After the magisterial exegetical commentary by Dr. Harold Hohner on the Book of Ephesians, most thought that it was the last word on all things Ephesian. But although it is the best technical exegetical commentary on the book of Ephesians, let me give you a sneak preview of Dr. Dave Anderson’s commentary, soon to be made available through Grace Theology Press. It provides not only exegetical details and argumentation but also a smooth exposition that will benefit both pastor and student, and lead them to an in-depth understanding and appreciation of Ephesians.
“When I was growing up, my father tried to train me in a variety of things. He was an engineer, a scientist, a builder, a ham radio operator, a pilot, a wine maker, and on it went. One thing he tried to train me in was investing. He traded commodities and stocks. So he had me open my own paper account to get a feel for trading when I was fourteen. He also had me read a book called The Art of Contrary Thinking1. The idea was to do the opposite of the crowd. Since ninety percent of the people who trade lose money, the crowd is usually wrong. Find out what they are doing and do the opposite. If they are buying, sell; if they are selling, buy.
In a way, Christ was a master of contrarian thinking: the first will be last; the last will be first. What appears to be a terrible trial is a blessing. What you can see is temporary, and what you can’t see is permanent. Your happiest moments on earth may come when you are persecuted for your faith.
Jill Brisco, wife of Stuart Brisco,2 shared a story about a couple in Britain that went childless year after year. The husband was a factory worker, and he was working among socialists and communists that did not believe in God. He told them he believed God would give him and his wife a child and that he had been praying for a child for over ten years. His fellow workers would just laugh at him and from time to time mock him by asking, “Got your child yet? Wife pregnant?”
Well, finally this man’s wife became pregnant. He was overjoyed and shared this joy with his fellow workers. But the child was born with Down’s syndrome. As this man was going to work, he was praying, “God, give me wisdom. Give me wisdom as to how to share this news to honor your name.” So when everyone at work found out about it, they said, “Oh, so that’s your God. So this is the child that your God gave you. Some kind of God.” He thought for a moment and opened his mouth and said, “I’m just so glad God gave this child to me instead of you.” He knew the art of contrarian thinking. He realized that what appeared to be a difficulty was a great opportunity.
Paul had a thorn in the flesh. He prayed three times that it be removed. God said, “My grace is sufficient for your need. What is a thorn in your life is going to turn into an open public display of my grace.” And that is the thesis of what I am trying to teach in this lesson: The Art of Contrary Thinking. That situation in your life, that disease in your life, that thorn in your flesh, that boss that just won’t leave, that husband or wife that is so difficult for you—these are gifts of God’s grace in your life. It is part of the very purpose for which He created you.
It’s been said that there is no greater pressure than a great potential. It could also be said that there is no greater loss than a wasted potential. Although that point could be argued, we will probably agree that there is much sadness in a wasted potential. Of course, potential is tied to purpose. We must know our purpose before we can discover our potential. This presumes that we were created by design for a specific purpose. And that is what God is trying to get across to the Ephesians. They were created and saved for a purpose, and until they discover that purpose, they will never become a Purpose Driven Church.”
I will let you know when the book is available.
1. Humphrey B. Neill, The Art of Contrary Thinking (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Press, 2003). 1
2. An international Bible teacher, Brisco turned Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WS, into the largest church in Wisconsin as its senior pastor for thirty years. 2
Serving Him with you until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor, Grace Theology Press