Ephesians 4

Ephesians 4: Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ

Paul opens this letter by explaining that there is “…one body, and one Spirit…” (Ephesians 4:4), which means that there is one purpose behind all of God’s works. Paul goes on to further exclaim that there is “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5)

                What is Paul saying here? He is saying that there is only one God, One Savior [Jesus Christ], and one baptism… which also means there can only be one Authority. Paul explains that there is “One God and Father of all… unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:6-7) So we learn that there can only be one Lord, one faith and one baptism… so the question arises; Why are there so many religions? Different Faiths? Different Baptisms?

Paul goes on to explain the organization of Christ’s Church: “…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 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 fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be not 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 group up into him all the things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-15)

From these five verses we learn a lot about how Jesus Christ’s Church must be set up; it must have an organized body to administer His Church on the earth, including: Apostles, Prophets, Pastors and Teachers. Those who hold those positions are CALLED to them, and do not receive money for being in them. These people called to the work and given the authority from Jesus Christ himself can guide the church and receive revelation for the Saints [members] in the church, that they might edifying the body [the members] of Christ. The reason for God calling Prophets and Apostles is simple, so that we can be guided by men called of Christ and not just those men who ‘lie in wait to deceive’. This is the reason there are so many religions, churches and faiths… because it is profitable. Over thousands of years since the death of Jesus Christ there have been evil men who distort doctrines and confuse the masses. Because of this we have so many religions today… when in reality there can only be one.

Paul explains that one day, when everyone is united and everyone believes on Jesus Christ, that there will be no reason for this same organization because Christ will reign as King. Paul urges the Saints to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth… let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you… by ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving… even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29, 31-32)

Ephesians 3

Ephesians 3: The Love of Christ

                Paul opens his letter to the Ephesians by explaining that through Apostles and Prophets, God has “…made known unto me [Paul, an Apostle] the mystery… whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ…” (Ephesians 3:3-4)

Paul explains this so that we can understand the importance of not only the prophets, but their teachings [the scriptures], so that we can understand and know the mysteries of Christ. Paul goes on to explain that in times before, those mysteries were “…not made know unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the spirit;” (Ephesians 3:5) This further helps us to understand the importance of prophets that we can continue to reveal more of those mysteries through modern day Apostles and Prophets.

Paul explains to the Saints [the members of the Church], that they can overcome their own personal tribulations in this life, through faith and love in Jesus Christ; “…faint not at my tribulations for you… That he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his spirit.” (Ephesians 3:13,16) 

Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2: Saved by Grace through Faith

                Paul explains that we are saved by grace that we might “…sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 4:8-9)

                We are indeed saved by grace, through faith on the name of Jesus Christ and not from works. In order to understand the FREE gift of Grace, we must understand what it means to have Faith in Jesus Christ. Having Faith in Jesus Christ means that we accept Him in our hearts, which means that we accept all of His teachings! If we say we accept Jesus Christ and then ignore His commandments, we are not accepting his grace through our faith. Paul does say that grace is not achieved through works, and this is absolutely true… you cannot only do good works and never accept Jesus Christ. You have to do both, but like he said… to not do them unto boasting.

Jesus Christ Himself said; “Not every one that saith unto, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21) See what Paul is trying to say after we read what Jesus said in Matthew? Being saved is not just about a verbal; “I accept Jesus Christ” neither is it a “I do good works, so I should be given grace”… rather it is about having Faith in Jesus Christ and desiring to live like Him!

Jesus goes on to state; “Many will say to me in that day [the day of judgment]. Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have we cast out devils? And thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23) Jesus clearly tells us that if we don’t have true Faith in Him, it does not matter how many times we claim to be doing good in His name, nor does it matter how many times we say His name, or say that we accept Him. It is a combination of good works that are brought on by our faith in Him.

Paul explains that if we do what is right and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, following the example He gave to us, we can be saved. He then tells the Saint in Ephesus that they “…are not more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone;” (Ephesians 2:19-20)

                As Saints [members of Christ’s church] are not strangers, but fellow citizens of His household, which is built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets. This is the same organization that exists in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Ephesians 1

Ephesians 1: Saints Foreordained/Restoration of the Gospel

                Paul writes a letter to the Ephesians, he starts by explaining that he is an Apostle of the Lord and explains that we are all God’s children, for God “…hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, what we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ… In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…” (Ephesians 1:4-5, 7) We learn from Paul that we are not only children of God, but that Jesus Christ will adopt us and through His atoning sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane and His Crucifixion, we can be forgiven of our sins.

