First of all, Paul is writing this letter from a jail cell to the church in Ephesus about unity. I find it ironic that Paul is in solitary writing about unity.
Here is some more irony. I’ve been watching the Bible AD Sunday night miniseries on ABC. I love how this TV show has portrayed (I believe accurately) Paul and his conversion from the vicious man, Sal, persecuting Christians, to Paul, with a transformed heart. In Ephesians 4:2-3, check out how Paul is asking the church to behave: humble, gentle, loving, united, and peaceful – from prison! Paul has been transformed by the Love of Christ.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one anotherin love.3Make every effort to keep the unityof the Spirit through the bond of peace.
In verses 4 - 6, Paul reminds us of how we are united through the One and Only:
4There is one bodyand one Spirit,just as you were called to one hope when you were called;5one Lord,one faith, one baptism;6one God and Father of all,who is over all and through all and in all.
How amazing that we have God and Father of all who is over, through and in all!
I love this verse when Paul says Christ has apportioned us grace in verse 7.
7But to each one of usgracehas been givenas Christ apportioned it.
I have this image of a dad around a dinner table scooping out mashed potatoes to His kids. Each kid gets a scoop just as each of us receives a wonderful plateful of His grace.
Because of this grace, Paul continues in verses 11-16 to instruct the church about the unity we receive through specific gifts apportioned to the church. These gifts provide unity and the maturity to serve others.
11So Christ himself gavethe apostles,the prophets,the evangelists,the pastors and teachers,12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christmay be built up13until we all reach unityin the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature,attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then 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 people in their deceitful scheming.15Instead, speaking the truth in love,we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head,that is, Christ.16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, growsand builds itself upin love,as each part does its work.
In verses 17 – 23, I am reminded of my life before Christ. Without thought, I would turn all my desires to my flesh and easily give in to temptation. As a believer, I do my best to run away from temptation rather than run towards sin. This is not an easy task and yet, as a believer, even when I am in sin, I am fully aware that I am not in alignment with His purpose for my life. Again, I thank Daddy for the plateful of grace apportioned to me.
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Wow, how many times in my life am I guilty of holding a grudge because of the following?
31Get rid ofall bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Instead Paul instructs us to
32Be kind and compassionate to one another,forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
1. Be humble, gentle, loving, united, and peaceful while thanking God daily for his transforming power in your life through the death and resurrection of Christ.
2. By exercising these gifts in verse 11-13 and equipping the entire body of believers through the “offices” of pastors, teachers, evangelist, prophets, and apostles, we will experience unity and maturity in our service to others. As a church we need to keep our eyes and ears open to folks within the body with these gift sets so to train and equip the saints to exercise these gifts.
3. Maturity leads us to speak truth in love allowing us to work within our individual gift sets yet contributing to the body, building each other up.
4. We need to run away from sin. We can do this through staying in and meditating on the living Word, through prayer for ourselves and others, through confession and repentance.
5. Be careful how we treat others because of our anger. Do not hold a grudge against your family, co-workers, and neighbors. Instead, be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. After all, look what Christ has done for us!
Daddy, thank you for your Word. It is simple, clear, and yet not always easy to follow. Thank You for Your grace. Give us the spiritual discernment and tools to recognize, call out, and equip others for the purposes of building up Your body and advancing your Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!
Posted on Tue, June 16, 2015
by joel king