They’re Playing Dice with the Doctrines of God
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Perfecting has the idea of equipping, preparing, to make ready.
Ministry = service
The gifts are for the purpose of building up the saints in preparation to do service work for the kingdom.
There are certain things that must be done in the church. Things like cleaning....
But the focal point being spoken of here is related to the business of souls. The business of kingdom extension whether it be you out there reaching the lost for Jesus pouring the Lord into them or inviting them to church, and once they're there, we disciple them. So it's my job to build you up in the knowledge of God.
The gifts are given by Jesus to the saints to bring them to a place of completion, which equips them for Christian service, a willingness to be used by God as a vessel to reflect His glory.
As the five-fold ministry operates properly, edification or a further building of the body results. Essentially, there is a building or an adding to. The Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest states, "The church is being built up, by the additions to its membership in lost souls being saved..."
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in [into] 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:
All this "equipping" is ultimately for the purpose that we would come
into unity regarding knowledge of "the faith"
eis = into
We are coming into unity in the faith. Last week we mentioned the fact that "the faith" is synonymous with the covenant. Through faith (verb: action i.e. belief), we come [into (eis)] the faith (noun: person, place, or thing). In this place (the faith), we come into communion or fellowship with Him. We have gained access into grace, which empowers us to grow in Christ.
He is the source of our power. The Holy Spirit is the dispenser of this power called grace in our lives, and all this is made possible because of Jesus' sacrificial atonement on the cross. It's at this place where our faith and His obedience collide (the cross) and our "old man" born guilty in Adam is made righteous in the eyes of God.
The starting point of unity being spoken of here refers to the individual saints, which corporately make up the building of God or the body of Christ.
As the believer gains true epignosis (experiential or full knowledge) of the Son of God and learns the reality of the faith, there is a renewal taking place, a renewal resulting in spiritual maturity.
The renewal of the believer takes place from the position of "In Christ," where faith gives access to grace (Romans 5:1-4), and grace changes the inner man. The renewal (Titus 3:5) or change that takes place "In Christ" is not only accessed through Him, but that maturity is measured against Him, which means that He is the standard, and as we are changed, mature believers begin to take on His characteristics.
Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
It would serve this verse justice to separate it into two sections and deal with it one section at a time.
Ephesians 4:14a That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine...
Nepios-- used for children metaphorically to describe one who is untaught or unskilled (Strong's)
In the previous verse, it was pointed out that in God's plan, we grow through our knowledge of Christ and unity of the faith, and in this place, the believer is matured into a "perfect man" teleios, which is a man of full maturity.
That thought from the previous verse is being contrasted to "nepios" an infant or child without verbal skills (Wuest.)
So in this verse, the mature Christian who is growing in stature, and whose growth is measured in Jesus, is being contrasted to the child who is being tossed upon a tumultuous sea by every wind of doctrine.
We have previously made this point time and again throughout the life of the Bible Study but every time we cross a path and our spiritual sensors go off, we must stop and dig for the treasure. The doctrine that prevents the tossing is opposite of that which is false. The doctrine that holds one steady in spite of the storm is the doctrine of the anchor that holds. I'm here to shout it loud tonight that there is an anchor that holds in spite of the storm. Though the waves may rage, though the winds may howl, there is an anchor for your soul, and if you would just hold onto that anchor you wouldn't lose your course.
Well tell me because I have to know, "Who's the anchor...what's the anchor?" The anchor is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Hebrews 6:19-20 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
The question may be asked, "Ok, I can see that the anchor is Jesus, but the cross isn't mentioned here. Where's the cross?" We need to start seeing with spiritual eyes because this verse is SCREAMING the cross:
Matthew 27:50-51 -- Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;...
This second part of verse 14, which describes a tossing to and fro on the sea is being contrasted to the believer who is in Christ and being completed and equipped towards unity, knowledge, and maturity in Christ.
The cause of this disastrous tossing is related to the fact that the one being tossed has been thrown off course through false doctrine.
Ephesians 4:14b ...by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;...
There are two Greek words that help determine the meaning of this verse:
Sleight= kubeia. Kubeia is where we get our word cube, and the idea is a die as in dice for gambling, but the thought according to Wuest and Strong's is deception rather than gambling. Oftentimes the word sleight in English is used to describe "sleight of hand games" as in the bended card or pea under the nutshell game on the streets. The idea is that they are making you believe one thing when in reality it's something else altogether.
Lie in wait = methodeia
From this Greek word, we get our English word 'method.' The idea is that there is a purposeful game of deception going on with God's word to cause confusion of the saints and send them off course.
In my personal belief, what we see coming off the West Coast, which is the genesis of the so-called "paradigm shift" is exactly this. It's a sleight of hand, a methodical scheme appearing to be a plan to reach the lost with new methods, methods which have scriptural support when viewed on the surface, but once the whole is viewed in the right context the truth is revealed. In other words, they feed the sick, clothe the naked, and preach a social gospel telling people this is the way, but the true gospel concerns itself with the CHANGING OF THE HUMAN HEART. The real message of the cross causes the “old man” born of Adam to die and a “new man” born again in Jesus to experience resurrection life. Instead, much of what we see in the modern church is a church full of people running around helping people’s physical needs, busy works that make the person feel better about themselves, but the church is filled with people whose hearts aren’t being changed.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? -- When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? -- Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
We should be clear and explain that in no way do we believe in this ministry that the physical needs of people don't need to be met; rather, it's our contention that it's the heart of man that needs attention. If the heart is truly converted, then God will lead, guide and direct the believer down the right path.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
In this passage, it becomes clear that there will be through the years of the church age those who performed both spiritual and practical works; however, they weren't of God. In reality, they were workers of iniquity. The word for iniquity is literally anomia, meaning lawlessness or without law, in this case, the idea is without true regard for the things of God.
