Ephesians 4:4-6 MSG – You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.
What Paul is doing in Ephesians 4:1-16 is something that we miss all the time in the life of the community we call church. He is urging us to walk worthy of our calling. He’s challenging us to live the life we’ve been given. It’s the language of coming alongside a friend and saying: ‘Let us go on the journey of a lifetime. Let us go on the path of abundant joy. Let us live the full, abundant lives we were made for’…There’s a life to be lived in community and under the hope of Jesus. Where every part of life is filled with the singular love of God to us and in us. [Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World]
How do you respond to this when parts of our lives feel like being tossed back and forth? What distance is there between what you read and what you believe?
Let’s pray for our churches as we walk in obedience. Let’s worship to “I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe (Click here).
Ephesians 4:14-16 NIV – 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 people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, 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. 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.
At every moment, in every decision, with every word and action, Christians are to be aware that the call to follow Jesus the Messiah and giving him our complete loyalty takes precedence over everything else.
Based on the images Paul uses in verse 14, what seem to have been the main obstacles to his readers’ faith in Jesus?
It’s not the particular gift that matters; it’s using the gift that’s important. What are the results of using the ministry gifts God gives us (vv. 13-16)?
As the Spirit works through each of us for the good of the community, we are a gift to the church. Did you know that? You (all) are a gift, to be given to your brother and sister.
[N.T. Wright, Ephesians (For Everyone Bible Study Guide)]
God, thank you for the body of believers. Let’s worship in response to “Fullness” by Elevation Worship (Click here).
Ephesians 4:15-16 MSG – God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ… He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
Paul describes something we struggle to fathom…a resurrection life. A life empowered by the same Spirit that conquered death. Paul tells us to have the courage to embrace what’s far more reaching than knowing information and following disciplines. The power of the resurrection of Jesus is coursing through our hearts, minds, and life! We’ve been given not just a new round of living, but the abundant presence of Jesus in every facet of our existence. This is the life we’ve been given to live. [Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World]
In Ephesians 4:1-16, we read words that carry an understanding that our culture has already pre-programmed into our minds, hearts and behaviors. Words like “prisoner,” “humility,” “gentleness,” “forbearance,” and yes, even “love.” But it is only in Christ, by His grace and through the power of the Spirit, can our eyes be opened to the true definition, the true reality of these words. [Brad Watson]
Let’s humbly ask God that we may grow up in the whole truth of the resurrection life as we sing “Exalted Over All” by Vertical Worship (Click here).
Ephesians 4:1 NIV – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
We make the Christian life a set of virtues to follow, a list of rules to obey, a structure to dedicate ourselves to, a ‘state of being’ we’re just trying to hold together, a family tradition we’re trying to keep. Or perhaps we consider it an add-on to the rest of our lives – church is not something we are, it’s an organization we belong to. Here Paul says it’s more: a transformed life.
As we’ve gone through the first three chapters of Ephesians, we’ve received how we are adopted, God’s works of art, His household, rooted, powered up, and transformed into a new humanity. If we were to put it all into this conditional statement, perhaps we might write:
IF ( you (all) are…adopted, God’s household, powered up, rooted, God’s work of art, the new humanity == TRUE ) THEN ( _________ )
[Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World]
If this is all true, THEN what happens? What now? How does Paul describe what we are to do in light of what God has done?
The outcome to our newfound status Christ may be prisoner. Is this unsettling to hear? How can Paul be both a prisoner and be free?
Let’s worship to “This We Know” by Passion (Click here) as we ask God for Spirit-empowered transformation in our lives.
Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV – 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. 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.
Paul takes his readers back to the fundamental instructions on living the Christian life. He reminds them how they began and what it was all about. The Christian life begins with a calling, but he isn’t referring to the specific ‘calling’ or ‘vocation’ that different Christians have – teacher, nurse, business leader and so forth. What elements comprise that calling to faith Paul has in mind here (vv.1-5)? [N.T. Wright, Ephesians (For Everyone Bible Study Guide)]
Describe the unity that God has given us with other believers (locally or around the world) even when we have differences with them (vv. 3-6).
What is the “single hope” that goes with our call (vv. 4-6)?
Let’s thank God for calling us to faith as we worship to “Worthy” by Elevation Worship (Click here).