the curse of the absolute perfection demanding law of God. In other words, he threw us all under the dreaded reality of sin and death. But, praise God for His incarnated eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the indisputable Savior of all of the sheepfold – all the friends and family – of God! They are the ones that the text refers to when it says, “they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness”. And, it is “they” that “shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ”! What are we to conclude from this? Well, it plainly tells us! On the one hand, we are to conclude that through one man, Adam — God’s condemning judgment came upon all mankind. And, on the other hand, through the righteousness – lit. the one eternally accomplished righteousness – of one man, Christ Jesus – there came upon all who have received His grace, eternal justification of life! Wow! Praise His Most Wonderful Name!
The spiritual principle is explicitly explained from vs.19. It lit. says: “For as by the disobedience of the one man – the many were constituted sinners – so also in this same way – through the obedience of one [Christ Jesus] the many shall be constituted righteous.” Vs.20 then goes on to further gloriously explain: “Moreover – the law entered that the offense might abound.” In other words, the law substantiates the fact that all of mankind (or, all of Adam-kind) are condemned sinners! Nevertheless, scripture goes on to say, “But, where sin abounded – grace did much more (or, grace exceedingly) abounded!” Again, this is true for all those that vs.17 has descriptively declared as having received an abundance of God’s saving grace. All of this to lead us to the pure truth of vs.21: “That as sin hath reigned lit. in death, lit. so also grace might reign through righteousness to life eternal – through Jesus Christ our Lord.” How Wonderful!! Let us praise Him for all that He has done!
For Christ’s Glory Only!
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, (20) which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, (21) far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named – not only in this world, but also in that which is to come…” [Eph.1:19-21]
This is the month in which we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, this text is indeed a good one to examine. Of all the different scriptural contexts that describe the genuine faith of the true believer who is still in this fallen world – this is one of the most amazing! For this portion of scripture plainly declares that true saving faith is all of God!
In these three verses, “power”, is being alluded to from five different original sources – and all of which are describing the power of our Lord God. It is no wonder that Jesus, Himself, declared from Jn.6:29: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” In Eph.1:19, the Spirit of God through Paul declares that it, “is the exceeding greatness of God’s power to us who believe…”.The word used here for “power” literally means: miraculous power. This is a divine supernatural “power” that is not of this world at all! This is the same word for “power” that is used in Ro.1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…” And then, the rest of Eph.1:19 really nails it when it goes on to describe of those who truly do believe – that they believe “according to the working of God’s mighty power”!
The original word that is translated as “working” is uniquely used in the New Testament, in that, it is used only in reference to supernatural power – whether of God, or of the Devil. We get our English word “energy” from this Greek word. It describes supernatural power in exercise. In this context where genuine faith in Christ is concerned – it is God’s supernatural power in exercise. Check out the way that it is used as the word for “operation”, when describing “faith” in Col.2:12: “the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Jesus from the dead. Next, there are the two words: “mighty power”. “Mighty” is from a word that connotes “strength” as it is used in Mk.12:30: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart – soul – mind – and strength”. But, in Eph.1:19 it is in direct reference with God’s “strong and mighty power”! The word that is inspired here — by the Holy Spirit — is a word that denotes a manifested “power” as being a specific act of God. Hence, all of these words connote the powerful and gracious work of God on our behalf – making us to be His true believing children while we are still in this tribulation filled world.
Eph.1:20-21 tells us that He completely wrought all of this out for us “in Christ”. According to Eph.1:3-4, this is where He chose us and placed us before the foundation of the world. Then it says that this was all completely worked out for us, “when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, (21) far above all principality and power [This fifth word for “power” means sovereign authority] and might and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this [fallen-in-sin] world – but also in that which is to come” [the glorious new heavens and new earth wherein righteousness dwells]. In short, the sovereign power that God exercises and demonstrates in bestowing upon us the grace of His true saving faith is the same strong and mighty power that He gloriously manifested when He raised His beloved, incarnated and eternal Son from the dead! Praise His all-powerful Name!
For Christ’s Glory Only,
“I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” “I am the good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me – even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also – I must bring. And they shall hear my voice – and there shall be one fold – one Shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down – and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” “I and my Father are one.” [Jn.10:11,14-18,30]
This teaching is directly from Jesus. This is where He declares Himself to be the “Good Shepherd”. This is both a very simple and yet a profoundly solemn truth. For it specifically deals with the eternally covenanted atonement of all the sins of all His sheep. It is the carnal and perverse spin of fallen men that has propagated so much confusion concerning this portion of God’s Word. E.g., in vs.11 Jesus announces in no uncertain terms that He is the “Good Shepherd”. Then He immediately adds: “the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”
The word that Jesus uses for “life” is the same word for “soul” in Mt.10:28 – from where Jesus declares: “…fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the SOUL: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both SOUL and body in hell!” In other words, dear ones, Jesus says that we should fear only God – for He is the only one who can do that!
Then the Lord Jesus continues in vs.14-18 by giving us some strong clues as to who truly are His sheep. The first of which is that there is an intimate relationship between Him and His sheep. He says from vs.14 that He intimately knows His sheep. Secondly, He says that He, Himself, is also intimately known by them. The loving intimacy of this relationship is made plain by the literal way that vs.15 describes it. Jesus says that the relationship between Him and His sheep is “Just as the Father” knows Him – and He knows the Father. The loving relationship between the Father and Jesus is Biblically famous! Vs.15 closes with Jesus restating that He, the “Good Shepherd,” gives His (soul) life for the sheep.
Next the Lord Jesus makes a remarkably wonderful statement. He says that there are other sheep that He owns – which are not of this fold; and them also He must (lit.) lead. These others come from every race – kindred – tongue – tribe and generation! Praise the Lord! Every single individual one of them will hear His voice! They hear the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ! And, Jesus goes on to descriptively declare that there will be one fold – with one primary Shepherd!
Then Jesus brings up yet again – His eternally atoning sacrifice for all of His sheep throughout the whole history of fallen-in-sin humanity. And, He declares that the everlasting love of God permeates all of it. He says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my (soul) life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me – but I lay it down of myself. I have power (lit. I have sovereign authority) to lay it down, and I have power (lit. I have sovereign authority) to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father!” This is the commandment of the New Covenant – which is the covenant between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – which was entered into before the very foundation of the world. This is the foundation of God which is firmly and eternally sealed in that He intimately knows those that are His. These are His sheep for whom He sacrificed His soul in order to eternally save all theirs. (2Ti.2:19)
For Christ’s Glory Only!