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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Ephesians 4



Other Authors
Verses 1-32

Ephesians 4:1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,-

“You are called to be sons of God, you are called to be one with Christ, you are called to be kings and priests unto God; this is the highest possible vocation that anyone can have, so walk worthy of it.” O beloved, if we walk worthy of this vocation, what holy and noble lives we shall lead! The apostle so much desired godliness and holiness to be the characteristics of those to whom he wrote that he used a very strong term of entreaty: “I beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,-

Ephesians 4:2. With all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love;-“

You are not called to hector over men, to be lords over God’s heritage; you are called to be Christ-like, to be gentle and tender, ready to bear and to forgive all manner of wrong that may be done to you;”

Ephesians 4:3. Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Some people seem as if they endeavored to break the unity of the Spirit, and to snap every sacred bond of love and Christian affection; be ye not like unto them, but let Christ’s mind be in you; and with lowliness, and meekness, and longsuffering, endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:4-6. 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.

If there were two lords, you might be divided into two parties; if there were two faiths, you might split up into two sections; if there were two baptisms, you might be right in having two denominations; if there were two fathers, there might be two families; if there were two indwelling spirits, there would be, and there must be, two sorts of people; but, in the true Church of Jesus Christ, there is “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Ephesians 4:7. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

We have not all the same form of grace, and we cannot all perform the same service for the Saviour; we differ very much from each other as to our abilities, and as to the positions which we can occupy; and our Lord intended it to be so.

Ephesians 4:8-10. 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.)

Paul could not help giving us this lesson by the way, that he that ascended was also he that first descended; and you may depend upon it that the man who will attain the highest honour in the Church of Christ is the man who descends, who lays aside all ambition, and all desire to be honoured and respected, and who is willing to be nothing. He who thus descends, shall surely ascend.

Ephesians 4:11. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Not all alike, not all apostles or prophets; and not all equals, for pastors may not be equal in rank with apostles. They are not all to do the same work, for all teachers cannot prophesy, neither does a prophet always pasteurize, and watch over a flock. Jesus Christ gave divers gifts,-

Ephesians 4:12-13. 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 fullness of Christ.

Then, whatever spiritual gifts we have, they are not our own to use as we please; they are only entrusted to us that we may employ them to help our fellow-Christians. Beloved brethren and sisters, we are one with Christ, and we are one with each other; and, therefore, we must not look every man upon his own things, but also upon the things of others; and it should be a question of the first importance to every Christian, “How can I best utilize myself for the benefit of the rest of the members of the Church?” Do not ask, “How can I benefit myself?” but let your enquiry be, “How can I be most profitable to my fellow-Christians?” I have heard some professors say of a sermon that they could not feed under it; the discourse was very likely to be useful to the unconverted, but they could not hear it because they could not feed under it. Their idea seems to be that preaching must always be a spoon used for feeding them; but it is not so. The Word of God contains much spiritual nutriment specially suitable for the lambs of the flock. These men, who are strong, want meat, so they say that they do not enjoy what they hear, it is of no use to them. But are the babes in Christ’s family never to be fed? Does not humanity itself teach us that, first of all, the weakest and feeblest should be cared for? Oh, for grace to be unselfish! There is such a thing as Christian selfishness; and, of all evil things in the world, it is the most unchristian. When the first and last concern of a man is his own salvation, his own comfort, his own advancement, his own edification, and nothing besides, he needs to be saved from such a selfish spirit as that.

Ephesians 4:14-16. 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.

Every part of the body has its own special function; there are some secret vessels of which as yet the physiologists know very little. What may be the particular use of them has not yet been ascertained; but depend upon it, God has created no part of our body in vain; and, in like manner, in the mystical body of Christ, every Christian man has his own office, his own work, something that he can do that nobody else can do; and our great object should be to find out what that work is, and to give our whole strength to it, for the nourishing of the entire body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:17-19. 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 darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling-

That is a terrible expression: “past feeling”-

Ephesians 4:19-25. 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. Wherefore putting away lying,

As a rotten, worn-out garment that you could not bear to wear,-

Ephesians 4:26. Speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

Then, why should we lie one to another? Should one hand try to deceive the other hand? Should the eye mislead the foot? Surely, the union of one member with all the other members should ensure its truthfulness.

Ephesians 4:26. Be ye angry, and sin not:

If you must be angry, (and you must, sometimes,) take care that you do not sin when you are angry. It is rather a difficult thing to be angry, and not to sin; yet, if a man were to see sin, and not to be angry with it, he would sin through not being angry. If we are only angry, in a right spirit, with a wrong thing, we shall manage to obey the injunction of the apostle: “Be ye angry, and sin not:”

Ephesians 4:26. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Never let it outlive the day, but forgive ere the sun goes down.

Ephesians 4:27. Neither give place to the devil.

A man who harbours malice in his heart, invites the devil to come in, and keeps a place ready for him.

Ephesians 4:28. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour,-

For laziness is generally the cause of theft. If a man would work for what he wanted, he would not be tempted to steal it. Paul carries his argument very far, “let him labour,”-

Ephesians 4:28. Working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

What a rise there is here,-from a thief up to a giver to him that needeth! This is what the grace of God does. Here is a man, who used to take his neighbor’s goods if he could; but, when grace transforms him, he actually gives a share of his own goods to his poor neighbor; that is a marvelous change.

Ephesians 4:29. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,-

I have heard unthinking people say, “Well, if it is in your heart, you may as well speak it; it is better out than in.” I do not agree with them! If you had a barrel of whiskey in your house, that would certainly be a bad thing to be in your possession; but it would not do any hurt so long as you kept it unopened, so that nobody could get at it, for the mischief arises when people begin to drink it. Undoubtedly, it is an evil thing for you to have anything that is corrupt in your heart, but it will not be mischievous to other people until it begins to come out; so, “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,”-

Ephesians 4:29. But-

Since some communication is sure to come out of your mouth, let it be a good one,-

Ephesians 4:29-31. 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 clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Especially take heed of that “evil speaking” against which the apostle warns you, for there are many people who cannot live without speaking; they must talk a great deal, and they often say that which is false; they invent evil, they twist an honest action, and impute wrong motives to the doer of it. A few such persons in a community can cause much of heartache and distress; they little know what servants of Satan they may become. God help us to put away all evil speaking, and all malice!

Ephesians 4:32. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even is God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

That is, very freely, very often, very abundantly, very thoroughly, very heartily: “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you,” so also do ye.


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Ephesians 4:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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