Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Ephesians Chapter 5 Part One

Ephesians 5:1 
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;"
Be … followers of God”: The Christian has no greater calling or purpose than that of imitating his Lord. That is the very purpose of sanctification, growing in likeness to the Lord while serving Him on earth (Matt. 5:48).
The Christian life is designed to reproduce godliness as modeled by the Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, in whose image believers have been recreated through the new birth (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Peter 1:14-16). As God’s dear children, believers are to become more and more like their heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
Those who carry God’s name are to be “imitators” of His character. By His grace it is possible to reflect Him seen in our present limitations. To know what God is like we must study His Word, His revelation of Himself, His great Self disclosure. The only way we can become imitators of God is for the Lord Jesus Christ to live His perfect life through us. We are totally dependent on His Spirit to become like Him.
Yet the more we learn of God’s character the more we learn how far above us He is and how impossible in ourselves it is fulfill the command to be like Him, to be absolutely perfect, just as He is.
A Christian is a believer in and a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what the verse above is saying, also. If we really are Christians, then we should pattern our life after our Leader's life. Children, who have honorable parents, will usually be honorable, also. Parents are a living example to their children.
We are sons of God, if we are really Christians. We must follow the example that He gave us in Jesus. The great commission that Jesus gave all believers is found in Mark 16:15:
"And he said unto them, Go ye into the entire world, and preach the gospel to every creature." He said to heal the sick and many of the other things that He had done on this earth. If we belong to Jesus, we should be doing the things He would do.
Ephesians 5:2 
"And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."
Christ also loved us … given himself for us”: The Lord’s the supreme example in His self sacrificing love for lost sinners (4:32; Rom. 5:8-10). He took human sin upon Himself and gave up His very life that men might be redeemed from their sin, receive a new and holy nature, and inherit eternal life.
They are henceforth to be imitators of His great love in the newness and power of the Holy Spirit, who enable them to demonstrate divine love. Because forgiveness is the supreme evidence of God’s love, it will also be the most convincing proof of our love. Love will always lead us to forgive others just as love led God in Christ to forgive us.
The greatest evidence of love is underserved forgiveness. Because Christ has paid the penalty for every sin, we have no right to hold any sin against any person, even a nonbeliever. Just as the depth of God’s love is shown by how much He has forgiven, the depth of our love is shown by how much we forgive.
Unforgiveness is also a measure of unbelief, because the person who feels no need for forgiveness feels no need for God. The person who sees the greatness of his own forgiveness by God’s love will himself in love be forgiving. He forgives in love because his heavenly Father has forgiven in love and he desires to be an imitator of His Father.
I believe Christianity to be a way of life. When we are saved that is not the end. We must walk in the salvation we have received. Every offering and sacrifice in the Old Testament law was fulfilled in Jesus.
To get the in-depth teaching on this, read the lessons in Leviticus. Jesus is the everlasting sacrifice and offering to God for all mankind.
A sweet smelling savor”: Christ’s offering of Himself for fallen man pleased and glorified His heavenly Father, because it demonstrated in the most complete and perfect way God’s sovereign, perfect, unconditional, and divine kind of love. Leviticus describes 5 offerings commanded by God for Israel. The first 3 were:
1.      The burnt offering (Lev. 1:1-17), depicting Christ’s perfection,
2.      The grain offering (Lev. 2:1-16), depicting Christ’s total devotion to God in giving His life to please the Father; and
3.      The peace offering (Lev. 3:1-17), depicting His peacemaking between God and man. All 3 of these were a “soothing aroma to the Lord” (Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12, 3:5, 16).
The other two offerings, the sin offering (Lev. 4:1 – 5:13) and the guilt, or trespass, offering (Lev. 5:14 – 6:7), were repulsive to God because though they depicted Christ, they depicted Him as bearing sin (Matt. 27:46). While Christ was the sin bearer, God could not look on Him or rejoice in Him or be pleased in Him. In the end, when redemption was accomplished, the whole work pleased God completely.
Christ did not simply have a deep feeling and emotional concern for mankind. Nor did He sacrifice Himself for us because we deserved. Romans 5:8, 10 tells us: “While we were yet sinners,” He gave Himself for us purely out of sovereign, gracious love, taking our sin upon Himself and paying its penalty in our behalf. And He continues to love us as believers, even though we continue to sin and fall short of His perfection and His glory.
Those who are given God’s nature through Jesus Christ are commanded to love as God loves. In Christ, it is now our nature to love just as it is God’s nature to love, because His nature is now our nature. For a Christian not to love is for him to live against his own nature as well as against God’s.
Lovelessness is therefore more that a failure or shortcoming. It is a sin, willful disobedience of God’s command and disregard of His example. If God’s love can reach out even to His enemies, how can we refuse to love our enemies? If He loves His imperfect children with a perfect love, how can we not love fellow believers, whose imperfections we share?
And if divine love led Christ to sacrifice Himself for unworthy and ungrateful sinners, how can we not give ourselves to fellow sinful people, unbelievers as well as believers, in His name?
Ephesians 5:3 
"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;"
Fornication … covetousness (greed)”: In absolute contrast to God’s holiness and love, such sins as these exist (also in verse 5), by which Satan seeks to destroy God’s divine work in His children and turn them as far away as possible from His image and will.
