Joined Together: Walking With & Following Jesus, Walking & Fellowshipping With the Body

Today’s selected reading continues in and concludes the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Ephesus. More specifically today’s passage begins with the fifteenth verse of the fifth chapter and continues through to the twenty-fourth chapter of the sixth chapter. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of the Lord” (Ephesians 5:15-21).

 

            “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nouriseth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church; For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ephesians 5:22-33).

 

            “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1-4).

 

            “servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of hyour heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice as menpleasures; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master, also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him” (Ephesians 6:5-9).

 

 

            “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:10-20).

 

            “But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do. Tychius, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Ephesians 6:21-24).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints drawing to a close. In order to truly understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture I am convinced it is necessary to first begin with the words presented in the opening verses of the fifth chapter. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the fifth chapter you will find the apostle Paul emphatically declaring unto the Ephesian saints to be followers of God. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous truth surrounding those words and what it truly means to be followers of the living God. In all reality when I think about these words I can’t help but think about the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy when we find what Scripture during the days of Jesus considers the greatest of all the commandments. Upon beginning to read with and from the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will encounter the tremendous truth surrounding what is the greatest commandment by those in the New Testament days of Jesus. What makes this particular reality so incredibly intriguing when you think about it is that this was not only considered to be the greatest commandment by the Lord Jesus but it was considered to be the greatest commandment by religious leaders and scholars alike. You cannot read the New Testament gospel narratives without encountering and coming face to face with the tremendous truth that the scribes, the Pharisees, the elders of the people and all those within the religious community considered this commandment to be the single greatest commandment.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the awesome truth regarding the words which Moses commanded the children of Israel on the plains of Moab just before they were about to enter into the land of Canaan which was their inheritance. If you think about and consider the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will find that while it is indeed true it is a recounting of everything the LORD their God had spoken unto and done for them it was also commandments and instructions which Moses was commanding a new generation which would enter into the land of Canaan. If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning the children of Israel it’s that the same generation which experienced the plagues and judgments of the LORD in the land of Egypt would not be the same generation that would cross over and enter into the land of Canaan. The same generation which saw the salvation of the LORD God at the Red Sea would not be the same generation that would experience the parting of the Jordan River and enter into the land of Canaan. The same generation that would experience many of the great works and wonders of the living God in the wilderness would not be the same generation that would experience entering into the land of Canaan. In fact when these words found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy were spoken they weren’t even spoken to that first generation—the generation which came forth out of the land of Egypt and from their slavery, bondage and oppression.

 

            The more I think about and consider this particular reality the more I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the children of Israel which were camped and which stood before Moses on the plains of Moab on the eastern edge of the Jordan River. That generation which was present before Moses in the plains of Moab on the eastern edge of the Jordan River was not the same generation which had emerged from the slavery, bondage and oppression from the land of Egypt. Oh there might have been those in this generation who were infants, children and teenagers at the time of the exodus from the land of Egypt but by and large the generation which stood before Moses on the eastern edge of the Jordan River in the plains of Moab was an entirely new generation which was present in the earth preparing to enter into the land of Canaan. This is truly astonishing when you think about and consider the fact that the commandment which Moses would give unto the children of Israel would be given unto that generation which was preparing to enter into the land of Canaan in place of their fathers and that first generation. That which we find in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is a new generation preparing to enter into the land of Canaan in the place of the that generation which had emerged from the land of Egypt and had witnessed all the plagues and judgments of the LORD against Pharaoh, against the Egyptians magicians, against the Egyptian taskmasters and even against the gods of the land of Egypt.

