Comments on Ephesians

By COGwriter

This article consists of scriptures and notes related to a series of sermons on the Apostle Paul's letter/epistle too the Ephesians.

This article also contain a lot of comments from the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong, that he made in one or more Bible studies related to Ephesians (those will not have a citation, whereas other HWA sources have references in this article).

Three related sermons are available: Ephesians 1-2: Predestination, Mysteries, & Grace. Ephesians 3 -4: Godhead, Immortality, Your Purpose, and Ephesians 5-6: Put on the Whole Armor of God, Marriage, Child Rearing.

The letter to the Ephesians probably written around 61 A.D. about the same time as Paul wrote to the Colossians.

This is not the only book Ephesians are referred to.

The Book of Acts mentions “Ephesus” and “Ephesians” a dozen times and “Asia” 12 times (NKJV).

The Bible is clear that the Apostle Paul went to Ephesus and taught for two years (Acts 19:1-20). Paul wrote he laid hands on Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6) who became a Bishop/Evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5) there. And legend ties some of his preaching to its amphitheatre, which is referred to in Acts 19:29--and which my wife Joyce and I have visited.

Reportedly, no later than 67 AD, John was in Ephesus and led the churches in Asia Minor (Ruffin C.B.  The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary.  Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington (IN), 1997, p. 94).

John went to Ephesus, and regulated all the teaching of the church, holding many conferences, and reminding them of what the Lord had said to them, and what duty he had assigned to each. And when he was old and changed, he ordered Polycarp to be bishop over the church. (Acts of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian. Translated by Alexander Walker. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe)


John visited Ephesus to spread the word of his Messiah Jesus in the enormous Ephesus amphitheatre. Thousands came to hear the Apostle speak, and … there was great concern for his safety. According to legend, authorities kept his location shrouded in secrecy before he sprang to the stage. (Ephesus, the Hollywood of the Ancient World. T&D, January 16, 2009).

Although for a time he was in Patmos (Revelation 1:9), the Apostle John ended up living in the city of Ephesus.

In Ephesus, the early “Church of God” (1 Timothy 3:5, NJB) was led by Paul for at least three years (Acts 20:17,31), probably Timothy (1 Timothy 1:3), and later John. Ephesus clearly was a Gentile church (Ephesians 2:11; 3:1) that kept God's Holy Days such as Pentecost (1 Corinthians 16:8) and Passover/Unleavened Bread (as Polycrates’ later testimony indicates). Paul, who was given to be the apostle to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7; Ephesians 3:8) and approved to do so by Peter and John (Galatians 2:7-9), played a major role in the church at Ephesus as well as others in Asia Minor.

According to The Ryrie Study Bible John’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians, 1 & 2 John, and possibly Philippians, were written from Ephesus.

Chapter 1

Herbert Armstrong stated:

The church at Ephesus apparently did not have quite the zeal of the church of Corinth, on the other hand they didn’t have quite as many troubles and difficulties as they did at Corinth. ...

The book of Ephesians is corrective but [not] nearly so much so as the letter that Paul wrote to the church at {Corinth.} However we find that the churches today are the same as they were then. Human nature has not changed. Humanity’s motives and what we do are still about the same. People are still self-motivated and ... They don’t realize the spiritual way, but it is, the way of get instead of give. God’s way is called the way of love. I don’t know why the world hates the law of God but even the churches that call themselves by the name of Christ, that profess to preach and proclaim Christ to the world, they will say that the law of God is done away. They don’t want it. And yet it is a spiritual way. It is the way that can be summed up in one word, love. L-O-V-E. That’s a good four letter word. And I translate it, to reduce it to the simpler term, ‘give’ so I can use it in the opposite of right as ‘get’. A little three letter word, but people seem to know what that is.

Now Paul has a lot of beautiful things to say to the church at Ephesus in this first chapters. ... Paul is showing the church at Ephesus the very, exceeding, great blessings and marvelous potential that is ahead, that God has blessed us with. Those of us who are in the church. The same blessings apply to the church today that applied to the church at Ephesus in that day. And so in a sense he’s talking to us because we’re the church. We’re part of the same church in a later generation. Many generations later but that’s about the only difference.

Interestingly, in the second century, the Greco-Roman Catholic saint Irenaeus wrote:

… the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses.  Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4, p. 416)

The early Asia Minor church of Ephesus and Smyrna was faithful and we in the CCOG trace our succession through the leadership there (while also recognizing that nearby Antioch also played a role). And one of those biblically observed traditions was the observance of Passover on the 14th for over a century by those of Ephesus and Smyrna (Trajan reigned from 98-117).

In general, the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic churches recognize 5 “apostolic sees” in existence, while also recognizing that there was a “See of Ephesus” that they believe lost that status.

Some small groups claim it continued and moved--including the Continuing Church of God.

Here is some of what is in our free online book Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? :

Asia Minor/Ephesian/Smyrnaean Succession Chart
c. 31 - c.64-68 Apostle Peter
c. 67 - c. 98-102 Apostle John
c. 100 - c. 157 Polycarp
c. 157 - c. 160 Thraseas
c. 160 – c. 167 Sagaris
c. 167 – c. 170 Papirius
c. 170 – c. 180 Melito
c. 180 – c. 200 Polycrates
c. 200 – c. 220 Camerius

All of the above leaders are considered to be saints by the Greco-Roman Catholics and the Continuing Church of God.

More of succession can be found in the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? 

Herbert Armstrong stated:

I had to learn there is a Devil. I had to learn that the Devil is angry at God and against Christ. And since I have come to represent Christ and since He has called me to be His apostle, and His adversary to foreign lands all over the world, as well as having the charge of His churches and the work of God in the world, I’ve come to realize how real the Devil is. And what a power he is. Most people undersell Satan. They don’t understand how great he is and how tremendous is his power. As I’ve said before, some in the church who have risen to evangelist in the church, some of them have let Satan get to them, of his temptations of coveting power or of opposition and hostility or of wanting to water down God’s way and finding an easier way and go a little way towards Satan’s way. And yet they would say, if I say ‘Satan is really to blame for what they have done rather than they themselves’, and say ‘I really shift the main responsibility and the main blame for all you did over onto to Satan’, they would come back and be very indignant and hotly and angry and say “Satan did that to me? Satan used me? I would never be used by Satan!” And yet they have been used by Satan and Satan did get to every one of them. And Jesus Christ has put them out of the church. Some of them through me and some of them I didn’t have to do it. He just put them out by circumstances and they went out.

But I tell you, the one thing I think we should be thankful for, above everything else, no matter how powerful Satan is, no matter how much other people oppose us, how much persecution and opposition we have, no matter what troubles we encounter, there is still a power above Satan and above every other power. And that is the power of God and that is the power of love. That is the power of one who loves us. That is the power of one that will do only that which is good. His love is outflowing towards us as our love should be outflowing toward Him and toward neighbors. It’s a wonderful thing. So we see that as we start the letter that Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus.

Now to the first chapter, Ephesias 1:

Verse 1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

Herbert Armstrong stated:

Now it wasn’t by Paul’s will. People read right over that. It doesn’t mean anything to them. Just stop and think it’s meaning in that. Paul did not make himself an apostle. He didn’t say, well like one man says I’d like to be doctor and help people with medicine or cutting them open with knives and I think it’s a great thing to be a doctor. And another wants to be an architect and design new buildings and another wants to do this or that. Well some say I want to be an apostle. I want to be a minister of God. No you can’t do that. Paul did not do that. I did not do that. The last thing in the world that I ever wanted to do was to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. If you would go back before my conversion, that is not what I wanted to do. It was not by my will. And Paul was not an apostle by his will. Moses was not the leader of Israel by his own will. In fact when God told Moses He was going to use him to lead the children out of slavery in Egypt, he began to make excuses. He said “I have handicaps. I stutter. I have an impediment of speech. I can’t do. No Lord, call someone else don’t call me.” God says “I know all about your handicaps and I have chosen your brother to go with you and speak for you.” Moses couldn’t speak very well. But he had a head on him and God was able to use that head and turn it to His own way and God said ‘Moses you will do it.’ And Moses was God’s leader and prophet by the choice of God. But the people of Israel thought Moses picked up that job all by himself. They accused Moses of setting himself on a pedestal and doing all of this on his own will.

So you see Paul stated that right at the start. Paul is an apostle by the will of God. If I’m not an apostle by the will of Christ then I’m not an apostle at all and don’t deserve to be. If I’m an apostle by the will of all the people in the church, by a vote of all the people in the church, I would not be a real apostle at all. Unless I’m an apostle by the will of Jesus Christ, and because He chose me, He has made me an instrument that He can use and because I am merely an instrument, and He is putting thoughts in my mind and guiding me… you know I’m going stop right there. I turn these Bible studies into whatever comes into my mind.

Actually, most Christians do not accept how God works in certain ways. Many did not consider Paul an apostle because he was not one of the twelve. The one who laid hands on him only seemed to possibly be a local elder, which scripture simply calls a disciple, named Ananias. People apparently did not feel that he had the authority to so ordain Paul, but God said he did.

Of course, we have the same thing today as some have suggested that an elder COG minister could be heard for praying for a double-portion of God's spirit for Bob Thiel, by being influenced by God's spirit.

Herbert Armstrong stated:

If you wonder, in Kingdom of God, what are you going to be doing? When we’re made immortal, god-persons, god-beings. We call God our Father now. Why do we call him our Father if we’re not his children? We’re not born children yet, we’re only begotten. We are His children now in the same sense that unborn babies are in their mother’s womb. They’re not born yet. We’re not born yet. We’ll be immortal. We won’t have blood circulating, we won’t have a heart beating, we won’t have lungs exercising, when we are born of God. Sometimes I think it’s natural that we wonder when we are in that state, in the Kingdom of God, what will we be doing for all of eternity? We won’t even need to sleep every night. There won’t be any matter of day and night. There won’t be any light. Christ will be the light. God will be the light. We won’t have to have light from the sun even. We’ll have more light, it will be a different kind of light. But what will we be doing? I wonder once in a while and I think it’s natural. You should be wondering.

But God has given me a gift of writing and He is using me, but it is not inspired to the extent that the writers of the Bible were inspired. I know that. The things I write, I can see years later there was a little mistake in this one or that one, or even in what I said and I have to correct it in later years. Whereas when we have the Bible, it is infallible. God could use me in the resurrection to continue writing and I’ve wondered if God would use me in that way. Well I don’t know. He hasn’t told me. And He hasn’t told you what you will do. All I know is I absolutely know what the ancient King David is going to be in the resurrection. And what the original twelve apostles are going to be doing in the Kingdom of God. They’re going to be resurrected back to life again, immortal spirit life, and each of them is going to be over the nations that has developed from the one of the sons of Jacob, in other words over each of the tribes of Israel. And David is going to be over all twelve of those nations and all twelve of those apostles. So David is greater than the apostles. And David is one the prophets, who with the apostles and Christ, lay the foundation of the New Testament Church.

But I wanted to make clear that Paul was an apostle by the will of God and not his own. Remember even Jesus said it is not His own will, it was the will of the Father. Jesus spoke only what the Father told Him. We’re to do what Jesus tells us. He’s the Word.

Now what does verse 1 say next? To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

There’s quite a lot said right there. People read over that so rapidly. I want to show you a little bit about how to read and study the Bible as we go along. Just stop and think about that short little sentence for a minute. To the saints…they are saints. We have the Spirit of God we are saints. I’ve heard people say, “I’m no saint. I’m no goody good.” In other words I’m bad and I’m evil and I’m proud of it.

I was surprised one time, there was a man many, many years ago. He was not converted at all. I went over to see him one Sunday afternoon. Some other fellows came over who were rather profane and very much of this world. Well he didn’t want to be a saint. He didn’t want to be a goody goody in their eyes. He wanted to be as bad as they were in their eyes so they would think well of him. Because if he was a goody good they wouldn’t think well of him. So he began to use their kind of language and profanity and it shocked me. I never heard him use that kind of language in my life. Nor did he use that kind of language, but when those fellows came along he wanted them to think he used that kind of language and was one of them. What is it in human nature that makes us want to be one of the gang? Go along with them. Kids want to do what the other kids are doing even if it’s absolutely wrong. I never heard him speak like that before.

If we are really in the church of God we are saints. A saint is merely one who has received the Spirit of God and repented and turned away from the way of this world and from the ways of Satan and toward the ways of God, which is the way of outflowing love. They turned away from the way of selfishness and get, to the way of give. They received the Spirit of God and that makes them a saint.

So Paul is writing to the saints. Who are also faithful in Jesus Christ. Now you see right off the bat that he says the people of the church of Ephesus were faithful people. And its by Grace that we are saved through faith. And even that, faith is not of ourselves, it is a gift of God. So the church of Ephesus had faith as a gift of God and God had given them that faith.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Herbert Armstrong said:

Now Paul had authority. He was an apostle. He had authority to give them grace and peace. But he didn’t say I’m giving that to you from me. Notice where that is coming from. It was from God our Father. God is the Father of the saints. If you’re not a saint, God is not your Father yet. This brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God, that is all along. You hear that in the world. As if every human being born is naturally a child of God. That is not true. You’re a child of man.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

Herbert Armstrong said:

Too much today in what is called Christianity they speak a lot about Christ but they never speak of Christ as a coming ruler and a King of a kingdom to rule us and that we must obey Him. They take obedience out altogether and say the law is done away. Let your conscious be your guide. Do what you think is right. Well that’s what Adam and Eve did with the tree of knowledge of good and evil and they took to themselves the knowledge of what is right and wrong, good and evil. That’s all. And that’s what they do today. And they think that is being a Christian. And Adam was a wonderful Christian. Adam and Eve were the same type of Christians we have today, only they didn’t claim to profess Christ because He didn’t come yet. He was the second Adam. Adam was only the first Adam.

Notice they don’t say much about God the Father in Christianity today. By Christianity I mean the Roman church, the Methodist church, the Baptist church, the Presbyterian, the Congregational, the Lutheran church and all of the other so-called Christian churches. The leading ones with the biggest membership. They take anyone who just joins. But you notice Paul speaks of God the Father first? In the Church of God we do not leave out God the Father. Jesus Christ said when you pray you say ‘Our Father who art in Heaven’. The prayer is to God the Father. He said whatever you ask the Father in my name He will do. That I, the Son, may be glorified. God the Father is the lawgiver. They want to do away with God because they don’t like His law. And God is the lawgiver. They don’t want to obey. And Christ is the executive but they never preach Christ as the coming King as one to obey, as Lord. Lord means one that you obey, your master, your boss who gives you the orders and commands and you better carry them out or else. But in Christianity today they just say, ‘I receive Christ’ or ‘I profess Christ’. That’s receiving, not giving. That not outflowing love.

He has blessed us. Who has blessed us? God the Father blessed them. Then it’s God the Father that blesses us in the Worldwide Church of God today brethren. Let’s not forget that.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 4:  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Yes, God has had a plan before the world was made and He wants you if you will respond.

Herbert Armstrong said:

Now that gets into predestination. Predestination doesn’t have anything to do with being saved or lost. God isn’t going to decide that, you are, yourself. No one can be saved except God calls them. Not everyone has been called yet but the time will come when everyone will be. In the end, God will have called every human being ever born. Only a few are called now. The rest, well, you can’t come to God but by the way of Christ. Christ is the door and the only door. You can’t enter in by any other door. But no one can come to Him except the Father draw them to Him. That’s very, very few. Now there’s a judgement day coming. I won’t go into that today. But that is a subject you do need to understand. Judgement is not on the world, yet. Judgement is when the world will be held accountable for what they are doing now. That doesn’t mean the world is not going to be held accountable. They are. If the world is wrong, the world is guilty and it’s going to be held against them. But their judgement has not come yet. Does that mean that they’re lost because they’ve done wrong? No not yet. They haven’t been judged yet. And in their judgement it will be decided whether they are saved or lost. When their judgement comes, that’s more than 1,000 years off, right now. You know that. The Great White Throne judgement that is celebrated every year on the day after the Feast of Tabernacles. It pictures the judgement right after the millennium. And it will last 1,000 years. All the world has not been called. No chance of salvation, but neither have they been lost. But then they will be required to report on what they’ve done in this life. The books will be open. In those books will be an account of what they did in this life. However, we don’t find very much about it. God has revealed just a little smattering about that judgement. But it’s going to far better with the evil men of Sodom than with the Pharisees of Jesus’ time in that judgement because Jesus said so. It means whatever they’ve done in this life it’s going to be held against them. But in that judgement, it’s the first time they’re going to be called. And we’ll see if they repent for what they did. And there won’t be any devil around to continue to deceive them. And they will also come to the knowledge that all of the evil they did, the real instigator of all of that was Satan after all. And that God already sent Satan into punishment for what he did. All that Christ took was our portion of that guilt. That judgement comes, it means to me – although I don’t find it specifically listed in the Bible – that there’s going to be a period of time to see if they repent and live God’s way. If they will, all of their sins can be forgiven because Christ has already died and paid the penalty of their sins for them. He didn’t die to take the penalty of Satan’s sins, because he will have already been sent on to his eternal punishment. Although Satan will live forever, he’s immortal. But he won’t be on this earth to punish the people any more. And without Satan, with Christ as the King, we’ll have a chance then to see how to live. And I believe that Isaiah 65 shows there will be a 100 year period. But I’m not sure. But I’m inclined to believe it means a 100 year period. God will give them a period of time to walk in the light. They’ll have the chance of salvation.

