Biola Broadcaster - 1963-09

THE CONDUCT AND DUTY OF THE CHURCH Tuesday-Thursday Studies/Ephesians 4-6 by Dr, Lloyd T. Anderson Pastor, Bethany Baptist Church, West Covina, California

I n the study so far, we have finished the first half of this great epistle with its clear and blessed revelation of the calling and design of the Church. We have learned something of how God planned the Church before the foundation of the world. How that, in ■the fullness of time, the Son of God purchased it with His own blood, and finally, how the Holy Spirit came as the deposit, or pledge, that the whole transaction will be satisfactorily com­ pleted. The first part of the epistle is doc­ trinal. The fact of God’s love to us before we were ever bom is propound­ ed. The great doctrines of salvation are set forth in the first three chapters. Now Paul is ready to enumerate the duties of the Christian. Two great truths stand out in this part of the epistle: the believer’s walk, a'nd the believer’s warfare. The teach­ ing deals at length with these two thoughts, referred to by some as con­ duct and conflict. The larger part of the last three chapters has to do with the former (4:1-6:9). Certain distinguishing traits of char­ acter mark the believer in Christ. Hav­ ing set forth the believer’s position doctrinally, Paul now calls upon him to prove the reality of his calling through right conduct: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you The Christian Is to Walk Characteristically (4:1-16).

that ye walk worthy* of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (4:1). The “therefores” of Paul are signifi­ cant. Here the “therefore” stands as a signboard to tell us that there is no divorcement of Christian doctrine from Christian duty. Wherever there is faith, there will works be found also. For the second time Paul mentions the fact that he is “the prisoner of the Lord” (see 3:1). This is not a plea for sympathy. The man who was about to expound the walk and warfare of the believer knew whereof he spoke. It was for their sakes that he was a prisoner; and if his bonds did anything at all, they added dignity to his position. True he was the.prisoner of the Roman state, but more exactly he was “the prisoner of the Lord.” On the ground of the believer’s call­ ing, Paul would “beseech” him — not scold or command. Doubtless the Ephe­ sians were touched by such an earnest entreaty from one who was suffering for their sakes. While his bondage was permitted by Christ, it was the direct result of his having preached Christ’s Gospel 'to them, as well as to others. These “beseechings” were not human commands but divine compulsions. Having received the authority of apos- tleship from God, Paul had a right to command, but he had a heart to be­ seech. To command is law; to beseech is grace. Elsewhere Paul w r o t e : “Wherefore, though I might be much (continued on next page)

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