Interestingly, the book of second Thessalonians uses the same Greek root anomos to describe the antichrist:
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8
For the mystery of iniquity [anomia] doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked [anomos] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
This verse is being contrasted with the previous one; whereas false doctrine and false teachers produce a life of tumultuous tossing, like a vessel driven off course by violent waves, but the believer who lives in the truth is a member of the body who is receiving his nourishment from the head, which is Christ and is navigating the course charted by God.
Remember that the reference to truth here is referring back to verse 13, where we were told that the purpose of the five- fold ministry was to bring us into a place of growth and maturity, a process taking place as we understand more clearly what unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God means.
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and 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.
"From whom" speaks of the head, which is Christ. He is our source of power resulting in a connection between the body parts. There is knitting together or a union taking place "In Christ" where we are becoming one as a body. We are becoming like-minded and being built up to function as one unit in harmony with Him, who is the head.
As this unity progressively moves closer towards God's will for the functioning of His body, His work, done His way is accomplished.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,...
I have always liked the word 'henceforth' since understanding the King James Version of the Bible. Essentially it means that from this day forward... Regarding the passage we are studying, henceforth, is referring to the fact that we have been properly indoctrinated to the truth that true unity for the body of Christ is found in the fact that we are unified in "the faith" and the knowledge of Jesus.
Once again, these concepts speak of the whole plan of God through the ages. God's progressive movement through the annals of human history as He methodically and purposefully unfolds His plan before the eyes of His people, so they can see His plan, which is summed up in “the faith,” and that faith is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Once, we begin to see these truths that are found in Christ, we are henceforth to walk in them and no longer walk as the other Gentiles do. If you will remember, in chapter 2:11-22, we were introduced to the fact that Paul referred to Gentiles (which the church of Ephesus was) as those who were without the Christ, the covenants, and the promises. Essentially, they were aliens of the commonwealth. In other words, they weren't citizens of God's community because they were separated, not being Israelites, to whom the promises were given. However, now, we've been told that God has made one new man out of the two (Jew and Gentile) that previously existed. As we've discussed in detail in the past, there is one plan for both Jew and Gentile. The plan I speak of is Jesus, and now there is one people of God, which can be referred to by many names such as: church, body, members, lively stones, temple made without hands....
But the main thought of this verse is that now, because we've been born again into the commonwealth of God and have had the truth of God's word revealed to us, we are no longer supposed to walk the way the other Gentiles walk.
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:...
But when the church takes on the methodologies of the world and intertwines the world's doctrines with their own, the body becomes sick and cannot function the way it's supposed to.
The mind at this point continues operating as the unredeemed mind. It's darkened and empty. The word "blindness" here describes not only a darkening but also a hardening as in a callous being formed. As God's word is rejected, the heart of man spirals further away from the truth of God and deeper into a place of moral depravity. This truth can be further clarified through the Romans 1:16-22 and Isaiah 6 passages.
In the Romans passage, the thought is that unrighteous men suppress the truth of God's word, resulting in a spiraling down where the heart of man becomes more vain (empty/ futile/ meaningless) and darkened (blinded and hardened) towards the things of God. Also, in the Isaiah passage, a similar truth is found. The prophet tells us that in the year King Uzziah (meaning strength) died, he (Isaiah) saw the Lord. As Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 that God's strength working in his life was more powerful and clear when he (Paul) was in a state of weakness. Wherever you are in your walk, you must be reminded that when the strength of the believer fails, God's power is just showing up!
Nevertheless, when Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the Lord, and when Isaiah saw the Lord, his heart was grieved because he saw himself. And he weeps in repentance because when a man truly enters the presence of God, he sees how far away he is..
Once God is through dealing with the heart of His people, He desires to send them out as witnesses to His glory, mouthpieces to proclaim His truth. In the Isaiah passage, God explains that when the proclamation of the truth goes forth, people’s hearts will become fattened, meaning those that reject or suppress the truth when the gospel is brought forth, will at the same time be applying a layer of fat or allowing a callous to be formed over their heart, causing a blindness or spiritual darkening to take place.
Compare Ephesians 4:18 to 1:18 where Paul speaks of believers having the eyes of their understanding enlightened, so they could see those three things: the hope of his calling, the riches of His inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
"...past feeling" describes a process where the heart has become calloused and hard as the truth has been rejected.
Lasciviousness- has a direct meaning of unbridled lustfulness. Consider for a second the fact that God’s people are supposed to have some restraint; yet, we see churches filled with all sorts of sexual promiscuity. A bridle is connected to the bit in a horse’s mouth. A horse with a bit in his mouth connected to a bridle held in his master's hand allows himself to be steered in the right direction.
Where there is false doctrine, there is no bridle because there is no proper understanding of justification by faith, which allows the believer access into the presence of God (Romans 5)
People who have been saved but are disciples under false doctrine, haven't been in the process of a renewed mind (Ephesians 4; Romans 12).