I prefer to use the term opportunity, not chance. It is NOT by chance some are called now and others later. There is a reason not all are called now.

Herbert Armstrong said:

But those being called now have to overcome Satan. And we’re having a much harder time now that they will have then. We have to overcome ourselves. We’re called now and we’ve been going the wrong way. We’ve got momentum going. They will have ended this life and be resurrected and see a whole new ball game. And for the first time their minds will be open to what they did. And they’ll see a world living Christ’s way, and God’s way. I believe the overwhelming majority of them are going to repent and go the right way. I really believe that. But they’ll never have the high office that we will. Now remember, we’re not saved by our works. But we are to be rewarded according to our works. That applies to the church now. We are being trained to be rulers and governors with Christ. To be kings and priests and rule with Jesus all around the earth. But we will also be proclaiming the Gospel and converting the world as well as ruling the world.

Now it says: who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

It says every spiritual blessing. It doesn’t say every material blessing. He won’t make all of us in the church millionaires. Paul said God has not called many great, not many kings. I have met more kings and presidents and prime ministers and emperors over nations than any living man on earth today. God has opened the doors for me to see them. To come at their own invitation. I don’t know any of them in God’s church. I don’t know one. I know the last one I met, Mr. Anwar Sedat of Egypt. He doesn’t really know the real God. He calls God Allah. They don’t understand who God is any more than those in the Christian religion. I have seen some elements of greatness in Mr. Sedat. He’s been working toward peace. He is going against all kinds of opposition but he doesn’t have the Spirit of God. The things he has done, the attitude he has shown, are for good of people in other countries. He invited me to participate in his peace project at the foot of Mt. Sinai. It is a symbol of unity of religions and nations, instead of a cooperation. This is the place where God almighty delivered His laws. The four ways of loving God and the six ways of loving your neighbor. Where the 10 commandments were delivered to Moses. He’s the kind of man that I believe will submit to God and His ways. But that’s up to him. [he goes on about other people that he has met]

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 5: having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Herbert Armstrong said:

Predestination only has to do with when you’ll be called. He chose us, we didn’t choose Him.

Notice who did this. God the Father, through Jesus Christ. According to His will. You need to know God’s purpose. His purpose is a fantastic potential of human man to become the sons of God. To become god-beings, and to complete what God started in the endless, vast universe. It’s just so great the human mind can’t conceive it.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 6: to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Grace is God's gift He freely bestowed on us. That will be discussed more when we get to the next chapter.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 7: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

Notice His grace is called riches. A lot of people think that they just want money. Many think that if they have money they have it made. However, all are going to die and the money will not help then.

So, please understand that you have the riches of God's grace if you are truly responding to Him.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 8: which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, Verse 9: having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

Herbert Armstrong said:

Now it is mysterious to this world. The world can’t understand it. They don’t want anything to do with it. It embarrasses them. But God has opened our minds to understand and comprehend it.

But it is not just those in the world.

Most real Christians do NOT understand the mysteries of God. They do not realize what God has in mind as part of His plan. Most are satisfied with what they have historically inderstood, even though scirpture is clear that in the end times knowledge was supposed to be increased (Daniel 12:4).

God made you so that you can give love in a unique way to make eternity better for you and everyone else who will accept God's way. That is a mystery that we in the Continuing Church of God restored. That and other mysteries, along with related scriptures, is in our free online booklet: Mystery of God's Plan

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 10: that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

Time and space and all the universe which we are going to rule. See we’ll be part of His family. We’ll all be united in God.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 11: In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

God accomplishes everything. God can’t fail. That’s why I thank Him first in my prayers. If you have faith, God’s going to protect you.

He’s going to bring you through. He’s going to make you conquerors.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 12: that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

We were the first to be called. We were the first to be judged. We’re the first fruits, that’s what we are. That’s why we celebrate the day of Pentecost.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 13: In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

That is like an earnest payment when you buy property. It’s a small payment. It’s a guarantee of your faithfulness and goodwill and intent to go through with it. And the Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee. You only get a little bit of it now. Just a little. So much more will come later.

The Apostle Paul wrote of “the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:5).

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 14:  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

HWA said:

God’s guarantee won’t fail. We may fail but God won’t.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 15: Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, Verse 16: do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Verse 17: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

Now Paul prayed every day and thanked God for these people at Ephesus. I pray every day, not only for the welfare of all the brethren, but for the sick and those in a hurricane or earthquake or tornado, but I thank God for Himself, and then for my long life, and for opening my mind to this wonderful truth and for letting me share it with so many others. I do that every day.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 18: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

That is to give you understanding, open your mind to these things in the Bible.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 19: and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

That’s the power that God will use in us. It’s God’s power working in us. I did not build this church. I was an instrument. Christ built it. I had to follow His way. I had to do it His way. I could not go the way I wanted to. It has to be the way He shows us. The Bible is God’s instruction manual. 

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 20: which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, Verse 21: far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

I call on heads of government all over the world. But here is the one I pray and give thanks to. One higher than all of them.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 22: And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

God the Father put Him there and put all things under Christ’s feet.

Back to Ephesians 1:

Verse 23: which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

That is one of the most wonderful chapters in all the Bible if you really get what it says. Don’t read carelessly over it.

Chapter 2

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

Now in this series that is going out to the churches, we have gone through Romans and Galatians and I Corinthians and II Corinthians and all writings of the apostle Paul. And one remark I might make about the books that were inspired by God, but written by Paul, is that most of these writings are corrective. Now there's one scripture that says that God corrects every son or every person we might say whom He loves — every son, of course that's speaking of those in the church not of the world. By the way, that is interesting that there is nothing that I know of in the Bible that says that God is really correcting the world. He pretty much lets them go their own way. But people misunderstand God's correction and God's punishment. 

In this world, if a man commits a crime we want to make him suffer. In other words we want revenge; we want to get even. If he did something we're going to make him suffer for that. Now God doesn't want any of us to suffer. God's punishment is always corrective not getting revenge, not getting even. The old idea, and incidentally it was the pagan religion and it's an idea on which Judaism was founded. Judaism is not the religion that Moses received from God. 

Judaism is a perversion of it, it's taking the rituals that God had given to Israel, which they thought were a little irksome and they didn't like to do, and using the pagan idea that whatever you have done, that is wrong. You must punish yourself an equal amount, suffer to expiate and make it right. And I have heard that they even had boards for someone to walk on. And they would drive nails through so that the sharp part of the nail was sticking up on the upper side, and people had to walk barefoot on that and the nails would tear right through the flesh, and right into the bone of the foot, just to punish themselves. 

Now God does not punish us in order to equal what we did. That's why Christ came and died for us. Christ's sacrifice does not apply unless or until we repent of what we have done. Now just being sorry you did it is not repenting. 


A lot of people do not understand what repentance is. Repentance really means turning around and going the other way. Repentance is a change of mind. It says that God repented, but it doesn't mean that God had done wrong and was repenting of a wrong He had done. He changed His mind about something. And repenting really means you changed your mind about the way you've been living. You decided it was wrong and you're going to turn around and go God's Way and live God's Way from now on. 

Now that's all God wants. You've been doing wrong and it's hurting you and God's punishment is to prevent you from having to go on hurting you anymore. If you turn away from it and you don't do it and don't continue to bring all that punishment on yourself then, by accepting the blood of Christ, He paid that penalty in your stead and you don't have to pay it. You're left free from that moment on. All God wants is that you change the direction of your life and begin to live a different way. 

Now I know, maybe you've committed certain sins in the past and they bother you and they trouble you, but have you repented have you turned from them? Have you confessed them to God? Have you asked God to forgive? Have you accepted the blood of Christ in payment for it? If so it's washed out. God isn't thinking about it anymore. People think if you ever committed a sin now they've got something on you. They'll use it, they'll use any way they can on you. We have all committed sin. 
And that's the first thing we are going to go into in this lesson today. We have all committed sin and all God wants is that we quit doing it. The whole thing about the Christian religion is a way of life. 

Two Ways of Life

There are two ways of life, that's what I am continuing to put in the Wall Street Journal Advertising, in the advertising pages. One way is give, that's the way of I call it, give and it means out-flowing love, it's love to God and love to neighbor, but that is away from yourself. Self-love or lust is the opposite direction. And people misunderstand love and some people call lust, in sex, love, especially a lot of teenagers today. That isn't love at all that's lust. 
Love is a spiritual quantity that goes out to the one you love, of doing something for the one that you love not just for something for yourself and your enjoyment. So the way of out-flowing love is the way of cooperation and the way of helping and serving and sharing. 
Now the opposite of that, I term get and it is simply the way of self-centeredness instead of humility and obedience to God. It is the way of coveting and wanting to get for yourself, it is the way toward others of a feeling of opposition of jealousy and envy and of competition. And the world is full of competition. We glorify competition. In this world, competition is a wonderful thing. 
The real author of competition is Satan the Devil. Of course the world doesn't believe there's any Satan. And that's something that I hope we can get into, I don't know if we'll have time to get into all of it today. Some of you will have to catch a plane, now, I'll have to... I'll try to keep that in mind, by-the-way, so that you can get back on time. 
But now we finished last Sabbath, there weren't very many here, but we did finish the first chapter of Ephesians and there really is a great deal in that. If you just read it carelessly, you'll think well, he didn't say much of anything in that first chapter. Well if you were here last Sabbath, I think you would think Paul said quite a lot in that first chapter, but you have to stop and really get the meaning out of each verse as you go along. 

   Now the things of Satan are a mystery. We read in II Thessalonians about the mystery of iniquity where it says it doth already work. That is a mystery too, they don't understand about Satan and what he's doing to them, because that is a spirit. That's an evil spirit and they don't understand that and yet they're following the ways of that evil spirit and they just do not understand. That's the main thing I wanted get into and get it in this lesson. We don't need to go on the rest of way in that chapter today, because I want to take the time to go into it verse by verse when we do. And I'll do that next Sabbath, but I wanted to get that. 

The truth of the gospel is a mystery and I have to know that. Now I'm trying to put it in sensible language that one who can't understand the mystery. can't see it spiritually. can see it at least carnally. That's as far as I can go to the world, but that's what I'm trying to do.

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 1: And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

Herbert W. Armstrong said:

Let me see in the Revised Standard, it says here made alive. 
2:1 (RSV) And you He made alive.

Now, Paul is writing this as a letter. How does he know that every single individual, some of them might have been converted since Paul was up there? How did he know that they had been dead in trespasses and sins? Because all have been? You can just say that you don't have to check up on each individual. You can be sure that any and everybody has been going that way. In other words the way you live and it's the way that brings on trouble, it brings on strife. 
Now Paul was able to say that you were spiritually dead, because everybody had been. As in Adam all die and all have sinned in Adam. And all of Adam's children and he knew that. Now why? We're going to learn that as we get right into the next verse. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 2:  in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

…In time past you walked according to the course of this world. 

The Physical and Material Realm

I've been trying to put in some to the Wall Street Journal ads. There seems no limit to what man can do in the physical and material realm. The marvelous things we've done. I've said in ads recently, if a Lincoln, an Emerson or a let's see I used a great financier name there, Vanderbilt, could come back to life; they all died before I was born and before the end of the last century. And I had one in the realm of finance and one in the realm of politics and government and one in the realm of literature. And if they could come back, they would just think it was awesome; the things that are done today. 
Why they would even think television is an awesome thing. You just sit there and look in a box and you see what is going on somewhere else in the world and it's transmitted instantaneously from half way around the earth by satellite. We fly men to the moon and back, and some of the modern machines like the computer, they're blockbusters, they're brain shatters, the things that we can do and yet they're not always perfected right away and men make a lot of mistakes in that. 
And there are imperfections, but man keeps at it and finally he succeeds in things like that. But the same man that can do those things can't even manage his own family at home. He can't get along with his wife, or he can't get along with his children, or he can't get along with his next door neighbor. 
And then we have groups that don't get along with one another. Men against women today. We were just thinking up some things that Mr. Rader was helping me get together, a group of things last night for a Wall Street Journal ad It's the women now against the men, but there are divisions now and troubles between parents and children, between black and white, between capital and labor, between male and female and it just seems that there is just this contention. Person against person and our troubles we don't realize are spiritual in nature. The achievements in this world are physical and material in nature. 
Now that is only common sense that is not a maudlin religion, a sentimental religion. That is down to earth common sense. That is factual and the religion that Jesus Christ brought and if the true religion after the name of Christ or after the name of God has to do with the way you live. All of our troubles in the world come from the way we've been living. And religion begins with repenting, that's changing the way you live. It's just that simple. The blood of Christ only applies, if you have done it. 
They tell people just receive Christ, get on the getting side not the giving side. Get Christ, accept Christ, receive Christ, let Christ come into your heart. You get, get, get, take. But they don't have anything to say about sharing and giving and obeying God. Obeying God, what does God want you to do? Does God want you to do something you ought not to do? God does not want you to do one thing that is not good for you. Everything God wants you do is something that is good for you or He wouldn't want you to do it, because God is love and God loves us; more than we love ourselves by far, and in a way that we don't even realize. 

Change Your Lifestyle

Now then, it's just this simple, you have to turn around go the other way, you have to change your lifestyle, change you way of living, give up the way you've been living, give up the way of this world, it's all wrong. How did Paul know that they had been dead spiritually? They were spiritually dead. 
Now all of these things that have to do with our happiness or with the troubles in the world are spiritual in nature. The things we can accomplish, the things we can achieve are physical and material in nature. That we can do, but when it comes to spiritual things, we are just helpless, utterly helpless. 
I think when I watch things on television, when I have seen it, it's on Friday night so I don't look at it too often, but I have looked at it and sometimes I think maybe might be a good way to spend that part of the Sabbath. Washington Week I think they call it. It's on our channel 6 here in Tucson, which is Public Television. It is not one of the networks a commercial network, but it is a group of the chief newspaper correspondents or writers of the larger, greater newspapers in Washington. 
You will nearly always see a man from the Washington Post or the other Washington newspaper on it. Nearly always you'll see someone from the New York Times, very often from the Los Angeles Times, sometimes the Chicago Tribune, and quite often the Baltimore Sun and they sit there, five of them, they sit around the table and discuss the events of the past week. Now they discuss it in an intellectual manner and those men are knowledgeable men. Or you get a group of chief executives of great corporations. And they are men of great knowledge, they are men of great ability, but when it comes to spiritual things they are helpless. They are less than little children. 
And yet they feel and filled with vanity because they have achievement in the material world. And they think they're pretty great because they've accomplished this and that and the other thing. But the things that are most important of all are the spiritual values and in this world we have lost this true value. The true values are spiritual. And society has lost that. 
That's it and people don't want to be disturbed. They want to go on in this world. They think this is a pretty good world. There was a man Mr. Rader and I were talking about, Mr. Rader saw him the night I was speaking in Cairo, and this man is an executive and very highly paid executive. He is a very successful man and he is able to live in very good style. He respected Mr. Armstrong, he said. My position and I was able to speak before this group of very important people over there in Cairo. 
I guess many of the most important people in Egypt and all that, but he didn't agree with me in saying that things are bad in the world. With fifty percent or more of people are illiterate, fifty percent are poverty stricken living in filth and squalor, all the crime that is going on around the world, homes being broken up, our civilization going to pieces. He says I think this is a pretty good world. 

In other words he's well fixed financially, he's got it made, he's able to live good. He said, what do I care If 2 billion people are going hungry? And if too big a percentage of their little children are starving to death. I don't know about it and I don't want to know, that isn't hurting me. I'm not suffering. What if they are illiterate? What if they don't have what I've got, I've got it. I only love me, see I just care about myself. 

Let me tell you that man is riding to a fall and he doesn't know it. And he's riding to a very great fall, his time is coming. He's going to rue those words. I think I may I think it may be a good idea to run an ad in the Wall Street Journal. I won't mention the man's name, fact I can't mention the man's name because Mr. Rader didn't tell me. I don't even know his name. But there was such a man and he probably will read the ad, but I won't identify him and I think it's the subject of a very good ad, because he is a Wall Street Journal man. He thinks this is a pretty good world.

The Course of This World

Now that's the way with people if they hear God's Truth, they say well I think this world is pretty good. I'm getting along alright in it and I don't care about anyone else. I tell you, as long as we all feel that way brethren, the world is in bad shape. Until we do begin to care a little about our neighbor and about others. In the meantime we might as well realize they don't care anything about us either. And you're going to come to the place where you'll find that the others feel like you did, and they feel like that toward you, and they don't care about you when you need them. 

So he says: Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world. 

Now what is the course of this world? How is this world walking? 

...according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit...[he's talking about not a human being but a spirit. This is spirit being,] the spirit.  ...according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works, now works in the children of disobedience. 

And we all did do it, that's the children of disobedience of the people in the world and we went along with the world and we were part of it. Why then who is leading this world: the spirit of disobedience, the prince of the power of the air. Now how does the prince of the power of the air get to us? How does he work? 

