Ephesians 4: 1-16

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

What does it say?

  • Paul was a prisoner for the Lord.
  • Paul asked the Ephesians to live a life worthy of their calling.
  • The Ephesian had received a calling.
  • The Ephesians were to be:
    • Humble
    • Gentle
    • Patient
    • Supporting each other
    • Make every effort to maintain unity of the Spirit
    • Maintain unity of the Spirit through a bond of peace
  • There is one body.
  • There is one Spirit.
  • There is one hope.
  • The Ephesians were call to one hope.
  • There is:
    • One Lord
    • One faith
    • One baptism
    • One God
    • One Father
  • God the Father is
    • Over all
    • Through all
    • In all
  • Each of the Ephesians had received grace.
  • Each of the Ephesians had received grace as Christ apportioned it .
  • Christ descended to the lower.
  • The lower are the earthly regions.
  • Christ ascended.
  • Christ ascended higher than the heavens.
  • Christ ascended in order to fill the universe.
  • Christ gave different gifts.
  • Some of the gifts Christ has given is, some are:
    • Apostles
    • Prophets
    • Evangelists
    • Pastors
    • Teachers
    • Prepare people for works of service
  • Works of service are to build up the body of Christ.
  • Works of service build up the body of Christ until we reach.
    • Unity in the faith
    • Knowledge of the Son of God
    • Become mature
    • Attain the full measure of Christ
  • Once we have matured we are no longer infants.
  • Once we have matured we will not be tossed back and forth by waves.
  • Once we have matured we will not be blown here and there by every wind of teaching.
  • False teachers are cunning and crafty.
  • False teachers are deceitful.
  • False teachers are scheming.
  • The Ephesians were to speak truth in love.
  • The Ephesians were to grow up in Christ.
  • Christ is the Head.
  • The body grows as each part of the body does its work.
  • From Christ the body is joined together.
  • The body grows and builds itself in love.

Interpretation

Here Paul is encouraging the Ephesians to mature and grow in Christ. He starts this section of the epistle by telling them to live in a manner worthy of their calling. Paul could have given the Ephesian a list of things to do. Instead Paul gives a list of things to be; patient, humble, gentle, supporting each other, unified in the Spirit.

Unity is a reoccurring theme in this section. Paul emphasizes that there is only one body, one head, and one faith. There is only one God. There is only baptism. What does Paul mean by unity? He certainly does not mean simply going along to get along. In I Corinthians 5, Paul chastises the Corinthians for allowing a sexually immoral person in their mist and even boosting about it. e.g. I Corinthians 5:9-13

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Here Paul tells the Corinthians to expel from fellowship anyone who calls themselves a Christian and is sexually immoral, greedy, reviler, idolater, drunkard or swindler. Paul told them not to even associate with them. So then unity does not simply mean acceptance. Unity is unity in the Spirit, unity in Christ and unity in the Father. There is only one Father, one God.

Well how does Paul tell the Ephesians they should try to accomplish this unity? He does not give them a 12 step program. He does not give them a list of things to do. He tells them to grow up. Only once they become mature will they not be bouncing from teaching to teaching. Paul tells the Ephesians only after they grow up will they speak the truth in love. Because, they will know the truth, God is truth.

Application

In Matthew 22, Christ summarized the all of the law with 2 commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. The second commandment was, love your neighbor as yourself. From this it has been said, Christianity is simply love God and love others. Simply!? Like that is easy! Christianity is not about doing but about being. There is not a list of things you need to do to please God. But Paul lists here things you need to be, patient, gentle, supportive, and humble. I am not supposed to be just humble and gentle, but completely humble and gentle. How can I be something I am not?

Then Paul says, grow up. How can an infant will itself to be an adult? It cannot. Nor can we will ourselves to be patient or gentle or humble. It is Christ who changes us. It is Christ who makes us something we were not.

Paul instructs to live a life worth of the calling we have received. The only way to do that is to rely on Christ to live through us. How do we know Christ? The same way we learn about anyone else. We spend time with them. We listen to what they have to say, what they are interested in.

How can you listen to Christ? His words are printed in the bible. Read it. Study it. Learn it. That is the only way to know Christ. Only then will we become mature. Once we become mature we will no longer be bouncing around in by the latest doctrine. We will not be looking for new revelations. We will not be asking what is the latest thinking or opinion. We will no longer be trying to understand truth through the lasted opinion polls. We will know the Truth because we will know Him. He is truth.

Once we know Christ we become completely humble and gentle. We become patient. We live a life worthy of our calling. Because, it is Christ living through us.

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