Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:4-6
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” When writing to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul reminded the Christians to “keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). In this letter, he did not merely tell them to be united, but by inspiration (I Cor. 14:37), he showed them (and us) the true “platform for unity” in the Lord’s church. If we are to be united, we need to respect the seven “one’s” (body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, and God) that needs to be among God’s people. These simple words are packed with meaning and truth that deserve more attention than we can devote in this short article. Just understand that when we remember the basis or foundation of religious unity, we will be able to withstand anything that Satan will throw at us! Satan tries to “divide and conquer” in order to get us away from Christ and devour us (I Pet. 5:8). Yet, in Christ, we have unity (Gal. 3:28) and victory (I Cor. 15:57)! Let us be active and fulfill Ephesians 4:3 by living Ephesians 4:4-6!
– Jarrod Jacobs
The Extent Of God’s Authority
When we consider God’s authority, many will pay lip-service to it, but few seem to realize just how far God’s authority extends. We live in a time when men wish to have some authority “for themselves.” They want to be able to “call the shots” and run their own lives. This is just not possible. The sooner we recognize the extent of God’s authority over us, the better off we will be. What is the extent of God’s authority over man?
1) He directs us - Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” If it is not in man to direct his steps, who will direct him? The Lord God!
2) He has told us how to worship Him - John 4:24 states, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Therefore, our worship is not a “do as you please” kind of thing. Nor is our worship geared toward what makes people feel good, but what pleases God!
Our worship to God consists of singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); prayers, teaching, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and giving of our means (Acts 2:42, 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2). Why? Because this is what God has told us to do!
3) He has told us to be morally pure - I Timothy 5:22 reveals, “keep yourself free from sin.” Ephesians 4:25-5:4 list several things we need to avoid because they are sinful practices. Among these sins are: lying, sinning in anger, stealing, gossiping, acting like the world, telling “dirty” jokes, cursing, etc. These ought not be a part of our lives. Why? It is because God rules. He has the authority over us and expects us to be better than that!
4) Whatever we do and say must have sanction from God - Colossians 3:17 reminds us, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
In truth, when we study these passages of Scripture, we find that there is NO part of our lives over which God does not have authority. God rules completely, and it is high time we respected this. God “sees in secret” (Matt. 6:4, 6, 18). He knows our thoughts, words, and deeds. And, He will judge our thoughts, words, and deeds one day by His Son (Jn. 5:22, 27; II Cor. 5:10). Therefore, why fight against God? Let us surrender our lives and wills to the Almighty! Let us determine that we will submit to God’s rule. If not, there will be a day in which we will kneel, and confess, and acknowledge God’s power over the universe, but then it will be too late (Rom. 14:11-12; Phil. 2:10-11; II Cor. 5:10). Don’t wait until it is too late! Live a worthwhile and fulfilled life by submitting wholeheartedly to the authority of God!
What We Can Learn From The Wisdom Of God
One thing that is lacking in this world is the wisdom of God. What can one study, or read to obtain God’s wisdom? Please read the verses listed below carefully and be ready to make some applications.
- “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).
- “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word” (Psalm 119:16).
- “Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:34).
- “May my heart be blameless in your statutes, that I may not be put to shame” (Psalm 119:80).
- “O how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies: for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.” (Psalm 119:97-100).
- “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).
After reading these six verses, it ought to be apparent that God’s wisdom has been revealed to us in the written word. Further, if we wish to have God’s wisdom, then it needs to be remembered daily. In the verses above, we see that David realized that the wisdom that God gives us needs to be remembered at all times (Ps. 119:11, 16). In fact, the first psalm shows that the righteous will gladly meditate in God’s law at all times (Ps. 1:2). The plea to remember God’s wisdom is not a man-made thing, for Jesus showed us that by remembering God’s word, we can defeat Satan (Matt. 4:1-11; I Pet. 2:21-22).
Further, David understood that he was not to be ashamed of the wisdom of God (Ps. 119:80). Sadly, there are folks in this world who make it seem like a shameful thing to have knowledge of the word of God. Why do some act like this? God’s word does not produce shame in our lives. God teaches us that we should not be ashamed of knowing His word and applying His word to our lives (Ps. 119:80; II Tim. 2:15).
In reading those six passages above, please notice that it is not enough simply to “know” God’s wisdom, but it is necessary to APPLY what we learn. In other words, we need to obey God’s wisdom. Jesus taught that the wise man not only hears His word but OBEYS it as well (Matt. 7:24-27). What a tragedy to see people who know what to do to please God, and refuse to do it! Let us decide that we will meditate and study God’s wisdom, and then make applications to our lives.
