Summary: Paul has finished telling the Ephesians about their riches and inheritance in Jesus and now begins teaching them about their responsibility to Jesus. True understanding of correct biblical teaching should lead to correct Christian living
Intro: The Christian life is not based on ignorance but knowledge. Knowledge of Jesus! We are never taught the Bible nor do we study the Bible merely to learn what it says but instead we learn it to live what it says.
True understanding of correct biblical teaching should motivate us to correct Christian Living.
Paul is not saying become a Christian by walking a worthy lifestyle. He is challenging and encouraging us to live as the Sons of God in all the riches we have from Heaven.
What an amazing word picture that Paul uses, walk! It carries the clear idea of a starting point, salvation, and a continual progress of our growth in relationship with Jesus and a final destination heaven and the presence of God forever.
Paul is urging or begging us to walk worthy of the Gospel. He is saying live in a way that proves that you really have turned your life over to Jesus. People are watching!
Dr Jay Vernon McGee tells about a man handing out tracts, a ministry, by the way, that takes much prayer and intelligence. A black man who could neither read nor write was handed a tract. He asked, “What is this?” When he was told it was a tract, he said, “Well I can’t read it; so I’ll watch your tracks.” That was the greatest short sermon this Christian could ever have had preached to him. Someone was watching his tracks. (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
I. Gods plan – Unity
To live according to Jesus commands and our confession of Him as Lord we must live together in unity. Paul clearly tells us what the essential character qualities we need in order to maintain unity. If we are to maintain we must understand according to 4.3 the Spirit brings unity and it requires energy from God and effort on our part.
A) Unity requires humility
Humility literally means lowliness of the mind. The Greeks looked at it as weakness. It is just like to Jesus to turn weakness into strength. Humility is the opposite of pride. Humility promotes harmony in the church while pride produces disharmony and division.
It has been said if you think you are humble then you are not. That can’t be true because we are encouraged in several places to be humble. In Acts 20:19 Paul told the Ephesians elders he served with all humility. The difference is the proud person trusts himself the humble person trusts Jesus. Humility is not thinking less of yourself it is instead thinking of others first.
B) Unity requires gentleness
It is translated meekness in the King James. It cannot be accurately translated into one word. The word carries the idea of power under control. It pictures a person who controls his temper and does not retaliate. When we surrender to the Spirit of Jesus our emotions do not control us we control our emotions. This is the opposite of rudeness and abrasiveness, it is the opposite of violence and vengence. This is what proverbs 15:1 speaks of, A gentle answer turns away wrath a harsh anger stirs up strife.
C) Unity requires patience
This literally means long tempered. It is the ability to show restraint when offended, hurt or wronged. Read Romans 5:1-3 and James 1:2, 3 tribulations and trials produce this patience. JM Boice illustration man who asked him to pray for patience. When the Spirit works in this way through us we are not easily offended. Puppy and Dog illustration.
D) Unity requires forbearance (Tolerance)
Unfortunately the word tolerance has been perverted today. Tolerance doesn’t mean every lifestyle choice is okay. It also doesn’t mean that we merely maintain a false acceptance while our insides boil with bitterness and resentment. To bear with one another means to genuinely love those who irritate, disturb or embarrass us. How are you doing with the quirks, habits and personalities of your brothers and sisters in Christ.
E) Unity requires love
This is the God quality that chooses what is best for someone no matter how they treat you in return. 1 Corinthians 13 teaches us that love is empowered by the Spirit as we choose by will to do what is best for those that irritate, hurt, embarrass, disturb and mistreat us. Love is not driven by our emotions it is driven by our will. We choose to treat others right or wrong with the understanding that neither of us deserve such grace.
F) Unity requires diligence
The word that Paul uses here carries the idea of making haste! Paul is trying to teach us that there needs to be intense effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the body. It is not something that takes root in passive soils. If we never had to interact with each other we could sit back and take it easy. But since there are different levels of maturity within the church we must be diligent, we must stay alert and be active in maintaining unity.