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Ephesians 4:1-6

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Verse by verse study through Ephesians

Ephesians 4:1–6 ESV
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
When you know who you are.. and where you’re at..
you will then know.. more clearly.. what you should do..
If you know you’re a skydiver, and you are on your porch… -well, jumping isn’t going to be a very fulfilling experience.
If you know you’re a weightlifter, and you you are in a field full of daisies… well, it isn’t going to help build or maintain muscle mass.
If you know you’re a great cook, and someone hands you a shovel in the hog house… well, you’re not going to be serving up any 5 star meals.
But, if you know you are a redeemed believer in Jesus… And you know the reality of grace in your life… and you know that you stand in Christ…
Then you will know… more clearly… what you, as a believer in Jesus… should do. ++
For 3 chapters.. Paul has been trying to give us.. a clear understanding.. of who we are.. in Christ..
And where we’re at.. as Christians..
A clear understanding of chapters 1-3.. can speak to the most down and out believer.. ++
They may suffer: great sickness.. poverty.. persecution.. accusation.. rejection and depression..
And yet.. in spite of these physical maladies..
They will still confess:
I have it good.. in Christ..
Because of what Jesus has done for me..
And what I’ve become in Him..
And how I am reckoned before God.. ++
I have it good..
I have.. a good thing.. that transcends my trial..
The rich.. the healthy.. the strong.. the successful..
Their advantage.. is only temporary..
It’s for a fleeting moment in eternity..
But then again.. so is my hardship.. ++
In Eph 1-3.. we learned.. about our greater identity.. ++
We might have many identities..
We’re known.. by the way we order our coffee at Starbucks.. the vehicle we drive down a particular street every day at the same time.. the job we hold.. and things we are seen doing on our job..
.. as a voice on the other end of the phone.. in relation to a specific topic.. ++
..we’re known.. as a familiar face.. in a familiar place..
.. You see… there are many identities.. that are .. “in part” ++
The person at the deli.. who knows how you want your ham and cheese sandwich..
They know you.. only in reference to your sandwich preference.. ++
They don’t know.. what you do for a living.. anything about your family.. what your favorite color is.. how you spend your free time.. what’s the most important thing in your life.. or what kind of music you listen to.. ++
There are many.. identities.. that are “in part”
Ephesians has shown us this..
For the Jews thought of themselves one way..
The Gentiles thought of themselves one way..
But God showed them both.. .
That in Christ.. they are the same.. ++
And in Christ.. they find their greater identity.. ++
You can make a list.. right now… in your head..
And think of all the different attributes that define.. who you are..
But, until you realize how God defines you..
Your list.. will only be.. “in part”.. ++
Now.. we’ve had our chance to dwell on these matters over the past several weeks..
We have covered the concept.. of “where we sit / where we stand”..
Now.. with that knowledge..
We need to dig in.. stand up from where we’re sitting..
And begin.. to walk.. ++
Chapters 1-3.. were doctrinal.. (the “who we are” info)
But Chapters 4-6.. are practical.. (the “what we do” info) ++
From here on out.. we’re going to talk.. about walking..
there’s four ways.. to walk.. in Eph 4-6 ++
Walk in Unity 4:1-16
Walk in Purity 4:17-5:18
Walk in Harmony 5:19-6:9
Walk in Victory 6:10-end.. ++
Today.. we’re talking about.. “walking in unity”..
And mostly.. we are talking about the “attitude”.. which is required of us..
So that we can.. walk in unity.. ++
Ephesians 4:1 ESV
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
To understand what this first verse is talking about..
we have to first consider the “calling”.. with which we were “called”..
in II Peter 1:3.. it says we:
..were called to His own glory and excellence..
in I Peter 5:10.. it says:
..we were called to His eternal glory in Chirst..
In Heb 3:1 .. it says that we:
..share in a heavenly calling..
Philipians 3:14 says:
..we have an “upward call”..
But.. in a very specific sense..
Every believer has the same call..
The call to be a: prophet, evangelist, pastor, missionary, an elder, a deacon, a teacher, a mopper, a scrubber, a counselor or a mentor..
…are all.. secondary.. and less than significant..
In comparison..