Whatever God establishes, Satan will counterfeit. Where God establishes true love, Satan produces counterfeit love. Counterfeit love characterizes Satan’s children, those who are of the world, just as true love characterizes God’s children, those who are citizens of heaven.
Fornication (porneia, immorality) refers to all sexual sin, and all sexual sin is against God and against godly love. Loss of sexual control leads to its opposite, which is immorality and impurity (uncleanness). These consist of immoral thoughts, passions, ideas, fantasies, and every other form of sexual corruption.
The influence of the lustful world has been so pervasive and the church so weak and undiscerning that many Christians have become convinced that all sorts of sexual excesses and impurities are covered by grace or can be rendered morally safe if engaged in with the right attitude, especially if some scripture verse can be twisted to give seeming support.
Because of the strong sexual nature of human beings, sexual sins are powerful and can become perverted in unimaginable ways. If given free rein, sexual sins lead to complete insensitivity to the feelings and welfare of others, to horrible brutality, and frequently to murder as news stories testify daily.
As do many other Scriptures, this verse shows the close connection between sexual sin and other forms of impurity and greed. An immoral person is inevitably greedy. Such sins are so godless that the world should never have reason even to suspect their presence in Christians.
As becometh saints” means that it is not proper for Christians or “saints” to be guilty of committing the sexual sins listed here. “Not be once named” means such deeds should not even be the topic of normal conversation.
When we are saved, we are born again, not with a license to sin. We are a new man in Christ. We no longer live, but Christ liveth in us. The old man of sin is buried along with the lust of the flesh.
Christians are new creatures in Christ. We no longer have the desire in our heart to sin. We must walk in newness of life. All of the sins above are part of the old flesh man that was buried.
Ephesians 5:4 
"Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks."
Not convenient”: These three inappropriate sins of the tongue indicate any speech that is obscene and degrading or foolish and dirty, as well as suggestive and immoral. All such are destructive of holy living and godly testimony and should be confessed, forsaken, and replaced by open expressions of thankfulness to God (Col. 3:8). Convenient means “proper or fitting”.
Filthiness” has to do with general obscenity, and talk that is degrading and disgraceful. It comes from the same Greek root as “disgraceful” in verse 12, where Paul says that such vile things should not even be mentioned, much less participated in and is related to the term in Col. 3:8 meaning dirty speech.
Foolish talk, used only here in the New Testament, is derived from moros (which means dull or stupid and is the word from which we get moron) and lego (to speak). It is stupid talk, talk only befitting someone who is intellectually deficient. It is sometimes referred to as low obscenity, foolish talk that comes from the drunk or the gutter mouth. It has no point except to give an air of dirty worldliness.
Jesting” refers to talk that is more pointed and determined. It carries the idea of quickly turning something that is said or done, no matter how innocent, into that which is obscene or suggestive. It is the filthy talk of a person who uses every word and circumstance to display his immoral wit (like a clever talk show host). But the low obscenity of silly talk and the “high” obscenity of coarse jesting come from the same kind of heart, the heart given over to moral filthiness.
Christians need not to do any of the things listed in the last three verses. We must not even give the appearance of evil. These sins are signs of a life full of sin. They come of those who are sold out to the flesh and the devil.
The unselfish and loving person, on the other hand, focuses his life and his concern on the needs of others. Instead of using others, he serves them. Instead of trying to turn the innocent into the immoral, he seeks to change the immoral into what is righteous and holy. He is thankful because the holy life is the satisfying life, and people see love for God in the thankful person.
Christians should spend all of their time doing good and giving thanks to God for the blessings He bestowed upon them.
Ephesians 5:5 
"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."
For this ye know”: Paul had taught this truth many times when he pastured the church at Ephesus and it should have been clear in their minds. God never tolerates sin, which has no place at all in His kingdom, nor will any person whose life pattern is one of habitual immorality, impurity, and greed, (see verse 3 – fornication, uncleanness and covetousness) be in His kingdom, because no such person is saved.
The “kingdom of Christ and of God” is a reference to the sphere of salvation where Christ rules the redeemed. Those who are characterized by the sins Paul has just condemned in verses 3 and 4 will have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Such would contradict the truths of Romans 6 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 as well as the instruction of 1 John regarding the characteristics of believers.
This really tells it like it is. Our actions show to whom we belong to. If we are practicing the sins mentioned in the last few verses, we are not sold out to God. We are still living in sin. Therefore the life described here testifies to an unredeemed, sinful nature, no matter what relationship to Christ a person might claim to have.
A "whoremonger" is a male prostitute. The word comes from the word porno. The whoremonger would have to do with all unnatural sex, as well as adultery. This is speaking of all types of sexual sin that is classed by God as an abomination.
"Abomination" means disgusting sin. The unclean person, here, is speaking of an unclean heart and soul. The covetous person wants things that do not belong to him. The "idolater" is someone who worships false gods.
You can easily see how God would say that people involved in this kind of sin have no reward waiting for them. These really are children of wrath.
