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Darlene

Ephesians 4:11-14

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Heavenly Father,

 

Let these be Your words and not mine...take away all that is me so that all eyes turn towards You...help me to put the thoughts and feelings that cross my mind and heart, into a written word that accurately describes this process, this journey of learning about You.

 

I'm really feeling the NEED to study Your Word this morning, so bless, flourish that need that I believe Your Spirit is wooing in my heart.

 

11. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

 

Calvin has a long comment here, "He returns to explain the distribution of gifts, and illustrates at greater length what he had slightly hinted, that out of this variety arises unity in the church, as the various tones in music produce sweet melody. The meaning may be thus summed up. “The external ministry of the word is also commended, on account of the advantages which it yields. Certain men appointed to that office, are employed in preaching the gospel. This is the arrangement by which the Lord is pleased to govern his church, to maintain its existence, and ultimately to secure its highest perfection.”

 

It may excite surprise, that, when the gifts of the Holy Spirit form the subject of discussion, Paul should enumerate offices instead of gifts. I reply, when men are called by God, gifts are necessarily connected with offices. God does not confer on men the mere name of Apostles or Pastors, but also endows them with gifts, without which they cannot properly discharge their office. He whom God has appointed to be an apostle does not bear an empty and useless title; for the divine command, and the ability to perform it, go together. Let us now examine the words in detail.

 

And he gave. The government of the church, by the preaching of the word, is first of all declared to be no human contrivance, but a most sacred ordinance of Christ. The apostles did not appoint themselves, but were chosen by Christ; and, at the present day, true pastors do not rashly thrust themselves forward by their own judgment, but are raised up by the Lord. In short, the government of the church, by the ministry of the word, is not a contrivance of men, but an appointment made by the Son of God. As his own unalterable law, it demands our assent. They who reject or despise this ministry offer insult and rebellion to Christ its Author. It is himself who gave them; for, if he does not raise them up, there will be none. Another inference is, that no man will be fit or qualified for so distinguished an office who has not been formed and moulded by the hand of Christ himself. To Christ we owe it that we have ministers of the gospel, that they abound in necessary qualifications, that they execute the trust committed to them. All, all is his gift.

 

Some, apostles. The different names and offices assigned to different persons take their rise from that diversity of the members which goes to form the completeness of the whole body, — every ground of emulation, and envy, and ambition, being thus removed. If every person shall display a selfish character, shall strive to outshine his neighbor, and shall disregard all concerns but his own, — or, if more eminent persons shall be the object of envy to those who occupy a lower place, — in each, and in all of these cases, gifts are not applied to their proper use. He therefore reminds them, that the gifts bestowed on individuals are intended, not to be held for their personal and separate interests, but to be employed for the benefit of the whole. Of the offices which are here enumerated, we have already spoken at considerable length, and shall now say nothing more than the exposition of the passage seems to demand. Five classes of office-bearers are mentioned, though on this point, I am aware, there is a diversity of opinion; for some consider the two last to make but one office. Leaving out of view the opinions of others, I shall proceed to state my own.

 

I take the word apostles not in that general sense which the derivation of the term might warrant, but in its own peculiar signification, for those highly favored persons whom Christ exalted to the highest honor. Such were the twelve, to whose number Paul was afterwards added. Their office was to spread the doctrine of the gospel throughout the whole world, to plant churches, and to erect the kingdom of Christ. They had not churches of their own committed to them; but the injunction given to all of them was, to preach the gospel wherever they went.

 

Next to them come the Evangelists, who were closely allied in the nature of their office, but held an inferior rank. To this class belonged Timothy and others; for, while Paul mentions them along with himself in the salutations of his epistles, he does not speak of them as his companions in the apostleship, but claims this name as peculiarly his own. The services in which the Lord employed them were auxiliary to those of the apostles, to whom they were next in rank.