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for when we read the words found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus we find words which were spoken unto a new generation that was preparing to enter into the land of Canaan and that which was promised on oath unto their fathers. The generation which stood before Moses on the plains of Moab on the eastern edge of the Jordan River was a generation who was preparing to enter into the same land in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob dwelt and sojourned in as strangers and pilgrims. How absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it would be unto this generation that was preparing to enter into the land of their inheritance, promise and blessing after four-hundred and thirty years of slavery, bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt as well as forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Almost five centuries after Jacob and his household of seventy entered into the land of Egypt during the days of Joseph we find the children of Israel and a future generation essentially returning to the land of their ancestors sojourning and pilgrimage. It is actually quite interesting when you think about and consider this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that although this generation was preparing to enter into the land of Canaan for the first time it would essentially be a homecoming for the seed of Abraham which was present in the land of Canaan generations earlier.

 

            It is at this juncture I find it absolutely necessary to call and direct your attention to the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy for those words also remind me of the words which the LORD God spoke unto the children of Israel through His servant Micah of Moresheth who prophesied unto the southern kingdom of Judah during the days of the kings. The words which we find in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy are absolutely astounding when you think about and consider them for they are intrinsically linked and connected to the words which the LORD God spoke through His servant Micah of Moresheth during the days of the monarchs of the southern kingdom of Judah. Having said this I now invite you to consider the following words which are found in both the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy as well as the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Micah:

 

            “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his tatutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy sons’ son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase greatly, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD; and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine head, and they shall be frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildest not, and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, and from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are found about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken. And when they son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: and the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: and he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. And the LORD commandment us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us” (Deuteronomy 6:1-25).

 

            Upon reading the words which are found within this passage you will find what was considered the single greatest commandment—most certainly during the days in which the Lord Jesus walked upon the face of the earth and quite possibly even from the days and time of Moses. Within the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we find the greatest commandment spoken by the mouth of Moses which was to love the LORD their God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their strength. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is when you consider it for I am convinced it is intrinsically linked to the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Micah. If you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament book of Micah you will find the prophet asking with what he would come before the LORD. What’s more is the prophet not only asked the question of what he would come before the LORD but he also asked the question how he would come before the LORD and bow himself before the high God. The prophet Micah would go on to ask if he should come before the LORD with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? He would go on to ask if the LORD would be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil or even if he should give the firstborn for his transgression or the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul. What Micah declares immediately after this is incredibly powerful when you consider it for the prophet would go on to declare unto the people of God that the LORD God had shewed them what was good. With this in mind consider the following words which are found in the sixth chapter of the prophetic book of Micah beginning with the sixth verse:

 

            “Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:6-8).

 

            Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it seems to be directly linked to the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. It is in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we find Moses the servant and friend of God instructing the children of Israel to love the LORD their God—and not only to love the LORD their God but to love Him with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their strength. We must needs recognize and understand this and how incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the command which was given unto the children of Israel before they crossed over the Jordan River and entered into the land of Canaan. The words which we find here in this passage were given to a new generation which was preparing to enter into the land of Canaan and into the land which was sworn on oath to their fathers—unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob. The words which we find here must be carefully considered in light of the words which the apostle Paul spoke unto the Ephesian saints for in the opening verse of the fifth chapter he instructs and admonishes them to be followers of God. I am absolutely convinced we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth and how it serves as an incredible foundation for us in this life for our righteousness and our salvation. The apostle Paul admonishes the Ephesian saints to be followers of God as dear children and would then go on to instruct them to walk in love as Christ also loved us, and gave himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.

 

            With all of this in mind I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Ephesian saints. It is when you come to the seventeeth verse of the fourth chapter of this epistle you will find a shift and transition within the epistle. It is at this particular juncture where you find the apostle Paul beginning to instruct the Ephesian saints how they ought to live in light of the inheritance they have in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In all reality we must needs recognize and understand that inheritance elicits and solicits a response from us in this life and in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation. If we are to understand the words which are found in the final chapters of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints we must needs recognize that the apostle Paul was delivering tremendous instruction unto these dear saints whom he had begotten in the LORD. There is not a doubt in my mind that we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints for they serve as a tremendous encouragement and admonition for us who are living in this generation before the end of the world is come. If you begin reading with and from the seventeenth verse of the fourth chapter you will find that directly on the heels of the apostle Paul speaking of the church of God becoming a mature person in the LORD who has been fitly joined together as one body in the Lord Jesus the apostle Paul instructs them concerning their new manner of life in this life. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fourth chapter beginning to read with and from the seventeenth verse:

 

            “This I say therefore, and testify in the LORD, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkned, being alienated form the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:17-24).