Paul goes on to explain that God will make known “…the mystery of his will…” (Ephesians 1:7) Essentially Paul is telling us that ONE DAY we will have answers to the questions of our soul, like: Where did we come from? Why are we here and where are we going after death? Paul explains that in the ‘dispensation of the fulness of times’ we will come to this knowledge;

“…the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” (Ephesians 1:10)

What is the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times?

                First, what is a ‘Dispensation’? Dispensations are periods of time in which the gospel of Jesus Christ is administered by Holy Prophets, who are ordained by God. Through these Prophets, God can speak to His children and administer the affairs of His kingdom on Earth. Dispensations begin with the calling of a prophet, by God. Dispensations end, when the people reject the prophets and kill them.

The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times began in 1820, when Joseph Smith had the First Vision. During this time God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ spoke to Joseph Smith and called him to be a prophet. Through Joseph Smith, the Church of Jesus Christ was restored back to the earth. In modern day scripture we read; “It is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:18).

                So we learn that through Joseph Smith, the Father and the Son ushered in the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, where all dispensations from Adam to Present are linked together to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Paul ends his letter to the Saints in Ephesus, and prays that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ given them the “…spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; The eyes of your understanding being  enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” (Ephesians 1:17-18) Paul was urging them to open their minds and hearts to being filled with knowledge and enlightenment over the doctrines of Jesus Christ. Today, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asks the same thing, for people to open their hearts and understand that the Church, Jesus Christ personally established when He was on the earth… is now Restored with modern day Prophets and Apostles.

Summary of Galatians

Summary of Galatians

The book of Galatians is a series of letters written by Paul to the Galatians. These letters are known as “Epistles”, which were written around 50 A.D. The reason that Paul wrote these letters was because of some controversy among the churches and its members in Galatia, concerning Jewish laws. One of the laws that were in question was the law of circumcision, which the Christians believed were only for the Jews.

In chapters 1-2: Paul delivers his testimony about how he came to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul warns of people who come preaching another doctrine, than the one of Christ.

In chapters 3-5: Paul explains that Salvation cannot be obtained by law alone, but rather through faith on Jesus Christ. However, following the commandments of God and doing good works validates our faith.

In chapters 5-6: We learn about the Fruits of the Spirit and we come to understand that we must walk by the Spirit and abandon the desires of the flesh. Good works alone does not grant us salvation, however faith and good works do.

Galatians 6

Galatians 6: As Ye Sow… So shall Ye Reap

                “BRETHREN, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)

                Paul opens this last chapter of Galatians with a letter urging the members of the church to consider those around them, which may have fallen into temptation. He asks the members to help by restoring them spiritually. He urges the members to do this with a spirit of meekness, or in other words to guide the person who has fallen into temptation with humbleness, and patience. However, if someone does not want to be restored spiritually or in the process of helping them you are also dragged down into temptation… we should stop. In other words, helping people is good… but if it starts to affect our own personal salvation we should tread lightly.

Paul goes on to say that we should rejoice in our own work and burdens; “…let every many prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” (Galatians 6:4-5) We should not seek praise or praise one another to the point of idolatry. Being happy in our own work and being proud of another person’s work is another thing. Paul explains that we are responsible for ourselves and our sins, we cannot pass them on to another… therefore we are also not born with sin, for we cannot be punished for the Fall of Adam and Eve. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that; “…men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” (Articles of Faith; 1) Therefore we are saved by grace, after all that WE do PERSONALLY. In the Book of Mormon; “…we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23; The Book of Mormon)

Paul explains that we are going to be judged according to our works. He also explains that God will not be mocked… Whatever a man gives, he shall receive. If you do evil works, evil will be your reward. If you do good works, good will be your reward.

“…God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

Galatians 5

Galatians 5: The Fruits of the Spirit

                “STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

                Paul makes a very bold statement in declaring that we are free in liberty when we follow the commandments of God. However, if we get entangled in the evils of the world we will be in bondage. Paul goes on to say that in the “…Spirit [we] wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Galatians 5:5) We are not always going to have signs or wonders performed in front of our eyes for us to believe in Jesus Christ, or His doctrine and commandments. We walk by faith and by that faith we serve one another. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14)

Paul gives the Galatians a great piece of advice, which can be applied to everyone: “…Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) Paul explains that lust pulls away from the Spirit, those who are led by the Spirit have no need for the law… because the Spirit will guide them in the ways of the law.

Paul explains the works of the flesh: “…Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [lustful], Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance [contention], emulations [rivalry, self-seeking], wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings… they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) Those who follow after the desires, and lusts of the world will not inherit the kingdom of God.