 

To these two classes the apostle adds Prophets. By this name some understand those persons who possessed the gift of predicting future events, among whom was Agabus. (Acts 11:28; 21:10.) But, for my own part, as doctrine is the present subject, I would rather define the word prophets, as on a former occasion, to mean distinguished interpreters of prophecies, who, by a remarkable gift of revelation, applied them to the subjects which they had occasion to handle; not excluding, however, the gift of prophecy, by which their doctrinal instruction was usually accompanied.

 

Pastors and Teachers are supposed by some to denote one office, because the apostle does not, as in the other parts of the verse, say, and some, pastors; and some, teachers; but, τοὺς δὲ, ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους, and some, pastors and teachers Chrysostom and Augustine are of this opinion; not to mention the commentaries of Ambrose, whose observations on the subject are truly childish and unworthy of himself. I partly agree with them, that Paul speaks indiscriminately of pastors and teachers as belonging to one and the same class, and that the name teacher does, to some extent, apply to all pastors. But this does not appear to me a sufficient reason why two offices, which I find to differ from each other, should be confounded. Teaching is, no doubt, the duty of all pastors; but to maintain sound doctrine requires a talent for interpreting Scripture, and a man may be a teacher who is not qualified to preach.

 

Pastors, in my opinion, are those who have the charge of a particular flock; though I have no objection to their receiving the name of teachers, if it be understood that there is a distinct class of teachers, who preside both in the education of pastors and in the instruction of the whole church. It may sometimes happen, that the same person is both a pastor and a teacher, but the duties to be performed are entirely different.

 

It deserves attention, also, that, of the five offices which are here enumerated, not more than the last two are intended to be perpetual. Apostles, Evangelists, and Prophets were bestowed on the church for a limited time only, — except in those cases where religion has fallen into decay, and evangelists are raised up in an extraordinary manner, to restore the pure doctrine which had been lost. But without Pastors and Teachers there can be no government of the church.

 

Papists have some reason to complain, that their primacy, of which they boast so much, is openly insulted in this passage. The subject of discussion is the unity of the church. Paul inquires into the means by which its continuance is secured, and the outward expressions by which it is promoted, and comes at length to the government of the church. If he knew a primacy which had a fixed residence, was it not his duty, for the benefit of the whole church, to exhibit one ministerial head placed over all the members, under whose government we are collected into one body? We must either charge Paul with inexcusable neglect and foolishness, in leaving out the most appropriate and powerful argument, or we must acknowledge that this primacy is at variance with the appointment of Christ. In truth, he plainly rejects it as without foundation, when he ascribes superiority to Christ alone, and represents the apostles, and all the pastors, as indeed inferior to Him, but associated on an equal level with each other. There is no passage of Scripture by which that tyrannical hierarchy, regulated by one earthly head, is more completely overturned. Paul has been followed by Cyprian, who gives a short and clear definition of what forms the only lawful monarchy in the church. There is, he says, one bishoprick, which unites the various parts into one whole. This bishoprick he claims for Christ alone, leaving the administration of it to individuals, but in a united capacity, no one being permitted to exalt himself above others."

 

Well, I was obviously never called to any of the aforementioned 'offices'...not individually, nor as the helpmate to one. God knew what He was doing when He passed me over for those offices lol...but...

 

He does have a purpose for my life. He has given me certain gifts. I've spent so much of my life running from 'it' and Him that I have no idea why He created me for. I'm beginning to see that He's given me certain gifts that I've misused in the past. Even now, there are more rare occassions where I have to consciously repel the pride that seeks to rise in my heart. Just the other day I was struggling with that, and had to, in my mind and in prayer, go back to that moment where I hit my knees and cried out to Him...remembering how I told Him that if He didn't intervene in my life, that I was going to die...literally. It was important to remember that inspite of my best intentions, I let opportunities slip through my hands...I messed many things up. Consequently, ANYthing that is good in my life, anything that has meaning or purpose, anything that is used by Him to do His work in another's life, is ALL because of HIM. I don't know why my life seems to be so extreme...either I'm right on track with Him and He does many beautiful things, or I'm running in rebellion, trying to forget Him for a moment so that I can do 'this or that', because I WANT to. There is no middle ground here for me, I'm far from ever being accused of lukewarm.