Every person who is saved, and is therefore a part of that glorious rule of Christ and God, is instructed by the Holy Spirit and by the inclination of his new nature to forsake sin and to seek righteousness. The person whose basic life pattern does not reflect that orientation cannot claim God as his Father or the Kingdom of Christ and God as his inheritance.
Ephesians 5:6 
"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."
Deceive you”: No Christian will be sinless in this present life, but it is dangerously deceptive for Christians to offer assurance of salvation to a professing believer whose life is characterized by persistent sin and who shows no shame for that sin or hunger for the holy and pure things of God. They are headed for wrath (2:2) and believers must not partner in any of their wickedness (verse 7).
People will try to deny that those dominated with the sins in this chapter are damned to hell. Some will try to deny that, but Paul warns not to listen to them. Let no one deceive you with empty words, telling you that sin is tolerable and that God will not exclude unrepentant sinners from His kingdom. Empty words are full of error, devoid of truth and therefore they deceive.
Even worse than being a lost person who was committing these sins, would be someone pretending to be a child of God committing these sins. Judgment begins at the house of God.
The sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was that they disobeyed God. To be disobedient children of God is very serious. The wrath of God falls on these people. The way you could be deceived, is to believe that you would be above punishment from God.
God’s attitude toward perverted love and sexual sin is seen clearly in Numbers 25:1-9, where the Israelites had relations with Moabite women and God slaughtered 24,000 of them. His attitude toward sexual sin has not changed and perverted love attracts God’s wrath like a fully lit city attracts enemy bombers.
Ephesians 5:7 
"Be not ye therefore partakers with them."
We must not fellowship with people involved in these sins. We might be guilty by association. It is strange how the ways of the sinner seem to be picked up more readily than the ways of the saint, when they fellowship together.
In a final warning, Paul says, “be not ye therefore partakers with them”. Don’t join the world in its evil, he says. Don’t be partners with them in wickedness. Be partners with Christ in righteousness. Don’t imitate the world, but rather be imitators of God, as beloved children (v.1).
Ephesians 5:8 
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:"
Darkness … light”: “Darkness” describes the character of the life of the unconverted as void of truth and virtue in intellectual and moral matters (1 John 1:5-7).
The realm of darkness is presided over by the “power of darkness” (Luke 22:53; Col. 1:13), who rules those headed for “outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12; 2 Peter 2:17). Tragically, sinners love the darkness (John 3:19-21). It is that very darkness from which salvation in Christ delivers sinners.
John 8:12 "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
Matthew 4:16 "The people which sat in darkness saw great light and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."
Darkness” indicates that the readers used to be spiritually unenlightened, and accompanying this ignorance was immorality with its resultant guilt and misery. “Light” denotes that the recipients are now to be religiously informed. Their knowledge of the truth is attended by moral purity and happiness.
Before we came to Christ our total existence, our being as well as our behavior, was characterized by darkness. There was no other aspect to our spiritual life than that of darkness. We were children of darkness and “sons of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6). We were not simply victims of Satan’s system but were contributors to it. We were not merely in sin; our very nature was characterized by sin.
It is difficult even for Christians to imagine that the law abiding, decent and pleasant unbelievers we run in to every day are children of Satan. Yet every person is either a child of the devil or a child of God.
There are no other kinds of spiritual childhood, although there obviously are degrees in both kinds as far as life style is concerned. But the unbelieving, well dressed, sophisticated philanthropist will spend eternity apart from God in the same hell as the demon serving witch doctor.
Walking in darkness is the condition of everyone, before they come to the Light of Jesus Christ. In verses 8-14 the focus is on our imitating God in relation to light. As we have said, Light does away with darkness.
You are the light of the world,” Jesus said (Matthew 5:14). Because we now share Christ’s own nature, we share in His light. Just as He is the “light of the world” (John 8:12), His people are also “the light of the world”. Because we are in the Lord, we who were once children of darkness are now children of light and it is such children that we should walk.
Ephesians 5:9 
"(For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)"
The three supreme characteristics or fruit of our walk as children of light are “all goodness and righteousness and truth”. These are the tests of true faith, of a true saving relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.
A decision for Christ, church membership, faithful attendance at worship services, being baptized, financial support of the Lord’s work and may other such things are often used as evidence of salvation. Yes, the faithful Christian should do all of these things, but they are behaviors that are easily done in the flesh and are therefore unreliable in themselves as evidence.
On the other hand, the three characteristics Paul mentions here are spiritual works that cannot be achieved in the flesh. The “all” in this verse reflects the perfection of the divine standard. The “goodness” used here is like agape love that finds its fullest and highest expression in that which is willingly and sacrificially done for others.
The second test is “righteousness” and has to do first of all with our relationship to God. “To the one who does not work, but believes in His who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5; Eph. 4:24; Phil. 3:9). But righteousness also has to do with how we live. Those who are made righteous are commanded to live righteously, to present themselves “to God as those alive from the dead, and their members as instruments of righteous to God” (Romans 6:13).
The third test is “truth” which has to do with honesty, reliability, trustworthiness and integrity in contrast to the hypocritical, deceptive and false ways of the old life of darkness.
Without that fruit (the three tests) there is no evidence of the life of God. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,” Jesus warned, “but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Every person bears fruit of some kind. Those who are darkness bear bad fruit, and those who are light bear good fruit.
