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Introduction

Something amazing happens when individuals become a team to champion a cause. Someone even coined the phrase, “Together Everyone Achieves More! This year I witnessed it as myself and several other Pastors came together. We were concerned about our city government. We set out to get involved in the mayoral and city council election. Our coming together directly impacted city council seat #1. For the first time in the international city, we have an African American in Post #1 at large, and the come January, the first time ever for 2 African Americans on the the city council—Deron Lee and Clifford Holmes.
Therefore when I read the book of Ephesians, I can visualize what happens when people come together. Yes coming together is the common thread for the Apostle Paul in this book.
Specifically, in this chapter. It marks a shift in the structure of the letter. In the first three chapters, Paul extolled God and His marvelous salvation, which hinges on Christ’s redemptive accomplishments and forms a new humanity—the body of Christ. Now Paul moves from exaltation to exhortation, urging his readers to be united in faith and life.
Brown, D. R., Custis, M., & Whitehead, M. M. (2013). Lexham Bible Guide: Ephesians. (D. Mangum, Ed.) (). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Brown, D. R., Custis, M., & Whitehead, M. M. (2013). Lexham Bible Guide: Ephesians. (D. Mangum, Ed.) (). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Someone has called Ephesians “The believer’s checkbook”. Imagine having an account upon which you could write checks as often as you wished, in any amount you wished, and that account would never be diminished. That is what the believer has in the book of Ephesians.
This book reveals the riches of God’s grace to the believer. It teaches us about what we have because of who we are in Jesus. Then, Ephesians shows us how to spend what we have been given in Christ. This is a book about riches.
The Wesleyan Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Romans–Philemon 1. A Call to Spiritual Maturity (4:1–16)

the purpose of the spiritual gifts in relation to the maturity of the Church is treated in a twofold manner by Paul (vv. 12–16). The gifts are declared first as intended for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, or service for Christ. In the second place, they are designed for the building up of the body of Christ.

Unity v 1-3; 13

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He begins by imploring them to maintain unity. He bases this appeal on their calling, the subject of his previous discussion (Eph 1–3), and on a sevenfold statement of oneness. Their identity is founded upon this understanding of oneness, and they can remain united because of it.

Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Application and Devotional Implications

Paul is making clear that the foundation of maturity in true Christian faith entails knowledge of Christ (4:13), rejecting the deceitful errors of false teachers (4:14), and receiving the benefits of the gifted ministers of the word and their pastoral oversight (4:7–13), which have been provided by Christ. This obviously entails living in a community of believers in Christ and exercising the gifts of grace he has given to us for the good of our fellow Christians (4:13, 15–16). As John Calvin concludes:

That man is mistaken who desires his own separate growth. For what would it profit a leg or an arm if it grew to an enormous size, or for the mouth to be stretched wider? It would merely be afflicted with a harmful tumour. So if we wish to be considered in Christ, let no man be anything for himself, but let us all be whatever we are for others. This is accomplished by love; and where love does not reign, there is no edification of the Church, but a mere scattering. (Calvin, 185)

The first step towards unity is humility; without this there will be no meekness, no patience, or forbearance; and without these no unity. Pride and passion break the peace, and make all the mischief. Humility and meekness restore the peace, and keep it. Only by pride comes contention; only by humility comes love.
This humble, forgiving attitude towards each other naturally fulfills this gift of the unity of the Spirit. We must endeavor to keep this unity – we do not create it. God never commands us to create unity among believers. He has created it by His Spirit; our duty is to recognize it and keep it.
i. We must endeavor to keep this unity – we do not create it. God never commands us to create unity among believers. He has created it by His Spirit; our duty is to recognize it and keep it.
We are confident that this unity is found in Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of God. “We want unity in the truth of God through the Spirit of God. This let us seek after; let us live near to Christ, for this is the best way of promoting unity. Divisions in Churches never begin with those full of love to the Savior.” (Spurgeon)

Maturity v 13-14

Paul’s entreaty is further strengthened by noting the diversity of gifts Christ has made available to the body. This diversity emphasizes the body’s interdependence, which is necessary for its maturity. By understanding their God-ordained functions within the framework of a cohesive unit—a body—Paul’s audience can avoid the factions and divisiveness that impede unity and spiritual growth. They can function as one and for one another, all the while resisting false teaching and maturing in their understanding as disciples of Jesus.

