Book information

Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0962-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 85 of 97 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF EPHESIANS

MESSAGE EIGHTY-FIVE

ORDINANCES AND THE CHURCH LIFE

Scripture Reading: Eph. 2:11-18; Gal. 6:15

The book of Ephesians reveals that God’s economy is to work Christ into His chosen people to produce the church. This book also exposes certain negative things that damage the church life. According to our natural concept, we may expect Ephesians to emphasize such negative things as sin and worldliness. Although these are dealt with, they are not the main factors revealed in Ephesians as causes of damage to the church life.

We all easily recognize that sin is damaging. Without even reading the Bible, we have the knowledge that sin is a cause of corruption. Therefore, when we read about sin in the Scriptures, we readily understand, for the concept of sin is already in our natural mentality. However, it is contrary to our natural concept to say that ordinances are more damaging to the church life than sin is. The verses which speak of ordinances may make little impression on us because they do not correspond to anything already in our natural concept.

FOUR CATEGORIES OF NEGATIVE THINGS

What are the basic factors that damage the church life according to the revelation in the book of Ephesians? We have indicated that sin and worldliness, although certainly causes of damage, are not the basic negative factors in this book. In Ephesians there are four categories of negative things that damage the church life. The first of these is the ordinances. In 2:14 and 15 Paul says that Christ “has broken down the middle wall of partition, the enmity, having abolished in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances.” The law of commandments contained in ordinances is a cause of enmity. With the ordinances there are regulations, and these regulations are the law of commandments. This gives rise to enmity. Today there is enmity even among good, spiritual Christians, enmity caused by ordinances regarding certain practices. For instance, there may be enmity between those who practice baptism by immersion and those who practice baptism by sprinkling. Related to these practices there are ordinances with their law of commandments. These ordinances are the first basic category of negative things that damage the church life.

The second category is doctrine. In 4:14 Paul says that we should “be no longer babes tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching.” The word teaching here refers to doctrine. Although Christians may regard doctrine as a positive thing, this verse clearly indicates that it can be used to carry us away from Christ. Any doctrine, even a scriptural one, that distracts the believers from Christ is a wind of teaching that carries them away from God’s economy. Doctrine, therefore, can be used to destroy the Body life. If we intend to have the proper church life, we must recognize the damage doctrine has caused to the Body of Christ.

In chapter four Paul goes on to speak of the old man (v. 22), the third category of negative things that damage the church. The old man is of Adam, created by God, but fallen through sin. Because the old man causes so much damage to the church life, we must put off the old man in order to have the proper practice of the Body life.

In 5:27 we see the fourth negative category: the spots and wrinkles. Spots are related to the natural life, and the wrinkles are related to oldness. Both spots and wrinkles are capable of causing serious damage to the church life in a very subjective way. The glorious church that Christ will present to Himself will not have spot or wrinkle or any such things, but will be holy and without blemish.

Perhaps you have read the book of Ephesians a number of times without realizing that these four categories of things can cause great damage to the church life. You may have read this book without paying attention to the matters of ordinances, doctrines, the old man, and spots and wrinkles. I myself read Ephesians for years before I began to see the seriousness of these four things with respect to the church life. In this message we shall deal in particular with the ordinances.


Note: We hope that many will benefit from these spiritual riches. However, for the sake of avoiding confusion, we ask that none of these materials be downloaded or copied and republished elsewhere, electronically or otherwise. Living Stream Ministry retains full copyright on all these materials and hopes that our visitors will respect this.

Downloading this material, even for personal use, is prohibited.
Your IP address is 54.162.181.75 [10:49:34 PM (GMT -08:00), September 19, 2017].

Search Online Publications

Simply enter a word or phrase. Common words, such as "and", "is", and "the", also known as noise words, are bypassed in a search.

Advanced Search

Noise Words

Common words, such as "and", "is", "but", and "the", also known as noise words, are bypassed in a search. The search string, the Spirit & who, would result in an error since who, which stands by itself, is a noise word. The following is a list of noise words:

$, a, also, an, and, another, any, are, as, at, be, because, been, being, both, but, by, came, can, did, do, each, for, has, had, he, have, her, here, him, himself, his, how, if, in, into, is, it, like, make, me, might, much, my, of, on, or, our, out, over, said, should, since, some, still, such, take, than, that, the, their, them, then, there, these, they, this, those, to, too, very, was, way, we, well, were, what, where, which, while, who, with, would, you, your

×

Ranking

Rank is a value from 0 to 1000 indicating how closely a match scored or ranked against the original search string. Rank values are affected by the following factors:

  1. The total number of occurrences of the original search words/phrases in a portion of a book.
  2. Content that includes the search words in close proximity to each other are ranked above those that do not. Therefore, a portion of a book that has the search words in close proximity may have a higher ranking than another portion of a book that has a higher hit count but the words are not in close proximity to one another. Therefore, we also include a search word hit count for reference.
  3. The rank values are relative to each other. Therefore, it is not possible to interpret the RANK value as a percentage or group the rank values into high/medium/low ranges. Think of rank as a method to order the results for a specific search.
×

Search Scope

Include All Word Forms

This option breaks out the search string into its individual words and generates all conjugations and declensions for each word in the search phrase. A search on the word, dwell, would search for dwell, dwelling, dwelling's, dwells, dwelt, and dwelled.

There is no need to use ^ (inflectional search) or * (prefix search) when using the Include all word forms search scope.

Specified Word Forms

This option searches for exact matches of the specified words or phrases used in the search string. Use of ^ (inflectional search) with a particular word in the search string will broaden the search for that given word in that all conjugations and declensions for that word will be searched. Similarly, use of * (prefix search) with a particular word in the search string will broaden the search for that given word in that all words with that prefix will be searched as well.

Note

Common words, such as "and", "is", "but", and "the", also known as noise words, are bypassed in a search. A list of all noise words is as follows:

$, about, after, all, also, an,and, another, any, are, as, at, be, because, been, before, being, between, both, but, by, came, can, come, could, did, do, each, for, from, get, got, has, had, he, have, her, here, him, himself, his, how, if, in, into, is, it, like, make, many, me, might, more, most, much, must, my, never, now, of, on, only, or, other, our, out, over, said, same, see, should, since, some, still, such, take, than, that, the, their, them, then, there, these, they, this, those, through, to, too, under, up, very, was, way, we, well, were, what, where, which, while, who, with, would, you, your

×