The person who does not bear some fruit of righteousness in his life has no claim on Christ. There is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. The complete absence of any fruit of goodness, righteousness and truth proves the complete absence of salvation, 2:10.
This is speaking of that which is produced by walking in the light (1 John 5-7), namely moral excellence of heart, righteous behavior and truthfulness (honesty or integrity).
Spirit, here, is speaking of the Holy Spirit of God. Fruit comes from whatever tree it is of. Peaches come from a peach tree and apples come from an apple tree. The fruit that came from the Holy Spirit would be goodness, righteousness and truth. The Holy Spirit brings all truth to the believer.
Our righteousness is the righteousness that Jesus gave us, when He took our sin.
Ephesians 5:10 
"Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord."
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord”: “Trying to learn” carries the idea of testing or proving to learn by clear and convincing evidence what is truly honoring to God. The point is that, as believers walk in the light of the truth, the knowledge of the Lord’s will becomes clear.
See Romans 12:1-2 where Paul says the same thing, stating that it is only after presenting ourselves as living sacrifices to God that we can know His acceptable will. This relates to assurance of salvation also, see 1 Peter 1:5-11.
Because of constant temptations and solicitations to evil, believers must always be “proving” or discerning “what is” and what is not “acceptable unto the Lord.”
The desire of a true Christian is to please God in all that they do, and all that they are. With the Holy Spirit guiding, all our fruit would be pleasing to God.
Assurance of salvation cannot be reliably determined by what has happened in the past, no matter how dramatic or meaningful at the time. It can only be based with certainty on the evidence of present fruit being produced by a spiritual life.
Ephesians 5:11 
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]."
Have no fellowship … darkness”: Paul’s instruction is plain and direct: Christians are to faithfully live in righteousness and purity and have nothing at all to do with the evil ways and works of Satan and the world. The two ways of living are unalterably opposed to each other and mutually exclusive (1 Cor. 5:9-11; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14).
Rather reprove them”: The Christians responsibility does not stop with his own rejection of evil. He is also responsible for exposing and opposing darkness wherever it is found, especially when it is found in the church.
The child of light should not become involved in evil even by association. To compromise God’s standards is to weaken our witness as well as our character. No act of unrighteousness is permissible. We are not even to have contact at all with a fellow believer who is openly sinning. “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people,” Paul said to the Corinthians.
I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler, not even to eat with such a one” (1 Cor. 5:9-11; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14).
Reprove” is better translated “expose.” The believer’s duty is expressed here in two ways. Negatively, he is not to “have” and “fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,” that is, not to indulge in the sins of the unsaved.
Positively, he is to “expose” (reprove) those sins, that is, bring them to light and show them for what they really are, so that the unbeliever may see their hideous nature and their terrible consequences. To ignore evil is to encourage it; to keep quiet about it is to help promote it. We are to confront sin with intolerance.
When those around us see us helping rather than exploiting, hears us talking with purity instead of profanity and observe us speaking truthfully rather that deceitfully, our example will itself be a rebuke of selfishness, unwholesome talk and falsehood. Simply refusing to participate in a dishonest business or social practice will sometimes be such a strong rebuke that it costs us our job or a friendship.
The works of those dwelling in darkness produce no profitable fruit. To fellowship with someone means that you are partakers with them also. We should not join in with them in their evil deeds, but we should tell them of their evil deeds, so that they might be encouraged to change.
Ephesians 5:12 
"For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."
Shame even to speak”: Some sins are so despicable that they should be sealed off from direct contact and not even mentioned, much less discussed, except in order to contradict and oppose them.
Paul goes on to say that it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. Some things are so vile that they should be discussed in as little detail as possible, because even describing them is morally and spiritually dangerous. Positive proclamation of the pure truth in the light of the Word exposes all evil (Prov. 6:23; 2 Tim. 3:16).
For” tells why the Christian must expose the sins of the lost. If it is shameful even to discuss their iniquities in decent company, verse 3, how much the worse is the committing of these sins. Hence the need to bring them to light.
This speaking is as if you are condoning what they have done. Let their evil deeds be judged of God. Speaking of the devil and his works, even in condemnation, seems in some way to glorify them to some extent. It is best just not to mention them at all.
Ephesians 5:13 
"But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light."
This phrase should probably be part of verse 14 and is better translated “for it is light that makes everything visible.” The pure and illuminating light of God’s Word exposes all the secrets of sin. Our commission as children of light is to hold everything up to the light of Scripture, to expose and seek to remedy whatever is evil.
This verse may be paraphrased: “All sins that are exposed are made visible by the gospel, for whatever sin is made visible becomes light.”
When the Light of the Lord Jesus shines on anything, it is suddenly revealed what it really is. This Light is so bright that it reveals everything good and bad. The Light is a revealer. Most sin is done in total darkness to cover up the evil deed. The Light exposes everything. It cannot stay hidden, when the Light is shined on it.
The phrase for everything that becomes visible is light is a part of verse 14 in the best Greek manuscripts and is better translated, “for it is light that makes everything visible”. Light is that which makes things manifested, that which shows them to be as they actually are. When sin is revealed, it loses its “hiddenness” and is seen for the ugliness it is.
