Journeying through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is like mountain climbing in the Himalayas. We keep moving higher, scaling peak after peak, until we gain a panoramic view of God’s purposes, as from the heights of heaven itself. This volume approaches the ascent in small manageable steps, verse by verse. It shows that there is value in every verse of Scripture, not only to increase our spiritual understanding, but also to challenge us to godly living day by day. Join me on the journey so that together we might enjoy the breathtaking view from the summit!
Preface A South African friend was telling me of his visit to Northern Ireland. ‘They took me to see your famous Mountains of Mourne …’ He paused and smiled. The message was clear. Accustomed as he was to the Drakensberg mountain range in South Africa, our beloved Mountains of Mourne must have seemed like molehills! Mafadi, the highest peak in South Africa, is four times higher than Slieve Donard. In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul takes us much higher, figuratively speaking, than the Mournes or even the Drakensbergs. We find ourselves ascending the majestic Himalayas of spiritual truth. The apostle’s thoughts and language soar far above earth to encompass ‘the heavenlies’. He presents to us a panoramic view of God’s purposes for time and eternity. We learn of His purposes for Christ, for the Church, for the Christian, and for the whole of Creation. All of these purposes are according to His sovereign will, and for His own glory and pleasure. It is sometimes claimed that those who are heavenly-minded are of no earthly use. Paul would disagree. In Ephesians he applies his lofty teaching to our lowly walk here upon earth. He also shows that Christians are in a relentless spiritual battle, and the heavenly truth they learn must be worked out here and now. By this measure, it is only those who are heavenly-minded who will be of any earthly use. Paul’s desire is that we will rise higher, as well as walk straighter, shine brighter, and stand firmer. The format of this book on Ephesians is to consider every verse in a consecutive way. The aim is to uncover the essential truth of Paul’s letter and to present its teaching in a clear, concise, and practical way. There are several challenges presented in this approach. Firstly, every Higher Ground verse as found in the English Bible does not have equal weight in terms of doctrine or teaching. Some may be short linking verses. Nevertheless, the hope is that you will discover every verse has value to spiritually nourish and sustain you throughout the day. Secondly, moving verse by verse, we could risk ‘not seeing the wood for the trees’. We must be careful to keep the main themes and thought flow in mind; preview sections will help to maintain the overall picture. I wish to thank Mr. John Fleck of Buckna and Mr. Alasdair Baijal of Cape Town who gave generously of their time and effort in reading through the complete manuscript and making valuable suggestions. John was also kind enough to write the Foreword. In addition my thanks must go to the friends at ‘Ritchie’s’ for their unfailing assistance in easing the pathway to publication. The volume you now hold in your hand comes with the prayer that you will be edified, encouraged, and challenged. Make sure you read it with your open Bible beside you. Begin the journey today, and keep climbing higher. It will be worth the effort to reach the summit – enjoy the view! Clark Logan Tlokweng Botswana