Jack Forbes - "Ephesians" - Australian Convention, 1930

If the children of God could only grasp all that is unfolded in this letter, it would greatly enrich their souls. It embraces every possible need that could be represented here today. Reminds us of Paul's first visit there, and afterwards visiting them and gathering the elders together, and urging them to feed the flock of God amongst them; and apparently about 10 years after Paul writes this letter. 30 years after again we have the message written in Revelations. It appeals to me, the relationship that existed between Paul and those to whom the letter was written. Had just as a lively interest in them as at the beginning. Some do not see the difference between a man who is paid and those who are given their sustenance. Paul was writing here to people for whom he had poured out his life, and whom he was seeking to lead on to the fullness of God.

The latter part of chapter 2 speaks of the foundation on which the church at Ephesus had been built. How can a building be erected on one cornerstone? Paul says, "Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets."  Some find fault with Paul putting himself before Jesus. Find great comfort that we can fit ourselves in, and come in contact with those whom God has sent, and built into a spiritual Temple that God is building in the world today. Built on the foundation of those whom God had sent, and those whom God has appointed as prophets to be His mouthpieces. Verse 2:   "Wherein, in the time past ye walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."  Paul told them of what they used to be, then points out the God-ward side. Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Anyone can get people to profess and follow them and go through the formality of worship. I do not attach much importance on getting people to profess, one longs to see some evidence in their lives that God has sealed them with His spirit. God puts His mark on us when we become His and the world begin to realize that we are His purchased property.

Spirit of wisdom. Sometimes one feels the awful danger of being inside God's family and dragging out some kind of an existence, and no relationship or understanding of God. When I pass into eternity what I know will be of no more value to me than the sand on the shore, but only what I have worked into my life and character. It puts fear into my heart when I have to stand before others, and am expected to have something to help them. People's eternal destiny depends on how they hear the word of God. It makes impressions on their lives and influences them in days to come. A great many things I have had to adjust in my own life. Nothing ever altered the first relationship I got of God. God is depending on us to give a true impression.

Paul wrote to Timothy of "Longsuffering as a pattern to those who would afterwards believe."  Nothing God values more in the world than people who are patterns. I feel glad of those who put God's interests first and His kingdom first. God's way is so unassuming that we are often guilty of abusing the privilege that is ours, and not knowing the anointing and quickening and revelation of God in our hearts. I can remember the place and the circumstances of almost every revelation I ever received, because it was written on my soul with an indelible pen. When Jesus gather the disciples together it was God true way of worship. Some gather together and come far short of what it really means to worship in spirit and in truth; praying vain repetition and knowing nothing of God's anointing. One of the things we ought to guard against.

Chapter 3 "For this cause" connected with the previous verses. Just as they had been built on the true foundation Paul said, "I will go to the Gentiles" so that they may be built on that foundation. No greater inspiration than the consciousness that if I do not sacrifice my life, and give others the same opportunity of listening to His message, they will perish. We wonder sometimes how it is that people whose lives are free to do not have the same sacrifice and self-denial. Some might never be called. Most serious thing in the entire world is to be separated to go with the gospel. God chosen, God appointed, and God anointed.

Chapter 1 verse 19:  "And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us who believe according to the working of His mighty power."  Exceeding greatness of His power. Vision dim and go on in a lukewarm fashion without knowing the greatness of His power. The measure we put on God's power was what raised Jesus from the dead. The thing which made it possible to raise Jesus was his willingness to die. Our unwillingness to die to all self-interest and human ambitions hinders us from knowing the exceeding greatness of His power. Submit yourselves unto God that he may manifest the power of His resurrection.

Chapter 4:  "Walk worthy with lowliness and meekness."  Possible to spend our life and preach to others and miss the mark. Paul must have foreseen the difficulties that these people would have in their relationship with one another. We could get help at convention and be better than ever, and yet soon spoil it all by the friction with some member of the little church. When the disciples came to Jesus about who should be the greatest in the kingdom, and when Jesus sent out the disciples He said, "He that receiveth Me."  It is as we really become like a little child that we represent Jesus. Serious thing to get wrong with one of His little children. There is something in every nature that will submit to those who have the childlike marks; and that is why Jesus took a little child and set him in the midst. He knew the greatest correction was the development of these marks of meekness and long-suffering, etc. I feel afraid when I see people coveting worldly marks; not adorned with the marks given here. Nothing more becoming and beautiful than to see lowliness and long-suffering, etc.

Paul said, “That in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering as a pattern, etc."  1 Timothy 1 verse 16:  "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit."  The greatest miracle in the world is that God can gather the people of different natures and spirits and preserve the unity of the spirit in the Church. Revelations 1:  John 60 or 70 years in God's family got a revelation of God's glory. He says, "I John am your brother and companion in tribulation."  After 24 years in God's family I have come to the conclusion that all professed spiritually that doesn't mean a person more brotherly or sisterly is very questionable to me, no matter how holy. Measure your progress by the standards God has given. If we do not become more companionable there is something sadly wrong, and there will be a rude awakening someday. If we hate our brother the love of the truth is not in us. So much imagination in our minds and difficult to analyze ourselves. Measured by our attitude towards the weakest. We are responsible to love and value and preserve the unity of the spirit with everyone who has the nature of Christ. How much it cost Abraham as a farmer to denying himself of well watered plain, in order to preserve the unity of the spirit between him and Lot.

I do not know anything so beautiful than "To be kind."  Verse 32:  "And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."  God saw right from the beginning that He would have to exercise forgiveness. David said, "Is there any left of the house of Saul that I may show the kindness of God to him?"  Matthew 18:  "If thy brother trespass again thee, etc. go to him."  How often when trouble comes we do the opposite. God puts the responsibility not only on the one who has committed the fault, but also on the one who has been trespassed against. Awful hypocrisy if we profess to get blessing in our hearts and have something against someone. Forgive one another and be kind. An awful lot of things we know and preach about and an awful lot of things left undone. How many times can we honestly say our hearts have been moved with kindness and compassion? I know of no higher attainment then to forgive those who have trespassed against us.

Jesus last words were, "Father forgive them."  And the centurion heard and said, "Surely this was the Son of God."  Stephen prayed, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge."  And Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee, heard and was impressed. How truly John said, "I am your brother and companion." ,True revelation makes a man more brotherly and a sister more sisterly. I cannot always judge the measure of my love to God, but I judge it is the same as the measure of my love to my brethren.  "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven."  "Except ye forgive from your hearts never will your father forgive you."  It is not a small matter of dictating, getting to know ourselves that we can sympathize and help and bear with one another.