Bible Study The Book Of Ephesians
Verse By Verse

Lesson 25 Chapter Four Verse 7 - 9

Vs. 7 "But unto everyone of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

…The last two lessons we studied church unity...

"Unto everyone of us is given grace..." The last two lessons were given to the study of church unity, and we highlighted the fact, that God the Holy Spirit had given everything necessary for achieving and maintaining unity in the church. In Vs. 7, Paul turns from the corporate gifts of the church, to the individual member, and says, "Unto everyone of us is given grace."

…Each member called to an edifying ministry...

Every member of the church has been called by the Holy Spirit to a church edifying ministry, in the fulfillment of this call, the church will be built up, and in the building up of the church, God is glorified. In building up the church, the Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) is carried out, and the members a Further conformed to the image of Christ.

…Each member responsible to do his part of the work...

The commission was given to the church as a corporate body, Yet we know, there cannot be a body without individual members. Thus it is, each member is responsible to carry out his part of the work, and a vital part of the work is, keeping "the Unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Unity gives birth to efficiency, and efficiency is the mother of success. Ere we pass from this thought (individual responsibility), us be reminded, "unto everyone of us is given grace," and that this grace is more than equal to our pledge to walk in the newness of life. In view of this great truth, let us abandon our so-called excuses, whereby we justify our disobedience, and let us, "press toward the mark for the prize of the high Calling of God in Christ Jesus" (phil. 3:14).

...Grace given to each member to edify the church…

We might add, the "grace" referred to in verse seven is Spoken of as, "the gift of Christ." It is the grace whereby Ability is given to each member to edify the church, this Grace (charis - Greek) is not that grace which bestows special gifts, and makes some members of the church more conspicuous than others, but it is that grace which gives every member of the church something to do which will edify the church. A member may think his or her place in the church is unimportant, but not so with God. Where the church is concerned there is no trivia, and we should not trifle with our responsibility for every members place in the church is of eternal significance.

The inflexible rule which our sovereign Lord uses in the bestowing of gifts is His own good pleasure. Human reasoning and Logic endeavors to determine how God will act, i.e. John Glibber is eloquent in speech, therefore the Lord should call him Preach. Supposed human merit or ability. Nor even human desire. Is the basis upon which God bestows his gifts. If a person already had the capacity to perform in a manner acceptable to God, where then is the need of God’s grace?

...Satisfied with the gift God has given us...

The truth being conveyed is, each member should be satisfied with the gift God has given him, and seek to walk worthy of that vocation whereto God has called him. Bearing in mind there are no small gifts in the church, therefore all ground for envying another members gift is destroyed. Christ said, "For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great." (Luke 9:48) Not only should we not complain about the place God has put us in his church but should seek to be as inconspicuous in that place as possible. And in so-doing the unity of the church will be greatly enhanced

Vs. 8 "Wherefore He saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."

...Many great truths alluded to by this text...

Many are the great truths alluded to by this text, insomuch it would take many hours of study and teaching just to scratch the surface. Yet it fits perfectly into the subject matter Paul is bringing before the Ephesian saints, and that is, God’s gift of grace to the various members of the church whereby they are enabled to contribute to the unity and edification of the church.

…Analogy drawn from the military...

The analogy is drawn from the military, where a conquering General has freed those held captive by the enemy, making distribution of the spoils gained by victory to whomsoever he wills. "Captivity captive" the elect of God were held captive by the Old Nature, and were willing slaves to the lusts of their flesh and desires of the mind, "But God who is rich in Mercy for His great love wherein He loved us." comes by with irresistible power and grace, causing the elect to see the awful state of their being, the imminent danger, causing them to flee the wrath to come seeing Jesus as their only hope of escape; they hasten gladly to Him.

"I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them." Hos. 11:4

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:44

Drawn to the Lord with bands of His love, and rendering unto Him an eternal and loving servitude, wherein the gifts mercifully Bestowed are effectively utilized.

"When He ascended up on high" The ascension here referred to is, the ascension He made from the garden where His tomb was. Christ to Mary Magdalene on the morning of his resurrection and ascension, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:" (John 20:17). This ascension culminated in His offering the atonement in heavens sanctuary, which was the seal of his victory over the enemy. He appeared in the presence of God not without blood, but in a blood-body. He returned to spend forty days and nights on this earth, in which time He had fellowship with His church, He ate with them, and was handled by them during these forty days, (John 21:7-14)
Vs. 9 "Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" He ascended from the garden of the tomb, "but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth".
Many scholars believe that Paul with these words refer to the Earth only, but grammar, and a contextual study of the subject Prove that Christ made a descent into the bowels of the earth before He ascended to make the atonement in heaven. (Acts 2:24 – 34).

…Between the entombment and the resurrection – Hades…

"…lower parts of the earth" is a reference to Christ’s descent into Hades. Between the time of Christ’s entombment and His resurrection He made a visit to the abode of departed spirits, or Hades. Fades at the time contained the souls of all those who had died Prior to the crucifixion of Christ, Luke 16 gives us a graphic picture of Hades were Christ visited it. Hades had three sections in it, paradise, typified by Abraham’s bosom. A place of continual burning, referred to by the rich man, when he says, "for I am tormented in this flame." (Luke 16:24) then, there is the great impassable gulf which separates the paradise section from the place of torment.

…The thief in paradise...

Christ said to the thief on the right hand cross, "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." The soul of the thief made its descent into the paradise section of Hades, but his stay t~ was most brief, three days and three nights at the longest.

1st Peter 3:18 – 20 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."

"He went and preached unto the spirits in prison…" the word "preached" is not the word used in the Greek to preach the Gospel (evaggelizomai), but it is the word which means, to proclaim (kerusso). It is the same word Christ used when He said, "He hath anointed me to preach…" (kerusso – proclaim) deliverance to the captives,…" (Luke 4:18).

Elijah and Moses conferred with Christ on the Mt. of Transfiguration about His death; they knew his death was the means whereby they would be taken to the immediate presence of their God.

…Under the Old Testament economy - All went to Hades…

Under the Old Testament Economy all souls went to Hades, the righteous Dead went to the paradise section of Hades, while the wicked went to flaming torment. This side of the cross, and the atonement made in most Holy Place, Heaven itself, they which die with faith in the offering Christ made on the cross, go at the instant of death to the loving embrace of Christ.

They which die today in their sins wake up at the same instant tormented in the flames of Hades. (2nd Cor. 5:8, Luke 16:22 – 23)