Jack Carroll - Ephesians 4 - Orick, California - October 17, 1937

There are chapters in the New Testament that ought to be read over often by every child of God. They are:  Matthew 18, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 17, Colossians 3, James 3, and 1 Peter 2. Some of these chapters are best read on our knees. Read them quietly calmly in the presence of God, as His own message to our hearts. We have often said that there are three ways by which the Lord speaks to His people: (1) Through His people; (2) By His "still, small voice" in our hearts; (3) Through His word as we read it. The real value of the written Word to the children of God is that God will speak to us as we honestly seek to read it. It is His own message to us individually and collectively.

There is, however, another chapter that I wish to speak to you about this morning. I am not only going to ask you to read it once in a while during the year, as you will these other chapters, but that you will read it once every week until we come back again. I refer to the 4th chapter of Ephesians. I am going to suggest that the workers here, the youngest and the oldest, read it over twice every week. There is much in this chapter that has to do with our ministry as the ambassadors of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In this chapter verse 30 is the key: "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." If you read over this letter carefully, you will find at least eleven references to the Holy Spirit of God.

In the meetings already we have said that we are wholly dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit. This is not only for our salvation but also for our growth and progress in the Way of Life. We have mentioned a number of terms which are used in connection with what takes place when we become God's children. In chapter 1:13-14 we read that the Ephesians were "sealed with the Holy Spirit."  They received a small portion of this New Life and New Nature, the earnest of more to follow. It is possible for men and women to resist the Holy Spirit. In Genesis 6:3, the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man." When Stephen was giving his testimony in Acts 7:51 he said, "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, so do ye." The most dangerous thing a man or woman ever did is to resist the Spirit of God. The wisest thing you can ever do, my brother, my sister, is to obey His pleading and follow His leading. That same Holy Spirit that brings you to the feet of Jesus will impart unto you the Spirit and Life of Jesus and seal you as His own. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God;" Romans 8:16.

The Spirit of God can be ''resisted," can be "quenched."  Here in this 4th chapter of Ephesians it is suggested that it is possible for the children of God to "grieve" the Holy Spirit of God, whereby they have been sealed unto the day of redemption. I have sometimes thought that after days such as we have spent here, it would be a very wonderful thing if we separated from this convention purposing in our hearts to truly obey this admonition.

The reason that I suggested that it would be very helpful for the workers here, myself included, to read this chapter over twice every week until next convention, is because Paul, in this chapter, makes very clear and plain the purpose of all true ministry. There are in this meeting about thirty workers giving their lives in preaching the Gospel. Our life's ministry must have a definite objective. We must be aiming at something. We must realize that an aimless ministry is a useless ministry. In this chapter Paul states very clearly what he recognized to be the real purpose that should govern the ministry of the bondservants and handmaidens of the Lord. He is not dealing with their responsibility toward those who are outside, but with their responsibility toward those who are inside. He says that His servants who bear in their lives the true marks of being called and sent of God, are God's gift to His people. We have sometimes feared that the Lord's people do not value the true ministry as they should. They do not realize that to be in the ministry means blighted prospects, turning one's back on the possibility of a home and family of their own. His gift to His People, then, is His bondservants and handmaidens and upon them He has placed a very serious responsibility. This is clearly defined in some of the verses which you will read in this chapter. If I were asked this morning, What is the purpose of all true ministry? I would reply: To bring about, first of all, a little more likeness to Christ in the individual child of God. Secondly, to bring about more unity in the family of God. Wherever the ministry fails to have these marks, whether it is that of the youngest or oldest professed servant of God, it is a ministry that the Lord cannot bless or seal. I can imagine nothing more dreadful, no crime more serious, against the body of Christ than for any man or woman knowingly and deliberately to sow discord or division among God's people. Romans 16:17-20; Acts 20:28-31; Proverbs 6:16-19. I sometimes read the 17th chapter of John and seem to catch the burden that was in the heart of Jesus when He poured out His heart to His Father that last night of His life. I turn over to that Psalm which says: "How good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity; for there the Lord commanded the blessing." I recognize the wisdom of Jesus in sending out His servants two and two. He was seeking to bring about in the lives of His bondservants and handmaidens the same conditions and discipline, that were in His own life, as they work together throughout the year. This unity in the Kingdom of God is vital to the growth of His people. This is not merely the responsibility of the servants of God, but of every individual child of God. All are responsible for contributing their share to the world-wide unity of God's people.

There are two lists in this chapter that are worthy of very careful study. First of all, a list of sins that grieve the Holy Spirit, hinder conformity to the image of Jesus and unity in the family of God. The sins mentioned in this letter can he classified under four heads:

1. The gross sins of the flesh. Chapter 5:3-5.
2. The sins of the tongue. That is "lying," "corrupt communications," "evil speaking," "clamour," Chapter 4:25, 29, 31.
3. The sins of the "spirit;" "anger, wrath, malice, bitterness," Chapter 4:26, 31, 2 Corinthians 7:1 also emphasizes this.
4. The sin of dishonesty. Chapter 4:28.

I will not take time to comment on these, but we are not left in ignorance of these sins which, if permitted, will "grieve the Holy Spirit of God." The sins enumerated were the common sins of Paul's day. They are also in our day wrecking and ruining the lives and homes of men and women on every hand.

In the second list there are the graces enumerated which will always be seen in the lives of those who live and walk in the Spirit, who are being conformed to the image of Jesus and are contributing their share to the unity of God's people, where they live and labor, and to the unity of God's people in a world-wide sense. What are these graces? "Lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit, kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness;" Chapter 4:2, 3, 32. These marks were seen in all their beauty and perfection in Jesus. As we behold His beauty, and honestly desire to be like Him, "we shall be changed into the same image, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18.

So, we are going to ask you to read over this chapter during the year at least once every week. You may have memorized it by the end of the year. You will then have a clearer understanding of what we have been trying to say during the meetings here. We have been speaking about the importance of starving the old life and feeding the New Life; of "putting off" the things that belong to the "old man."  On the other hand, deliberately and purposefully "putting on" the things that belong to the "New Man" that will bring about the fulfillment of Romans 8:28, 29, and the prayer of Jesus in John 17.