Maturity v 13-14

Each saint shares in the growth of the church. Unfortunately, there are some Christians who are still babies (v. 14, and see 1 Cor. 3:1ff), who are unstable and easily led astray. Satan and his ministers (see 2 Cor. 11:14–15) are waiting to tear down the church with their lies.

As each saint grows and wins others, the entire body grows in Christ.

The evidence of maturity – that the leaders and the saints are all doing their job – is this effective working. This means every part and joint provides what it can supply in a coordinated effort. When this happens, it naturally causes the growth of the body (both in size and strength), but especially growth for building itself up in love.
And as that work is done, people mature as they gain (vs. 13) knowledge of the Son of God, and by that knowledge, the unity of the faith grows.

Speak the Truth in Love v 15

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Eight: Let’s Walk Together (Ephesians 4:1–16)

It has well been said that truth without love is brutality, but love without truth is hypocrisy. Little children do not know how to blend truth and love. They think that if you love someone, you must shield him from the truth if knowing the truth will hurt him. It is a mark of maturity when we are able to share the truth with our fellow Christians, and do it in love. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:6).

That is how the truth should be taught and spoken, in love. Not pounding the truth into people, not ranting and raving, but speaking the truth in love.

Speak the Truth in Love v 15

Love is an excellent thing; but we must be careful to preserve truth together with it. Truth is an excellent thing; yet it is requisite that we speak it in love, and not in contention. These two should go together-truth and peace.
But, Paul tell us in verse 15 if we speak the truth in love, (Paul is speaking of the body of truth that is Christianity), we are bound to grow up in Christ!

Christ the Head v16

Holman Bible Handbook The Church’s Gifts (4:7–16)

The church is to grow up in Christ so it will avoid spiritual immaturity, instability, and gullibility

Christ the Head v16

Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Application and Devotional Implications

Paul is making clear that the foundation of maturity in true Christian faith entails knowledge of Christ (4:13), rejecting the deceitful errors of false teachers (4:14), and receiving the benefits of the gifted ministers of the word and their pastoral oversight (4:7–13), which have been provided by Christ. This obviously entails living in a community of believers in Christ and exercising the gifts of grace he has given to us for the good of our fellow Christians (4:13, 15–16

All our increase should tend to exalt more highly the glory of Christ. This is now proved by the best possible reason. It is he who supplies all our wants, and without whose protection we cannot be safe. As the root conveys sap to the whole tree, so all the vigour which we possess must flow to us from Christ. There are three things here which deserve our attention. The first is what has now been stated. All the life or health which is diffused through the members flows from the head; so that the members occupy a subordinate rank. The second is, that, by the distribution made, the limited share of each renders the communication between all the members absolutely necessary. The third is, that, without mutual love, the health of the body cannot be maintained. Through the members, as canals, is conveyed from the head all that is necessary for the nourishment of the body. While this connection is upheld, the body is alive and healthy. Each member, too, has its own proper share,—according to the effectual working in the measure of every part.

Growing Love v16
In Revelations 2, Christ commended the Church at Ephesus for working hard, patiently enduring, not tolerating evil people, critically examining claims of false apostles and suffering without quitting. The only indictment was they had lost their first love for Christ and for each other.
The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Eight: Let’s Walk Together (Ephesians 4:1–16)

Love is the circulatory system of the body. It has been discovered that isolated, unloved babies do not grow properly and are especially susceptible to disease, while babies who are loved and handled grow normally and are stronger. So it is with the children of God. An isolated Christian cannot minister to others, nor can others minister to him, and it is impossible for the gifts to be ministered either way.

The focus of the passage as a whole has been on the special offices of pastoral ministry. But Paul has not ignored the general officers of the church—believers. And they are not merely passive recipients of ministry, but here we see their vital contribution to the life of the body “according to the functioning capacity of each individual part,” since the whole body of believers “produces the growth of the body for building itself up in love.”

Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Application and Devotional Implications

The motive for Christian living is prominent in Eph 4:7–16 and just about everywhere else in the Scriptures: love (4:15–16). It is the love of God in Christ and love of one’s neighbor. “Faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). And without this love, supreme displays of self-sacrifice and flamboyant altruism are as meaningful as the clash of cymbals and castanets easily carried off by the wind and remembered no more (1 Cor 13:1–3).

Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Application and Devotional Implications

Paul is making clear that the foundation of maturity in true Christian faith entails knowledge of Christ (4:13), rejecting the deceitful errors of false teachers (4:14), and receiving the benefits of the gifted ministers of the word and their pastoral oversight (4:7–13), which have been provided by Christ. This obviously entails living in a community of believers in Christ and exercising the gifts of grace he has given to us for the good of our fellow Christians (4:13, 15–16). As John Calvin concludes:

That man is mistaken who desires his own separate growth. For what would it profit a leg or an arm if it grew to an enormous size, or for the mouth to be stretched wider? It would merely be afflicted with a harmful tumour. So if we wish to be considered in Christ, let no man be anything for himself, but let us all be whatever we are for others. This is accomplished by love; and where love does not reign, there is no edification of the Church, but a mere scattering. (Calvin, 185)

Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary Application and Devotional Implications

As John Calvin concludes:

That man is mistaken who desires his own separate growth. For what would it profit a leg or an arm if it grew to an enormous size, or for the mouth to be stretched wider? It would merely be afflicted with a harmful tumour. So if we wish to be considered in Christ, let no man be anything for himself, but let us all be whatever we are for others. This is accomplished by love; and where love does not reign, there is no edification of the Church, but a mere scattering. (Calvin, 185)

Closing

The church, compared with the human body. The idea is, that as the head in the human frame conveys vital influence, vigour, motion, &c., to every part of the body; so Christ is the source of life, and vigour, and energy, and increase to the church. The sense is, “The whole human body is admirably arranged for growth and vigour. Every member and joint contributes to its healthful and harmonious action. One part lends vigour and beauty to another, so that the whole is finely proportioned and admirably sustained. All depend on the head with reference to the most important functions of life, and all derive their vigour from that. So it is in the church. It is as well arranged for growth and vigour as the body is. It is as beautifully organized in its various members and officers as the body is. Everything is designed to be in its proper place, and nothing by the divine arrangement is wanting in its organization, to its perfection. Its officers and its members are, in their places, what the various parts of the body are with reference to the human frame. The church depends on Christ, as the head, to sustain, invigorate, and guide it, as the body is dependant on the head.”

The word properly means, to make to come together; to join or knit together. It means here that the different parts of the body are united and sustained in this manner.

By that which every joint supplieth. Literally, “through every joint of supply;” that is, which affords or ministers mutual aid. The word joint here—αφή—(from ᾶπτω to fit)—means anything which binds, fastens, secures; and does not refer to the joint in the sense in which we commonly use it, as denoting the articulation of the limbs, or the joining of two or more bones; but rather that which unites or fastens together the different parts of the frame—the blood-vessels, cords, tendons, and muscles. The meaning is, that every such means of connecting one part of the body with another ministers nourishment, and that thus the body is sustained. One part is dependant on another; one part derives nourishment from another; and thus all become mutually useful as contributing to the support and harmony of the whole. Thus it furnishes an illustration of the connection in the members of the church, and of the aid which one can render to another.

According to the effectual working. Gr., “According to the energy in the measure of each one part.” Tindal, “According to the operation as every part has its measure.” The meaning is, that each part contributes to the production of the whole result, or labours for this. This is in proportion to the “measure” of each part; that is, in proportion to its power. Every part labours to produce the great result. No one is idle; none is useless. But none are overtaxed or overworked. The support demanded and furnished by every part is in exact proportion to its strength. This is a beautiful account of the anatomy of the human frame. (1.) Nothing is useless. Every part contributes to the general result—the health, and beauty, and vigour of the system. Not a muscle is useless; not a nerve, not an artery, not a vein. All are employed, and all have an important place, and all contribute something to the health and beauty of the whole. So numerous are the blood-vessels, that you cannot perforate the skin anywhere without piercing one; so numerous are the pores of the skin, that a grain of sand will cover thousands of them; so minute the ramifications of the nerves, that wherever the point of a needle penetrates, we feel it; and so numerous the absorbents, that millions of them are employed in taking up the chyme of the food, and conveying it to the veins. And yet all are employed—all are useful—all minister life and strength to the whole. (2.) None are overtaxed. They all work according to the “measure” of their strength. Nothing is required of the minutest nerve or blood-vessel which it is not fitted to perform, and it will work on for years without exhaustion or decay. So of the church. There is no member so obscure and feeble that he may not contribute something to the welfare of the whole; and no one is required to labour beyond his strength in order to secure the great object. Each one in his place, and labouring as he should there, will contribute to the general strength and welfare; out of his place—like nerves and arteries out of their place, and crossing and recrossing others—he will only embarrass the whole, and disarrange the harmony of the system.