 

Anyway, the 'offices' that Paul highlights are ones that are full of responsibility and accountability to the Holy One. It scares me just to think of being in that position...handling 'holy things'. When I see those in error, it is so sad. The enemy is constantly moving to and fro, trying to find the littlest chink in all our armors so that he can wrestle in and destroy and adulterate the thing he hates most...which is...

 

That Jesus hung on that Cross, as the Son of the Living God, so that His blood could flow freely from His body and to cover the multitudes of sins that reign in our hearts.

 

The enemy doesn't care if we talk about God or the Holy Spirit, or anything...but the one Name he hates the most is Jesus Christ. The battle was won on Calvery, so all the enemy has left is to try to blind us to the freedom that can, and is, found in Him...diverting our eyes as much as possible onto ANYthing else, but Him.

 

Anyway, I'm just typing that probably more to remind myself, than anything else.

 

Clark comments, "He gave some, apostles] He established several offices in his Church; furnished these with the proper officers; and, to qualify them for their work, gave them the proper gifts. For a full illustration of this verse, the reader is requested to refer to the notes on 1 Cor. xii. 6- 10; 28-30; and to the concluding observations at the end of that chapter."

 

Henry states, " The apostle next tells us what were Christ's gifts at his ascension: He gave some apostles, &c., v. 11. Indeed he sent forth some of these before his ascension, Matt. x. 1-5. But one was then added, Acts i. 26. And all of them were more solemnly installed, and publicly confirmed, in their office, by his visibly pouring forth the Holy Ghost in an extraordinary manner and measure upon them. Note, The great gift that Christ gave to the church at his ascension was that of the ministry of peace and reconciliation. The gift of the ministry is the fruit of Christ's ascension. And ministers have their various gifts, which are all given them by the Lord Jesus. The officers which Christ gave to his church were of two sorts—extraordinary ones advanced to a higher office in the church: such were apostles, prophets, and evangelists. The apostles were chief. These Christ immediately called, furnished them with extraordinary gifts and the power of working miracles, and with infallibility in delivering his truth; and, they having been the witnesses of his miracles and doctrine, he sent them forth to spread the gospel and to plant and govern churches. The prophets seem to have been such as expounded the writings of the Old Testament, and foretold things to come. The evangelists were ordained persons (2 Tim. i. 6), whom the apostles took for their companions in travel (Gal. ii. 1), and sent them out to settle and establish such churches as the apostles themselves had planted (Acts xix. 22), and, not being fixed to any particular place, they were to continue till recalled, 2 Tim. iv. 9. And then there are ordinary ministers, employed in a lower and narrower sphere; as pastors and teachers. Some take these two names to signify one office, implying the duties of ruling and teaching belonging to it. Others think they design two distinct offices, both ordinary, and of standing use in the church; and then pastors are such as are fixed at the head of particular churches, with design to guide, instruct, and feed them in the manner appointed by Christ; and they are frequently called bishops and elders: and the teachers were those whose work it was also to preach the gospel and to instruct the people by way of exhortation. We see here that it is Christ's prerogative to appoint what officers and offices he pleases in his church. And how rich is the church, that had at first such a variety of officers and has still such a variety of gifts! How kind is Christ to his church! How careful of it and of its edification! When he ascended, he procured the gift of the Holy Ghost; and the gifts of the Holy Ghost are various: some have greater, others have less measures; but all for the good of the body, which brings us to the third argument,"

 

12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

 

Father God,

 

Please protect each and everyone of us, as to whom You would have us sit under...as pastor, teacher, expositor of Your Word. Lead us to the right churches where the pure Gospel of Jesus is preached...keep us from error, and from getting off that 'straight and narrow'...for Your glory, for Your honor, because You are our Abba Father...