 

            “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:25-32).

 

            We must needs pay close attention to the words which are found in this particular portion of Scripture for what we find here is the apostle Paul instructing and admonishing the Ephesian saints concerning their manner of conversation in this life. The apostle Paul would open up the fifth chapter by admonishing and instructing them to be followers of the living God and to walk in love and this would come directly on the heels of the apostle Paul instructing them to put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. The apostle Paul recognized and understood that there was indeed a new man which was prepared for the saint of God and that one who believed on the person of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul recognized and understood that there was a new man which was created and prepared in God in all righteousness and true holiness. This was precisely what the apostle Paul spoke of when he wrote unto the Corinthians in the second epistle written unto them for in the fifth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints we find him speaking of those who are new creations in Christ. The apostle Paul would write unto the Corinthian saints concerning those who are in Christ being a new creation in Christ—and not only those who are in Christ and their becoming a new creation in Christ but also how old things were passed away and all things becoming new. It would be when speaking unto the Corinthian saints the apostle Paul would declare unto them that those who were in Christ were new creations in Christ thus suggesting that the old man was entirely and altogether done away with. In all reality this was precisely what the apostle Paul wrote and declared unto the saints which were at Rome and specifically in the eighth chapter of the epistle.

 

            Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in both the fifth chapter of the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome. Oh there is indeed a new man which is prepared in righteousness and holiness in God which we are to put on as a new man in Christ. The apostle Paul referred to this new man as being formed and fashioned in God in righteousness and holiness and also referred to it as being in Christ. Oh we must needs recognize that for those who are in Christ they are new creations in Him which are to walk in righteousness, in holiness, and in obedience before and unto the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth and how absolutely wonderful it truly is within our lives in this generation. There is a great need for us to recognize that directly linked to this new creation in Christ which in God is fashioned in righteousness and holiness is the destruction and devastation of our old man which we not only put to death but also crucify. It is at this juncture I invite you to consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the fifth chapter of the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints as well as the words which are found in the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome:

 

            “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

 

            “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? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that e shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as intrusments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:1-14).

 

            “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are not ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:15-23).

 

            The words which are found here in this passage of Scripture must be carefully considered in light of that which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Ephesus. It is in these words we find the apostle Paul calling and drawing the attention of the Ephesian saints to the former manner of conversation they had as Gentiles as they not only walked according to the lusts of their flesh but also gratified the desires and pleasures of their flesh. If there is one thing the apostle Paul sought to convey unto the Ephesian saints it was the tremendous transformation which had taken place within their lives after they had learned Christ—and not only learned Christ but also put on Christ. The apostle Paul sought to convey unto the Ephesian saints how that they were new creations in Christ who were made holy and righteous in Him in this life. As such the Ephesian saints were not to walk after the former manner of conversation which they had as Gentiles but were to walk as those who were redeemed and purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Paul spoke a great deal about the inheritance the saints of God had in Christ Jesus within this epistle, however, what we must needs recognize and understand is that this inheritance demands and requires action and response. The apostle Paul sought to convey unto the Ephesian saints that they were indeed bought and purchased with and by the blood of the Lord Jesus and were made into a new man in Christ Jesus unto righteousness and holiness. It is in light of this we find the apostle Paul writing in the second half of this epistle concerning what that inheritance looks like—not only for them as individuals but also for them in relation to the corporate body of the Lord Jesus.

