1. We have completed 3 chapters thus far in our study of eph. Ch 1-3 has dealt with doctrine, theology. Its basic theme has been how God through Christ has redeemed us by his death. By grace we can be saved. This grace is available to everyone and anyone in the world, Jew and Gentile. God’s desire and design are to unite all groups of people to form the church, his community of faith. As we arrive a ch 4, it begins as the KJV says with THEREFORE. That word transitions us from theology to ethics. Ethics is living out a standard. Ch 1-3 has shown us the privilege of being a Christian. Ch 4-6 shows us the responsibility.
2. In ch 1-3 we stake the claim to being a Christian. In ch 4-6 Paul tells us how we ought to live as a Christian. Ch 1-3 appeals to our mind. It forms the foundation of the building we might call Christian living. Ch 4-6 appeals to will. Build on that foundation practical ways of being Christian. Paul will show us application in the church, socially in relationship with people around us -- spiritual Andrew Carangie course on how to deal with people. He shows us how to build Christian marriages and family. He reminds us how to be Christian in the workplace. He concludes with applying this foundation to our spiritual warfare with Satan.
3. We move from privilege of being a Christian to the responsibility of living like one. We move from the riches that we have because of our faith in Christ to the righteous living Christ demands.
I. THE COMMAND--WALK WORTHY
A. WALK WORTHY
1. V 1 is really an umbrella verse for the rest of the book. Here Paul gives the command to walk worthy of the calling you have received. To keep this command we need to understand what it means walk worthy and what is this calling we have received. To walk worthy. What does the word walk suggest? This is the way we live. We are to live a life worthy or to lead a life worthy of our calling. When we put the word walk in context we understand it refers to the whole course of our life. We Christians live in glass houses. Everything we do is under the observation and scrutiny of others.
2 To walk worthy then calls for a balance, to give equal weight to what we believe and how we act. We often enjoy amassing great knowledge of the bible. We do these bible studies that is divided into sections of meaning and application. We fill the space in the meaning, even writing up and down the margins but the application section is almost bear. Paul is commanding us to balance the 2. We can’t be obedient to God out of ignorance. Once we know the meaning then we have the responsibility to apply it to our lives. To walk worthy is to translate the knowledge from the head to our hands, feet, mouth and do what the word says. I will admit that’s easier said than done. I admit it usually is more fun to study than to apply.
3. We are to walk worthy. That is we are to live our lives in a way to bring honor to God who called us. Walking worthy is not an attempt to earn God’s favor. When we receive Christ we get all the grace there is. We walk worthy because of God’s favor. We walk in a way to reflect God in our lives. It is simply a means to say thank you for the privilege. I said last week too many Christians want to benefit of God but not the obligation of serving him. We Christians are not above the law. Jesus gave us 2 of them. Love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself. Walking worthy of God’s calling is a way to obey both of them.
1. Walk worthy of the calling you have received. What is our calling? Paul has talked about it in the first 3 ch. It is the calling to be a Christian. He writes to the Cor: God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1 Corinthians 1:9. We have diminished this call by our emphasis of being called to vocational ministry, to be a missionary, pastor, to youth, music, children. We are all called. Our first and foremost call and responsibility is to be in right relationship with God. God is not willing any should perish but all come to repentance.
2. Peter tells us we are called to be the people of God. This is what this command is all about. We live holy lives, obedient lives to reflect God to those around us. Paul said to walk worthy of your calling. Jesus said to let your light shine before men that they might see your good works and then glorify the Father. Both apply to each of us so we can fulfill our calling as a believer.
3. When we look at ch 4, Paul gives us 2 responsibilities of this call. In v 1-6, we are to walk in unity with other believers and then in v 7-16, we are to build up the body of Christ.
II. WALK IN UNITY
1. How can we walk in unity with other believers? Paul shows us 3 qualities that are necessary to keep the unity of the Spirit that he mentions in v 3. That’s a good point to remember. We are not called to create unity but to keep it. Christ has already create the unity. Our job is to live like little Christs in order to keep it.
2. First is be humble. Humility is the attitude of self in relation to others. The best commentary of humility is Phil 2:5-8. Jesus illustrated humility by not demanding his rights and yielding to the Father. It is the opposite of pride. Humility is keeping our emotions under control. Interestingly the Greeks viewed humility as a vice not a virtue. They expected only slaves to be humble.
3. If we are to maintain unity with others we have to learn to put with each other’s frailties. We will have to renounce self centeredness. Pride, self-centeredness promotes disunity. Let me share a caution here. There is such a thing as false humility. I can’t do anything for God. I’m just a knot on the spiritual log. Woe is me. I wonder what that person would do if we said, you’re right. You’re about the most useless person I’ve ever seen. To say that is to suggest God has wasted his grace on them and the powerful indwelling HS is powerless. Sometimes this is a fishing expedition that wants to us to respond--no you’re great. You can never be replaced. That’s not humility. That’s self centeredness. Humility reminds us, as one writer said, we are not worms nor God.