 

Calvin states, "For the renewing of the saints. In this version I follow Erasmus, not because I prefer his view, but to allow the reader an opportunity of comparing his version with the Vulgate and with mine, and then choosing for himself. The old translation was, (ad consummationem,) for the completeness. The Greek word employed by Paul is καταρτισμός, which signifies literally the adaptation of things possessing symmetry and proportion; just as, in the human body, the members are united in a proper and regular manner; so that the word comes to signify perfection. But as Paul intended to express here a just and orderly arrangement, I prefer the word (constitutio) settlement or constitution, taking it in that sense in which a commonwealth, or kingdom, or province, is said to be settled, when confusion gives place to the regular administration of law.

 

For the work of the ministry. God might himself have performed this work, if he had chosen; but he has committed it to the ministry of men. This is intended to anticipate an objection. “Cannot the church be constituted and properly arranged, without the instrumentality of men?” Paul asserts that a ministry is required, because such is the will of God.

 

For the edifying of the body of Christ. This is the same thing with what he had formerly denominated the settlement or perfecting of the saints. Our true completeness and perfection consist in our being united in the one body of Christ. No language more highly commendatory of the ministry of the word could have been employed, than to ascribe to it this effect. What is more excellent than to produce the true and complete perfection of the church? And yet this work, so admirable and divine, is here declared by the apostle to be accomplished by the external ministry of the word. That those who neglect this instrument should hope to become perfect in Christ is utter madness. Yet such are the fanatics, on the one hand, who pretend to be favored with secret revelations of the Spirit, — and proud men, on the other, who imagine that to them the private reading of the Scriptures is enough, and that they have no need of the ordinary ministry of the church.

 

If the edification of the church proceeds from Christ alone, he has surely a right to prescribe in what manner it shall be edified. But Paul expressly states, that, according to the command of Christ, no real union or perfection is attained, but by the outward preaching. We must allow ourselves to be ruled and taught by men. This is the universal rule, which extends equally to the highest and to the lowest. The church is the common mother of all the godly, which bears, nourishes, and brings up children to God, kings and peasants alike; and this is done by the ministry. Those who neglect or despise this order choose to be wiser than Christ. Woe to the pride of such men! It is, no doubt, a thing in itself possible that divine influence alone should make us perfect without human assistance. But the present inquiry is not what the power of God can accomplish, but what is the will of God and the appointment of Christ. In employing human instruments for accomplishing their salvation, God has conferred on men no ordinary favor. Nor can any exercise be found better adapted to promote unity than to gather around the common doctrine — the standard of our General."

 

Clark writes, "For the perfecting of the saints] For the complete instruction, purification, and union of all who have believed in Christ Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles. For the meaning of katartismov, perfecting, see the note on 2 Cor. xiii. 9.

 

For the work of the ministry] All these various officers, and the gifts and graces conferred upon them, were judged necessary, by the great Head of the Church, for its full instruction in the important doctrines of Christianity. The same officers and gifts are still necessary, and God gives them; but they do not know their places. In most Christian Churches there appears to be but one office, that of preacher; and one gift, that by which he professes to preach. The apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, are all compounded in the class preachers; and many, to whom God has given nothing but the gift of exhortation, take texts to explain them; and thus lose their time, and mar their ministry.

 

Edifying of the body] The body of Christ is his Church, see chap. ii. 20, &c.; and its edification consists in its thorough instruction in Divine things, and its being filled with faith and holiness."

 

I think this is the simple foundation to our calling (as stated above)...the body of Christ is His Church, and its edification consists in its thorough instruction in Divine things, and it's being filled with faith and holiness...

 

Pure and unadulterated instruction in Divine things creates faith and a desire to live a more holy life...i.e., being so filled with Him, that the earthly desires begin to fade away. It's as if our spiritual life mirrors our need to breathe. We breathe thousands of times each day, taking in the air that sustains our life. How blessed would I be if every earthly breath mirrored a spiritual breath...that every time I breathed in air, I would also breathe in spiritual thoughts, His Word, etc.