Ephesians 5:14 
"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."
Using this quotation from Isaiah 60:1, Paul extended an invitation for salvation to the unsaved, in order that they may be transformed from children of darkness into children of God’s holy light (Prov. 4:18). These words may have been part of an early church Easter hymn used as an invitation to unbelievers. They express a capsule view of the gospel (the invitations of Isaiah 55:1-3, 6, 7 and in James 4:6-10).
Since exposing sin is beneficial, God invites the unbeliever (“thou that sleepest”) to turn from his sin (“arise from the dead”), with the promise that he will be granted the spiritual enlightenment and help needed (“Christ shall give thee light”).
Those living in sin are for all good purposes dead. When they receive the Light of Jesus, they receive life. When you receive Light, then you must let that Light shine brightly for the entire world to see.
Ephesians 5:15 
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,"
Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise”: To live morally is to live wisely. Biblically, an “unwise man” is not so named because of intellectual limits, but because of unbelief and the consequent abominable deeds (Psalm 14:1; Rom. 1:22). He lives apart from God and against God’s law (Proverbs 1:7, 22; 14:9), and can’t comprehend the truth (1 Cor. 2:14) or his true condition (Rom 1:21-22). Certainly believers are to avoid behaving like fools (see Luke 24:25; Gal. 3:1-3).
The word that "circumspectly" was translated from means carefully, exactly, diligently, or perfect. This, then, is saying walk on the narrow path that leads to life everlasting.
Its meaning: “therefore watch carefully how you live.” Paul commands all believers to “walk … as wise” men. Just as they are to walk in humility, unity, separation, love, and light, they are also to walk in wisdom. In other words, they are to live like the people they are. In Christ we are one, we are separated, we are love, we are light, and we are wise, and what we do should correspond to what we are.
A fool wanders around on the broad path that leads to destruction. The believer begins his new life in Christ with all the wisdom necessary to live for His Lord, but he is also to continually grow in wisdom, that he can be even more mature, more faithful and more productive in His service. It is wise to follow on the narrow path that leads to heaven.
When Christians sin and fall into Satan’s traps they do so because they live as unwise men, rather than as wise. They revert to following the wisdom of their old lives, which was really foolishness. As we learn from David and many others in scripture, believers are not immune from reverting to foolishness. The first way a believer plays the fool is by not believing God completely. He believes God for salvation but does not continue to believe Him in and for everything else.
Ephesians 5:16 
"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
Redeeming the time” (or, “making the most of every opportunity”): The Greek word for “time” denotes a fixed, measured, allocated season. We are to make the most of our time on the evil earth in fulfilling God’s purposes, lining up every opportunity for useful worship and service.
Be aware of the brevity of life. (Psalms 39:4-5; 89; 46: 47; James 4:14, 17).
Having sovereignly bounded our lives with eternity, God knows both the beginning and end of our time on earth. As believers we can archive our potential in His service only as we maximize the time He has given us. “Redeeming” thus the idea of redemption is implied in this verse.
We are to redeem, buy up, all the time that we have and devote it to the Lord. The Greek is in the middle voice indicating that we are to buy the time up for ourselves, for our own use but in the Lord’s service. For His own reasons, God allows some of His children to live and serve far into old age. Others He grants only a few years or even a few weeks. But none of us knows how long or short his own allocation of time will be.
Contextually, the specific opportunity in view is that of exposing the sins of the lost and being a witness to them. “Because the days are evil” assigns a reason to seize each opportunity. It is because the sins being committed during these days are so evil. Our opportunities for freely doing righteousness are often limited.
When we have opportunity to do something for His name’s sake and for His glory, we should do so with all that we have. How God’s heart must be broken to see His children ignore or halfheartedly take up opportunity after opportunity that He sends to them. Every moment of every day should be filled with things good, things righteous, things glorifying to God.
People, who have too much time on their hands and are not involved in productive activities, wind up getting into sin. Make use of your time. Do something good for God. In turn, you will be keeping yourself out of mischief.
The following Scripture shows one thing that happens when you are idle.
1 Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn [to be] idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
Less than a hundred years after Paul wrote the Ephesian epistle Rome was persecuting Christians with growing intensity and cruelty. Believers were burned alive, thrown to wild beasts and brutalized in countless other ways. For the Ephesian church the evil times were going to become more and more evil.
Several decades after Paul wrote this epistle, the Lord commended the church at Ephesus for its good works, perseverance and resistance to false teaching. Christ said in Rev. 2:2; Rev. 2:4: ”But I have this against you that you have left your first love. Because the church continued to languish in its devotion to the Lord, its lampstand was removed, as Christ had warned it would be if the believers there failed to “repent and do the deeds they did at first” (Rev. 2:5).
Sometimes during the second century the church in Ephesus disappeared, and there has never been a congregation there since. Because the church at Ephesus did not heed Paul’s advice and the Lord’s own specific warning, it ceased to exist. Instead of helping redeem the evil days in which it existed, the church fell prey to them.

Philippians Chapter 4

Philippians 4:1 "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, [my] dearly beloved."