How Satan Works

There are a dozen big sermons and long articles written, I mean in that subject right there, we stopped to look at it. The people have been deceived. He is talking about Satan the Devil. Now it isn't, it isn't popular to believe in a Satan anymore. The world likes to forget about him and we come to that in the third chapter. It's a mystery and people don't understand it. A mystery is something you can't see in, you can't feel, you can't taste, you can't smell and you don't understand. It's mysterious to you. So a lot of people just don't believe it exists. But you turn back here to, the twelfth chapter of Revelation and it talks about here in the seventh verse: 

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon: and the dragon fought and his angels. 

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and
Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: 

Now in the twentieth chapter of Revelation you find it really explained a little more concretely. The twentieth chapter: 
Revelation 20:1-2 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2)And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. 

Now that will happen pretty soon, it has not happened yet. But the Devil has deceived the whole world. The Devil is now working in the children of disobedience. Those in the church were dead while they went that way, the way of the world. The Devil has led the world in the way of get. The way of competition, the way of I love me, I don't love you. And the whole world is going that way and it likes that way, and it wants to keep on going that way and the world is in trouble. And it's in deep trouble. 

Beguiled Through Subtlety

It's like a man though, is in a dream, it might even be a night mare and he doesn't want to be awakened from it. He wants to go on dreaming it until he is finished with his dream. And there are too many like that. Now let's go a little further. Let's take second Corinthians the eleventh chapter is what I want. Second Corinthians that's back a few pages — Paul said here in the eleventh chapter of second Corinthians. To the people at Corinth he had written this: 

II Corinthians 11: 3, But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 

Now there's a reason why I read that just in that order. First we all were once in this world and swayed by the world, as the Devil has been influencing and leading the world. How does the Devil do it? Well I want to come to that in a moment, but he swayed mother Eve and he's been swaying the world ever since. Now it is Satan the Devil and he has deceived the whole world. 
Now Paul was afraid here that those in the church might be beguiled. They had once come out of the way of Satan and chosen the way of God or the way of give instead of get. And now he's afraid lest they be beguiled and go back into that way again. That's precisely what has happened in the church of God in some of our top leading men. Our leading ministers, some of them. And yet they be, why they'd get so indignant and say, don't you tell me that Satan ever got to me, Satan never could get to me. Well Satan did get to every one of them. After they had once overcome him, they fell down before him again. And Satan did get to them. And Paul was fearful lest Satan get to those that had come out of the world and had come to Christ and they go back and the Devil would beguile them again 

The Spirit in Man

Now he's the prince of the power of the air. That gets back to all of this about the fact that we are made of the dust of the ground, but there is a spirit in man. And in going through the book of Corinthians: the very second chapter of I Corinthians, we read how in man there is a spirit; that is there is a little portion of spirit in every person. And that spirit of itself, can't see, it's your brain that sees through the eye. That spirit can't hear anything, your brain hears through the ear. It's a sense of vibration. 

And the spirit can't smell, it's your nose that smells, but of course, it's your brain that really does it through the nose you might say. And the knowledge all comes through the brain. And the only knowledge that can come through the brain is that that can come through the senses of sight or hearing or smelling or tasting or feeling. And you cannot see spirit, you can't hear spirit, you can't taste it, smell it or feel it. 

So the average person does not know anything about spirit, but there is a spirit in man and that spirit imparts the power of intellect through the physical brain. The physical brain sees the physical brain can't remember everything it sees. We can remember it about as much as an animal. A dog can remember certain things. An elephant can remember even better than a dog. Animals can remember certain things. They know their master. They know a certain other dog. They do know certain things, but they can't think, they can't reason. 
They can't undergo the thinking process. I'll tell you why. The knowledge that comes to their mind is not stored up and they don't have a computer that stores up that knowledge and will give them instant recall of this and that and the other knowledge that they got yesterday, last year, a year before or several years before. 
The spirit in man is a computer and that spirit programs or your brain programs into the spirit whatever knowledge comes to it that it sees or that it hears or that it smells or tastes. It's stored in the computer. You tell me to look back when I was three years old instantly I think of a great grandfather and great uncle that were both in their nineties and one of them I remember fell down my grandfather's stairs. And the fall killed him: he was about ninety-three years of age. 
Instantly I remember that and I may not of thought of it for years and years. You mention five years old — I think of a mourning doleful clang of a school bell one block away from where we lived at that time. Oh that was the most mournful sound, that old school bell. I went to kindergarten there when I was five years old. I remember that, that wasn't stamped in the grey matter of my brain; contrary to the psychiatrist. That was stamped in the spirit. It had to be, because in the resurrection we don't come back in this body. 
This body dies and that physical brain goes and it's gone, it rots, it decays. But there's something in you that's going to come back in the resurrected life that will remember everything and you'll still have the same character you have and that's all retained in that spirit in everybody — but that's a mystery — people don't understand it. 

Human Vanity

Here are these men that sit discussing the Washington Week, and the events that happened in the world and in the nation, in the week. They're very knowledgeable men. Some of them are men of great accomplishments. Maybe they bring in a chief executive of a billion dollar corporation or something like that, course they're really proud of themselves. They're men of accomplishment and they are filled with vanity. I know them — I've known them ever since I was, let me see, I began dealing with them when I was twenty-two years of age. And I first knew the first one when I was nineteen. And I've been knowing plenty of millionaires ever since. 

They are just human beings like the rest of us, but some of them have accomplished more in life than the rest of us have — but they're pretty proud of that. They're very knowledgeable of it. They've got a lot of self-confidence, which a lot of it is vanity, but they don't know their weakness. I always I learned and somewhere I read when I was — I don't know whether I was eighteen or twenty, or even sixteen at the time, but I read this and I remembered it all my life, it is a wise man who knows his weaknesses and his limitations, as well as his strengths. 
I have always tried to realize — everybody, whether he knows it or not, has an inferiority complex. But most men try to ride right over it and let vanity crowd any feeling of inferiority out of their mind. And they keep telling themselves that — I am successful; I am a great man; I am big; I am powerful, and they get to really believing it. 

Materialistic Knowledge

Did you know that the most ignorant people in this world are the most highly educated? Because they're educated in materialistic knowledge, that's all you get in the colleges and universities of this world. Materialistic knowledge. They have lost the true values. They don't know anything about the spiritual values.They don't know the way of life. They don't know the cause of all of our troubles. They don't know why we're not getting along well in the world. They don't know what's wrong with our civilization. They just don't know. They themselves are so weak, and they don't know their own weaknesses. They're very conscience of their strengths. 
I have always known my weaknesses, but I've tried to learn that I can know my strengths too. And I know where my chief strength is and it's not in here. It's up above and it comes from God and from Christ and that's where the great strength really is. And everybody can tap that source of strength if he wants to. But you have to go — well there's the old saying in the Bible — two cannot walk together except they be agreed. You can't walk with God or with Christ unless you agree with them. 
I've had to suffer a great deal, because I can't walk with my own son, it's because he doesn't agree — he has said publicly, I never did agree with my father. Well that hurts! But I have to agree with what God says and if someone else doesn't agree with it, I can't say well, I'll agree with you and disagree with God. 
I'm going to walk with God and with Christ and sometimes that's a little hard and you can't always walk with everybody in the world who doesn't agree with that. You just can't. I never let a day go by without praying for reconciliation, because I believe in the family relationship and it should be kept inviolate — but you can't walk together except you be in agreement. And I won't compromise on agreement. That's one thing I have not been willing to compromise with — the Truth of God. And anyone who really knows me knows me knows that, that in the ministry in the work of God I have never compromised and I won't compromise. Others may be willing. 

How Does Satan Get to Us

Well now, that spirit in man. God is a spirit. Satan is a spirit. Satan gets to us through the spirit when we are little. I'd like to turn back for just a moment now, before we go on to the next verse to, let me see, I think its Ezra the first chapter. 
Ezra 1:1-2 Now in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia, [this goes way, way back five hundred years before Christ.] that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Eternal stirred up the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persia, [and this was in his very first year as king. He had just taken over the throne. It had been the Chaldean Empire and now the Persian Empire had taken it over.] That he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, (2) Thus says Cyrus King of Persia. The Eternal God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 
And he gave this proclamation to send people back. How did God speak to him? He didn't go there and speak to him — He stirred up the spirit in Cyrus. Cyrus had this human spirit in him and God being a spirit being could communicate to the physical brain of Cyrus through the spirit in Cyrus. Only a spirit — how's a spirit going to reach a brain? It can reach a spirit, but the spirit that's already in you, is in connection with your brain. 
Now if God could reach Cyrus through the spirit stirring up the spirit in Cyrus, the Devil can do it. He's a spirit being and he is the prince of the power of the air. And Satan is stirring up the spirit in every human being if we will let him and it begins when you are — I don't know whether it's one, two, or three months old. A little infant, a baby, as soon as that little infant mind begins to think, Satan a spirit, works on that spirit in that little baby and puts into that baby a little bit of the attitude of self-centeredness. 
You take a couple of babies about nine months old, put them on the floor in a room together and put one toy there that each one is going to enjoy. And watch and see them go after it, and you'll see that already Satan has gotten selfishness in there and they were not born with that. That is not an inherited characteristic that is a characteristic that is put there by Satan in every individual. You were not born with it. 
That is the start of what we call human nature, getting into human beings. And it starts with every infant. From the time of infancy and we grow up and by the time we are sixteen years old, Satan has got us mature in his way. 

Different Kinds of Maturity

Now there are two kinds of maturity, I would say three types of maturity. One type of maturity, you are of age by the time you're sixteen in the Devil's way of selfishness. And some of the world's greatest crimes are caused by sixteen year old kids. A kid can be really dangerous at age sixteen. Now Satan doesn't influence everyone alike and a lot depends on what had been the teachings of that child as he grew up too. And many, too many cases Satan's influence has been counter acted, because it's not only heredity but it's also environment that influences us, and what we are and environment includes every external influence and that includes that of Satan. It also includes the teaching of parents the teaching that you get from other kids your own age — your peers and everything else that affects a growing child. But there is one age you come to a maturity of the 'get' way of life, by age sixteen. 
Now you come to maturity we call citizenship or voting age, around twenty or twenty-one and I think they're setting it at eighteen now. And in some places they let you vote at eighteen. I believe it's a little different, isn't it, in different states and in other places. However, you can't get a drink in a public place until you're twenty, because they don't think they're quite able to handle themselves that way until they're twenty. 
Now there is still another age of maturity and that is in maturity of leadership before other people and that is age thirty. Jesus was thirty when He began to preach. In Israel before the priests were leaders over the people, they didn't reach that until age thirty, but they were old enough for the military at age twenty. So there is more than one kind of maturity, but there is a way in which kids certainly reach complete maturity in Satan's direction by age sixteen. And Satan has got you pretty well by that age. 

Satan is the prince of the power of the air

Now, you notice, here's what I'm trying to say. Satan is the prince of the power of the air. He surcharges the air and it's just in the air. Here is a great big television set that my wife got me for an anniversary present on our last anniversary, and it's a larger screen than any other we have in the house. You turn that on and I can get any one of the — what have we got, five, four or five stations that we have here in Tucson. See there's, four, and six, and nine, and eleven and yeah, the five. Five here — there are seven different channels in, oh what do you call it, the thirteen and below in Southern California, but there are a number of ultra-high frequencies besides that. And I don't think we have any ultra-high here, but we have one on channel six that gives us the same type of programming as you get on ultra-high in LA, but it's all right here in the room, only we don't see the picture, and we don't hear it if you don't tune it in on the right channel on the right wave length. 
And Satan — what Satan is trying to communicate is here only he doesn't communicate in words, you don't hear anything, you don't see anything, it's not in pictures, it's not audible, it's not in words and you don't see it and you don't feel it. But he transmits impulses and attitudes. And he sways us in certain directions and he transmits the attitude of self-centeredness, the desire to get, the desire to love yourself and not care about what happens to anyone else. And that is the trouble and what has caused all of the trouble in the world and it has all come from Satan. 

Well, now I tell you, there's a whole Bible study right there in the first two verses of this chapter if we want to stop there. I'm back in Ezra. I better get back here to Ephesians. Now, we all were among those, but we've been pulled out it and changed our way of life and Satan's way, which is 'get' to the way of 'give.' But just like Paul said to the Corinthian church, he was afraid lest Satan would get to them again and get them back that way. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 3:  among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Herbert W.Armstrong teach:

We went the same way of life, same lifestyle as they, whatever the world does we must do the same thing. And in the world now women all have to wear pants today like men, and the fact that God says that woman shall not wear the kind of garments or clothing that pertains to a man or a man must not wear the kind that pertains to a woman. We don't pay any attention to that, that's God, so we don't listen to God. We don't walk with God. We don't want to listen to Him. We're going to go the way of the world and wonder why we are having troubles. 
The Bible says it's a shame for a man to have long hair, but men say, what do I care what God says? I'm not walking with God, I'm walking with the Devil, I'm walking with the world. I'm going to go the way of the world and in the world it's fashionable for young men to have long hair today. Now the Devil is trying to make us unisex. The Devil is doing two things — he's dividing men and women and now we have the women's lib movement and the ERA and women want their rights up against men, instead of having love, compatibility, getting along with each other. 
On the one hand Satan is trying to unify us so we are all together you can't tell from behind whether you're looking at a man or a woman today. They're wearing trousers and they got long hair, you don't know whether it's a man or whether it's a woman. Because their breaking the laws of God and then we wonder why we're having troubles in the world. We can quit having the troubles if we want to quit breaking God's laws. It's just that simple. 

The Devil Uses Merchandising

That's the message I'm putting in the Wall Street Journal. I'm reaching the hard headed men that rule and run the country and the finances and the business of the country. I know the kind of men I'm writing to and they're reading what I write and some of them are beginning to think a little bit. The trouble is they don't want to think any way except in the groove they have been going in. If they're successful, they don't want to change it, they want to keep on if they are making money they love it. 

But soon we are not satisfied. I've never know a man that loved money that had enough. The more he gets the more he wants and the more he gets the more he wants still more, even more than he did when he didn't have that much. He's never satisfied. Like the slogan of the cigarette maker had here several years ago, that was about three decades ago or more. "They satisfy" — oh, I remember that it was Chesterfield — "they satisfy". Well they don't satisfy, don't kid yourself. 

They always take the slogans that ought to apply to the way of God and use them on things in this world. I don't know if you ever noticed that or not. I've noticed they advertise with slogans that belong to the things of God. And the Devil has used them in merchandising. Well, we also had our conduct in that way in times past and were by nature the children of wrath. Now that nature started in us and was developed in us, not by birth, he didn't say by birth. But we begin to be partakers of the nature of God when we're converted. And we didn't have that nature at all to begin with, nature is not something you are born with, but something that is instilled in you.

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 4: But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Verse 5: even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

Herbert W. Armstrong:

Let me see that in the Revised Standard, verse five.

Ephesians 2:4-5 (RSV) But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, (5) even [whom or even] when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. [Then] (by grace are you saved,) [he adds.] That is we are to be saved by grace, we are not yet saved, but we shall be and it is by grace. But God, who is rich in mercy, now even when were dead in trespasses and sin. Now I read that, now verse six. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 6: and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Verse 7: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

(RSV) And hath raised us up together, [and that's a simile there of raising Christ up from the dead and we are raised up from being spiritually dead and to being alive by having the spirit of God within us.] hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (7) that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 

Notice that we are to be raised up together. This is consistent that we should be united and working together in this age. Laodiceans, however, are often too dependent on others or too independent for that.

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

Now we come to a verse that is often misquoted. I used to get mad really when I used to hear, and this goes clear back to oh about 1930. When I used to hear, I forget the man's name now—The Old Fashion Gospel Hour coming in on radio. We didn't have television yet and he would read this. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 8: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Verse 9: not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

There you see there's no works in religion, the law is done away. You don't have to obey the law of God anymore at all, it's done away, Not of works, lest any man should boast. I SAID WHY DON'T YOU READ THAT NEXT VERSE! I USED TO SHOUT THAT INTO MY RADIO SET. But of course he didn't hear it because it didn't go back out the radio set. It wasn't a microphone it was a transmitter and now read that next verse. Not of works lest any man should boast, but it goes right on. That's not the end of the sentence. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 10:  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

Yes, He's the master potter and we are the clay and He is molding and fashioning us and our character in the way He wants us to be. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before hath ordained that we should walk in them. 
Created and God is molding our lives to good works. We are to have good works that we should walk in them. They never read that verse. They want to say there are no works whatever. 
When he says not of works he's talking about the fact that we don't earn it ourselves, but there are — is a way of living and we have to repent of the wrong way of living and turn to God's way of living. Now living the way of God is not what saves us. You can't earn it, God gives it to you if you will do that. It's just like, I might say to a grandson. He's going to school anyway and I just say, now if you graduate I'm going to give you this very fine watch as a graduation present. So he graduates, now it is a gift, but he didn't earn it. I didn't owe it to him and pay it to him as a debt. God doesn't owe us salvation and eternal life He doesn't give it to us as a debt. We don't earn it. It's His gift, but He won't give except to those that will obey Him and they can't get that through their heads. 