 

Father God,

 

I just pray that You would release Your Holy Spirit into all our hearts, flooding us with a pure and divine desire for You...let nothing else get in the way, let Your Spirit ignite Your Holy fire within us, that we might be all that You created us to be. Whether it be within the confines of our homes, or out there amongst the people, let Your power flow through us so that we might further Your Kingdom...

 

Oh Jesus, make us holy...let any and all strings to our past be broken in a holy, annointed manner, for You alone are Worthy.

 

Lord, I'm starting to worry a little about how this study is going...it's just inner laced with the thoughts and prayers that are laying heavy on my heart as I progress today. I don't know why it's working out this way, but I just put this study into Your Holy Hands, to do with it, as You please. *sigh*

 

Henry writes, "Which is taken from Christ's great end and design in giving gifts unto men. The gifts of Christ were intended for the good of his church, and in order to advance his kingdom and interest among men. All these being designed for one common end is a good reason why all Christians should agree in brotherly love, and not envy one another's gifts. All are for the perfecting of the saints (v. 12); that is, according to the import of the original, to bring into an orderly spiritual state and frame those who had been as it were dislocated and disjointed by sin, and then to strengthen, confirm, and advance them therein, that so each, in his proper place and function, might contribute to the good of the whole.—For the work of the ministry, or for the work of dispensation; that is, that they might dispense the doctrines of the gospel, and successfully discharge the several parts of their ministerial function.—For the edifying of the body of Christ; that is, to build up the church, which is Christ's mystical body, by an increase of their graces, and an addition of new members."

 

Yanno Lord, if I'm honest, I'd hafta say that I don't even want to know what my gifts are. I am perfectly comfortable trusting You with those details. Just use, no matter how big or small they might be, those things that You have specifically assigned to me, and to us, however You want. They are gifts meant to be beautiful, to glorify You...they belong to You, so I give them back for You to use, however You deem fit and acceptable.

 

13. 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 fullness of Christ:

 

Calvin writes, "Till we all come. Paul had already said, that by the ministry of men the church is regulated and governed, so as to attain the highest perfection. But his commendation of the ministry is now carried farther. The necessity for which he had pleaded is not confined to a single day, but continues to the end. Or, to speak more plainly, he reminds his readers that the use of the ministry is not temporal, like that of a school for children, (παιδαγωγία, Galatians 3:24,) but constant, so long as we remain in the world. Enthusiasts dream that the use of the ministry ceases as soon as we have been led to Christ. Proud men, who carry their desire of knowledge beyond what is proper, look down with contempt on the elementary instruction of childhood. But Paul maintains that we must persevere in this course till all our deficiencies are supplied; that we must make progress till death, under the teaching of Christ alone; and that we must not be ashamed to be the scholars of the church, to which Christ has committed our education.

 

In the unity of the faith. But ought not the unity of the faith to reign among us from the very commencement? It does reign, I acknowledge, among the sons of God, but not so perfectly as to make them come together. Such is the weakness of our nature, that it is enough if every day brings some nearer to others, and all nearer to Christ. The expression, coming together, denotes that closest union to which we still aspire, and which we shall never reach, until this garment of the flesh, which is always accompanied by some remains of ignorance and weakness, shall have been laid aside.

 

And of the knowledge of the Son of God. This clause appears to be added for the sake of explanation. It was the apostle’s intention to explain what is the nature of true faith, and in what it consists; that is, when the Son of God is known. To the Son of God alone faith ought to look; on him it relies; in him it rests and terminates. If it proceed farther, it will disappear, and will no longer be faith, but a delusion. Let us remember, that true faith confines its view so entirely to Christ, that it neither knows, nor desires to know, anything else.