 

            I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this epistle and I am brought face to face with the fact that the latter chapters of this epistle—chapters four through six—not only deal with how the Ephesian saints lived as the saints of God in their own unique and individual sense but also how they live that life in direct relation to the corporate body of Christ. You cannot read the words which are found in the latter three chapters of this epistle and not come face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the apostle Paul writing and instructing the Ephesian saints concerning how they ought to live their lives as those who were redeemed and purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus. Not only this but if there is one thing we must needs understand is that the new creation we have in Christ Jesus is intrinsically linked and connected to the corporate body of the Lord Jesus and fellowship with Him. One of the greatest truths I have learned over the past couple of years is that walking with and following the Lord Jesus didn’t merely mean walking with and following Him. When the disciples made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus they also made the decision to walk with others who had made the similar decision. When Peter and Andrew made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus they made the decision to walk with and follow Him together—and not only to walk with and follow Him but walk with each other in fellowship. When James and John made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus they made the decision to walk with Jesus as well as the other disciples whom He had called. What’s more is when the disciples made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus they would make the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus together with all those who would also walk with and follow Him. Walking with and following the Lord Jesus would undoubtedly mean they would not only walk with and follow the Lord Jesus as individuals but they would also walk with and follow Him together with others.

 

            The more you read the words which are found in the second half of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Ephesus the more you will find the apostle Paul instructing these saints how they ought to live in light of the inheritance they have in God which was created unto righteousness and holiness. What’s more is that we must needs recognize and understand that the words which are found in the second half of this epistle bring us face to face with how our new man and our new manner of conversation is intrinsically linked and connected to the corporate body of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus we made the decision to walk with Him in fellowship together with other brothers and sisters. There is indeed one body which was created for the Lord Jesus in the earth and this one body has indeed been made up of many members who are fitly joined together that they might grow up to become a mature man. The apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian saints in the first epistle written unto them how there is indeed one spiritual body which was prepared for the Lord Jesus in the earth after His departure and ascension unto the right hand of the Father which was in heaven. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for if we are to truly understand the words which are found in the second half of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints we must needs recognize that as much as we have been called to walk in fellowship with the living God we have also been called to walk in fellowship together with others. In fact I would dare say that walking in fellowship with the living God means that we do indeed walk in fellowship together with the saints of God in holiness and righteousness.

 

            Having said this I feel it is necessary to consider the words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle written unto the Ephesian saints. The words which we find in the second chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints deal exclusively and specifically with their former conversation and their former manner of living in this life. I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this particular passage of Scripture for it helps us to understand the words which are found in the latter half of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of this epistle beginning to read with and from the first verse:

 

            “And you hath ye quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (By grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).

 

            “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye 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: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are build upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:11-22).

 

            AND THAT HE MIGHT RECONCILE BOTH UNTO GOD IN ONE BODY BY THE CROSS! NOW THEREFORE YE ARE NO MORE STANGERS AND FOREIGNERS! BUT FELLOWCITIZENS WITH THE SAINTS! OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD! BUILT UPON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS! IN WHOM ALL THE BUILDING FITLY FRAMED TOGETHER GROWETH UNTO AN HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD! YE ALSO ARE BUILDED TOGETHER FOR AN HABITATION OF GOD THROUGH THE SPIRIT! Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that while we have indeed been called to be new creations in Christ Jesus and while we have been called to be righteous and holy before and in the sight of the living God we have been called into fellowship together with the saints of God. Our decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus wasn’t merely about our following Him but it was also about fellowship together with the saints of God which are in Christ Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it is to think that we have indeed been called to walk in fellowship together with the Lord Jesus and with God the Father of the Lord Jesus as well as walking in fellowship together with the saints and the brethren. When we were called we were indeed called unto the Lord Jesus Christ as His beloved and as His dearly beloved saints, however, we were also called unto fellowship together with the saints of God. In fact, I would dare say that making the conscious and deliberate decision to walking with and fellowshipping together with the Lord Jesus means that we also walk in and fellowship together with the saints of God. What’s more is I would dare say that we cannot separate walking with and following the Lord Jesus from walking together in fellowship with our brothers and sisters who are the saints of God in Christ Jesus.

