Ephesians 4:1-16, September 8, 2019
Living a Worthy Life of the Calling
The Prayer 3:14-21 What does this mean for us? To us?
This is Paul’s introduction to chapters 4-6 and his instructions for us there.
4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
How in the world am I supposed to do that? How am I to live a life worthy of the calling I have received? And what in the world is the calling I have received?
4:2-3 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.
I cannot do these things, certainly not completely! But I do not have to do so, instead I have to move towards these as my goals. My life, your life, should show progress towards these goals the longer we live as Christians.
4:4-6 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.
It is here, in these three verses we get closer and closer to the question we asked of verse 4:1
The one body is the Body of Christ and we are all members of His body – the church.
4:7-10 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 took many captives and gave gifts to His people.” (from Psalm 68:18a)
(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.)
Grace, the greatest gift! Many captives: Satan, sin, and death! Lower parts of the earth? The womb of the virgin Mary as in Psalm 139:15 not hell.
4:11-13 So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors-teachers, to equip His 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.
First the offices or officers of the church.– apostles and prophets appointed before His death. Pastors/teachers for the serving of God and His church, in the various ministrations, but especially in dispensing the word, administering the ordinances, maintaining Christian discipline, and performing any and all other ministerial duties.The purpose of pastors/teachers is the building up Christ’s mystical body, in faith, love, and universal holiness: or by ministering to the increase of the graces of such as were already converted, and by the addition of new members to the church. This until every member of the local body comes to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
What happens then?
4:14 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 people in their deceitful scheming.
Recent example: Recently came across some very official and assured sounding writing that all of the OT and NT were written in Hebrew. Well that kind of threw me initially so I checked the source and was not impressed except for how sure they were of their position. However, it only took a little thought to realize the error of this teaching. Paul wrote many of his letters to churches that were primarily made up of Gentiles – the church of Ephesus being one of them. Additionally Luke who wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts was not Jewish.
Another – pigs and the cliffs of the Sea of Galilee …
4:15-16 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of 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.
Remember verse 4:1 and my questions? How in the world am I supposed to do that? How am I to live a life worthy of the calling I have received? This is the answer – we, the church grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head.