Therefore concludes that the recipients should stand fast, or “persevere,” in the relationship with Christ, not allowing the Judaizers, perfectionists or hedonists to disrupt their Christian walk.
Beloved” … Long for: Paul reveals his deep affection for the Philippian believers. The Greek term for “long to see” which is used in various bibles, refers to the deep pain of separation for loved ones.
My joy, my crown”: Paul did not derive his joy from circumstances, but from his fellow believers in Philippi. The Greek term for “crown” refers to the laurel wreath received by an athlete for winning a contest or by a person honored by his peers at a banquet as a symbol of success or a fruitful life. The Philippian believers were proof that Paul’s efforts were successful.
In the last lesson, Paul had talked of the great resurrection as the hope of all believers. Now he says, in light of that, stand fast in the Lord. It is not enough for Paul to call them his brethren he adds that he loves them dearly. He longs to be with them again, but that will not be on this earth.
He loves these Philippians the most, because they love God and live for Him. He is proud of them, because of their great faith and charity. He calls them his crown, because it was through his ministry that they came to God. He uses dearly beloved, twice in this verse, showing the sincerity of the statement.
Philippians 4:2 
"I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord."
Euodia … Syntyche”. These two women were prominent church members who may have been among the women meeting for prayer when Paul first preached the gospel in Philippi. Apparently they were leading two opposing factions in the church, and were at odds with one another over some matter(s).
There was a more prominent group of women in this leadership here at Phillip, than there was in Corinth or Galatia. Since they were prominent in the running of the church, it was very important that they be in one accord.
The leaders of a church must always be in one accord, or there will be confusion in the church. Spiritual stability depends on the mutual love, harmony and peace between believers. Apparently the disunity in the Philippian church was about to destroy the integrity of its testimony.
Philippians 4:3 
"And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and [with] other my fellowlabourers, whose names [are] in the book of life."
Yokefellow or companion is from a Greek word picturing two oxen in a yoke, pulling the same load, as someone who worked side by side with another. A companion is a partner or an equal in a specific endeavor, in this case, a spiritual one.
It is possible that this individual is unnamed, but it is best to take the Greek word translated “companion” as a proper name (“Syzgos”) who was likely one of the church elders.
Some believe this is speaking of Paul's wife, but I do not believe Paul was ever married. I believe this means they were yoked together for the common cause of the gospel.
This yokefellow would have been someone in the Philippian church, because that would be the only way they could help these women who worked with Paul in the ministry. Clement would be with the two women mentioned in verse 2 although nothing is known of this person. He seemed to be an unidentified friend of Paul’s who would try to help these two women become reconciled to one another.
Everyone who is saved should help whoever is ministering in the church. They should all be in one accord. Having their names in the book of life means they are saved through belief in Jesus Christ and God has recorded those inheritors of eternal life in that book.
Philippians 4:4 
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice."
The mention of believers’ names being recorded in heaven, v.3, causes the author to write rejoice in the Lord always. Harmony among church members, as Paul assumes will be the result of his plea in verses 2 and 3, is another reason to “rejoice.” In adding and again I say, Rejoice, it is as though the apostle looks into the future, considers all possibilities of sorrow, and in spite of them all repeats “the command.”.
This command to rejoice at all times and in all circumstances is nothing less than a call to faith. For if the Christian believes that his life and all its circumstances are in the hands of a sovereign, wise, and loving God who is always working to accomplish good for him, then he can indeed “rejoice always.”
Paul wants them to learn the joy of serving Jesus. Christians should rejoice more than all other people, because our names are in the Lamb's book of life. We have heaven to look forward to.
Philippians 4:5 
"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand."
Moderation means “graciousness” or “sweet reasonableness.” The believer who is at peace with his fellow Christian, v.2, and who rejoices always, v.4, is indeed a gracious, reasonable person.
The Lord is at hand” means two things. First, His return to earth is near. His imminent coming as judge encourages the Christian to be “gracious” unto all men, for He will judge the believer for all of his actions toward all people and will avenge all wrongs committed by others against him.
Second, the “Lord is a hand” spiritually. The Lord’s being presently near should free the Christian from fear and anxiety, hence the command of verse 6.
The word that was translated moderation here, was translated as gentleness in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 1.
II Corinthians 10:1 "Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence [am] base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:"
Whether it should mean be moderate in all things, or to be gentle to all, it doesn't matter. They both are headed in the same direction. A gentle person is moderate. I believe this moderation is in everything in our life.
Women dressing in moderation are a very good example of what I am speaking of. Moderation should be practiced by men and women in all walks of our life; in what we drink, and what we eat, and especially in the way we act.
"The Lord is at hand", means just what it says. I am looking for the return of the Lord at any moment. Be ready, for He comes in an hour when you think not.
Philippians 4:6 
"Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
Be careful for nothing” means “don’t worry about anything.” The Lord’s nearness, v.5b, leads Paul to forbid his readers from worrying. This is no summons to irresponsibility or an invitation to dismiss legitimate concern.
Have a class discussion on things about legitimate concerns.
Christians should not go around wringing their hands in worry. Worry is lack of faith. We should trust the Lord in every aspect of our life. Supplication, in the verse above, means petition. Prayer should not be just a time to request things of God that we want.