 

            With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the opening portion of the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints. The words which we find in the opening portion of the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints must be carefully considered and understood for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the fact that we have not only been called as the saints of God but we have been called as those who walk with and fellowship together with the saints. While it is indeed true we have made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ we have also made the decision to walk with and fellowship together with the saints of God who are our brethren in Christ. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for if we are to truly function and operate the way we have been called to we must not only recognize that we walk with and follow the Lord Jesus but we also walk with and fellowship together with the saints of God as heirs and joint-heirs together with Christ. I am absolutely convinced that in order for us to truly operate and function the way we were called we must not only walk and follow the Lord Jesus Christ but we must also walk together and fellowship with the saints and brethren. You cannot read the words which are found in the epistle written unto the saints which were at Ephesus and not encounter and come face to face with this awesome and incredible truth. We must needs recognize and understand that our calling in Christ Jesus as sons and daughters is intrinsically wrapped up and connected with our walking together and fellowshipping with the saints of God who are our brethren in Christ Jesus.

 

            There would be those who would wish to separate themselves from fellowship together with the saints of God and the brethren who are in Christ Jesus and yet I am absolutely and completely convinced that to do so would be entirely and altogether dangerous. It is a dangerous and deadly thing to think we can walk with and follow the Lord Jesus without also walking together and fellowshipping with the saints of God who are our brethren in Christ Jesus. In fact I would dare say that the two are intrinsically linked and connected to each other and cannot in the slightest bit be separated and disjointed from each other. When we made the decision to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus we also made the decision to walk with and fellowship together with the saints of God who are the called in Christ Jesus according to the will of the Father. We must needs recognize and understand this and how absolutely incredible it is within our lives for if we want to truly walk in the calling wherein we have been called we must needs recognize and understand that we have been called to walk together and fellowship with our fellow citizens of heaven who are the saints of God. I am absolutely and completely convinced that our inheritance as individual members of the body of Christ is intrinsically linked and connected to the inheritance which we have as a corporate body. When the children of Israel entered into the land of Canaan they didn’t enter as individuals but rather as a singular corporate body which were called to take possession of the land together. As the children of Israel marched through the land during the days of Joshua and conquered and took possession of the land they would do so as a collective and corporate body until the time came when the land would be divided among the twelve tribes of Israel. Although the whole land of Canaan was indeed the inheritance of the people of God each individual tribe had their own portion within the land while each family and house had their own portion and lot within the land.

            It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the opening passage of the fourth chapter of this epistle for the words which we find here bring us face to face with the awesome truth surrounding our being framed together as one body of Christ. Just as a physical and natural body was prepared for the eternal and only begotten Son when He came to the earth as the Word made flesh so also was there a spiritual body which was prepared and made ready for Him when He came again in the form of the Holy Spirit. There was indeed a spiritual body which was prepared and made ready for the person of the Lord Jesus Christ which would be a temple of the Holy Ghost—a building that was made for the person of the Lord Jesus who would dwell among them in their midst. This building would not only be the temple of the Holy Ghost but would also be the temple of the living God as He would dwell among them and they would be His people and He would be their God. What we find in the opening verses of the fourteenth chapter of this epistle is an absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the saints of God and how they have been called together as one body to be fitly joined together that all might become a mature man as they seek to obtain to a measure of the stature of the fulness of who they were created to be. With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the opening verses of the fourth chapter beginning with the first verse:

 

            “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he 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 ino 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: 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; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 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” (Ephesians 4:1-16).