Finally, God’s word has the ability to make man wise when we learn and obey. Regardless of the wisdom the world may proclaim, God’s wisdom makes us wiser than the world (Ps. 119:97-100; Isa. 55:8-9). God looks on the world’s wisdom as foolishness that passes away (I Cor. 1:18-21; II Jn. 2:17). What interests us – man’s wisdom or God’s? Let us take heed to God’s wisdom as long as we live!
…According To All The Lord Commanded”
God has always required obedience from His people. To prove this, let us read three passages in the Old Testament that teach us about obedience. “Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished, and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses; so they did” (Ex. 39:32). In the book of Numbers, we read, “Thus did the people of Israel; they did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses” (Num. 1:54). After dividing into 4 segments and camping around the tabernacle, Numbers 2:34 says, “Thus did the people of Israel. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses....” These three passages set the tone for our study. It is important that we understand their obedience because God demands no less of us today. Let us study three things that are required in order to live “according to all that the Lord commanded.”
First of all, please note that the people took action! In these three passages we cited, this is made very clear. If we ever plan on pleasing God, we must be active in His work! We will never please God without action. Only a fool would think that God does not want us to be active in His work. I do not say this lightly, for Jesus taught that action was the difference between the wise and the foolish in Matthew 7:24-27 (also Lk. 6:46-49). James also made a distinction between the hearer and the doer. The hearer deceived himself, while the doer was “blessed in his deed” (Jas. 1:22-25). Paul said, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). We do this by obeying “all that the Lord commanded.”
The next thing that we note is that these people did, “according to all the Lord commanded....” In other words, they obeyed the right source of authority – “the Lord”! God demands no less of us today. He commands us to “speak as the oracles of God” (I Pet. 4:11). Paul tells us, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17). This means that everything we do must be done by His authority! When we obey the truth in these two passages, we will have learned a lesson that most of the world has not! Let us never go by what “seems” right (Prov. 14:12; Jer. 10:23). Let us always ask, “What saith the Scripture?” and then follow it (Rom. 4:3). This is what pleases God!
Finally, we see that these people obeyed completely! They left nothing out. In Exodus and Numbers, we see that the people did “all” God told them! Today, God demands our complete obedience as well. Jesus said only those who “do” the will of the Father will go to Heaven (Matt. 7:21; Rev. 22:14). He also promised eternal life to those who are obedient in John 8:51. In truth, one cannot be the friend of Christ without obedience (Jn. 14:15). As we continue to study, we see that Hebrews 11 lists those faith heroes who were obedient to God. Do we see the necessity of obedience, then? The apostle John teaches that fellowship with God will not come unless we are “abiding” in Christ’s doctrine (II Jn. 9). Therefore, let us remember that we must obey God’s word completely in order to have a home in Heaven!
What Is God’s Definition Of A Family?
Why ask the above question? First of all, because the home and family are Bible subjects! God established the home in Genesis two and continued to speak of the necessity of the family all the way through the Bible. Secondly, we ask this question because society continues to try to “redefine” what a family is. Third, it is a necessary to ask this question because if we do not teach our children the truth about the home and family, no one else will do it!
Friends, let us realize that there is a definite, concrete answer to the question in our title. The problem with many today is that they have allowed the wrong ones in our society to answer the question, “What is a family?” If we are going to get the correct answer to this question, doesn’t it make sense that we ask the Author of the family what constitutes a family? It makes sense to me, too! What is God’s definition of a family?
God’s definition of a family is revealed in Genesis two. After seeing that man was alone, He said, “I will make an help meet for him…” (Gen. 2:18). In making this helper, God created a woman for the man (Gen. 2:21-22). In seeing her, the man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24). Please take note that at this early point in the history of man, we have already learned about a man marrying a woman. We also have here mentioned for the first time “father” and “mother.” In the first century, Jesus spoke about this event as He taught the Pharisees and others the truth in Matthew 19:4-6.
Yes, there is a Bible answer to the question, “What is a family?” A family constitutes a man married to a woman, who within this relationship may legitimately bring forth and raise children (Heb. 13:4; Eph. 6:4; Titus 2:4; etc.).
Having said this, it is clear that what folks in our country have termed “the nuclear family” (husband, wife, children) is not a product of western society. It is not the product of “1950’s America”. It is not the product of the “Puritans”, or any other group of people. Rather, this is what God designed from the beginning!
Some who have tried to define a family absent of God’s definition, have said that a family is any group of people who love one another. While loving people is a wonderful thing, is this what constitutes a family? What is their relationship to one another? How are they connected? Just because two men (or three or four) decide to live in the same house, this does not make them a family any more than if the same number of women decided to do that. A group of strangers living under the same roof does not constitute a family! In addition to this, homosexual relationships do not fit God’s definition of marriage and family (Rom. 1:26-27).
Therefore, let us respect God’s definition of the family. God’s ways are higher than man’s (Isa. 55:8-9), and He knows what is best. Are we willing to accept what God has said and live by it?