Ephesians: Chapter 4
Whats the Therefore, therefore?
Eph. 4:1-16 is all about Christian unity which we will be addressing over the next few weeks, but from chapter 4 through the end of the book, Paul will be addressing the believers on how they are to behave as Christians.
Here in chapter 4, Paul will proceed to make a an appeal to the Ephesian believers to put into operation the things that they have learned in chapter 1-3.
He is going to remind them of the things that will inevitably follow as a natural consequence from gaining an understanding of the doctrines that he has instructed them on of the Christian faith.
At the end of chapter three we dealt with an amazing passage.
We were told that we have been strengthened with might by faith,
we have been trying to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, length, depth and height of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge and that we might be filled with all the fulness of God.
We have seen what is the might, strength and power of God, who is at work in our hearts and who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.
We have been on top of the mountain, but now we are about to consider how such wealth of knowledge is related to our daily life and living.
We are about to be where the rubber meets the road
That is where Paul wants to take us.
He wants us to take what we have learned and make practical application to our lives.
It would be pointless to give so much truth and not tell how to use it.
Great truths and great doctrines have been reveled to us.
Now Paul goes into chapter 4 and is going to explain to us, how to take what we have learned and make application to our lives.
In summary, Paul focuses in on three great truths in the first three chapters.
1. God has reconciled an alien people to Himself.
2. God has reconciled Jews and Gentiles and brought them in together through the Person of His Son.
3. God has taken those redeemed Jews and Gentiles and made from them a new people, the body of Christ. i.e The Church
All of these great truths teach us about who we are in Jesus, and about all that the Lord has given to us through His grace.
So, Paul turns from teaching us doctrine to teaching us about our duty as believers.
He wants us to know that who we are should have an impact on what we are.
He wants us to know that what we believe about God should determine how we behave before God.
We have been give great knowledge about some great doctrines, and now we are to apply that knowledge.
Many people will tell you that it does not matter what you believe as long as you have believed on Christ and live right.
This is a very ignorant way of living the Christian life.
It does make a difference what you believe, because what you believe determines how you behave!
If you believe that God winks at sin, you will not care that you are offending a holy and righteous God.
If you believe that God is all love then you will live your life thinking you can continue in sin because God is love and His grace is sufficient.
Paul asked the believers in Rome a rhetorical question, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.”
Paul wanted his readers in Ephesus to believe right. He wanted to be sure they understood who God is and who they were before Christ so that they can live right.
As we begin our study of the second part of Ephesians, I want to draw your attention to one word, Therefore.”
Paul is using this word to draw his readers attention back to what he had already told them.
Its like saying, you need to do this, because I told you this.
So, Paul’s use of the word ‘therefore’ does three things for his readers and us...
I. It Draws Us to Remembrance
I. It Draws Us to Remembrance
Again, not to belabor the point, but Paul has given some very profound and important truths in the past three chapters.
With the use of the word therefore he reminds us of the things that determine what we do.
With the word therefore he reminds us that.....
We were chosen in Christ Eph.1:4.
We will be like Christ one day Eph. 1:5, 11-12.
We have been accepted in the beloved Eph. 1:6
We have redemption through Christ’s blood Eph. 1:7
We were dead in trespasses and sins, now we are made alive through Christ Eph. 2:1-4
We have been showed mercy Eph. 2:4
We are loved Eph. 2:4
We are secure in our future Eph. 2:6-7
We are secure in our salvation Eph. 2:8-9
We have new life in Christ Eph. 2:10
We have been brought together with the Children of Isreal Eph. 2:11-18
We are part of a new race Eph. 2:19-22
We know now what was once hidden Eph. 3:1-13
We can be blessed according to His riches in glory Eph. 3:14
We can be strengthened with His power Eph. 3:15
We can be full with the fulness of God Eph. 3:19
Using the word therefore, Paul reminds us that we have many blessings now that we are in Christ.
And now that we are in Christ and have been taught truth, because His word is truth, we now have a responsibility to the Savior to live the life we have been saved unto.
So now that we have been drawn to remembrance, the word therefore now leads us on to what we should do with this knowledge.
II. It Leads Us to a Response
II. It Leads Us to a Response
Having told us about who we are and what we are supposed to believe, Paul now tells us how we are supposed to act by using the word therefore.
When Paul uses the word “therefore,” he is leading us into a frame of mind that should cause us to begin thinking about how we are living in accordance with what we have learned.
He is telling us that everything that he has told us, calls for a response
Paul’s shift is from doctrine to duty.
His shift is from positional truth to practical truth.
He shifts from what we are to believe to how we are to behave.
Paul moves from exposition to exhortation.
He moves from principle to practice.
Paul uses this pattern several times in the New Testament. But Romans really stands out,
The first eleven chapters of Romans are doctrinal in nature.
Then, in Romans 12:1 he says,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Paul is telling them, ‘Becasue you have learned the things I have taught you, you are to be a living sacrifice. You are to live for God daily’
Paul knows what many people have forgotten: Duty arises out of doctrine!
I think James writes to this effect,
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
We as believers seem to forget that Christianity is, Not only a way of life, but also a way of living.
The word therefore leads us to understand that what we have learned should be applied to our daily lives.
That leads us into point three. The word therefore
III. It Directs Us unto Righteousness
III. It Directs Us unto Righteousness
How we behave in life will always be determined by what we believe to be true.
Our practice will always be dictated by the precepts we hold to be true.