 

            Oh there is a truly tremendous need to recognize and understand the words which are presented here in this passage of Scripture for within it we understand that we have been called as one unto the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ. What’s more is that we have all been called collectively and corporately to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man and unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. We have been called to no longer be children who are tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness but have been called to speak the truth in love and may grow up into Him [Christ] in all things, which is the head—even Christ Jesus. Not only this but the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies is according to the effectual working in the measure of every part and makes increase of the body unto the edification of itself in love. We as the saints of God have been called together as one body to become a mature and complete man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and have been called unto fellowship together with the saints of God. What’s more is that we must needs recognize that our transformation which we experience within ourselves as individual members of the body of Christ is directly linked to the transformation of others as we have been called unto the same glorious outcome—namely that we be a church that is without spot or wrinkle and is holy and acceptable in the sight of the Lord Jesus.

 

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous truth surrounding our call to not only walk with and follow the Lord Jesus but also the need to walk with and fellowship together with the saints. Upon reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will encounter the tremendous need for our perfection as the saints of God for the work of the ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ. We have indeed been called to come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that we have been called collectively as one body to maturity and growth in this world as we are one body united together under one head. We as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ have indeed been called to be those who attain unto maturity and growth while we collectively allow ourselves to be united together. What makes this all the more intriguing when you think about it is how we have not merely been called to change and be transformed as individuals but we have been called to be changed and transformed as a corporate body of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am not sure I would say when one member changes all the members change, however, I will most certainly say that the change and transformation we experience in each of our lives should be directly connected to the change and transformation which is found in the hearts and lives of others. There is a great need for us to recognize and understand that we as the saints of God have both been called to live in community and fellowship together with the saints of God as well as learn, grow and mature with each other.

 

            With all of this being said it is absolutely necessary we recognize and understand that we have been called to a lifestyle of purity, of righteousness and holiness in the living God. We as the saints of God have been called to purity and righteousness before the living God as is evidenced in the opening verses of the fifth chapter. It is in these verses we find the apostle Paul declaring how all fornication, all uncleanness and covetousness ought not to be named among us as becoming of the saints. Not only this but neither ought filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting which are not convenient ought to be named among us as we give thanks unto the living God. Having said this the apostle Paul goes on to declare how no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. The apostle Paul emphatically declares unto the saints of God in Ephesus the tremendous call to righteousness, to holiness, to purity, to faith, to obedience and to be perfect in the sight of the living God. In all reality we must needs recognize and understand that we must needs be those who distance and separate ourselves from our past that it no longer has any hold or sway over us. We as the saints of God have a tremendous need to realize and understand that we have been called to a life of purity, of righteousness, of holiness and perfection before the living God. We are called to walk as children of light proving what is acceptable unto the Lord as we have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

 

            As you continue reading the words which are found in the fifth chapter you will find the apostle Paul calling the saints of God to walk circumspectly—not as fools but as wise as they redeemed the time because the days were evil. The apostle Paul called and invited the saints of God to not be unwise but understanding what the will of the Lord is. Moreover, the apostle Paul calls them to not be drunk with wine wherein is excess but instead be filled with the Spirit speaking unto themselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs as they sang and made melody in their hearts to the Lord. The apostle Paul also called on them to give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as they submitted themselves one to another in the fear of God. It was Solomon who emphatically declared that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and that the fear of the Lord is a precious treasure within our hearts and lives. With all of this being said there is a great need to also consider the awesome and powerful truth of wives submitting themselves unto their husbands as unto the Lord and how this is a mystery concerning the bride of Christ and the Lord Jesus as the head. Oh that we would be a people who recognize and understand that we have indeed been called to be those who submit ourselves first unto the Lord and as we submit ourselves unto the Lord we submit ourselves one to another in love. We have indeed been called to be sanctified and cleansed with the washing of water by the word that the Lord Jesus might present the church unto himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing but rather holy and without blemish. Oh that we would indeed recognize and understand that we have indeed been called to be those who must needs be righteous, holy, pure, faithful and obedient in the sight of the living God as we walk together with the saints of God who are our brethren united together with us in the Lord.

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