Not Saved by Works

Now we are not saved by our works — we are saved by grace, but we are rewarded according to our works. Now you don't even get salvation, in other words salvation is the gift of eternal life. You're changed from mortal to immortal, you're changed from a human being into a God being. And that's God's gift to give you that kind of life. But once you do it, once He has saved you and once you are there, the reward you will have, which means what kind of a position you are going to have, because we're going to have a job to do. 
But we're going to be spirit beings we are going to enjoy doing it and we'll never get tired, we'll never be weary and we'll always be doing something that's happy to do, and it will be nothing but accomplishment and achievement. It'll be the kind of achievement where the realization will exceed the anticipation. Today the anticipation always exceeds the realization whether people realize or not, it really does. And then it's going to be a little different, but the one who will have the greatest reward according to what he has qualified himself for in this life. 
This life is to qualify us for that, and if we don't even do anything to qualify, we won't even get there in the first place. But if you do get there that's the gift of God. It's not anything God owes you He doesn't owe you anything. But He is generous and will give it to us, if we repent of going the way that is contrary to His law and will walk with Him and be in agreement with Him and go His way. If we will turn from get to give in other words. And then we have qualified ourselves for a bigger job or responsibility and we'll get it. 

What Some Think Christianity Is

Now that makes me think of a brother-in-law of mine one time, who didn't like my idea of religion. To him it was just my idea and I know that Ted always looked on it as a boy he always said that's just dad's religion. And of course there was Sam Smith's religion and John Jones' religion and Bill Smith's religion I suppose and he thought this was dad's religion. Well, anyway this brother-in-law said, if I understand it, you say that the traditional Christianity says that we're on a railroad trip and the end of the line — that's when you die the end of your lifetime and your life is this railroad ride. 
Now at the end of the line there is a switch set that shoots the track straight down to hell, but if somewhere along on the train ride of your whole life you get the password you accept Christ then the switch will send you on up to heaven. And when you get up there all you do — you don't have any responsibility, you don't have anything to do, you're just there to see Christ in all of His glory and you think how wonderful it is. No more responsibility, no more work, nothing to do anymore. He says now that's your idea of what they believe. I said, yeah that's a pretty good description of what they believe. 
Well, he says, now if I understand what you believe is this - we've got to change the way we live, which we like and we don't want to change it from the way we like and to the way you tell us we've got to go. And we're preparing to hold a great responsibility, and the more we do in this life, we'll be rewarded by our works and we'll have that much bigger a responsibility thrown on us, but we'll still have to be here on earth and we'll have a job to do and we'll have a greater responsibility. He says now is that the difference in the way you believe from what they believe. I said, well that's just your way of putting it — but I guess that's about it. Well, he says, I don't like your religion, I want to go to heaven and have nothing to do. I don't want any responsibilities. 

So I guess that's what he thinks is going to happen, only thing there's no promise anyone ever will go to heaven, so I know he's not going to go there. But, the last I heard of him he's still alive anyhow. That's at least that's good, but he's not enjoying his life anymore, he hasn't enjoyed it for a long, long time. He has nothing to do. He has no responsibilities. He's all retired and too old to work anymore, so he just sits around in the house all day with nothing to do. And of all men he is most miserable. 
Well the last time I saw him he says Herb, he calls me Herb, of course he's my brother-in-law. He said boy he says I wish I had something like you do. He said you're, you're traveling and you're busy all the time. You've got something on your mind and he says that keeps you busy and keeps your mind occupied. He says all I can do I can just sit there all day long. I can look at television if I want to, but that's all. I haven't anything to do. I'm retired I can't work I can't do anything. He says it's the most boring thing in the world. So he's getting what he wanted in his old age and he doesn't like it and it isn't happy and it isn't paying off like he thought it would. Well that's the way it is. 

Faith is a Gift of God

Now, Ephesians 2:8 grace are you saved through faith. 

That faith is not of yourselves if even that faith is the gift of God. People try to work up faith and wonder why they don't have faith. You can't work it up. Believe in God, repent and turn to God's way of life and believe in Him and He will give you faith. Faith is a gift of God and faith is come by the spirit of God and its God's gift. 

Ephesians 2:9-10 [but it is] Not of works lest any man should boast [because or,] (10) For we are His workmanship. [Not our own works but] we are His workmanship created in Christ,[ or being created] in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before hath ordained we should walk in them. See, that's verse ten, let me see how that is in the Revised Standard, (RSV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God hath prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Created for good works, so good works merely means good deeds or doing good things. In this case it's talking about deeds, now in Galatians very often Paul speaks of the works of the law. That's where he uses ergon of the law — ergon is the Greek word and he's always speaking about the ritualistic law. But that's not what he's speaking of here. For now. let's see now verse eleven: 

A reader sent me a link to the following;

Carnal Christianity: A Doctrine Designed to Provoke God to Anger

The “carnal Christian” heresy, also referred to as antinomianism, has been a persistent and recurring false teaching throughout the history of the Christian Church. This heresy asserts that a person can have faith in Jesus Christ and still engage in sinful behavior with no relation to their salvation. This belief, however, distorts the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone as it fails to acknowledge the transformative effects of salvation on an individual’s life.

One of the earliest and most prominent proponents of this heresy was Marcion, a Gnostic theologian who lived in the second century AD. Marcion taught that there were two distinct gods – one depicted as malevolent in the Old Testament and the other depicted as benevolent in the New Testament. He also taught that Christians were exempt from adhering to the moral laws set forth in the Old Testament.

The early Christian Church strongly opposed Marcion’s teachings, emphasizing the unity and continuity of the divine nature throughout both Testaments. Despite this, the idea of “carnal Christianity” remains a prominent and persistent heresy that continues to invade the vast majority of modern churches today.

Scripture refutes the notion of carnal Christianity all throughout the New Testament. Take for instance Romans 6:1-2 which states: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” This passage highlights the idea that salvation through grace alone should result in a changed life, free from sin. …

Yet, it is all too common to see people call themselves Christians yet continue in sin, continue fulfilling the lusts and desires of the flesh, because they have elevated their sinful desires over their professed love for their savior. In fact, many so-called churches exist for the sole purpose of affirming the sinner in a state of unrepentance, leading them to believe that they are right with God without a change in their heart. Besides the typical dead churches of the mainline Protestant denominations, we see this as well in many mainstream Evangelical megachurches and churches that align with their beliefs. Such churches include Andy Stanley’s North Point Church, which we’ve exposed in recent days as fully affirming of homosexuality, as well as Southern Baptist megachurches like Saddleback Church, formerly pastored by Rick Warren, and First Baptist Church Orlando, both of which have aligned its movement with Andy Stanley’s antinomian heresies.

The above writer does not appear to be in any Church of God, so it was interesting that that writer saw some of the dangers in what tries to pass itself off as Christianity.

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 11: Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

Now he's talking to the church up at Ephesus, they were all Gentiles up there. They were a different nationality. Gentiles, that is by physical birth. In other words they were circumcised by men's hands in the flesh and that's all fleshly and material. But they were born by flesh birth as Gentiles. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 12: that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

Covenants of Promise

Now there are covenants of promise that pertain to Israel and not to Gentiles. Now the eleventh chapter of Romans explains that, and how the Gentiles are branches of a wild olive tree and the Gentiles are — each nation is a tree. And Gentiles are a wild olive tree, but Israel was the natural olive tree. And the promises are for the natural olive tree and the individuals or the branches of the wild olive tree that are Gentiles; and they're broken off from their tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into the natural olive tree. Because the promises become to Israel and we become Israelites through Christ. I guess you get that simile there. 

Verse 12: that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
And that's the way most people are today, whether they are Israelite, Gentile, or what. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 13: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off. [And at that time they were spiritually dead as he's been saying, and you were far off from Christ.] are made near by the blood of Christ.

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 14: For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,

Before going further, once Jesus was slain, the veil in the Temple separating the Holy of Holies was torn:

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. (Luke 23:44-45)

50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, (Matthew 27:50-51).

Here are some comments from our free online book Proof Jesus is the Messiah:

The timing of the veil splitting in the Temple (Matthew 27:51; Luke 23:45) is also consistent with the fulfillment of Daniel 9. Christians believe that the torn veil represented the fact that we are now allowed direct contact with God the Father through prayer (Hebrews 10:19-22, John 16:23) as well as the elimination of the need for animal sacrifices now, since Jesus truly paid the penalty for our sins (Hebrews 10:1-14).

It has been reported, from a Christian source, that there was a sizeable stone lintel supporting the curtain which apparently tumbled to the floor below. The collapse of the lintel would have ripped the curtain in two and exposed the large doors sealing the Temple’s inner chamber. The episode resulted in the doors opening on their own accord, and likely exposing the Temple interior, the Holy of Holies chamber itself.

Moreover, it seems that the Chamber or Hall of the Hewn Stones (הגזית לשכת Lishkat ha-Gazit) built into the north wall of the Temple collapsed. The Sanhedrin met in this chamber when functioning as a court, but it suffered such structural damage then the Sanhedrin had to abandon it.

That Christian explanation is consistent with the following that is in the Talmud:

The Gemara continues its question: And it is taught in a baraita: Forty years before the destruction of the Second Temple, the Sanhedrin was exiled from the Chamber of Hewn Stone and sat in the store near the Temple Mount. (Tractate Sanhedrin 41a, v.25)

Forty years before the Temple was destroyed, the Sanhedrin was exiled from the Chamber of Hewn Stones and sat in the stores on the Temple Mount. (Shabbat 15a, v. 9)

The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was burned on August 30, 70 A.D. Whether 40 years is precise or approximate is not absolutely specified in the Talmud—but if we work back from 70 A.D. that supports either a 30 or 31 A.D. impalement of Jesus (it points to 31 A.D. if an inclusive “beginning with” counting method was used).

Now notice another quote from the Talmud:

The Sages taught: During the tenure of Shimon HaTzaddik, the lot for God always arose in the High Priest’s right hand; after his death, it occurred only occasionally; but during the forty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, the lot for God did not arise in the High Priest’s right hand at all. So too, the strip of crimson wool that was tied to the head of the goat that was sent to Azazel did not turn white, and the westernmost lamp of the candelabrum did not burn continually.

And the doors of the Sanctuary opened by themselves as a sign that they would soon be opened by enemies, until Rabban Yoḥanan ben Zakkai scolded them. He said to the Sanctuary: Sanctuary, Sanctuary, why do you frighten yourself with these signs? I know about you that you will ultimately be destroyed, and Zechariah, son of Ido, has already prophesied concerning you: “Open your doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars” (Zechariah 11:1), Lebanon being an appellation for the Temple. (Yoma 39b, vs.5-6)

It would seem that this “change” should have served as a sign to the Jews that something was wrong with the Temple from the time Jesus was executed.

Jews reported that every year on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) from the time of Shimon HaTzaddik (c. 300 B.C.) until 30/31 A.D., that the high priest would tie a crimson ribbon around the neck of the Azazel/scape goat, and it was believed to have miraculously turned white after the sacrifice of the goat whose lot was to die. Presuming Jesus was killed in 31 A.D., this still could be for 40 years as God could have given the Sadducees a warning months before they sufficiently agreed to get Jesus murdered. Realize, also, that the veil of the Temple was torn in half upon Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51) and that must have been a disturbing occurrence to those at the Temple. So, with a 31 A.D. death, that would be a little over 39 years and 4 four months from then until the destruction of the Temple, which is forty-years inclusively counted.

That said, the change was spiritually significant and set the stage

15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. (Ephesians 2:15-16)

Notice also something else that Paul mentioned about this:

14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14, NASB)

The handwriting of requirements (often also called the hand-writing of ordinances) or certificate of debt was wiped away and nailed to the stauros.

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in the ordinances. [Abolished in is flesh the ordinances, that they had to do in the Old Testament.] for to make in himself a twain, [or of the two Gentile and Jew in this case because Israel had really gone far off and it was only the Jewish part of Israel that was still back in the Middle East at that time.] to make in himself of the twain [of the two] one new man so making peace; 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 16: and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
Verse 17: And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

This is the same gospel of peace for Israelites and Gentiles alike.

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 18: For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

HWA said:

Now here he's mentioning God the Father and another thing in traditional Christianity they don't mention much about God the Father, it's just Christ. You just receive Christ and that's all there is to it. They leave the Father out because the Father is the one who gave the law and they don't believe in the Father's law. But you'll notice there's so much about God the Father and Christ is the way to get to God the Father, and it's God the Father that we have to get to. Christ taught us how to pray He said when we pray, pray our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name, but we pray in Christ's name. 

Cack to Ephesians 2:

Verse 19:  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

HWA said:

Now a household is a family. Here we are called a nation and we are also called a family: a household or a family. And we also in the church are called a nation. We're a nation, we're a family, now let's read on and you'll see we are something else. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 20:  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

So God set HIS GOVERNMENT in His Church. And God's government is authority from the TOP down. God the Father is in supreme authority over all. Next in authority under Him is Jesus Christ, living Head of the Church. On the human and earthly level, next in authority under Christ is His chosen apostle ... (Armstrong HW. Seven Proofs Of The True Church - Proof No. 5-6. Good News, December 4, 1978)

The Apostle Paul wrote:

28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets ... (1 Corinthians 12:28)

In absence of a clear apostle, a prophet, particularly an evangelistic one, would be expected to lead the most faithful in the Church of God. For more on prophets and the Church of God, check out the article Church of God Leaders on Prophets.

Herbert W. Armstrong, specifically, taught:

Notice again how well organized is the one true Church — for getting the GREAT COMMISSION to the whole world: "In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:21). Again, "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted [pressed together, knit or drawn together, consolidated] by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part..." (Ephesians 4:16). "And He [Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, TILL we all come in the UNITY of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-13). The true Church of God has these offices, as the living Christ put them in His Church. (Armstrong HW. Seven Proofs Of The True Church - Proof No. 5-6. Good News, December 4, 1978)

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. ... Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; (21) in whom the whole building... 

Now we are a building. Now you see a while ago we were two different nationalities, now we're of one nation. We were of two different households, now we're of one household, one family. So the church is a family; the church is a nation; now the church is a building. And notice that we are also compared to a building, but it's one building. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 21: in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,

Herbert Armstrong said:

We are the temple to whom to which Christ is coming. Christ is coming for His church and to His church, and we are to be the foundation of the Kingdom of God. And be in the Kingdom of God, of course the foundation is the apostles, and the prophets and Christ is the chief cornerstone of the building. But the temple He's coming to, or the building is the church and the building is also a nation and the building is also a family the family of God. You notice all those things that the church is right there in that one verse. 

Back to Ephesians 2:

Verse 22: in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Herbert Armstrong said:

Concluding Words
I'm trying to write ads in the Wall Street Journal to men that are — men that think they are so big; so great; so far above that kind of thing. I'm trying to put it in their language and so that it makes sense and yet I can only go so far because they, their minds can only understand so far and without God's spirit they cannot and will not understand, I know that. But I'm going to bring them far enough they can see the difference between give and get. And I'm going to make that plain to them, but I can't convert them. I don't expect to do that and I don't think God is calling them to be converted right now and that isn't what God has sent me for, but God wants it to be as a witness before them. And it's going to and it is a mystery.   

Here is a link to the sermon: Ephesians 1-2: Predestination, Mysteries, & Grace.

Chapter 3

Now to chapter 3:

Ephesians 3:1 For this reason, I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles. 

Some think Paul was a literal prisoner in Rome at the time or perhaps a figurative volunteer prisoner of Jesus.

Herbert Armstrong said (Ephesians 3 & 4 Bible Study, January 2, 1981):

Well now we are coming today, going through this book of Ephesians which is; I don't know, I was going to say one of the most wonderful books in all the Bible. But how can we say that? So was I Corinthians, so was Romans, so was Galatians. So were all of these books, so was the book of Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or Ezekiel and so are so many other books in the Bible. 

And some have a special interest to it that others don't have, ...

So now we come to the — I'm going to have open both the King James and the Revised Standard. I'll sort of go through the Revised Standard, but I may refer to the King James too as I go along. The problem [unclear section] have with the King James.

Verse 1: For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 
"For this reason..."    

Now let's see what reason was it; 

So then [going back to the last, to the nineteenth verse of the second chapter, just to bring in the connection.]... So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners [or foreigners as it is in the King James], but you are fellow citizens with the saints..." (Ephesians 2:19 RSV) 

You remember I brought out that we are citizens. In other words we are a nation, and we are citizens in that nation. Notice that we are several things as it brings it out here, we are a nation and we are citizens in that nation: "...with the saints and members of the household of God [a household is a family, so we in the Church, the Church is also a family], built upon the foundation of the apostles and [the] prophets, [Jesus Christ] himself being the chief cornerstone [now he begins to talk like a building, so we go on and see.]...the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole structure [now he's talking about a building very plainly]... in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple..." (Ephesians 2:19-21 RSV) 

There is the temple to which Christ is coming. Not a physical temple made of stone and wood, but a temple that is the Church. And we find that at the time of Christ's coming, those who have died in the Church, that are dead but were in the Church, or the prophets, because they are the foundation of the very Church, will rise first in the resurrection. "And then those that remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds." (I Thessalonians 4:17 paraphrased). But; "This mortal will put on immortality. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye..." (I Corinthians 15:52-53 paraphrased) in I Corinthians 15.
So that when we meet Christ in the air we will no longer be pale faced, or black or yellow or whatever we are ... human beings. We will be glorified God beings, no longer human beings, composed of spirit, not any longer of matter: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh..." (John 3:6

That's what we are, but when we are born again, that which is born again will be spirit. We will be far more glorious, as you read back in the second chapter of Haggai, than the temple ... to which Christ came the first time — the temple that Zerubbabel built seventy years after Solomon's temple was destroyed. But I mean it will be far more glorious than Solomon's temple by far; because we will be holy and righteous with our faces shining like the very sun in full strength, even as Christ is now. 