 

Into a perfect man. This must be read in immediate connection with what goes before; as if he had said, “What is the highest perfection of Christians? How is that perfection attained?” Full manhood is found in Christ; for foolish men do not, in a proper manner, seek their perfection in Christ. It ought to be held as a fixed principle among us, that all that is out of Christ is hurtful and destructive. Whoever is a man in Christ, is, in every respect, a perfect man.

 

The AGE of fullness means — full or mature age. No mention is made of old age, for in the Christian progress no place for it is found. Whatever becomes old has a tendency to decay; but the vigor of this spiritual life is continually advancing."

 

Lord...Jesus...strip from me all my 'flesh' and clothe me in Your righteousness. The 'flesh' ages and decays in time and will one day die...as I get older, I want less of my flesh and more of You Lord Jesus. Make me into a Holy Bride that will bring a smile to Your face and warmth to Your heart.

 

Clark comments, "In the unity of the faith] Jews and Gentiles being all converted according to the doctrines laid down in the faith - the Christian system.

 

The knowledge of the Son of God] A trite understanding of the mystery of the incarnation; why God was manifest in the flesh, and why this was necessary in order to human salvation.

 

Unto a perfect man] eiv andra teleion? One thoroughly instructed; the whole body of the Church being fully taught, justified, sanctified, and sealed.

 

Measure of the stature] The full measure of knowledge, love, and holiness, which the Gospel of Christ requires. Many preachers, and multitudes of professing people, are studious to find out how many imperfections and infidelities, and how much inward sinfulness, is consistent with a safe state in religion but how few, very few, are bringing out the fair Gospel standard to try the height of the members of the Church; whether they be fit for the heavenly army; whether their stature be such as qualifies them for the ranks of the Church militant! The measure of the stature of the fullness is seldom seen; the measure of the stature of littleness, dwarfishness, and emptiness, is often exhibited."

 

Well, that's exactly how I've been feeling through this whole entire study...littleness, dwarfishness, etc. I've been warring inside with feeling very inadequate to be doing this publically. Perhaps I'm just feeling vulnerable today a little more than usual, with trying to put into the written word, these thoughts and feelings I'm having as I walk this journey in His Word. I was just sitting here at the dining room table, and looked to the huge mirror I have hanging on the wall in my great room next to my front doors. In that mirror, the angle is perfect to reflect a stained glass window above the bed in my bedroom. The stained glass if of the Cross, so I was just sitting here, looking at the reflection of that Cross, that I sleep under every night. It's all about Jesus. It's His work, not mine, so I need to quit whining about me, and just be obedient to following His leading.

 

Henry states, "All are designed to prepare us for heaven: Till we all come, &c., v. 13. The gifts and offices (some of them) which have been spoken of are to continue in the church till the saints be perfected, which will not be till they all come in the unity of the faith (till all true believers meet together, by means of the same precious faith) and of the knowledge of the Son of God, by which we are to understand, not a bare speculative knowledge, or the acknowledging of Christ to be the Son of God and the great Mediator, but such as is attended with appropriation and affection, with all due honour, trust, and obedience.—Unto a perfect man, to our full growth of gifts and graces, free from those childish infirmities that we are subject to in the present world.—Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, so as to be Christians of a full maturity and ripeness in all the graces derived from Christ's fulness: or, according to the measure of that stature which is to make up the fulness of Christ, which is to complete his mystical body. Now we shall never come to the perfect man, till we come to the perfect world. There is a fulness in Christ, and a fulness to be derived from him; and a certain stature of that fulness, and a measure of that stature, are assigned in the counsel of God to every believer, and we never come to that measure till we come to heaven. God's children, as long as they are in this world, are growing. Dr Lightfoot understands the apostle as speaking here of Jews and Gentiles knit in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, so making a perfect man, and the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. The apostle further shows, in the following verses, what was God's design in his sacred institutions, and what effect they ought to have upon us."