In others words, if we are going to behave right, we must believe right.
Right doctrine is essential for proper living!
Until we come to a place where we correctly understand the doctrines taught in the Bible, we will not live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. Im not saying that we have to understand the doctrines completely, Im saying you should at least know what you believe and why you believe it.
Because As long as there are holes in your doctrine, you will be derelict in your duty to serve the Lord.
The word ‘Therefore’ not only tells me that I have got to engage in practical life and living, it also tells me that the character and the nature of that life which I am to live is one that is determined by what I believe, and results from the application of that belief
We can never attach too much significance to the order in which the Apostle states these things.
Doctrine must always come first; and we must never reverse this order.
Remember, in order to behave right we must first believe right.
It is, I repeat, the invariable practice in the New Testament itself to speak of doctrine before the application of doctrine.
We must not act until we are clear about our doctrine.
That is why Paul tells Timothy that a pastor should not be a novice.
James also tells us that
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Having right doctrine and acting out that doctrine will inevitably lead one to a life that is pleasing to the Lord.
You could say having right doctrine and living out that doctrine will lead you to being more sanctified in this life, because it will allow the Holy Spirit to mold you and make you into what the Lord wants you to be.
Up to this point Paul has not really dealt with our sanctification,
You say, what about the sealing of the Spirit, and the experience of it, is not this sanctification?
To know the love of Christ is not this sanctification?
For sure, To be filled with all the fulness of God is sanctification.
No, none of these are sanctification.
They simply promote, encourage and motivates us for sanctification, they are not sanctification itself.
They are intended and designed to create a desire within us for sanctification.
They are designed to show us the possibility of sanctification by reminding us of the power that works in us in order that we may work it out.
The Apostle has told us about ‘him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us’.
Having reminded us of this, he says in effect, ‘In the light of this truth, I beseech you, work it out, put it into practice, put it into operation.’
Therefore,…I beseech you, walk worthy.
Let me be clear, at the moment of our new birth, our sanctification begins.
The moment we recieved newness of life, that seed of life, it begins to germinate with in us.
Lets clear up the water some,
Think of a farmer or a gardener sowing seed into the ground where various machines may roll over it. There it is; it is buried, but that is not the end of the story. Once the seed dies it gains new life, it begins to sprout and to germinate and to grow.
But for a while you still see nothing. Then after a while a little green shoot appears above the surface. You can scarcely see it but it is there and it is alive, and you know that it is developing. But then there may come a patch of cold dry weather, with no sunshine. Nothing seems to be happening, there is no evidence of growth. But suddenly there is a change in the weather; there are some wonderful showers, and some warm glowing sunshine. And immediately you can almost see those little shoots growing, and springing up.
What has happened?
The life was not in the rain; it was not in the sunshine; it was in the seed itself.
The value of the sunshine and the rain is that they provide a stimulus to the growth.
They encourage it and promote it.
The life was already there in the seed.
Precisely the same is true of the experience we have in the Christian life and of our understanding of doctrine.
The experiences promote sanctification.
When I am near to the Lord and conscious of His Presence, I do not want sin.
When I feel His love, sin is abhorrent and hateful to me.
Really to grasp doctrine has the same effect.
The experiences and the knowledge stimulate and promote and encourage; but sanctification itself is not an experience.
It is the result of the life that I have received and the knowledge I have; it is something which, in the light of all this, I must myself now begin to put into practice.
‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for (because of the fact that) it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure’ (Phil. 2:12-13
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Paul says that he is beseeching them, he is urging them, in order to stimulate them.
He does not merely tell them that all they have to do now, in the light of what they have learned, is just to ‘look to the Lord’.
He could have ended his Epistle quickly at this point if he had believed such teaching concerning sanctification.
There would have been no need for three further long chapters.
He would simply have to write,
‘Well now, in the light of all this, all you have to do is to look to the Lord and to let Him live His life in you; it is quite simple, you just do nothing, you look to the Lord and He will live His own life in you.’
But that is not what Paul says; instead, we read,
‘Therefore I beseech you that ye walk worthy …’
The teaching which assures us that we have nothing to do but to receive sanctification as a gift, that is to say, to allow Christ to live His life in us, by-passes the Scripture, eliminates whole sections of the Scripture.
In the three chapters from this point to the end of the Epistle you find that the Apostle enters into details.
He says such things as, ‘Let him that stole steal no more’;
he urges us to avoid ‘foolish talking and jesting’.
He goes into details, he exhorts the Ephesians, he reprimands them, he commands them, he appeals to them, he argues with them, he issues his great imperatives.
He does so because that is the New Testament teaching of sanctification.
It is the outworking, the outliving, by the power that God gives us and that is already in us, of the doctrine we have believed and the experiences we have enjoyed from His gracious hands.
It is amazing that anyone could ever go astray concerning this; for our Lord Himself states the truth clearly in the seventeenth chapter of John, where He prays, ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth’.
It is through the Word that we are sanctified.
So what is the word ‘therefore’, there for?
To remind us, to lead us and to direct us to live the sanctified life.
Now that we have been given so much truth about our new lives in Christ, we now have much responsibility to live our lives pleasing to the Lord.
enjoying sin, enjoying a life serving self does nothing but bring misery and destruction
enjoying a life serving the savior will lead to a life of joy and happiness that the world can never understand.
Wont you come to Christ today and be saved if you have not
Christian, stop living for yourself, you have been bought with a price, start acting like it.