To our call.. to be saved, redeemed.. worshipping.. loving .. children of God.. ++
In a glimpse.. we have seen the caliber of our calling:
a calling unto justification.. and glorification..
it’s an upward call
it’s heavenly.. glorious.. and virtuous..
Basically.. the caliber of our calling.. is “crazy awesome”.. ++
It’s out of this world.. it’s something that only God can give.. and it is consistent to God’s nature.. in every way.. ++
Now.. w/that in mind.. I want to show you what vs. 1 is saying to us..
and the secret lies in the word “worthy”
We are to walk.. worthy of this incredible call.. ++
That word worthy means “having the weight of”..
That word walk.. refers to the manner in which we live out our daily lives..
Basically.. the way we live our life.. is to have the same weight.. as the calling w/which we were called.. ++
The caliber of our life.. should reflect the caliber of our calling.. ++
This puts us in a quandary… for most of us… the challenge to live our daily lives according to the weight of this great privilege, doesn’t come easy..
So... here we are..
Face to face.. with a mystery..
My calling.. is of a glorious, heavenly and virtuous nature..
My walk.. as a reflection to these things..
well… often times… it Stinks.. ++
I can always find peace in knowing..
That I am considered by God.. to be as Christ is..
Righteous.. holy.. and justified..
That’s my position..
That’s the wonderful stuff I learned about myself in chapters 1-3..
That’s how I stand.. ++
But now.. I’m being called.. to walk…
Imagine.. being homeless for most of your life.. living each day in paranoia.. slipping in and out of alter personalities.. seeing things that aren’t really there..
And suddenly.. someone tells you..
“Hey buddy.. get out of that dumpster.. you’re the new President of the United States!”
“Here, put on this suit.. and run the country.”
That’s crazy! ++
From what I hear on the radio and see on social media, this is kind of what the democrats believe has actually happened… -
When the next democrat president comes along… the republican will believe this..
But for now.. imagine..
dumpster … to the white house..
But that’s kind of how I feel.. when I first look at this spiritual situation..
Hey buddy.. here’s the caliber of your calling..
Glorious.. heavenly.. and virtuous..
Now.. get out there.. and walk accordingly.. ++
My first thought.. my first reaction is:
Man.. I really need to buckle down.. in my flesh.. and be disciplined to try hard and struggle and fight every moment of every day to live a good wonderful perfect life.. no matter what! ++
But that mentality.. is such a contradiction.. to so many things that Paul has already taught us.. ++
That mentality.. aligns itself to legalism..
And legalism.. though noble on the outward.. generally manifests itself as being.. prideful.. cold .. and in some ways.. idolatrous.. on the inside..
Legalism trades a relationship with God..
For a list of behaviors, attitudes and actions.. that are performed..
As a penance.. or a payment to God.. ++
Instead of walking w/God.. giving Him my friendship and devotion..
I end up.. working for God.. giving Him my deeds and my accomplishments..
In many ways.. our deeds become the objects of our devotion..
Rather than God Himself.. ++
So no..
when I consider the caliber of my walk..
I can’t go down that path..
Now.. there is a principle of God.. that we have been called to.. that fits in here..
We’ve talked about grace many times..
And specifically.. how grace is not intended to be a provision for us to keep on being slack-dog sinners..
No way.. ++
Grace is a motivation.. a launching pad.. a reflective force..
That drives us.. to live the best, and most God honoring lives that we can live..
Here in Ephesians.. it’s the same thing..
We look back.. and see how good we have it..
We see how we stand, with God..
This compels us to say “thank you”.. ++
And enables us.. drives us.. gives us a desire..
To live out our thank you..
By walking the walk… ++
Our thanksgiving.. is a reflection of His grace..
Our worthy walk.. is a reflection.. of our incredible position..
In Christ.. ++
Now.. incase you’re wondering.. what the walk is..
it’s defined.. in the next few verses..
Ephesians 4:2 ESV
2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
Lowliness.. also translated.. humility..
It’s defined very well: in:
Philippians 2:3 ESV
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Want to walk.. in a glorious.. heavenly and virtuous manner?
Then filter life through a healthy reflection of who you are..
If we stop, and remind ourselves.. how little we really are.. before God..
How morally weak.. we really are.. in the dark recesses of our heart..