In everything”, “in any matter of life.” The way to be free of anxiety is to be prayerful about everything. While God is eager to hear our requests, they are to be accompanied with thanksgiving.
We should go to Him in prayer, thanking Him for all He has already done for us. We should praise Him for who He is, and then make our request known. God is loving and He will give you the desire of your heart, if you love Him as He loves you.
Psalms 37:4 "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
Philippians 4:7 
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Inner calm or tranquility is promised to the believer who has a thankful attitude based on unwavering confidence that God is able and willing to do what is best for His children.
Shall keep you” means to “guard”, or “keep watch over”. God’s peace guards believers from anxiety, doubt, fear and distress.
Hearts and minds”: Paul was not making a distinction between the two, he was giving a comprehensive statement referring to the whole inner person. Because of the believer’s union with Christ, He guards his inner being with His peace.
Jesus is the King of Peace. This is the kind of peace that we have in the midst of problems. Look at the promise that should bring perfect peace to all believers.
Psalms 91:7 "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee."
This peace passes all understanding, because it is in the midst of the problem. Remember, with me, God saved Noah in the flood, not from the flood. Knowing all of this, we should have perfect peace in our mind and heart, knowing that God takes care of us.
Get your eyes off of the circumstances around you, and know within yourself that God will take care of you.
Philippians 4:8 
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things."
True”: What is true is found in God, 2 Tim. 2:25, in Christ, Eph. 4:20-21, in the Holy Spirit, John 16:13 and in God’s Word, John 17:17.
Honest” or honorable meaning a term “worthy of respect.” Believers are to meditate on whatever is worthy of awe and adoration, i.e., the sacred as opposed to the profane.
Just” or right. The believer is to think in harmony with God’s divine standard of holiness.
Pure”: That which is morally clean and undefiled.
Lovely”: The Greek term means “pleasing” or “amiable”. By implication, believers are to focus on whatever is kind or gracious.
Of good report”: That which is highly regarded or thought well of. It refers to what is generally considered reputable in the world, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.
Paul is saying, keep your mind and your heart stayed on the good things of God. Christians should not be negative. We should always look on the bright side. There is more than enough despair in the world without the Christians adding to it. Be positive in this negative world; bring hope in Jesus to the lost world.
Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
It is the responsibility of every Christian to be a bright light, reflecting the Light of Jesus to this lost world. You may be somebody's only look at what Christ is all about. Give them hope, not more despair.
Philippians 4:9 
"Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
The Philippians are to busy themselves with the right activities. They were to follow the truth of God proclaimed, along with the example of that truth lived by paul before them.
Paul is encouraging them to go out and win souls for Christ. Don't just be a hearer of the Word of God, be a doer of the Word of God. I hear so many say, I do not know enough to lead someone to Christ. If you are saved, you know more than those who are lost. Share what you do know. If you are a Christian, walk like Christ, talk like Christ and do Christ like things.
John 14:12 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
If you feel that you are not capable of ministering to others, let Christ minister to them through you.
The God of peace”: God is peace, Romans 16:20, makes peace with sinners through Christ, 2. Cor. 5:-18-20 and gives perfect peace in trouble, v.7.
In verses 10-19, Paul expressed his gratitude to the Philippians for their kind expressions of love and the generous gift they sent him and thus provides a powerful example of how a Christian can be content regardless of his circumstances.
Philippians 4:10 
"But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity."
As we said earlier in these lessons, this was the only church that Paul would accept help from. They were a poor church, but they loved a lot. This is Paul's way of thanking them for helping him, when they had opportunity to do so.
Paul was saying “regarding your care for me, you really were concerned”: Paul acknowledges that they were concerned about his needs all along, but they lacked opportunity to minister to him.
Philippians 4:11 
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, [therewith] to be content."
Not that I speak in respect (because) of want”: Paul’s ability to be content despite the circumstances assures the readers that his joy of verse 10 is not solely over his “need” being met at their expense. He implies that he could have done without their financial aid.
For justifies this implication. I have learned … to be content: The Greek here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.
Paul probably had been a wealthy man when he was a Pharisee, before he came to the Lord. We said earlier, Paul was not concerned at all about things of this earth. He enjoyed whatever provision he had and was not concerned about that which he did not have. He knew that God would provide for all of his needs, not his greeds. The parable of the sparrow teaches that.
Philippians 4:12 "
I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
By listing some specific examples, this verse elaborates upon the very general and broad “in whatever state I am in” of verse 11. Be abased means literally to discipline oneself, that is, to tighten the belt in lean times. To abound means to live in prosperity.
Everywhere and in all things I am instructed (“or in all circumstances I have learned the secret of how”) to be full, that is “well fed.” To abound means to have plenty. To suffer need means to go without. Paul has acquired the skill required for successfully living with little and with much, the latter probably being harder.
Paul had learned something, we all need to learn. He learned that his happiness was not in the things he had, but were in God. True joy comes from God and is a feeling inside of us, regardless of the circumstances around us. Even the need sometimes suffered can turn into a blessing from God.
Paul's secret was that he was in this world, but not of this world. He refused to be controlled in his emotions by hardships around him.