4. We do understand we are sinful human beings made of the same stuff as others and are just as capable of failures as they. They helps us to keep our head on straight.
1. Meekness is not weakness. It is power under control. It is a the domesticated animal whose will has been broken to obey the mast but all that wild and powerful strength is still there. Meekness is Christ controlled strength. Gentleness is the opposite of self assertion, rudeness. If we are going to keep unity with others then we have to renounce harshness and violence. Gentleness doesn’t mean we never become angry. We are angry at the right time and for the right reason. Jesus illustrated this as he blazed through the temple with his whip and ran out those who made the temple a den of thieves.
2. We are not being gentle when we snap at people or use our words to crush a person with demeaning language. We are on the road to meekness when we see each other marked fragile handle with care.
1. An early church father said patience was to have a wide and big soul. We need a big soul to endure the difficulty of difficult people. Patience allows us to endure rather than avenge. It is that “won’t quit” spirit. All of us each other with difficult moments don’t we? Under these conditions we are tempted to be hurtful, retaliate. Long-suffering will keep us plodding along doing what needs to be done.
2. God is patient and long-suffering with us. Have you ever thought if you were God, how long would you put up with you? I am thankful God is has more patience than I do with people. God endures our disobedience and rebellion waiting for the day we’ll repent. He just keeps postponing the day of judgment so just one more might come to him in repentance.
3. Be patient with one another --bearing each other in love. God’s love is a tolerant love. This is not a love of the emotion but of the will. It is extended to others freely because Christ has extended to us in the same way. If you love them, you will be able to bear. Family is a great lab where that is put to the test almost every day. In our families we know and see each other’s weaknesses. We know the buttons to push. Despite that, we love each other. We tolerate others' choices and accept the inconveniences because that keeps unity.
4. Walk worthy of God’s calling to be Christians. One way to that is to live in unity with other believers. In order to do they you’ll need humility, gentleness and patience. These are not characteristics we create in ourselves but ones that we develop as we surrender to God’s spirit within us.
III. BASIS OF UNITY
1. These are the virtues that keep unity. In v 4-6 Paul shows us the basis of our unity. We come from varied backgnds, experiences, vocations. What pulls us together in unity? Paul gives us 7 grounds of unity.
2. one body. This is the universal church. Every believer is a member. We share a kinship with every Christian. We may speak a different language, be from different countries, live in different centuries but we all same the same family name. We are brothers and sisters in Christ members of his church.
3. one spirit. The same HS indwells every believer. Does the HS communicate one message to one group and an opposite and entirely different message to another? No. As believers, we share the same spiritual breath from God. The same HS that lives in you lives in me. He should be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. I say should be because that depends on us.
4. one hope. As Christian we are all going to the same place. We all have the same goal. We all expect to receive the inheritance reserved for us in heaven.
5. one Lord. This was a creed of the early church. Jesus is Lord. They were willing to die for this. When the Roman govt insisted they confess Caesar as Lord, they welcomed death rather than deny their relationship with Christ. Lordship of Christ was more than a belief but an allegiance. Jesus was their Master. If we all serve the same master would that not keep unity.
6. one faith. As Christians we all share the common experience of faith. We have trusted in Jesus. My experience of receiving Christ may be very different from yours but we’ve made the same commitment and exercised the same trust. We are bound together by our dependence upon Christ. We see this when people give their testimonies. Different circumstances, different ages and times but at the heart of each testimony is the common witness to faith in Jesus.
7. one baptism. Most likely this refers to water baptism. In the early church, baptism by immersion was the means of public identification with the body. They understood only believers were baptized and its purpose was to publicly demonstrate their commitment.
8. one God. As believers we share the same Father. When we pray, we say our Father not my Father. He is over all. He is sovereign. He is through all. He works through all of us to accomplish his purpose. He is in all. He is wholly presence with us.
1. God has called us out of the world to faith in Christ. We have the privilege of calling Him Father. We have responsibility. That is to walk worthy. To live such lives that we reflect God. One way to do that is to keep the unity that He had made possible in Christ. If we are going to do that we have to renounce self-centered and be humble; we renounce harshness to be gentle. We renounce intolerance to have a wide and big soul.
2. We can walk in unity because of the ties that bind us together: same faith, same Jesus, same HS, same Father. All of us come the same way to the same person because we have the same problem in order to go to the same place. We enjoy privilege of being believers now it’s time to accept the responsibility. Let’s not think we can enjoy the benefits of God without the obligation of serving him.