And He's just the firstborn of many brethren. So Christ was born first as a human being and then He was born again as a God being, as He had been before He was born the first time actually. So there was enough to devote a whole Bible study to just beginning with verse nineteen there. 

Coming to the third chapter:    "in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." (Ephesians 2:22 RSV) 

For God does dwell in the Church, in among us, His Spirit in each one of us. But we are fitly framed together, as we're going to see now today. And not scattered, not disjointed, not individual Christians having our own individual membership or walk with Christ, but joined together. And God has put some in the Church, as we're going to see if we get that far today, to lead and to join us together until we grow into that holy temple.  ...

Now let's see how that is in the Revised Standard. 

3:1(RSV) For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Jesus Christ on behalf of you Gentiles — assuming... 

... Paul was put in prison once or twice and that may be the meaning here. 

Now he's talking to the Ephesians. They had been born Gentiles. Now they are converted; and he says that you are no longer Gentiles. You are no longer foreigners from the nation of Israel, but you are fellow citizens. And then they are also in the family of God, a household, and they're built together like a building. 

Now what kind of a building do you have if part of the facade, one or two stones, or one or two pieces of the wood of it is over one place and some of it is over in another State, and a part of it is in another nation, and another part of it is somewhere else? Would you call it a building? And yet there are those that say; "Well I'm a loner, I'm an individual Christian. I don't want to be a part of any church organization." And then there's those who say; "I don't want to follow a man." And yet that's what they do do, they follow a man usually. And they go off into many little cliques, each one of them following one man. 
Now God has always worked through one man as leader. But that man is only a leader, and always it has been God. For example, when Samuel was a prophet leading the people of God, they didn't want Samuel anymore, they wanted a human king like the other nations. God said; "It isn't you they have rejected Samuel, you weren't the real ruler, I was. They have rejected me that I should not rule over them." (I Samuel 8:7 paraphrased). This is eighth chapter of I Samuel. And, you see it was God ruling them, not Samuel. 
And so it is really Christ leading the Church today, it is not I. I am only an instrument. But if Christ is not in me and leading me and inspiring me, then I am not the leader. And if I'm not the leader, I don't know why — I presume you just don't have one. But I think it is evident that I not only have been a leader, but that I have led you in precisely what this Word says. And that I have not compromised with this Word. I have — and it is plain in itself, God has made it plain to me — and I have tried to make it plain and share the wonderful understanding He's given me with as many people as I could. 
Now many people will treat all of this Word of God and the understanding of it, exactly as an old sow would treat some pearls and diamonds and rubies if you would give them to her. She would trample them in the mud. But she would go after some slop and she would like that, but she wouldn't care for what humans might treasure. Well humans go for the material things and not the spiritual treasures that God has, because they regard them with contempt. Of course there's one reason — they don't understand, and now we're going to come to a lot of that just right now. That's one reason they don't really appreciate the things of God because their minds are not open to it. And it's just like cloff, cloff, cloff, blah, blah, blah — something like that, some sounds that don't mean anything. They don't make any sense. 
Anyway, Paul was a prisoner bound in chains when he wrote this, and apparently he wrote the book of Philippians about the same time while he was in prison. He was not wasting his time even though he was in prison. And sometimes I have almost thought that if I was in a certain kind of prison, that it might be a blessing, because at least I would be free to write if they let me have a typewriter and some paper and Bibles. 
Whereas my time has been so taken up with petty, emotional things that I haven't been able to do a lot of the work in the last two months. So, you know; "...count it all joy when you fall into these various troubles;" (James 1:2 paraphrased) and things, as James says. {2} And I suppose that is the way the apostle Paul felt. He was in prison and he was bound in chains when he wrote this, but he wasn't wasting his time. 
He was writing this. Now I don't think he had a typewriter because such a thing had not been invented yet. But he had something he could write with. I don't know whether they had the kind of paper and pens and things like we have today either. But they had something they could write with, and they had some kind of material that they could write on that we don't have today. There's so much in this that we bring it all out. So he was a prisoner for Christ Jesus, not for some wrong he had done, but what they accused him of, whatever it was. 

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 2: if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

HWA said:

"...on behalf of you Gentiles — assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you," (3:1-2 RSV) 
Now that's all that I have, is a certain stewardship, and God's going to hold me accountable for the way I use it. In other words; you are sheep and I am a shepherd. And we're all sheep of a kind; we don't have much sense like the people of the world do. We don't have their kind of wisdom like they do anyway. 

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 3: how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,

HWA said:

The Mystery of God has to be Revealed

" [that] the mystery was made known to me by revelation... (3:3 RSV) 

It had to be revealed. A natural mind can't know this mystery. Now why is it called a mystery? What is he referring to? What does he mean, 'mystery'? If you read right over this you don't get it. You have to stop. What's that word 'mystery' mean? And you see the word 'revealed'. He didn't understand the mystery, God revealed it and made it plain to him so he could understand! 

I didn't understand this mystery. In the summer of 1926 I didn't understand it, and I didn't understand it any time before that either. Why is the truth of God called a mystery? The salvation of God is called a mystery. The things of the gospel are called a mystery. Well I think if we turn for a moment back here to I Corinthians the second chapter, we see that very quickly, very plainly and I'd like to just connect it up while it isn't too long ago that we were going through that. The I Corinthians the second chapter.

"But we speak the wisdom of God [it's beginning the seventh verse, the second chapter] in a mystery..." (I Corinthians 2:7
You see there again he uses the word 'mystery'. A mystery is something you don't understand, it's mysterious and you can't make any sense of it because it's just something you don't understand. And it's not only not understandable, to the world it's so much foolishness, as he says a little later we're going to come to: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom [you see it's hidden from the world, they don't understand, so it is mysterious to them], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew [not any of them, none of them, they don't understand it]: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (I Corinthians 2:7-9)

It was a mystery to them. Now things like that your eye can't see. How does knowledge come to your mind? Most of the knowledge that you have come through the eye or the ear; it's either what you read or what you hear. But some things, some knowledge comes by what you smell and what you taste or what you feel. But outside of those five senses, the average human mind has no knowledge. 

Now the things that God has prepared are things you can't see, things you can't hear, things you can't feel, you can't taste, you can't smell. So the natural mind of man can't know! That includes all of the great educators with PhD's, and other D's, or doctorates, after their names. If they have not received the Spirit of God to open their minds, they don't understand these things. Then later he says here in the eleventh verse: "...what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?..." (I Corinthians 2:11

A dog doesn't know. He has a brain like we do, only not as big usually. An elephant has a brain like we do, only bigger, and it's just as good as our brain. But he doesn't have the comprehension or the intellect that a human being does because he doesn't have a spirit to impart that power to the brain. And every human does have that spirit. That's the great difference. So knowledge can come to us that can't come to the dumb brutes and the dumb animals. Now knowledge can come to those that are converted because they have the Spirit of God. So we read here in the eleventh verse: "...what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?..." (I Corinthians 2:11)
A dog can't know it. An elephant can't know it. A horse or a cow can't know it, and certainly a chicken or a goose can't know it. But we can know because we have the spirit that is in man. But that spirit does not reveal the things of God, only the material things. 

It only gives us — well it acts like a computer. The things that come to your mind — knowledge that comes into the brain through the eye, or through the ear, or however it comes into the brain, it's immediately, it is — oh, what is the word that we use in the computer — it is programmed into the computer. The computer is the spirit and the spirit is your memory and it will bring something back. Someone will mention; I know someone that has mentioned when I was three years old, and instantly I go back to things I hadn't thought of in years. That I remember a great grandfather and a great uncle, and sitting on the lap of one of them when I was three years old. And that would come to my mind when I hadn't heard of that or thought of it in years. Well where was that? What brought it just instantly, just like a computer will bring information to you in a second or less, a fraction of a second. It does act as a computer. 

And now, on the other hand, that is only knowledge that you've already heard or read, seen or heard, or felt or smelled or tasted. And you can't know spiritual knowledge. Now in the same way: "...even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." (I Corinthians 2:11

If you don't have the Spirit of God you can't know the things of God, you can't know them. And so if you don't know them, well they are rather mysterious aren't they? I suppose some of the things we do are rather mysterious to these dogs around the house here. They don't understand them, they don't know why we do some of the things we do. And maybe they think we're crazy, but the only thing is I think that they don't think — period, in the first place.

But now back to where we were "How that by revelation he [God] made known unto me the mystery..." (Ephesians 3:3)
Now God had to reveal it. He revealed it by and through His Holy Spirit, and Paul did not know that when he was persecuting the Christians. He did not know any of those things. Until the Spirit of God came he didn't know, but the Spirit of God opened his mind to comprehend the things of God, just as the spirit in man opens our mind to comprehend the things of man that a dog or a cow, a horse, an elephant does not comprehend or understand, the same way. So it was through God's Spirit that God revealed it and made known unto Paul the mystery as it was a mystery to those who don't understand, as, he said; 

Here is something from our free online book The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?:

Part of the truth is that God’s plan is a mystery to most. Notice something that the Bible teaches about that:

25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith —  27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)

The Bible tells of the mystery which has been kept secret since the world began, but that it is revealed in prophetic scriptures—”the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18).

The Bible refers to many mysteries, such as the mystery of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11), the mystery of grace (Ephesians 3:1-5), the mystery of faith (1 Timothy 3:9), the mystery of the marriage relationship (Ephesians 5:28-33), the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:7), the mystery of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:51-54), the mystery of Christ (Ephesians 3:4) the mystery of the Father (Colossians 2:2), the mystery of God (Colossians 2:2; Revelation 10:7) and even Mystery Babylon the Great (Revelation 17:5). This book is written, for those interested in the truth, “that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God” (Colossians 2:2, NET).

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 4: by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ,

HWA said:

And that's why I write so much, so that our brethren, when they read, I can try to make it plain. If they have the Holy Spirit they will comprehend it. But those same things, to someone who does not have God's Holy Spirit, he just cannot comprehend. However, some of the things I write they can begin to comprehend, but not the spiritual things, only the physical material things that can lead to spiritual knowledge. 

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 5: which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

HWA said:

Well there was more revealed to the apostles than even probably most of the prophets had ever known, because Jesus said that even the holy prophets had desired to look into the things that you know. But it was not given to them to know and they couldn't understand. 

By combining the Hebrew scriptures and what God inspired to be written for the New Testament, many mysteries have been revealed. See also, the free online booklet: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?

The Book of Daniel prophesies that knowledge would be increased in the last days (Daniel 12:4) and Jesus said that "all things" would be restored (Matthew 17:11). Much as been restored in the Continuing Church of God (see also Continuing Church of God, Elijah, and Restoring All Things).

Until that knoweldge was increased in the CCOG, no other church taught the truth restored truth that the reason God made humans was so that they could give love in a unique way to make eternity better for themselves and everyone else who will obey God.

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 6: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,
Heirs of Christ.

HWA said:

That's why this part of the Bible is called the New Testament. It is Christ's will and testament. It is the writing that shows what He has willed to us; and it is of no value until after the testator dies. But of course Christ did die. 

 "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs [in a witnessed will, or a testament, shows what he is willing to someone else after he dies]... that they should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of [the] promise in Christ by the gospel:

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 7: of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.

HWA said:

God's power, again you see Paul doesn't claim to have any power in himself at all, it's all what God has done.

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 8: To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

HWA said:

And if Paul was less than the least of the saints, I keep wondering, how low am I? Because I couldn't possibly measure up to a Paul; and yet he was less than the least of the saints. But God in him was something else; and God in me has done some things, but that's God's doing.

Now that was not given to Paul as just a blessing to Paul; it was given to him to share with others, and to give to others. So it's giving, giving, giving. God is a giver. God gave it to Paul, Paul gives it out to others, and God is on the giving side. You know I; in my ads in the Wall Street Journal I talk about giving and getting as the two ways of life. 

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 9: and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; the fellowship in this thing that is so mysterious to people in the way of God, in the knowledge of God and in the Church of God

Verse 10: to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,

HWA said:

Oh let me read that tenth verse. I got back into the King James, let's go back into the Revised Standard. I had quite a lot that I've been underscoring here. Back into verse seven: 

"...members of the same body, and partakers of the promise [of] Christ...through the gospel [and in verse seven]. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace which was given me by the working of his power [of course that power is the Holy Spirit]. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given [to why?], to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things;" (Ephesians 3:6-9 RSV) 

Now you don't mention here 'by Jesus Christ'. I'm glad the King James does, because that is the way God did His creation; "All things were made by him [Jesus]..." (John 1:3)

Angelic Principalities and Powers

"...that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places." (3:10 RSV) 

Now those principalities and powers are talking about spirits. And here he is talking about the holy spirits of God, angelic spirits; because in other places he talks about the spirits of evil that are ruling in the darkness of this world. In fact, later, he does in this same book when we get to the sixth chapter. But here he is speaking about even holy angels that God has created.

And principalities and powers that have so much greater power than has been given to human beings, at least so far. More power will be given to us than they have ultimately, but not as yet. 

And it was hid, people couldn't see it, they couldn't understand it, and that's why it is called a mystery.

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 11: according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

The veil was removed for us.

HWA said:

We've access to God, the world does not have.

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 12: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

HWA said:

And we have access to God the Father. You notice that the churches of this world talk about Christ but they don't say much about God the Father. Do you ever notice that? God the Father is the Law Giver, and when you sin you've broken the Law of God and that sin is against God the Father. 

And it's God the Father who has immortal life to give, and we have to get back to God the Father to gain eternal life. But how do we get to the Father? Through Christ. Now Christ died to pay our penalty for us, because the penalty we have incurred stands between us and God as a wall about ten miles thick of steel, or something. And you can't penetrate through it. But the blood of Christ reconciles us back to God the Father. And God the Father is a God of love who wants to give us immortal life. And He loved us so much; "He gave his only begotten Son [that we could be reconciled back to Him], and not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16 paraphrased). 

But here he's talking about the principalities and powers even in the heavenly places, that it could now be made known. It indicates that a lot of things were not made known to them and that God is actually granting to us who have His Holy Spirit, to come to have knowledge of the great purposes of God and what God is doing, that even great angelic beings, far greater than human beings, never could understand. But through us, they can come to understand. 

Do you realize that we are going to judge angels? Do you realize that angels are kept in tartaroo to the day of their judgment? It says 'hell' in II Peter, or is it I Peter 2:4? I believe its II Peter isn't it? The angels that sinned; there is a judgment day coming for the angels. I don't think that includes the former Lucifer, or Satan, I think he knew better. There is one place where Jesus said; "...If you had not known you would have had no sin, but you say we know so your sin remains." (John 9:41 paraphrased) 

And sin, after all, is not only transgression of the law, but God looks on the heart. And primarily it might be sin whether you know it or not, but God only imputes it according to your knowledge. And, well you do the wrong thing if you don't have the knowledge, and if there's a physical penalty that's going to hit you just the same whether you know it or whether you don't. But so far as your eternity is concerned, God is concerned more with what you know and what is your attitude and your attitude of mind. God looks on the heart which means attitude primarily.

Back to Ephesians 3, the Apostle Paul wrote:

Verse 13: Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

Notice the following which also involved Paul:

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:21-22)

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 14: For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

The "reason" is the "eternal purpose" mentioned in verse 11.

That purpose is a fantastic eternal life.

HWA said:

Now there again if you notice, the true Church is named after the Father, or it is not the Church of God; it's some other, it's the church of man. The Lutheran church is the church of Luther. The Church of God is God's Church, that's a different kind of a body. It's named after the one who's the Head, the real Head of all. The head of Christ is God. 

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 15: from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Hence, the term Church of God, as a reference to the Father, which is used more in scripture that Church of Christ (which is used just once in Romans 16:6).

Furthermore, With God being our Father, we certainly can see the family relationship--the family of God--God is a family, which now consists of the Father and the Son, as well as begotten children of God, who will be born into the God family at the first resurrection.

It is true Christians who will be named of God, and hence part of God's family:

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God (Revelation 3:12).

Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1).

The Bible clearly uses the term Father and Son to indicate those who are now in the Godhead. That is a FAMILY relationship. The following verses show that Christians are also the children of God, hence are to be part of that same family:

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him (1 John 3:1-2).

John specifically called Christians the "children of God" and taught that we will be like Him. I consider that my sons, my children, are part of my family. God considers His children are also part of His family. More on the Godhead can be found in the article: Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 16: that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

HWA said:

And just think what that means; the power, spiritual power that could be given to us. And we are strengthened, but that means strengthened spiritually, but not with physical muscle in your arms and legs and so on. 

That power will come after the first resurrection when this mortal puts on immortality for those God raises (1 Corinthians 15:3).

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 17: that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

Christians are to let Jesus lives His life in them. So, yes, if you are a real Christian, you are to try to live as Jesus would.

Verse 18: may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—
Verse 19: to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Being "filled with all the fullness of God" means that resurrected Christians will be deified. This was the position of the early Christians as that is what they understood as well (see also What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?).