                Paul goes onto explain that those who follow the Spirit will feel something different than those who are following after the flesh. For “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

                Those who are filled with the Spirit and fight against the lusts of the world are filled with the joy of the Spirit. Those who rid themselves of those evils, have participated in their own crucifixion of the evil and have been Spiritually reborn and symbolically resurrected of their old ways. “…they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:24-26) Paul urges the Galatians (and the reader) to walk by the Spirit and love one another.

Galatians 4

Galatians 4: Heirs of Christ

                Paul opens by explaining how a servant cannot inherit anything of their lord. However, because of the Abrahamic Covenant we all become adopted under the seed of Abraham. God sent His Son, so that we may be redeemed, for we “…were in bondage under the elements of the world:” (Galatians 4:3) Therefore Paul asks the Galatians; “…how turn ye again to the weak and beggearly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9) The reason Paul asks this is because he clearly points out that all those adopted under the Abrahamic Covenant are “…no more a servant, but a son… [and] heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:7)

                If we turn away from the worldly things and instead turn to Christ we can be made free from the misery of the world. We learn from Alma, a Book of Mormon Prophet who lived in Ancient America, that “…wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10; The Book of Mormon) Therefore those who choose to follow God and His commandments will be made free from the bondage of the evil that oppresses the earth.

Paul urges the Galatians to be like him and follow his example, as he follows the example of Christ. Paul then explains how Abraham had two sons, one was born of a bondwoman and the other was born of a freewoman. Ishmael was born of the flesh and unto a bondwoman, which represents the old covenant. Isaac was born of the spirit and unto a freewoman, which represents the new covenant. Those who do not follow the spirit, but rather follow the flesh shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 3

Galatians 3: Children of Christ

                Paul addresses the Galatians and asks them; “Are ye so foolish? …are ye now made perfect by the flesh? …He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galations 3:3,5)

Paul is essentially asking the Galatians if they are justified by the law or by their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of the Galatians believed that if they followed the letter of the law, they would be saved. During this period of time in History the law was either directly from the scriptures or derived from the scriptures.  So one could say they are following all of the laws, but without having a true intent in their heart at following the commandments of God and having faith in Jesus Christ… they would not be saved.

Here is a modern day example: Someone drives 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. They obviously broke the law by doubling the speed limit. But, will they be judged of that by God? No, because they have not broken God’s law. If that person pays the ticket and goes on living a good life following the law of God, they will be saved. Let’s say that same person decides to speed down the sidewalk with the intent on killing someone. Now that person has still broken the law, but they have also broken God’s law by murdering someone. God will judge them now, and the chances of them being saved and returning to live with God has drastically gone down. However, we cannot say for sure what will ultimately happen to that person… because God will judge them in the end, and only HE can decide.

Paul goes on to explain that because we ALL are part of the Covenant, the same one made by Abraham we all have the potential to return to our Heavenly Father. This is so, because we can; “…receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:14)

Justified by Faith Alone?

                Some argue that it is by faith alone that we can return to live with God. Is it really that simple? Paul points out that “…the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24) Paul is saying that we are given commandments and laws to guide us so that we can not only have faith, but live by it. If someone has faith in Jesus Christ, they also have faith in His teachings. Jesus Christ taught that we are supposed to live a good life, filled with service, love and joy. Can someone truly have faith in Jesus Christ if they don’t live by His teachings? No, and that is why faith and works go hand-in-hand. In the very next verse Paul states; “…after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Galatians 3:25) Does that mean we no longer need to live by His laws? Absolutely not, but now that we have obtained our faith… we know how to live without someone having to tell us. The laws and commandments are known and our disobedience and lack of discipline will distant us from Him.  True DISCIPLEs of Christ, are  DISCIPLined in Christ’s teachings.

Paul ends this chapter by explaining how we are all counted under the Abrahamic Covenant; “For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then ye are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)

Galatians 2

Galatians 2: Contending the True Gospel

Paul goes to Jerusalem (after he had been absent for 14 years) and preaches the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church in Jerusalem had accepted Titus even though he was a uncircumcised Greek. Paul preaches that God favors no one. The leaders in Jerusalem (James, Cephas and John) accept the ministry of Paul and his preaching to the gentiles.

Paul publicly expresses his disapproval of Peter, because he had separated himself from the gentile Christians in that area. Paul has to remind Peter that the Gentiles are justified before God, not in their keeping of the law, but by the works they put forth in the name of Jesus Christ.