 

Lord, grow me in You...I'm tired of being an 'infant in the Lord'. I am the one who has controlled that, being resistant. I'm 47 years old and mature by human standards but such a baby in You. Mature me Father...I desire to evolve into the woman You destined me to be, in You.

 

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.

 

Calvin writes, "That we may be no more children. Having spoken of that perfect manhood, towards which we are proceeding throughout the whole course of our life, he reminds us that, during such a progress, we ought not to resemble children. An intervening period is thus pointed out between childhood and man’s estate. Those are “children” who have not yet advanced a step in the way of the Lord, but who still hesitate, — who have not yet determined what road they ought to choose, but move sometimes in one direction and sometimes in another, always doubtful, always wavering. Those, again, who are thoroughly founded in the doctrine of Christ, though not yet perfect, have so much wisdom and vigor as to choose properly, and proceed steadily, in the right course. Thus we find that the life of believers, marked by a constant desire and progress towards those attainments which they shall ultimately reach, bears a resemblance to youth. At no period of this life are we men. But let not such a statement be carried to the other extreme, as if there were no progress beyond childhood. After being born to Christ, we ought to grow, so as “not to be children in understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:20.) Hence it appears what kind of Christianity the Popish system must be, when the pastors labor, to the utmost of their power, to keep the people in absolute infancy.

 

Tossed to and fro, and carried about. The distressing hesitation of those who do not place absolute reliance on the word of the Lord, is illustrated by two striking metaphors. The first is taken from small ships, exposed to the fury of the billows in the open sea, holding no fixed course, guided neither by skill nor design, but hurried along by the violence of the tempest. The next is taken from straws, or other light substances, which are carried hither and thither as the wind drives them, and often in opposite directions. Such must be the changeable and unsteady character of all who do not rest on the foundation of God’s eternal truth. It is their just punishment for looking, not to God, but to men. Paul declares, on the other hand, that faith, which rests on the word of God, stands unshaken against all the attacks of Satan.

 

By every wind of doctrine. By a beautiful metaphor, all the doctrines of men, by which we are drawn away from the simplicity of the gospel, are called winds God gave us his word, by which we might have placed ourselves beyond the possibility of being moved; but, giving way to the contrivances of men, we are carried about in all directions.

 

By the cunning of men. There will always be impostors, who make insidious attacks upon our faith; but, if we are fortified by the truth of God, their efforts will be unavailing. Both parts of this statement deserve our careful attention. When new sects, or wicked tenets, spring up, many persons become alarmed. But the attempts of Satan to darken, by his falsehoods, the pure doctrine of Christ, are at no time interrupted; and it is the will of God that these struggles should be the trial of our faith. When we are informed, on the other hand, that the best and readiest defense against every kind of error is to bring forward that doctrine which we have learned from Christ and his apostles, this surely is no ordinary consolation.

 

With what awful wickedness, then, are Papists chargeable, who take away from the word of God everything like certainty, and maintain that there is no steadiness of faith, but what depends on the authority of men! If a man entertain any doubt, it is in vain to bid him consult the word of God: he must abide by their decrees. But we have embraced the law, the prophets, and the gospel. Let us therefore confidently expect that we shall reap the advantage which is here promised, — that all the impostures of men will do us no harm. They will attack us, indeed, but they will not prevail. We are entitled, I acknowledge, to look for the dispensation of sound doctrine from the church, for God has committed it to her charge; but when Papists avail themselves of the disguise of the church for burying doctrine, they give sufficient proof that they have a diabolical synagogue.

 

The Greek word κυβεία, which I have translated cunning, is taken from players at dice, who are accustomed to practice many arts of deception. The words, ἐν πανουργίᾳ, by craftiness, intimate that the ministers of Satan are deeply skilled in imposture; and it is added, that they keep watch, in order to insnare, (πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τὢς πλάνης.) All this should rouse and sharpen our minds to profit by the word of God. If we neglect to do so, we may fall into the snares of our enemies, and endure the severe punishment of our sloth."