HWA said, related to verses 17-19:

The love of Christ — you know that knowledge can't come to the average person, the love of Christ. How much He suffered for us, the price He paid. The price He paid in giving up the supreme glory He had had forever. Now forever goes backward, there never was a beginning, it has always existed. Christ had had that glory with the God the Father forever. He gave that up to become a human being and let people spit in His face, and mock Him and ridicule Him, and beat Him. Nail Him up to a cross with pounding nails through His hands and feet. Oh boy; when you think how that must have hurt. And the humiliation that He was willing to bear when He had been the Great God equal with the Father. Except that God was not the Father until Jesus became a human being, and then God was His Father. 

Back to Ephesians 3:

Verse 20: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Verse 21: to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

God's plan is so fantastic and it is abundantly better than we can imagine--though through His word, we can get a glimpse of it (1 Corinthians 2:9, 13:12).

HWA said:

Now it seems like he sort of ended a part of his letter there, but he begins a very important part again in which we have here divided, as men have divided it, into chapter four.

Chapter 4

Now to chapter 4:

Verse1: I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

Yes, Christians are called by God--for more information on that, see our free online booklet: Is God Calling You? 

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 2: with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
Verse 3: endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Notice we are to bear with one another in love. Not harsh and often selfish judgments. Sadly, we have had people leave us who do not understand this and many other points.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 4: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

HWA said:

Now there's one body, one Church, not many churches, and that Church is all bound together as I said, like a building. And if you take a part of a building and put it one place, and another part way off a thousand miles away, and another part two thousand miles in some other direction, what kind of a building are you going to have? And that's the kind of building that {independent} people think God is going to have, that want to just be loner Christians all alone by themselves. 

" body and one Spirit". Only the one Spirit of God, and that's not a Spirit of malice, is not a spirit of resentment or bitterness, it's not a spirit of envy or jealousy; it's not a spirit of hostile competition. The way of get is a wrong spirit, or attitude. That's the way the world is living. The way of God is give, and it's the attitude of love, which is out flowing — first to God and then for the good and the welfare of others equal to the welfare of yourself. 

Well, there is one Church of God, but it has members who differ as well as numerous organizations.

Jesus said:

1 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, (Revelation 3:14)

Note that Laodiceans is plural. The bulk of end-time Christians are Laodicean and are in a multitude of organizations.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 5: one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

We are working on a new booklet: About Baptism.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 6: one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Now, unitarians like to point to this verse and several others to deny the deity of Jesus. Yet, when confronted with clear scriptures of Jesus' deity, they often claim that those verses really should not be in the Bible--for details check out the article: Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church? Furthermore, another way to dispute unitarian positions is to point to binitarian statements made by early Christians leaders Moe details are in the article: Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 7: But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

HWA said:

In other words, some people receive a greater measure of the Holy Spirit than others. We are to; "...grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." (II Peter 3:18). When we are first converted we don't have it all. A whole lot of it comes through more knowledge. I can't have the appreciation of the things of God if I don't know about them, I have to know. That is, I have to have the knowledge if I'm going to really appreciate it. And so a lot of it ... it takes the knowledge and then it takes action on that knowledge. It takes agreeing with that knowledge; "Two can't walk together except they be agreed." (Amos 3:3 paraphrased). We have to agree with God. Here's the knowledge written in this book; do we accept it? Of course we have to comprehend it, and then are we in accord with it? Do we agree? 

The 'measure', and His gift is the Holy Spirit. So it's the measure of the Holy Spirit that He gives to each one. And then overcoming and changing of your life as you go along. 

Now, it may or may not be the amount that varies as opposed to specific aspects of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Since different people have differing amounts of the above, that may be the "grace was given according to the measure" or what they can actually handle. Items related to the Spirit also have to do with various roles in the church which we will cover soon.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 8: Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

Notice that it is not men who give these gifts to men, but God who does.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 9: (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?

Numbers 633 & 634 in The Catechism of the Catholic Church points to this verse as proof that Jesus went to Hades after His crucifixion--they call that day Holy Saturday and teach that Jesus preached the gospel then.

While Jesus' disciples mourned His death and would have rested on the Sabbath, when Jesus was dead, He was actually dead. Though He was raised from the dead on the day we now call Saturday.

There are several theological problems with the Roman view of 'Holy Saturday". Consider:

  1. If Jesus did not really die, which He did (Romans 5:8, 8:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:10), then He did not really give His life, hence we could not be reconciled to God (Romans 5:10).
  2. There is no New Testament teaching that Jesus descended into Hades to preach to various spirits or dead humans.
  3. Plus dead humans are dead (see Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? and What Happens After Death?).
  4. This doctrine seems to have developed from the falsely named Gospel of Peter.

On that second point, first let me quote the Bible:

27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (Acts 2:27)

That passage does NOT say that Jesus descended and preached. Consider also the word translated as Hades means the grave or place of the dead.

It is NOT the same word as Gehenna (which had a fire) that is often translated as hell in many New Testaments.

It is also NOT the same word as Tartarosas which is used as a place of restraint for fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4). The Bible never teaches that Jesus went there after He was executed.

Note, in his Latin Vulgate Bible, Jerome used the word for Tartarosas and not the word for Hades:

4 si enim Deus angelis peccantibus non pepercit sed rudentibus inferni detractos in tartarum tradidit in iudicium cruciatos reservari (2 Peter 2:4, Latin Vulgate)

Furthermore, realize that Acts 2:27 is a quote (per Acts 2:25) of something David wrote in the Psalms:

10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (Psalms 16:10)

Sheol also means grave or place of the dead (Psalm 6:5).

See also the article: What Happened in the 'Crucifixion Week'? 

Jesus went to the grave after His death--not on a preaching mission. Jesus was truly DEAD. Many who claim Christianity do not realize or accept that.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 10: He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

HWA said:

"Therefore it is said, 'When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.' (In saying, 'He ascended,' [which is, I think we've heard that also in John 3:13; 'He ascended,'] what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? [In other words; He was buried in that tomb hewn out of the rock] He who descended is he who also ascended [by a resurrection and then ascended up to heaven] far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)" (4:8-10 RSV) 

Now it says; "...above all the heavens..." The Bible, so far as I understand, mentions three heavens. The first heaven is described in the first chapter of Genesis which is the atmosphere of the earth where the birds fly and where we now fly in airplanes. And that is called heaven in Genesis the first chapter. And then there is the heaven clear beyond when you get clear outside of the earth's atmosphere. And that heaven is part of the earth, it's the gassiest part of the earth. The oceans are the water part of the earth, or the liquid part of the earth. And the ground is the solid part of the earth. So it's part solid and part liquid and part gas. And you can turn some solids into liquid, or you can turn some liquids into gas. Well what's steam, but it's a sort of a gas, and so on. So there's at least three heavens; and Paul mentions being caught up to the third heaven in one of his letters. 

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 11: And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

Notice it is God that gave some to be the above positions.


Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 12: for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Verse 13: till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

The positions are to improve those in the church. Yet, many independents think that they are better off without heeding proper ones in those positions.

Now, many in the ecumenical world misunderstand about the unity of the faith. They believe in doctrinal compromise and do not truly believe that they are to "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). Yet, while they sometimes point to Ephesians 4:13, they fail to see that the true unity of faith cannot happen in this age. It does not come until Christians are perfect, which will not happen until after the Church age ends and the faithful are resurrected.

HWA said:

Now not only unity together, but unity in the faith. But if I'm one place, and you're a thousand miles away, and with no contact one way or the other; we're not as likely to get together as we are if we are together, and we all are studying the same word, wanting only the truth. 

Seeking God's Way Not Our Own

I'm reminded of the time some years back, when we used to go up into penthouse in the library, and that was the headquarters office up there; and we'd have meetings with some of the leaders among us at that time. And it might be some problem. It might be a matter of understanding a certain scripture. It might be some problem that some person had, whatever. But some of us would have one idea and some might have another. But we always, maybe in twenty or thirty minutes, maybe in an hour, maybe in a couple or three hours, we would always end up one hundred percent in agreement. 

Now why did we come to agreement? Because we were seeking the will of God and not our own will. We weren't seeking our own way. But some men, they've got their mind set a certain way and just that selfishness in them, they won't give up, they won't admit they could be wrong. Well we had to all be willing to admit we were wrong. And as long as we were, we used to come to exact harmony together. 

Well now, in those meetings we used to have, we would discuss it until we did all come to the unity and we could all see the same truth, and it was unity, but it had to be the truth; if we were looking for our own way we never would have found it.

Well, there likely was not true 100% agreement as subsequent history demonstrated.

Which leads us back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 14: that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

HWA said:

You know that we have that among us, and we're always going to have. You're going to find that here and there will be some that are crafty and deceitful and they are out for selfish motives. They're out — it's always to get, they always want something for self. They are not wanting to help others, they're not wanting to give. They are wanting to get for self. We've had it in the Church. I've had that to contend with in some of the ministers up in Eugene, Oregon; before I ever came down to California. And some of the crafty, deceitful things that they pulled, it's just — you couldn't believe it, hardly. But they did. But somehow God always pulled me through. And Satan is still using people that way. That craftiness, deceitful wiles, that all comes from Satan. That's the way of Satan, it comes from Satan's mind. 

And, the Laodiceans among us, or formerly among us, do not realize how they are being influenced by Satan's attitude.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 15: but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
Verse 16: from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

HWA said:

I want to read that in the King James: "From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth..."'Compacted', it's like they're welded together, every piece, they're not scattered one here and one there. And it is not with one idea here, and a different doctrine and idea there. We've all got to come in the unity of the faith of the truth of God; and that means that each and every one of us must be willing to give up his way. 

I go back to the time of my conversion and I know that's what it was. I was seeking to have my own way, I was challenged. My conversion came by finding how wrong I was and giving up my way. And not only realizing how wrong I was. I not only realized what I had done, but it was what I was beside what I had done. It was more than just what I had done. And I had to be converted from what I was, as well as from what I had done. 

And until a new incentive, a new motive, a new purpose in life had to come into my mind and heart. And that has not left me. Now does that mean that I have walked a chalk line and never made a mistake? Oh no. Does that mean I never sinned? No I have. I have, so have every one of you. 

And you read in I John the first chapter and he says; "If you say you haven't sinned [and he's talking about Christians after you receive the Holy Spirit] you deceive yourselves and you don't have the truth." (I John 1:8 paraphrased). So every one of us has sinned and done wrong. But I know this, that in my mind and heart, I still had the same motive and intent. I still agreed with God. I didn't come to the place where I disagreed. I didn't come to the place where I flagrantly disobeyed in rebellion. 

We usually stumble and fall through the weakness of the flesh, weakness in human nature, or something of the kind, and not one of us has been perfect. On the other hand we overcome this, we overcome that, we overcome something else and something else. And then we find that here's a place where we did what was wrong. 
And we go back and it hurts our conscience, and everything else, and even although we've repented of it long ago and God has wiped it clean by the shed blood of Christ. And it seems hard for us to realize that it is wiped clean and we don't have to go back and kick ourselves all over the lot again because of it. 

Every Part Working Together in Love

But I did want you to notice that we are joined together just as if we were welded together. It is not one part of the building here and one part there. And the Church is like a building in that regard. And it must be compacted together, joined closely together. Well anyway; 

   "...compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

Now it was the sixteenth verse. Now let me get that here; fourth chapter and verse sixteen: 

"From whom the whole body [and remember that we saw that it is one body and not several bodies, the one body] ... is joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied [or every joint that composes it], when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and up builds itself in love." (RSV)

Every part must work properly. If one part is working — well. it's like a team of horses; and maybe you'd have a team of six horses, two together, two in front of them and two in front of them. Like the Anheuser-Busch team of great big, fine horses. But if one of them starts going the wrong way, the other five can't go the right way because the other five have a hard time dragging that one along if he wouldn't go along with them. They all have to work together. 
What can a team do ... if they don't work together? And when you find a team that is virtually a National Championship team and they begin to fall into a slump, there is a wrong attitude in the part of some player someplace. And that team spirit is not there any longer, there is something that is causing it. And that's the thing in this world all coaches have to worry about. There has to be what they call team spirit. They've all got to pull the same way, and they don't have the Holy Spirit of God to help them in this world of athletics. 
There have been some basketball games going on today and they're lined up where someone has to lose and suffer the agony in order that someone else can have all the elation of ecstasy in winning. And what have they won? And what's all that ecstasy about? It doesn't amount to anything. They won't remember ten years from now. They won't remember through eternity. It is as a nothing. 
But this world has to have some kind of excitement. I was just thinking this morning as I was going through this and trying to prepare and refresh my mind on it, I think to have your mind on things like this would be pretty dull to the people of this world. Without God's Spirit, they don't have an interest in things like this. This would be dull and they want some excitement. And if you're going to have that kind of excitement as the world has, you have; as they say in all of its contests, its sports and everything, there is, 'the ecstasy and the agony'. 
In the Presidential race Ronald Reagan had ecstasy, but Jimmy Carter and his wife went into a room and closed the door, and they just wept and they cried and cried aloud in agony. And they probably forgot that four years before, Mr Ford and his wife were probably crying in agony, and Jimmy Carter and his wife were in their ecstasy. And that's the way it is in this world, it's competition and it's strife. And if you're going to enjoy anything, someone else has to suffer in order that you can enjoy it. 
I was remarking that up in our breakfast room this morning. I think I was talking about it with Ramona, and she said, "Well God will supply some kind of interest for us in the Kingdom that will be so much more interesting than the excitement of the sports and the things that they have today that there will be no comparison." We're not going to be just bored by any manner of means. It's going to be a thrilling, interesting time.

It will be better than we can imagine! Paul wrote:

9 But as it is written:

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-11)

While we do not know all the details, we are to have faith that the kingdom is fantastic and enough faith to endure to the end despite trials and difficulties that we face.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 17: This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,

HWA said:

Now verse seventeen: "Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do [you see, that's the way this world is living right now, all around, other people are out shopping, it's a great shopping day, doing everything they should not do on God's Holy Sabbath] ... that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their minds [it's futile, it's just of no value whatsoever, and yet they'll attach value to something that has no value]... the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them..." (RSV) 

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 18: having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart

HWA said:

Ignorance! Now that applies to the highest educated people in this world! Not only the United States, but the highly educated in Britain, in France, in Germany, and wherever you go. I guess some of them over in Moscow think they are highly educated, but they don't have any real education. They're just ignorant of the real values. 

Jesus taught that they blind do have an excuse for not seeing--and the word of God teaches all, including those blinded now, will have an opportunity for salvation--either in this age or in the age to come. See also our free onlinebook:  Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God's plan of salvation.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 19: who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

This includes unclean meats as the Gentile Ephesians were used to eating those. See also The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 20: But you have not so learned Christ,

HWA said:

You did not so learn Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him [or have learned of Him, it would be better] and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus. Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life..." (RSV) 

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 21: if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:

HWA said:

Now we talk about human nature, and that brings that back right here; it's another thing that comes in on human nature. We think of human nature as something that we were born with. Human nature is something that has been acquired, not something that was born in us. If it was born in you, how are you going to put it off? But now notice something else he says right here: 

That said, Paul is saying that they learned the truth about how to properly live in Jesus--that is something they did not have before conversion.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 22: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

HWA said:

Now notice, while we are; "...partakers of the divine nature." (II Peter 1:4) Peter says. We didn't have that divine nature but it begins to come into us. We begin to absorb it and receive it; it's not something that was born in us. This thing we call human nature is an evil something that Satan has injected into us since we were born, we were not born with it. 

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 23: and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Verse 24: and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

You should be renewed by obeying God, keeping the Sabbath, giving love, praying, fasting, studying the Bible, listening to sermons, etc.

HWA said:

Put that nature on until that becomes our nature. Nature is that which becomes natural, and what becomes natural is natural because it has become fixed habit. So get into the habit of it until it becomes just habitual and therefore it will seem to just be natural. 

I was thinking as I was putting on a tie this morning, just a little thing, but it's an illustration. If you would ask me; how do you tie the kind of a knot that I have? And I would just sit here and try to tell you what to do, I couldn't do it to save my life. I could not do it! But I've put on a tie and I've found while I was tying that knot this morning, I wasn't thinking about what I was doing, my hands have gotten into the habit and they just naturally, habitually do it. And if I were to show you how, I would have to untie my tie and start to tie it again and I would have to explain each thing as I go. My hands would do it and then I would see. 
Now to some little extent I have played the piano ever since I was eight years old. When I was twelve, of course, I got too big for my mother to whip me, and make me play any longer so I'd practice. So I didn't improve any further from that time on, only played for my own pleasure when I wanted to, and when it interested me. So I never did play very well or very much, but perhaps more than just an ordinary beginner because I took lessons for four years when I was growing up. But even now, I can only play certain things that I've had memorized for many, many years. Like I can play the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, called Moonlight. Well if I tried to think now what keys I hit, I couldn't think to save my life; when I go in my hands just naturally do it! They've done it for years, and it's become a habit, and my hands just do it. 
You know you get your hands trained to do certain things and they just do it. You get your feet trained to do certain things and walk in a certain way, or a certain movement, and you just do it naturally. It becomes natural. And that's what we call nature, and human nature is what we have. It's acquired habit, that's what it is. And the people have never — most people have never understood what human nature is, and what is nature. They think it of something you are born with. It was not.

