Faithlife Sermons

Lives Worthy of One Calling

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I. Living up to your calling

The Prisoner of the Lord. Paul exhorts as the prisoner of the Lord. Would you follow a convicted felon? Not unless the reason for his charge was preaching the gospel, which is the case here. We covered this in 3:1-13. Having established that the reason for his imprisonment is only that he was bold enough to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he now relies on his status as a prisoner to motivate his audience. The idea is that he has sacrificed everything for the sake of the gospel. If he is prepared to go to prison, is it too much for you to live out the implications of the gospel?
A Worthy Walk. “Walk” is, of course, a metaphor for your lifestyle. Maybe you’re old enough for your parents to have tried to motivate you by saying something like “we are [insert last name here]. We don’t complain.” Or whatever it was that they wanted you to do. That really isn’t the best way for a parent to motivate their child, but it captures the idea that you should live a certain way, not to earn your status as a member of the family, but because you already are family, and ought to live up to the standards of family conduct.
Christian, you’re a child of the King of Kings. The Children of the Lord of Heaven ought to conduct themselves as the children of God. There ought to be a difference in conduct between the children of the devil and the children of God.
Your Calling. The Christian’s calling was outlined in chapters 2-3. We who were dead in our sins have been made alive. We who were strangers, alienated from God have been brought near and made to be part of his family. We who were defiled are now part of God’s Holy Temple. This is what God has called you to be. You didn’t earn it, you received it by faith. You who had no hope now have an inheritance with the Holy Ones; you are joint heirs with Christ. This exalted and holy calling implies a lifestyle, one that differs from the world. Live like it.

II. Attitudes that Maintain Unity

An Attitude of Humility. Phil 2:3-11 “Gentleness” is defined as “not overly impressed by a sense of one’s own importance.” BDAG
Philippians 2:3–11 NKJV
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
An Attitude of Patience. To endure difficult circumstances or people patiently.
As children of God, we must show the same “patience” or “longsuffering” that Jesus did Rom 9:22
Romans 9:22 NKJV
What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
We should imitate the same patience as others who inherited the promises. Heb 6:13-15
Hebrews 6:13–15 NKJV
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
An Attitude of Unity. The Spirit creates the unity in the church, we have only to maintain what is there. Our ability to live a peace with each other is what maintains it.
The Spirit’s creation of unity was already covered. The one Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance, who sealed all of us Eph 1:13-14. God already made us one Eph 2:14-17.
Ephesians 1:13–14 NKJV
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 2:14–17 NKJV
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
Even maintaining the peace requires the aid of the Spirit. If we walk in the Spirit, we will exemplify the character traits that produce peace. Giving in to the unrestrained urges of our flesh will inevitably produce conflict. Gal 5:13-23

III. Dimensions of Unity

The Ecclesiastical Dimension - One Body one Spirit One Hope - three items all having to do with the church, the institution to which every believer in this age belongs.
One Body - the Body of Christ was covered Eph 1:22-23
Ephesians 1:22–23 NKJV
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
One Spirit - There is of course only one God, but what makes this unifying is that the one Spirit provides all spiritual power in the church
One Hope - we all look forward to the return of Christ, when we will all enter the Kingdom of God and enjoy the full blessings of salvation together. Thus, we are all working for and expecting the same thing, which means we have a common goal.
The Salvific Dimension - One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism Three items all having to do with who, and what, we believe
One Lord - Jesus Christ is not only the author of our faith, the doctrine of Christ is at the center of Christianity. Since all true Christians have the same Lord, whatever differences of personality, personal interest, culture, etc. remain, we all acknowledge and must answer to the same Master.
One Faith - The Faith is the Christian faith. There is only one faith. Christians differ about many doctrines, but these differences are not a multiple choice buffet. Rather, we are all called to believe the truth of the Word of God. It is our imperfect attitudes and thoughts that create these differences. Now all Christians must believe the Gospel to be worthy of the name. So-called Christian groups that deny the gospel are not Christian and, sadly, their adherents will discover this at the final judgment. Yet this One Faith is not the lowest common denominator, the minimum necessary to get to heaven. Rather, we all ought to aspire to believe all that God has spoken, with consistency and fervency. As the Word of God is complex, we must allow others to be (1) incomplete or (2) outright wrong on some things. However far your personal beliefs differ from the One Faith, you will suffer to that degree. If you believe the Gospel you will still go to heaven, but more serious doctrinal errors will have more serious effects, less serious ones, less serious effects.
One Baptism. Now the ritual of baptism is identified by who you are being alligned with. 1 Cor 1:14-15. Since all truly Baptized people are baptized in the name of the Lord, they have all one Baptism. Now, since Baptism is a picture of the faith of the person being baptized, infant baptism is not baptism at all. Only believer’s Baptism counts.
1 Corinthians 1:14–15 NKJV
I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name.
The Theocratic Dimension - One God who is above all, through all, and in all. The last item is God - and there is, of course only one. Incidentally, that makes the total number of the three groups of items to be Seven. The last one item is itself grouped into three items.
God is the Father of All. We observed earlier that God is described as a father, but he is not the father of every being in the same way.
God is the Father of Jesus in a unique way Eph 1:17
Ephesians 1:17 NKJV
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
God is the Father of Christians, implying the full “Family” sense of the word Eph 3:14-15
Ephesians 3:14–15 NKJV
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
God is the Creator of All Beings, so is literally the Father of All Beings 1 Cor 8:6
1 Corinthians 8:6 NKJV
yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
God is Above All - i.e. He is the transcendent God, Ruling over all Creation. He is unique - Above all other created beings, in a class by himself.
God is Through All - He is the Immanent God, he is in all places, and upholds all things Heb 1:3
Hebrews 1:3 NKJV
who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
God is In All [Christians] 1 Cor 3:16
1 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
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