 

Lord, this is Your Word that You have given to all of us. I pray Father, that You would teach us what YOU would have us learn. I pray that You would protect us from those that would impart a defiled gospel. I pray that You will give us Your clarity...that Your Spirit would birth in our hearts Your Truth as You have decreed it. Again, pour out Your Spirit to burn us with an unquenchable thirst for more, more, more of You and Your Word. All that we need is found right here. The enemy wants to keep us out of Your Word so that we remain weak. Even Jesus 'battled' satan with Your Word...it is living and is full of Your immeasureable power.

 

Henry writes, "As, (1.) That we henceforth be no more children, &c. (v. 14); that is, that we may be no longer children in knowledge, weak in the faith, and inconstant in our judgments, easily yielding to every temptation, readily complying with every one's humour, and being at every one's back. Children are easily imposed upon. We must take care of this, and of being tossed to and fro, like ships without ballast, and carried about, like clouds in the air, with such doctrines as have no truth nor solidity in them, but nevertheless spread themselves far and wide, and are therefore compared to wind. By the sleight of men; this is a metaphor taken from gamesters, and signifies the mischievous subtlety of seducers: and cunning craftiness, by which is meant their skilfulness in finding ways to seduce and deceive; for it follows, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, as in an ambush, in order to circumvent the weak, and draw them from the truth. Note, Those must be very wicked and ungodly men who set themselves to seduce and deceive others into false doctrines and errors. The apostle describes them here as base men, using a great deal of devilish art and cunning, in order thereunto. The best method we can take to fortify ourselves against such is to study the sacred oracles, and to pray for the illumination and grace of the Spirit of Christ, that we may know the truth as it is in Jesus, and be established in it."

 

Wow...no wonder...

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I'm kinda speechless at the moment...once again.

 

Continue to remove the veil Father...teach me about You, about Jesus, about Your Spirit, about who I am in You, about Your plan for my, and our lives...

 

I spend an inordinate amount of time 'prepping' for the unknowns in life. I have neglected to comprehend the importance of the most important prep, which is my spiritual prep.

 

As I sit here and think about all this, I feel a little fearful as I think about this issue, or that issue going on in my life. But when I think about You, about Your Word, about spiritual things, I feel no fear whatsoever. And because I know that Your Word is Truth, as I continue to study and learn, this indecision, this uncertainty, fear, etc., will be replaced with a maturity that will bless my life and all those around me, and will bring glory to You because this is all Your work, accomplished only by You. Only You can open my eyes and make me see, so I stretch forth my hand in faith and trust You with my spiritual sight.

 

I lift my eyes towards Your Holy Throne, and I trust You. I give You my life and all my worship.

 

You alone are God...I need You so desperately.

 

And You wanna know what Lord? Even that craving FOR You, comes FROM You.

 

You are just so precious...I love You so much.

 

In Jesus Name,

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Since no one else has jumped in here, I will. cool

 

The apostles did not appoint themselves, but were chosen by Christ; and, at the present day, true pastors do not rashly thrust themselves forward by their own judgment, but are raised up by the Lord.

 

Amen on this one. If you notice when Christ called each apostle He did it whilst they were about their business. The Gospels said that each one 'immediately' (NIV) turned, left their work, and followed Christ.

 

He therefore reminds them, that the gifts bestowed on individuals are intended, not to be held for their personal and separate interests, but to be employed for the benefit of the whole.

 

Being the selfish and proud humans we are, Christ knew we would attempt to take credit for much of our work through the gifts He gave us. He's very good at reminding us (usually painfully) that we work for Him and those He puts across our path each day.

 

God might himself have performed this work, if he had chosen; but he has committed it to the ministry of men.

 

Again, He knows our fallen and sinful lives will get in the way of His work to be performed. The Potter takes His time when forming the perfect clay pots. He knows He is working with a bunch of crackpots, but His work will be completed on time and to His specifications.

 

This is one of my favorite verses ... He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. I Thessalonians 5:24

 

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