Maketh increase of the body. The body grows in this manner.

Unto the edifying of itself. To building itself up that is, it grows up to a complete stature.

In love. In mutual harmony. This refers to the body. The meaning is, that it seems to be made on the principle of love. There is no jar, no collision, no disturbance of one part with another. A great number of parts, composed of different substances, and with different functions—bones, and nerves, and muscles, and blood-vessels—are united in one, and live together without collision; and so it should be in the church. Learn, hence, (1.) That no member of the church need be useless, any more than a minute nerve or blood-vessel in the body need be useless. No matter how obscure the individual may be, he may contribute to the harmony and vigour of the whole. (2.) Every member of the church should contribute something to the prosperity of the whole. He should no more be idle and unemployed than a nerve or a blood-vessel should be in the human system. What would be the effect if the minutest nerves and arteries of the body should refuse to perform their office? Languor, disease, and death. So it is in the church. The obscurest member may do something to destroy the healthful action of the church, and to make its piety languish and die. (3.) There should be union in the church. It is made up of materials which differ much from each other, as the body is made up of bones, and nerves, and muscles. Yet, in the body these are united; and so it should be in the church. There need be no more jarring in the church than in the body; and a jar in the church produces the same effect as would be produced in the body if the nerves and muscles should resist the action of each other, or as if one should be out of its place, and impede the healthful functions of the other. (4.) Every member in the church should keep his place, just as every bone, and nerve, and muscle in the human frame should. Every member of the body should be in its right position; the heart, the lungs, the eye, the tongue, should occupy their right place; and every nerve in the system should be laid down just where it is designed to be. If so, all is well. If not so, all is deformity, or disorder; just as it often is in the church.

The image is given here with greater fulness and complexity, the object being to illustrate not simply the vital connection of members with the Head, but the unity in diversity of the members. It is being shown that the Church, as an articulated whole under Christ its one Head, ought by a co-operation of all its members—a co-operation conditioned and determined by each individual’s difference—to build itself up and to grow.

The Purpose of God: Ephesians Importance of Development

Paul uses his frequent image of the physical organism, where each part must make its contribution in harmony with the others. All of the parts are vital and essential for the healthy and complete functioning of the body. So every member in the body of Christ is gifted by the Holy Spirit, and is called by the Holy Spirit to participate in the ministry of Christ. Every person in the body of Christ has a significant task to perform. No-one is insignificant; no-one is unimportant. There is no such thing as a misfit in the body of Christ because Christ himself, the head of the body, is the one who makes sure that we fit together and knit together into the unity of his body.

From whom the whole mystical body fitly joined together—All the parts being fitted for, and adapted to, each other, and most exactly harmonizing with the whole, and compacted—Knit and cemented together with the utmost firmness, maketh increase by that which every joint supplieth—Or by the mutual help of every joint, according to the effectual working in the measure of every member—According as every member in its measure effectually works, for the support and growth of the whole. A beautiful allusion to the human body, composed of different joints and members, knit together by various ligaments, and furnished with vessels of communication from the head to every part.

Someone has called Ephesians “The believer’s checkbook”. Imagine having an account upon which you could write checks as often as you wished, in any amount you wished, and that account would never be diminished. That is what the believer has in the book of Ephesians.
This book reveals the riches of God’s grace to the believer. It teaches us about what we have because of who we are in Jesus. Then, Ephesians shows us how to spend what we have been given in Christ. This is a book about riches.
The Teacher’s Commentary 143: Eph. 3:1–5:2—One Body, One Family

The Greek word ecclesia means “congregation,” and more specifically a “called-out congregation.” Those who have responded to God’s invitation in Christ are called out from humanity to fulfill all of mankind’s ancient dreams in a vital, new community. Each of us responds to that invitation individually, but once we respond, we are part of a great company. We are suddenly members of a new community, linked intimately to other men and women who have joined their lives to Jesus. It is important for us to realize that now our identity is to be found not in isolation but in and through the community of Christ’s church. We grow in our capacity to live as God’s persons within this fellowship.

Here, then, is Paul’s vision for the church. God’s new society is to display charity, unity, diversity and growing maturity. These are the characteristics of ‘a life worthy of the calling’ to which God has called us, and which the apostle begs us to lead (verse 1).

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