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A Life Worthy

Acts & the Pauline Epistles   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Paul reminds us that he was in prison for sharing the Lord Jesus. Because he is a prisoner, he urges EVERY follower of Jesus to live their lives in a specific manner.
Ephesians 4:1-
Ephesians 4:1–3 NIV84
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.

A Life Worthy of Our Calling

We are to live a lie worthy of the calling we received from God. Paul tells us that we need to be:
(1) Completely humble—the Greek word translated “completely humble” means, “to have a correct view of one’s self—A deep realization of my sin which involves the realization of my unworthiness to receive God’s marvelous grace.”
(2) Gentle—a gentleness of attitude and behavior in one’s dealings with others and with God.
(3) Patient—self-restraint, long-suffering—the quality of a person who could avenge himself, but doesn’t act on it. An emotional calm in the face of provocation or misfortune.
(4) Bearing with one another in love—the Greek has the meaning, “to hold up or keep from falling, or it could mean to tolerate.”
All of that is done in love [agape—or unconditional love].
So we possess three qualities: humility, gentleness, and patience. These three qualities should lead to unity of the spirit, and a bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:
Ephesians 4:4–6 NIV84
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.

Bond of Peace

The reason followers of Jesus ought to experience unity is because of the “ones” in this passage:
One Body
One Spirit
One hope
One Lord
One faith
One baptism
One God and Father
Ephesians 4:7-
Ephesians 4:7–10 NIV84
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.)

Ascended and Descended

Paul tells us that Jesus has given each o his children grace—as He sees fit.
Then Paul paraphrases . Notice three things about his paraphrase.
(1) Jesus ascended on high. (2) Jesus led captives in His train. (3) Jesus gave gifts to men.
Paul adds that if Jesus ascended, He must of first “descended to the lower, earthly regions.” Many theologians have argued about what this means. There are three popular meanings.
(1) Some say that this refers to Jesus coming down to earth and taking on an earthly form.
(2) Some says that this refers to Jesus dying, and buried. So descending refers to the three days Jesus spent in the grave.
(3) That Jesus descended into Sheol (the well of the dead). This would mean that He descended down into the side of Sheol known to the Jews as “Abraham’s Bosom.” Jesus referred to this in
Most theologians believe the second interpretation and third interpretation are plausible.
I lean toward the third interpretation. I come to this conclusion because of three things. First, is the phrase “. . .he led the captives in his train. . .”
The second reason I lean this way is because of the term Paul uses in verse 9— lower, earthly regions. This could be translated “depths of the earth.” This term can be used of underworld where “Sheol” was believed to be.
Finally, the emphasis is on Jesus conquering death and Sheol or Hades. Because He was able to conquer these two, He (Jesus) can give gifts to men.
Since the emphasis in the passage is Jesus ability to give gifts to His people.
Jesus ability to give
Ephesians 4:11-12
Ephesians 4:11–12 NIV84
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

Giving Gifts

Gift of Apostleship—This was an office in the first century church. Most scholars believe this office is no longer operating.
Gift of Prophecy—This gift has a two fold idea. First, is passing on God’s undisclosed message. The second is bringing clarity to God’s already recorded message.
Gift of Evangelist—The gift or special ability to spread the gospel.
Gift of Pastor—The special gift or ability to lead God’s people.
Gift of Teacher—the special gift or special ability to teach God’s Word.

Works of Service

All of the gifts that are given to specific people, are to help prepare God’s people for these works of services.
These works of service lead us to unity in faith. These works of service lead us to grow in the knowledge of the Son of God. These works of service lead us to become mature. These works of service lead us to fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:14–16 NIV84
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.

No Longer Infants!

Paul uses the picture of an infant who cannot control where they go. In a boat, the infant would go wherever the waves blow.
Spiritual infants are blown around by every teaching that comes around. They are not rooted and grounded in the deep understandings of Jesus.
Infants are susceptible to being led astray by the cunning and craftiness of men and their deceitful scheming.

Speaking the Truth in Love

The hallmark of Jesus (and His followers) is love! Unconditional love.
God’s messengers speak the truth in love. Truth is what helps Jesus’ followers become mature.
Those who learn how to speak the truth in love become mature and are strongly connected to the body of Christ.
For it is Jesus who joins the body together in love. And love is what makes each part of the body of Christ work.

Good Works

As followers of Jesus we are to be busy serving Him by works of service. Begin asking Jesus today what works of service He has for you!
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