Well enough of that, I wanted to make that plain; I believe it's an important point. 

God's Nature

Now let's see: "[For we] put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." (RSV)    
You know it's just habitual with God. God has never been any other way. He just is love, He is godly, He is righteous completely and no other way. 

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 25: Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

Yes, God expects you to be honest.

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

Satan wants you to lie to yourself that you don't have to do things God's ways. He wants you to lie to others to get them to stumble.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

HWA said:

You know just being angry alone in righteous anger, indignation, is not necessarily sin. However anger should always be controlled and not uncontrolled. Uncontrolled anger can open your mind to demon possession. In other words; if you get so angry you can completely lose your head until you've lost control of your own mind. A demon can take control. Now most people just don't do that, but that's just a rare, occasional thing, but that's the way some demons get in. So we should be careful that we don't completely lose our heads and our minds

Related to this verse, Polycarp of Smyrna’s Letter to the Philippians (A.D. 110-140) states:

12:1 … It is declared then in these Scriptures, “Be angry, and sin not,” and, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (cf. Ephesians 4:26).

The New Testament was considered scripture at an early date.

Back to Ephesians 4:. 

Verse 27: nor give place to the devil.

Dwelling on anger can help the devil get you to do the wrong thing--including leaving the Church of God, or at least the Philadelphian portion of it.

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 28: Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

Not only are we not supposed to steal, we are supposed to produce and give to others.

HWA said:

Repentance is to turn from it and don't do it again. That's another way of — repentance is, of course, it is being sorry, it is remorse. But it's so much more than that; it's a change of mind in regard to it altogether. 

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 29: Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Related to our words, we have the following available:

THIRD COMMANDMENT: Words Matter Are you obeying the Third Commandment? Are you sure? Could you be blaspheming with your euphemisms or life actions? Here is a link to a related sermon: Third Commandment Plus: Words Matter. Here is a link to a shorter video: Was Increased Cursing Prophesied?

HWA said:

Do you realize how much it is wrong to even come out of our mouths? But; "...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34) you know. And, well I heard of where there was a lot of the wrong kind of shenanigans, and horse play, and the wrong kind of talk was going on in one place within our campus, where it certainly never should. And it was absolutely wrong. Well that's all cleaned out now, and that isn't happening anymore, and I'm glad it's cleaned out. But so many people get into that sort of thing, and they're sort of laughing, joshing, and kidding, and they think it is fun. And I know grown people do it; I don't know why they do. 

Let it be noted that instead of just not cursing, Christians should praise God (Romans 15:11; Hebrews 13:15).

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (NKJV)

And do not vex (see explanation) the Holy Spirit of God by which you have been sealed for the day of redemption. (A Faithful Version).

Many, particularly the Laodiceanns--but not just them--do grieve the Holy Spirit. All Christians do to some degree, but the Laodiceans and the remnant of Sardis for that matter, are grieving the Holy Spirit by not having the right works, not properly heeding all the scriptures that they should, and not realizing how much they need to change.

HWA said:

Now we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Well if we're sealed with the Holy Spirit, then the seal of God must be the Holy Spirit isn't it? We have what we call an earnest payment. Or like the little, it's not even a full down payment, but an earnest payment you make on buying a piece of property. It's even a small part of the down payment, but it's enough to show your good intention. It doesn't completely bind it, of course you can lose that if you want to give it up. But the Holy Spirit is the earnest payment that God has given us of eternal life. Now we can give it up, and we can lose it. But we better not. 

God has given us that earnest payment and we don't want to lose it. Well we're sealed for the day of redemption because those at the time of Christ's coming, or those who die before that who have, and are led by, the Holy Spirit at that time. They are the ones who are the sons of God and are going to be immortal and God beings and no longer human beings. 

Back to Ephesians 4:

Verse 31: Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Verse 32:  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

HWA said:

What chance would we have if God had just been so angry He would never forgive us? That's the way some people are. If you've ever done something wrong they are forever angry at you. They never will forgive you. If we don't forgive others their sins, God won't forgive us ours. And we have to remember those things. 

Well now that finishes the fourth, so I think that we will have the fifth and sixth to our next Bible Study.

Here is a link to a related sermon: Ephesians 3 -4: Godhead, Immortality, Your Purpose.

Chapter 5

Before starting chapter 5, here is an introduction HWA gave when finishing speaking about Ephesians 4:

Of course then we'll come in to some things about the whole armor of God and things of that sort, and that we're not fighting against flesh and blood but against evil spirits in high places, and in the governments and in the universe. 
We blame other people when they're doing wrong, and of course if they are doing wrong, they are to be blamed. But the prime guilt is on Satan in every case, and we forget that. And it is too bad that if people have been weakened to the point they have let Satan lead them into certain things that are wrong, we should have a little compassion for them on that, because that was a weakness, and try to help them out of it; instead of just being too angry at them too. But sometimes the whole intent is one of malice and one of covetousness and greed on their part for what they can get. And until they can get rid of that attitude, there is nothing you can do with them. 
And I've said that if you ever let bitterness and resentment really get into you, you are probably more hooked on that; and withdrawal from it will be harder than withdrawal from heroin or other narcotics, that is one of the hard drugs. Whatever happens, never let yourself get to the place of being completely resentful and bitter, no matter how bad someone else has performed. No matter how much you think they've hurt you, because then you are worse off than the person who was wrong and who wronged you, if you let that ever get into your mind and heart. 
I've warned lots of people, and I know that lots of people who have heard it have later been hooked on that and lost clear out. And I don't know what to do except to do what I have done and warn them and pray for them. And what else can we do? That's why I try to pray for the brethren regularly every day.

While we did not locate his specific Bible study on chapters 5 and 6, we managed to put add some statements HWA had made onmultiple specific passages. While we do NOT slavishly follow everything HWA said, in CCOG we seem to have a better balance than others--we do not simply use old materials nor do we ignore them. This article and many others incorporate many of the specific teachings and we continue with a lot of the timeless and sound messages.

Now, to Ephesians 5:

Verse 1: Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

Jesus said:

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Yes, that is a very tall order!

But perfection is what we are to be working towards.

The Apostle Paul also wrote:

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Yes, we are to try to imitate God--and the Bible gives us a decent amount of information about how Jesus the Christ lived.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 2: And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

We are to walk in Christian love.

We are not to accept various lusts that the world calls love.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 3: But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;

Verse 4: neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Yes, the world advocates fornication, uncleaness, covetousness, filthiness, and wrong speaking--many who even claim to be Christian ministers do so,

Yet, as we read in Ephesians 5:

Verse 5: For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

HWA said:

In Ephesians 5 Paul is telling Christians to flee fornication, covetousness, idolatry — transgressing the TEN COMMANDMENTS. Then he says: "for because of these things," [transgressing God's LAW] "cometh the WRATH OF GOD [last plagues] upon the children of disobedience" (Eph. 5:6).

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 6: Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Verse 7: Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Is accepting sexual immorality as a legitimate lifestyle deceit? Furthermore, is eating biblical prohibited foods or not eating them a sign of disobedience? Is not consuming what the Bible prohibits covetous? What about violating God's Sabbath? Sadly, many fall for "empty words" from men and women falsely claiming to be one of God's ministers.

Peter added:

9 The Lord knoweth how … to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be tormented. 10 And especially them who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government …  (2 Peter 2:9-10, DRB).

Some, sadly, despise biblical authority to eat whatsoever they lust after or to be sexually involved any way they please.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 8: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Now, most of us do not want to think we were once in darkness, but we were. We are to change and now walk

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 9: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),

Psalm 119:172 says all of God's commandments are righteousness. Also, there are more fruits of the Spirit as Paul also wrote:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 10:  finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.

How does that happen?

Well, according to Ephesians 4

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Sadly, many do not accept the above, but think they are better off on their own and not supporting the most faithful Philadelphian remnant, which is the Continuing Church of God.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 11: And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

We strive to to this, but many have their minds made up and lie to themselves that their works are not unfruitful ones of darkness.

We have warned against false prophets, false predictions, false COG leaders, as well as those who have wrongly compromised doctrine, etc. (e.g., see When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? and Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?).

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 12: For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.
Verse 13: But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

These verses bring to mind the sex scandals that the Church of Rome is facing. In February 2023 there were reports on the news related to Portugal and San Diego where young parishioners were abused by the Roman Catholic clergy.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 14: Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Now, that was a letter to the Ephesians, nearly two thousand years ago. Yet, it is similar to two prophecies from Jesus for the Laodiceans and others of the 21st century:

1"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' 12 But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'

13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. (Matthew 25:1-13)

{Sadly, many Laodiceans think that they will know what to do at the end, but will not react as they should. Like the foolish virgins they have deceived themselves.}.

14 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'" (Revelation 3:14-22)

Despite Jesus' warning, most end-time Christians will not heed. Jesus has words for at least parts of 4 church eras at the end, and most Christians will not heed "what the Spirit says to the churches."

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 15: See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
Verse 16: redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Sadly, many think they have more time than they do. They are often wasting their lives and not redeeming the time.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 17: Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Many refuse to heed Jesus' messages to the churches of Revelation 2 & 3. Many foolishly convince themselves that they do not need to support the Philadelphian work for a variety of personal reasons that THEY have judged are more important. The fact that Laodicea actually is made up of two words that mean "people judge" does not register with them that it means that most end-time Christians, including often themselves, are not judging rightly.

HWA said:

... in Ephesians, you read that we're to be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord or the ETERNAL is — (Eph. 5:17). Now, He tells us what His will is. Do you read your Bible, do you study it to find out? Well, it's there, that's Ephesians 5:17, "Wherefore be ye not unwise." We surely lacking wisdom, if you don't know that. And what is the will of God? And if you lack wisdom asked of God and He'll tell you. I just quoted that scripture a minute ago. You can understand what the will of the Lord is because the Bible is the expression of His will. If you don't have a Bible, I, I'll tell you, I'd go without a few meals, if necessary. ...

Because the Bible explains His will, and reveals it to you. Or are you just too busy to study it and find out? Every one of us has twenty-four hours a day. But you know we just don't have time to get this done, and that done, and the other thing we need to get done. Oh we're in such a hurry running around on this treadmill going nowhere - back and forth, back and forth. In a hurry, nervous, high tension. Where are we going? We aren't going anywhere. Are you really? Are you going anywhere, are you getting anywhere? Why don't you stop and analyze it, my friends, and see if you're getting anywhere? I don't think you are.

You're not, unless you have found the way to happiness, unless you have found the way to success, unless you've found what your life was put here for on this earth. It was put here to grow, and to develop, in spiritual character. That means capacity and ability to accomplish, and that kind of accomplishment is the kind that becomes a blessing to everybody. That helps others, that is doing good. Then you share in it. Oh, I want to tell you, there is the greatest thrill in the world, when you've done something that has brought blessings and good and help to a lot of other people. That's really worthwhile.

We are Bought with a Price

But as I say you need wisdom, and you need guidance, and you need help, and you need answers to prayer from God, quite often. And you can have them. And all the money in the universe couldn't buy it, but there is a price.

Jesus Christ had to pay a price. He had to give His life for you to make it possible. And you have to pay a price, you have to give yourself to Him, because He bought and paid for you with His life. He owns you. But you're holding out on Him, and trying to steal yourself back from Him. So you'll have to give Him what is His, because He owns you doubly. He owns you, because Jesus Christ is your Maker, because God created all things by and through Christ (Ephesians 3:9), and without Him was nothing made that was made (John 1:3). And you're one of those things that was made. And He gives to all breath, and has made us all of one blood, and so on - that's right. (Acts 17:25,26)

And also He owns you again because He bought you back, and purchased you with His own death on the cross. He owns you because He made you, He owns you because He bought you again. And yet most of you are holding out, you don't want to give yourself to Him.

Well you'll have to become like you were His bond slave. And He is, then, your Lord and Master all right. But He's the kind of Lord and Master that isn't trying to lash you on, to take away from you because He needs what you've got. He doesn't need anything from you.

The one thing that He needs is to manifest His love on you, just shower it on you, and His blessings. And give you wisdom where you need it, so you'll do the right, instead of the wrong thing. Make the right decision, show you the way out of your troubles, deliver you out of all of them. Supply your every need, see that you get the breaks that you ought to have. But you have to pay the price. And then you have to really believe and trust Him. All those things you have to do.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 18: And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,

You are not just to avoid getting drunk, but be filled with the Spirit and actually give love. The commandments are not just to stop sinning but to actually do good.

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Verse 19: speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Yes, music is part of God's plan, And many of the Psalms are songs of thankfulness to God. The CCOG Bible primariy composed of Psalms.

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Verse 20: giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Yes, we are to be thankful. Do you want to do something good? Notice the following from the Psalms:

1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night,
3 On an instrument of ten strings,
On the lute,
And on the harp,
With harmonious sound. (Psalm 92:1-3)

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 21: submitting to one another in the fear of God.

We need to be careful about pushing our own ideas--particularly if they are contrary to church doctrine. We need to know how to be submissive to others--not to disobey God--but to assist them as well as to reduce our own tendencies towards vanity.

Furthermore, the verse of Ephesians 5:21 also includes husbands and wives submitting to each other.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 22: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

The above verse is not popular in many cultures and is considered horrible by many who consider themselves to be educated. But it is for the best that wives do that. Yes, it is good for them--and no, Paul was not talking about submitting to beatings, etc.

In the old WCG, Niele Earl wrote:

But remember, God did not write Ephesians 5:22 and Colossians 3:18 as the "Male Chauvinist Bill of Rights."

No scripture justifies the cruel, ironfisted rule of a man who forces a converted woman to infringe on God's spiritual law. The wife is told to "submit herself," not to get sledgehammered into slavery. The phrase "submit yourself' is no license for the female's exploitation. At the same time, converted women will not seize on any picky areas to excuse dumping husbands they would selfishly like to get rid of. This is a difficult area for many women in God's Church, especially, but the overall principles are clear.

There is nothing in God's Word requiring us to participate in Christmas, Easter, Halloween or other worldly holidays because of a husband's commands. But neither should we become hurt or resentful if the husband chooses this route.

Don't criticize. Don't condemn. God isn't judging the world yet, but He is certainly judging us (I Pet. 4:17). Often tact and resourcefulness can work wonders (Prov. 21:23).

Here is the reason why Paul mentions the husband's authority:

Verse 23: For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

Despite his mistakes and flaws, a Christian man should be able to lovingly lead his family and his wife should submit to him if they cannot agree on some matter.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 24: Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

That is a hard saying, but God had the Apostle Paul write it,

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

Marriage should be about love and companionship.

HWA said:

That's how much Christ loved the Church. That's how much a husband is to love his wife. But God has made him the ruler.

Look, women today say, "I want to live 50-50". YOU CAN'T DO THAT; THERE IS NO '50-50'! Anytime a wife is going to go 50-50 she's going to 'wear the pants' and rule her husband!

Now we've got a lot of women today, they believe in the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment]. Up with women, down with men! Who was the founder of the ERA movement; do you know? Well, I'll tell you, mother Eve was. Eve knew, Adam knew the man was to be the head of the family. But he was to do it in love and out of consideration and concern for his wife. But he didn't want to do that.

So, now they had been instructed. Satan is pretty clever. He got to Adam through his wife, Eve. So he found Eve and we come to the third chapter of Genesis and Satan came to Eve. And he didn't say, "Look, worship me instead of God." He didn't say, "Believe my way instead of God's way." He started saying, "Look, God isn't quite fair, is He? Did God let you have all of the trees in the garden?" "Well, no," Eve said, "No. He said all but one tree; all but one tree. But He said, of course, if we touch or take of that tree, we'll surely die." He said, "Well now look, you can't believe God. You can't believe what He said. You won't surely die. You're an immortal soul; you're not going to die. And look, why don't you take of that? Look at the mind you have; look what a wonderful mind you have! And you take knowledge to yourself. And you be God, yourself. Why don't you be God? God is selfish!"

You see that's what Satan taught from the beginning. God gave him this earth and he said, "Look, God's got all of these others — God's got Jupiter; He's got Mars; He's got Saturn; He's got all these other planets; He's got all the other galaxies and all of the other places outside of even our Milky Way galaxy and God keeps all that to Himself. He only gave me this little earth."

Now he says here to Eve, he says, "God didn't give you all of this, did He? He was selfish." He tried to make her resentful; he tried to get her in a hostile spirit against God and said, "You decide for yourself."

"[So] when she saw the tree was pleasant to the sight and she thought it would be good for food and desired to make one wise [it appealed to her mental, intellectual vanity] she took of that tree and did eat [and took to herself the decision of the knowledge of what is good and what is not good, and what is good and what is evil, in other words, what is sin]. And she gave to her husband with her." (Genesis 3:6 paraphrased)

She took him by the nose and led him along, and he just, poor weakling, he went along and let his wife lead him to the slaughter. And wives are trying to do the same thing today. Now they got the ERA movement today.