It will alter.. the way we treat one another.. ++
We will look at others.. and put ourselves.. positionally.. in a servant-mindset..
enabling us.. to be more easily used.. by the Lord.. ++
selfish ambition.. is contrary..
it’s not.. of the same caliber of our calling..
in fact.. it’s on the opposite end of the scale.. ++
The next point from verse 2 is: gentleness
a word sometimes translated as “meekness”
or, mildness of disposition.. ++
gentleness doesn’t come natural..
It’s a fruit.. of the Spirit’s work in our lives..
The fruit of the spirit.. is love..
One of the ways.. that love manifests itself..
Is through.. gentleness.. ++
In harshness.. often times.. the message of our words is lost..
People will disregard the words.. and receive what is communicated.. through the attitude of harshness.. ++
They won’t hear what you say…. In words..
They will hear.. what you say.. in attitude.. ++
But if our communication.. and our manner gentle..
Then our words will not be hindered.. ++
The next attribute of our walk.. is: patience..
and then, I believe the next part is a bit of an explanation..
“bearing w/one another in love”.. ++
Patience does not always come.. easily..
That’s why.. God gives us a powerful ability.. ++
.. mentioned earlier.. the fruit of the spirit.. is LOVE..
1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
That word: bear.. is also translated “to show tolerance”
To not let that person.. wear you down.. ++
It’s literally defined as the ability to.. “hold ones self up.. strong and firm”..
Some people only want to be around people.. that they can stand.. that they can tolerate.. that they can agree with.. ++
But.. those kind of folks are few and far between..
Chances are.. we will clash with one another.. we will bump.. we will scrape.. we will have conflict.. ++
People who are easily given to offense..
Don’t do well with this..
But.. people who go into relationships.. w/a manner of self inspection..
Realize.. that Christ has suffered much.. and continues to put up..
w/us.. ++
It is, in comparison.. a little thing for us..
To suffer, and put up with.. one another..
Ephesians 4:3–6 ESV
3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Notice those first three words..
“eager to maintaiN”… other versions say ‘endeavoring to keep’ or ‘being diligent to maintain’ or ‘making every effort to keep’..
this word ‘eager’ is also translated, three times in 2 Timothy as ‘do your best’…
Basically… it is saying:
Work hard… or, do your best… .. to keep it in tact..
Keep what in tact?
What are we s’posed to work hard to keep in tact?
Unity of the spirit!
Unity - A word which also means: agreement.. ++
Not.. agreement of compromise..
This is how many people demand unity… ‘let’s compromise… so we can agree.” - What this usually means, is that those with fewer standards will demand that those with higher standards will come down to a place of agreement with them.
This is often the premise for unity in the church… those who interpret the Bible through the context of their culture, demand that those who interpret the Bible through the context of the Bible… give up their hard line beliefs, and compromise their values for the sake of unity.
I believe the common term now a days is.. ‘moral signaling’. - They prop up a moral premise of unity, to disqualify any other moral belief that opposes their idea.
unfortunately.. the only thing we can all ecumenically agree on.. is probably…. Some vague aspect of love..
Such a thing.. is not: unity..
Not by definition..
Unity.. is to consider all the aspects of Biblically revealed truth..
and agree, w/unanimity..
to be.. unanimous..
And as long as we are feeble humans.. w/feeble human minds..
Here in the flesh.. unity, is not going to happen.. ++
You see.. this passage isn’t telling us that it’s going to happen..
This passage does not promise that we will have unity in the spirit…
It merely tells us .. that there is a truth..
And we are called… to strive for it..
Diligently.. ++
Real unity.. comes down to one corporate conclusion..
and Paul… here.. dives into the “one statements”.. to give us some definite direction
There is one body..
Body.. refers to.. the body of Christ.. referring then..
To the church..
There is one church..
We created.. denominations.. we established.. differences.. we proclaimed.. ideas and concepts of contradiction w/one another..
But God’s Word says..
There is only one church.. ++
And this is part of our walk..
To see, understand, and consider.. what truly makes an individual.. a part of the body.. ++
There is one Spirit..
Speaking, of the Holy Spirit..
Unique, and individual.. ++
There is one.. hope
All believers.. have a common hope regarding their future w/God..
Real faith, real Christianity.. as defined in the scriptures.. gives us… a common hope beyond the bonds of this world.. and this flesh..
And this is part of our walk..
