Strange statement. In the light of it, one of two things is true. Either Spurgeon's mind was shallow, or the book of Ephesians is deeper than most of us have imagined.
To my knowledge, no one has dared to suggest that Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a slow learner. While still in his twenties, he pastored the largest congregation in London, England. It grew from five thousand to ten thousand people and became the center of religious activity for scores of other groups. Spurgeon himself was without question the most eloquent voice of his generation---maybe of all generations.
So we're left with the fact that Ephesians may have treasures great enough to tempt even the most casual reader to spend serious time with the book. Of course the Bible itself is more profound than most of us realize. Ancient scholars have said, "the Bible is an ocean of truth so deep that elephants must swim, but so simple that little lambs may wade in it."
Having said that, I still must say that Paul's letter to the Ephesians is unique. Many, if not all, of Paul's other letters were written to correct some error either of behavior or belief. Ephesians is different. It's a positive statement of the most exhilarating truths that had come to the Apostle's life.
It is both the most otherworldly and the most earthly of Paul's letters. It sees "castles in the sky" and then builds foundations under them. In a day when many Christians have neither castles nor foundations, Ephesians promises to be a rewarding study. Does the word "study" seem too threatening? It shouldn't. The Bible itself encourages a person to "study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). It may be that we lack the brilliance of Charles Spurgeon, who could find exciting secrets in each of his fifty-six readings of this letter, but it's certain that any of us can be challenged to give this amazing letter the opportunity to speak to us. Treasures await those who will.
Ah, treasure. Who doesn't dream of it? Hapless millions gamble their last dollar in hope of becoming a happy winner.
Acres of Diamonds, the story told by Russet Conwell, is too old to be read by today's youth and so old that it's forgotten by the aged. It tells simply of a man in Africa who sold his farm to start on a search for diamonds. He failed to find any. After a lifetime of searching, he threw himself into the ocean to end his frustrated life. The man to whom he sold his farm picked up a strange-looking rock that glistened in the sunlight. Taking it to a jeweler, he discovered that it was a diamond. His farm was full of them. In fact, the largest diamond mine in the world was on his land. This story keeps repeating itself in today's world.
Frank Garmon and Charlie Farmer, two friends of mine from Florida, like to go diving for lobsters on the southern coast. A year or so ago, they found a spot where the lobsters were plentiful. They marked the place by sighting some buildings on the shore and planned to return the next year. When they came to the spot (dreaming, of course, of the succulent lobster they would enjoy that evening), they found the area roped off and festooned with signs that said, "Keep Out."
Naturally the men were curious. They asked some sailors on the shore. "Last year we were free to dive and look for lobster here. What happened to change things?"
"Haven't you heard? This area-right where you men were looking for lobster---is the place where a number of Spanish ships were sunk. Millions of dollars worth of gold coins are being taken from these waters."
"Just think," Frank told me, "we were swimming all around that fortune in gold and all we saw were lobsters."
Makes you think, doesn't it?
When I began a serious and intense study of Paul's letter to the church at
Ephesus---and, of course, to all of us as well---I felt like apologizing to God.
I had looked at a few choice verses and had missed the "secrets" to which
Paul kept promising to uncover. The Apostle hinted broadly enough.
Words like mystery, hidden, and secret ought to have stirred my intellectual
curiosity if not my spiritual hunger. But I simply let my mind slip into the
ruts made by other sleepy intellects. I missed the treasure.
Remember to take your vitamins every day
Anxious- Take Vitamin A
"All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
Blue- Take Vitamin B
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name." (Psalm 103:1)
Crushed- Take Vitamin C
"Cast all your care on Him, because he cares for you."(1Peter5:7)
Depressed- Take Vitamin D
"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." (James 4:8)
Empty- Take Vitamin E
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name." (Psalm 100:4)
Fearful- Take Vitamin F
"Fear not, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God." (Isaiah 41:10)
Greedy- Take Vitamin G
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put unto your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." (Luke 6:38)
Hesitant- Take Vitamin H
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces Salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns.'" (Isaiah 52:7)
Insecure- Take Vitamin I
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."(Philippians 4:13)
Jittery- Take Vitamin J
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."(Hebrews 13:8)
Know nothing- Take Vitamin K
"Know this that the LORD is God, it is He that made us and not we ourselves. (Psalm 100:3)
Lonely- Take Vitamin L
"Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."(Matthew 28:20)
Mortgaged- Take Vitamin M
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Nervous- Take Vitamin N
"Never, no never will I leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
Overwhelmed- Take Vitamin O
"Overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)
Perplexed or puzzled?- Take Vitamin P
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
Quitting- Take Vitamin Q
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong."(1 Corinthians 16:13)
Restless- Take Vitamin R
"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." (Psalm 37:7)
Scared- Take Vitamin S
"Stay with me, and do not be afraid; for the one who seeks my life seeks your life; you will be safe with me." (1 Samuel 22:23)
Tired- Take Vitamin T
"Those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
Uncertain- Take Vitamin U
"Understand that I am (the LORD). Before Me no God was formed, nor shall there be any after Me." (Isaiah 43:10)
Vain- Take Vitamin V
"Vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.(Acts 5:16)
Wondering what to do?- Take Vitamin W
"What does the LORD require of you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8)
Exhausted?- Take Vitamin X
"Exercise thyself rather unto godliness." (1 Timothy 4:7)
Yearning for hope?- Take Vitamin Y
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; they rod and thy staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)
Zapped- Take Vitamin Z
"Zealous for good deeds." (Titus 2:14)
God's Construction Workers
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
(1 Corinthians 1:10)
I went by a construction site several times in the past three weeks and every time I passed by the site I saw the workers helping each other. Once I saw a worker carrying something that was too heavy for him and I watched as another worker took the other end and helped him carry it. I thought, “How tragic it is that Christians sometimes fail to carry the other end of a heavy load for another Christian”.
Sometimes pastors will ask the members of their congregations to do something and asks for volunteers. Usually the people that raise their hands are the ones who are already active in most of the projects of the church. I used to be guilty concerning this issue. When my pastor would ask for volunteers, I never raised my hand. May God forgive me for my lack of compassion.
The main reason I didn’t raise my hand was because I didn’t think I had any talents...so there wouldn’t be anything that I could do. One day, my pastor said, when he called for volunteers for a project in the kitchen, “Anybody can wash dishes and set tables”. It felt like somebody had plunged a sharp knife deep into my heart as the Holy Spirit convicted me of my lack of concern, obedience and compassion. I asked God to forgive me for being so selfish and disobedient.
However, it doesn’t matter if every person in the congregation works together on a project because it'll never succeed unless Jesus is the builder. We can’t do anything that will last...in our own strength. It takes Jesus working through us to effectively accomplish what He's called us to do. So many times we try to do things without Him and we fail every time. When will we ever learn that without Jesus, nothing is of any eternal value and is only temporary?
There's some churches that have the policy that if a person doesn’t attend that particular church and is a member of another church, they shouldn’t have anything to do with that person. That not only is not scriptural; it hurts Jesus and it breaks the heart of our precious Saviour. The Bible says “that there be no divisions among you”. When we get to Heaven, there won’t be different congregations, we'll be one family just as we are now.
We're brothers and sisters in Christ and it's time that we stop hurting people by rejecting them just because they go to another church. One day, we'll stand before a Holy God and give an account of the way we treated one another. How tragic it would be if we had to look away and hang our heads in shame because of the way we rejected somebody just because he or she wasn’t a member of our church.