Well, then we come to what actually happened over here in Genesis, you read through the third chapter of Genesis, and remember that Satan is still on that throne. And so finally here's what God said after Adam and Eve had made their decision. Adam had made the decision for the whole world, not just for himself alone. And now the Eternal God said, this is Genesis three, verse twenty-two, near the end of the third chapter of Genesis:

"The [Eternal] God said, Behold, the man is one of us, to know good and evil: and now, LEST he put forth his hand, and take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever [lest he do that]: therefore, the LORD God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life lest he go back, or his children after him, and take of the Spirit of God and live forever in sin." (Genesis 3:22-24 paraphrased)

Man had decided to take himself the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. In other words, he rejected the law of God and he elected to go the way of breaking the law of God and of sin. And, lest man live forever, there's a penalty of sin!

Nowadays, we have something proposed called the Equality Act--which even worse than the old proposed ERA.

In 2021, the House of Representatives approved the so-called Equality Act:

Updated Feb. 25, {2021}

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass the Equality Act, a bill that would ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It would also substantially expand the areas to which those discrimination protections apply.

When Thomas Jefferson decided to make freedom of religion the very first provision of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, it was protection against legislation like H.R. 5, mislabeled the “Equality Act” by its current sponsors, that he had in mind.

Introduced in the House of Representatives on Feb. 18 and expected to be joined soon by a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, this proposal would “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation,” without any meaningful exceptions. …

The Equality Act represents the logical next step: mandating universal endorsement of non-traditional sexual morality under federal law.

Under its provisions, churches unwilling to perform same-sex marriages, or appoint cross-dressing Sunday school teachers, would lose their tax-exempt status as houses of worship. Biological men who announce that they identify as women would be permitted to use fellowship hall women’s restrooms and dressing facilities. Sexual conduct like marital fidelity, or even traditional marriage at all, would no longer be a legitimate consideration for clerical hiring decisions. Christian colleges unwilling to abide by similar requirements would lose their academic accreditation and access to student loans. These examples are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

With their First Amendment protections removed, many religious institutions would ultimately face a choice between bowing to the secular god of prevailing culture … and being sued out of existence. 02/24/21

We need to be wary of human governments, though we should obey laws that are not in conflict with God's laws.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 26: that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

Those in the church get washed by the word from not only personal Bible study, but by the weekly sermons and other messages.

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Verse 27: that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

So, this tells us that the church is NOT perfect yet in this age, but is striving to be more so.

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Verse 28: So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

All people have a certain amount of selfishness--and most single people are actually oblivious to how much selfishness they still retain--yet married people are to love their spouses as themselves. One of the purposes of marriage is to learn how to love as well as to be less selfish--however, the divorce rate in many parts of the world demonstrate that many married people do not accept that.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 29: For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

So, you should never hate your husband or your wife.

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Verse 30: For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

Being members of His body, we are not to be independent of the true church. See what happens if you cut off your finger--and do not literally do that. But if you did, it will die. The same with an eye, brain, etc. Do not think you are a part that can properly survive outside of the body.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 31: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

HWA said:

In Ephesians 5:31 we read: "For this cause ..."— because of the coming divine marriage of the Church to Christ — "... that He might present it to himself a glorious church ..." (verse 27) — for this REASON God ordained the marriage institution for humans, now!

That is the REASON humans are given this GOD-PLANE relationship which has been given to No OTHER species — whether animal or angel. That is God's PURPOSE in granting humans marriage, now. It is a type! And God's Laws DO make the human type consistent with the divine anti-type!

What a WONDERFUL privilege God bestowed on us, in giving us the God-plane marriage and family relationship! And why? To prepare us for the never-ending JOY and ECSTASY of our spiritual marriage bliss FOR ETERNITY in the KINGDOM OF GOD! In the GOD FAMILY!

GOD'S CHURCH shall NOT be unfaithful! The Church of God cannot — WILL NOT approve, endorse, or allow in its membership the violation of God's laws respecting marriage, nor the pollution of this God-required FAITHFULNESS!
It may be, because this world's ministers have not proclaimed God's TRUTH, that some may have to live separately, ineligible to remarry. It may be difficult. It may mean suffering. But God inspired Paul to write, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18)!

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Verse 32: This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

HWA said:

The Church is made up of the BODY of Christ. More on that a little later. But the BODY presented to Christ will not be a dismembered body, with an arm, a leg or other parts being separated! It is ONE Church—fitly framed together—not dismembered into many parts following many different men seeking to draw away disciples after them.

This coming marriage is again referred to in II Corinthians 11:2: "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."

The New-Covenant MARRIAGE will take place at Christ's coming in GLORY: "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, ALLELUIA: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb [Christ] is come, and his wife hath made herself ready" (Revelation 19:6-7).

It is enlightening at this point to remember Jesus came as "the messenger of the covenant" (Malachi 3:1). He came as the Messenger of the NEW Covenant.

The Old Covenant was a CONTRACT entered into between the children of Israel and the Word (who was to become Christ)—the God of the Old Testament. It was a MARRIAGE covenant. God "proposed" and Israel "accepted" (Exodus 19:6, 8). That "marriage covenant" also set up the kingdom of Israel as one of earth's nations.

The New Covenant also will be a MARRIAGE covenant marrying the Church, then changed to spirit immortality, to Christ. But that covenant also will set up the KINGDOM OF GOD, ruling all nations with the GOVERNMENT OF GOD.

The Old Covenant was made with a carnal-minded people on their PROMISE to obey. The New Covenant will be made with a Spirit-begotten and Spirit-born people who have ALREADY PROVED THEIR OBEDIENCE!

Modern Facilities for Mass Communication Today

The Church members, as a whole, are not called to "GO FORTH" with the gospel message, but to back up, help, support the apostle in carrying the message into all the world. ...  with modern facilities for mass communication — the printing press, radio, television, even the telephone by which one may reach another in any part of the world in a matter of minutes or less — can reach more people by far than all of the first century apostles combined.(Armstrong HW. Seven Proofs Of The True Church - Proof No. 5-6. Good News, December 4, 1978)

And, of course, since that was written, also the internet.

True Philadelphians will realize that they need to support the Philadelphian remnant church, which is best represented organizationally at this time by the Continuing Church of God.

Back to Ephesians 5:

Verse 33: Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Marriage is to teach love for both, but it may be that husbands need to learn more about it than wives.

Chapter 6

Now to Ephesians 6:

Verse 1: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Not only is that good for children, it is good for adults to obey God, our Father.

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Verse 2: “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:

So, here we see one of the Ten Commandments specifically referred to in the New Testament as something to be kept. For more on the commandments, check out the free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 3: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

The old WCG taught:

God assures us that keeping the Fifth Commandment will result in long life! Respecting and heeding the wisdom of your parents makes it possible to avoid many mistakes, thus promoting a longer and happier life. It helps you to avoid the recklessness, violence, wrong associations and rebellion against authority that can end in untimely death.

But even more important, being subject to your parents shows an attitude and willingness to be subject to your greater Parent in heaven. Since God is our spiritual Father, we should always honor Him. Honoring your parents, as well as your Father in heaven, carries with it the fantastic prospect of living happily forever! (Sedliacik R. Teen Bible Study: "Honor My Parents - Are You Kidding?" Youth Magazine, February 1985)

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Verse 4: And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

Personally, as a father, I always tried to keep that scripture in mind--both parts--the lack of provoking to wrath and then the training and admonition.

The late WCG evangelist Leroy Neff wrote:

How should you discipline?

Ephesians 6:4 (RSV) also tells us that we are to discipline our children. Discipline is much misunderstood and usually improperly applied in today's world. Actually, it is an extension of the responsibility of instructing in God's ways.

The word discipline comes from a Latin word that literally means "instruction." The dictionary gives several meanings of the word, including "instruction and exercise designed to train to proper conduct or action" and "punishment inflicted by way of correction and training."

A small sapling can easily be trained to grow in the right direction, but once that sapling becomes a mature tree, it is not possible to train it. In a similar way, children can be trained when young, but there comes a time when parents may no longer be able to teach a child.

While a child is young, teachable and pliable, he can be trained by proper instruction and correction. This includes approbation or reward for doing well, which is often totally overlooked. Positive reinforcement is just as essential as using the proper kind and amount of punishment for not doing well.

What does God say about punishment as a tool of instruction? God is our Father. How does He deal with us?

"My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives" (Heb. 12:5-6).

If God loves us He will correct us. And if we love our children, we will correct them, not for the purpose of harming, injuring or satisfying anger, but to teach needed lessons. God the Father corrects and punishes so that we will learn the lesson and not repeat the mistake. That is the purpose in correcting a child: so that he will not repeat the mistake or continue in a wrong way.

"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him" (Prov. 22:15). The way a child will get over foolishness is to have proper punishment. Realize, of course, there is a difference between childishness and foolishness. Children are not adults and should not be expected to act completely like adults when they are young.

What is a "rod"?

Just what is the "rod" mentioned in Proverbs 22:15? A cat-o-nine-tails? A bullwhip? Some other instrument of torture? Some may have thought so! Another scripture should help us to understand that it is nothing like that.

"Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die" (Prov. 23:13). The "rod" referred to will not cause death. We can therefore conclude that it is not injurious if applied properly.

If a child is not chastened when he is young, the time may come when it is too late. Notice: "Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction" (Prov. 19:18). This verse shows that the purpose of chastening is not to destroy or hurt the child.

If we do not administer chastening, God says we hate our children: "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly" (Prov. 13:24).

Administering discipline promptly is important to showing a child proper love.

Here are seven important points to practice concerning punishment:

1) Punishment should never cause injury to the child.
2) The punishment should be painful, or it will not be effective.
3) Punishment should only be applied to the gluteus maxim us. That is where one sits down. You should never strike a child in the face, head or other parts of the body.
4) It should be done only in private.
5) Punishment should be applied promptly.
6) It should only be administered after the parent explains to the child why the child is being punished.
7) It should be administered in love, not anger. If you are angry, wait until you cool down.
In all of this, have an attitude of pity toward your children. "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him" (Ps. 103:13). If we have love, patience, pity and concern for our children, God will treat us that way. But if we are harsh, cruel and unmerciful, how can we expect God to show mercy and compassion on us?

While this information has mainly concerned the proper, balanced use of corporal punishment (i.e., spankings), you should remember that other forms of discipline are necessary and useful at the right time and place. As children grow older, for instance, punishment may take the form of denial of privileges rather than physical discomfort.

Remember, too, that the punishment should fit the infraction, and that children vary in temperament and aptitude: Different young people will need to be dealt with differently. Use wisdom and discretion, and make sure all disciplining is done out of real, proper concern for the child. (Neff L. How to Develop Right Character in Your Children. Good News, February 1983)

Many will give sermons on 'family living' topics--and that is fine. My general preference is to cover as much of the word of God as I can, and then provide comments related to family living and other matters.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 5: Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;
Verse 6: not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
Verse 7: with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,
Verse 8: knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Yes, we should work hard in our physical jobs. Furthermore, as Solomon was inspired to write:

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Let me add, that also applies to being a parent, a student, a husband, a wife, or a true Christian and church member.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 9: And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

Yes, the various threatenings from employers, family members, and schools is a form of persecution many of us have already faced--but more persecution is coming. See the article: Persecutions by Church and State.

HWA said:

Now Satan will persecute and will hinder us; but in Ephesians 6 verses 10 to 18 you will read that we are not fighting against people, but unseen spirits (Satan and his demons, who really rule this dark world). This is Satan's world, but Protestant churches believe this is God's world. The Pope at Rome preaches that this is God's world. He is trying to make this world a better world. God is not trying to cure this world! He's calling us OUT OF THIS WORLD. He's starting a NEW AND DIFFERENT WORLD. That is the Gospel, and it's news. It's good news. Another world is coming. We can be pioneers in it; but we have to endure, we have to put on the whole amour of God and continue on from now on straight through to the end. (Armstrong HW. Spiritual Health Checkup, Sermon, April 16, 1983)

To this day, pontiffs have worked to make this presence world in their image, but not God's.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 10: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Verse 11: Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Verse 12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

We are to be spiritually strong--but also realize that there is a devil that can affect us!

HWA said:

And Satan and his demons are the REAL RULERS of this world! You know, I was just thinking today, what is the state of mind of the average person? What do they think about? What is on their mind? What is the attitude, or what fills the mind? Well, what fills the mind of the average person is people that they see about them, things that they see about them; buildings, interiors, highways, bridges, all of the things that have been built and would make up our cities and our country, and people and the things that people do.

That's what they see on television, that's what they think about. They think about the things they see that are physical, that they see with their senses, they hear with their ears, they taste with their mouths, they smell with their noses, or they can feel and touch. They seem to know nothing of the spirit world that is invisible to them, that they don't see, they can't hear, they can't feel, they can't touch. And yet is really ruling them and putting thoughts, putting impressions, everything into their minds.

They don't think of that. You can talk to someone like that and if you accuse them and say, "You don't even believe in God do you?" And they'll be angry and say, "Oh I do too believe in God." But they really don't you know. Just who and what is God? Well they don't know. Is God real to them? No He isn't. Do they ever think about Him? Not if they can help it. You begin to mention God and they become uncomfortable and want to run away. (Armstrong HW. Prophecy, Sermon, August 10, 1984)

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 13: Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Notice Paul is saying that Christians need to whole armor of God--that involves a real commitment. But it is necessary and helpful.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 14: Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

Psalm 119:172 teaches that all of God's commandments are righteousness. Christians strive to truly keep them--see also the free online book The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast:

Verse 15: and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Notice the gospel of peace. That is part of the gospel. Isaiah was inspired to also write the following:

6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Notice that Isaiah said that Jesus would come and establish a kingdom with a government that will spread peace.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 16: above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

For more on faith, check out the free online booklet: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 17: And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

If the proper New Testament canon would not be known for 300 or more years, then this would result in a massively incomplete word of God, which would represent a broken sword of the Spirit. Since a broken sword is of little value ‘and the Scripture cannot be broken’ (John 10:35), it makes no sense that there would not have been a reliable New Testament canon that the true Church of God recognized by the end of the first century (see also the free online book: Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete?).

As far as the sword being the word of God, the Apostle Paul elsewhere had written:

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 18: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

HWA said:

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit [That's real earnest prayer. Not just some casual prayer, just to get it done as a routine; but putting your whole heart in it.], and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

When we study the Bible, God is talking to us. When we pray, we are talking to Him. And so that's the way we get acquainted with God. (Armstrong HW. Sin, Sermon, April 4, 1983)

For more on prayer, check out our free online book: Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? 

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 19: and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,
Verse 20:  for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

The following will help provide more information on the "mystery of the gospel':

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. It is available in hundreds of languages at Here are links to four kingdom-related sermons:  The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!The World’s False GospelThe Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.

The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s PlanMysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s PlanMystery of Race, and The Mystery of YOU. Here is a link to two videos in Spanish: El Misterio del Plan de Dios and El Misterio de Satanás, el Misterio de la Verdad, el Misterio del Reposo.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 21: But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you;
Verse 22:  whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts.

Here is some information on Tychicus:

Tychicus /ˈtɪkɪkəs/ Τυχικός/was an Asiatic Christian who, with Trophimus, accompanied the Apostle Paul on a part of his journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem. He is also alluded to have been with Paul in Rome, where the apostle sent him to Ephesus, probably for the purpose of building up and encouraging the church there.[1] In the New Testament, he is mentioned five times (Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21–22; Colossians 4:7; Titus 3:12; 2 Timothy 4:12).[2] Appearance in the Bible (1) Acts 20:4 states that Tychicus was from the Roman province of Asia. The Western text indicates that he was an Ephesian. Paul ends the letter to the Ephesians, and hands it over to Tychicus. Wood engraving by Gustave Doré (2) In Ephesians 6:21, the author (traditionally identified as Paul) calls Tychicus a "dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord" (NIV), (3) while in Colossians, he says he is "a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord." In both Ephesians and Colossians, the author indicates that he is sending Tychicus to the Christians to whom he is writing, in order to encourage them.[2] (4) The passages in the Epistle to Titus (Titus 3:12) and to Timothy show that Tychicus was again with Paul after the appeal to the emperor had resulted in the apostle regaining his freedom. The passage in Titus evidently refers to the interval between Paul's first and second Roman imprisonments, and while he was again engaged in missionary journeys. The apostle writes to Titus, who was in Crete in charge of the churches there, that he intended to send either Artemas or Tychicus to him, so as to take the oversight of the work of the gospel in that island so that Titus might be free to come to be with the apostle at Nicopolis.[1] (5) The last passage where Tychicus is mentioned occurs in 2 Timothy, which was written in Rome not long before Paul's execution. (Tychicus, Wikipedia, accessed 02/21/23)

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 23: Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Back to Ephesians 6:

Verse 24: Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Grace is favour and includes unmerited pardon--and that and love is what the Apostle Paul wished to have bestowed on the Ephesians. The foundational church from which we in the Continuing Church of God trace our spiritual descent through.

As Christians, we are to grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18).

Here is a link to a related sermon: Ephesians 5-6: Put on the Whole Armor of God, Marriage, Child Rearing.

Paul wrote letters, inspired by God, to help Christians in Asia Minor and elsewhere. Yet, the messages were also intended for us today.

We still need to know about faith and grace, dealing with Satan and temptations, develop the fruits of the Spirit, we still need to know about church offices and government, we still need to learn submissions, we still need to love our spouses and others.

Those messages are just as timely now as they were nearly 2,000 years ago.

Thiel B. Comments on Ephesians. COGwriter (c) 2023 0225

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