To have confidence.. in the promise of an eternal relationship with God.. ++
There is one Lord..
Definitely.. referring to Jesus..
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
There is one: baptism..
This one is tricky.. and hard to nail down..
For the Bible speaks of several baptisms..
The Jews practiced a ceremonial cleansing baptism… There was… the baptism of John.. which was a public display of repentance...
The baptism of identification to Christ..
Described best.. in Romans 6:4
Which I believe.. best describes the water baptism that we practice after salvation.. ++
The baptism that Christ referred to.. as the suffering and the burden which He was going to endure.. leading up to the cross.. ++
There is a baptism.. w/the Holy Spirit..
The baptizer being Jesus, the baptizing agent.. being the H.S…
Jesus even said: “I will baptize you, with the H.S… “ ++
And finally.. in I Cor 12:13.. we find.. the baptism “of” the Holy Spirit..
Where the baptizer is the Holy Spirit..
And the agent into which we are baptized..
Is the body of Christ.. ++
Needless to say.. baptism is a transferable term.. It’s a generic verb applied to many different scenerios. ++
It’s a word that literally means.. immersed, or overtaken..
A ship.. that sinks.. goes under the sea.. is considered.. “baptized”..
The idea of baptism.. is one of being.. completely immersed into something.. ++
Like Christ.. was immersed into the burden He had to carry..
The believers in Acts.. were immersed in the overflowing power of the Holy Spirit.. ++
But it also carries with it.. the idea of “identification”
When we are baptized.. in water…
We are identifying.. w/the death and resurrection of Christ..
And we are saying.. that our old body.. is in the grave..
Our new body.. is risen up.. in Christ.. ++
There is, however.. one baptism that stands out.. as being consistent.. solid..
It is universal to all believers..
And that’s the one defined in I Cor 12:13..
1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV
13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
This happens when we receive Christ..
And the Holy spirit.. identifies us.. immerses us.. into the body of Christ..
For it says.. “by one Spirit..we are all.. baptized.. into one body”..
That one stands out.. as being consistent to the nature of this list here in Eph 4.. ++
There is one.. immersion into.. and identification w/the Body..
Finally.. there is one God and Father of all..
No doubt about it..
1 Timothy 2:5 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
One God who is the creator of all..
Are there ‘lesser gods?’… ‘other created spiritual beings’… Yes, the OT is abundantly clear about this…
Deuteronomy 32 speaks of god separating the nations at babel according to the number of the sons of God
Psalm 82 speaks of the rebellion of those sons of god… elohims who rebelled, and who were gods… and were judged to die like mere men.
God is sometimes compared, as supreme over these beingss..
Deuteronomy 3:24 ESV
24 ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours?
Psalm 86:8 ESV
8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
And yet, we can say, that our God is the one and only true God… for there is no other like Him.. or as He Himself says in Isa 46:9.... “I am God, and there is no one like Me”.
There is only one God, the eternal creator…
Not thousands..
One Jesus..
One hope.. unto salvation..
These are the areas.. where we strive for unity.. ++
For these are established.. as being absolute..
And yes.. there are going to be disagreements and struggles..
We might not reach a place of unity.. while here in the flesh..
The Bible doesn’t say we will.. ++
Unanimity of belief is not promised… it’s not going to happen..
We are just called... to diligently seek it.. ++
This is how we are to walk..
Humble.. gentle.. patient.. bearing w/others… being diligent.. to preserve.. unity.. ++
How do we do this?
In a manner.. that is worthy of.. or of the same caliber to..
Our calling.. ++
That’s where it starts..
realizing.. where we are.. who we are.. and what we’ve received.. ++
it all goes back to chapters 1-3..
w/o it.. we won’t be able to take on chapters 4-6… w/o becoming legalistic.. ++
When it gets hard to walk the walk..
We just need to remind ourselves..
Of where we sit..
We are.. “in Christ”..
And w/that.. comes incredible privilege..
Where we start.. will determine a whole lot..
About where we go.. and how we get there..
When our walk w/the Lord.. gets crummy..
We need to stop..
And start again.. from the right place..
Where I inspect myself..
And see..
That I am in Christ..
I am a recipient of grace..
I have it good..
May my life now.. be a big “thank you lord”.. as it reflects.. what you’ve done for me..
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