What behavior accompanies this new humanity we have been thrust into?
- Our alienation from God has been healed.
- Our alienation from one another has been healed.
- A new humanity (the church) has been created.
Ephesians 4:1 — main transition of the letter.
Theme: To walk worthy of our calling is to live out our unity to Christ’s church. We do this by adopting a loving attitude, realizing our unbreakable oneness, appreciating a variety of gifts and ministries, and by allowing for further spiritual growth.
Adopt A Loving Attitude (1-3)
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,
A helpful criterion: Every course of action can be weighed by our calling.
The Bible will not tell us exactly what to do in every single moment. But remembering who you are can help in every moment.
The first application of this principle is found in our relationship to the Church.
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.
Experience your unity to the church by adopting a loving attitude.
- Humility: Lowliness — Used to describe the “crouching submissiveness of a slave.”
- Gentleness: Power under control.
- Patience, bearing with one another: Long suffering towards aggravating people.
- In love: The paramount attitude. The final quality, the one that ties all the others together.
Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit: Strange exhortation — unity is there, embedded in God Himself, but we are to maintain it.
- There is always an invisible unity in the church.
- We are to be eager to maintain the visible unity of the church.
Conclusion: Attitude about the Church is important.
Realize Our Unbreakable Oneness (4-6)
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.
4-6 ONE: The dominant word (7x).
- God’s view: I have one church.
4 One Spirit: Who made one body.
5 One Lord: Who made one hope (gospel), one faith (personal commitment to Christ), and one baptism (no discrimination).
5 One God and Father of all: Who is over all, through all, and in all.
Conclusion: We are one because God is one. Experience your unity to the church by realizing our unbreakable oneness.
To maintain the unity of the Church must mean to maintain it visibly (since it is always invisibly true). In other words, we have unity, so we practice unity.
Appreciate A Variety Of Gifts And Ministries (7-12)
7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
7 Grace was given to each one of us: Not saving grace, but enabling or serving grace.
- Romans 12:6 (ESV)—6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…
- 1 Corinthians 12:7 (ESV)—7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
- 1 Corinthians 12:11 (ESV)—11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Experience your unity to the church by appreciating a variety of gifts and ministries.
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Goal: He is now to fill all things.
- Ephesians 1:10 (ESV)—10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
- Manifested through His people, filled with His Spirit, operating by His grace.
- Ultimately in His coming.
He can do this because He ascended — John 7:39 (ESV)—39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
Apostles: Special, sent out ambassadors for Christ.
Prophets: Special messengers for Christ. Especially in earliest church, before NT circulation. No prophets today in the sense they were around in early days.
Evangelists: Very important in the earliest church. All are called, but some are especially “appointed” to this task.
Shepherds and teachers: Pastor/teacher role.
Jesus gave Word-focused men to the church for this purpose.
Equip: to mend nets, set a bone, a whole number, to restore to right condition.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)—16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
- Acts 20:32 (ESV)—32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
12 To equip the saints for the work of the ministry: What is “the ministry?” Sometimes official, but usually general, service to God and others.
Allow For Further Spiritual Growth (13-16)
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
13 Until: Here is the goal — Paul envisions the growth of the Church. He sees it lasting until we arrive at complete unity and entire perfection (that is, as long as we are in the world).
- 1 To the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God: Unity of belief.
- 2 To mature manhood: Maturity in Christ.
- 3 To the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: Conformity to Christ.
- 1 No longer children: Immature.
- 2 No longer…tossed to and fro…: Easily shaken.
- 3 No longer…carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes: Doctrinal instability.
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
How does the Church grow to full maturity? We are to grow up: Into Jesus.
- Further obedience to our Head.
- Deeper allegiance to our Head.
- Fuller coordination with our Head.
15-16 Speaking the truth in love / Working properly / Builds itself up in love:
- Literally: “truthing in love,” which has the idea of maintaining truth in love in both speech and life.
- Truth and love together. To highlight one without the other is error (and unhelpful).