Philippians 4:13 
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
The apostle’s ability of knowing how to live skillfully on little or in prosperity, does not mean that he is a spiritual superman. The reason he can live in such extremes is not owing to his own ability. Rather he can do all things through Christ who strengthened him, thus enabling him to adapt to his various, ever changing circumstances.
God orders Paul’s various situations and God gives him the strength to be content in them all, trying and perplexing thought they may be.
Because believers are in Christ, Gal. 2:20, He infuses them with His strength to sustain them until they receive some provision, Eph. 3:16-20; 2 Cor. 12:10.
Every Christian should have this implanted in their heart. Things that are impossible in the flesh are more than possible through Christ who is our strength. The secret is realizing that it is not our strength, but His.
Philippians 4:14 
"Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction."
Paul adds a word of clarification here so the Philippians would not think he was being ungrateful for their most recent gift, because of what he just wrote, verses 11-14.
Paul didn’t want them to conclude that, since he can live just as well in poverty as in prosperity, perhaps the money then sent him was wasted. So he hastens to assure them that they did well in sharing or meeting his financial needs.
Paul says here, even though I could have gotten along without your help, it is good that you helped. They realized there was a need, and they took care of Paul's need. They will be blessed of God for it.
Philippians 4:15 
"Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only."
Ten years had passed since Paul first preached the gospel in Philippi and then had left. Paul informs the Philippians that he is still appreciative of the gifts they sent long ago while he ministered in Macedonia. Since he remains grateful for that aid given years ago, it stands to reason that he is appreciative of their latest help received recently in Rome.
Every person who ministers the Word of God, whether missionary or local minister needs a church like Philippi that will take care of that need. Those who minister should never have to raise their own money. They need to stay in the Word of God and prayer, and let others who are called furnish the needs to do their job.
One of the greatest callings {in my opinion} is to have the gift of a giving heart. Paul is telling this church at Philippi that they were the only ones who helped him with his needs.
Philippians 4:16 
"For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity."
Paul had preached to the Thessalonians for a few months, during his second missionary journey.
Paul is reminding them of the times they helped, and letting them know that he has not forgotten their generosity.
Philippians 4:17 
"Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account."
Paul appreciated the gift, but what pleased him the most about it, was the fact that they had matured as Christians and were bearing fruit. Giving freely to those in need is certainly fruit bearing.
The Philippians were in effect storing up for themselves treasure in heaven, Matt. 6:20. The gifts they gave to Paul were accruing eternal dividends to their spiritual account.
Philippians 4:18 
"But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things [which were sent] from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God."
Epaphroditus had brought things from the church at Philippi to take care of Paul's needs here in Rome. They had not forgotten him, even though he was a prisoner. He is saying, in this, I have all of my needs met because of your generosity toward me.
He, also, says he accepts these things in his name and in the name of God. God will not forget their generous heart either.
In the Old Testament sacrificial system, every sacrifice was to provide a fragrant aroma and be acceptable to God. Only if it was offered with the correct attitude would it be pleasing to Him. The Philippians’ gift was a spiritual sacrifice that pleased God.
Philippians 4:19 
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Paul addressed all of the Philippians’ material needs, which had probably been depleted to some extent because of their gracious gift. God would give increase to the Philippians in proportion to His infinite resources, not just a small amount out of His riches.
Because they were so generous in their giving to Paul, and really to God, God will bless them abundantly and take care of all their needs. Give and it shall be given to you pressed down and running over.
You cannot out give God. He multiplies when giving back to you, what you have given with no hope of return. Do not give expecting to get. Give without hope of return and God will give you so much your cup will not be able to hold it all.
Philippians 4:20 
"Now unto God and our Father [be] glory forever and ever. Amen."
This is so typical of Paul. He ends with praises to God. This is speaking of God the Father, God the Word {Jesus} the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
This doxology is Paul’s praise in direct response to the great truth that God supplies all the needs of the saints. In a more general sense, this is praise in response to the character of God and His faithfulness.
Philippians 4:21 
"Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you."
Instead of using the collective “all,” Paul used the individualistic “every” to declare that each saint was worthy of his concern.
The brethren” certainly included Timothy and Epaphroditus. Others who were preaching the gospel in Rome were present. It is possible that Tychicus, Aristarchus, Onesimus, and Jesus Justus were also there.
This, too, is typical of Paul. He sends greetings to all the brothers and sisters in Christ, and sends it from himself and all the believers with him.
Philippians 4:22 
"All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household."
A significant number of people not limited to Caesar’s family, which would include courtiers, princes, judges, cooks, food tasters, musicians, custodians, builders, stablemen, soldiers, and accountants.
Within that large group, Paul had in mind those who, through the proclamation of the gospel by members of the church at Rome, had been saved prior to his coming. Newly added to their number were those led to Christ by Paul himself, including those soldiers who were chained to him while he was a prisoner,1:13.
There is a little morsel in this. We know that Paul's stay as a prisoner of Caesar has not been unfruitful, because he speaks of the converts to Christianity in Caesar's household.
Philippians 4:23 
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen."
We see in Paul's writings, that Paul begins and ends his letters with grace. This is a benediction favorite of Paul's, a common conclusion to Paul’s epistles.
I must say along with Paul, so be it {Amen}.