Summary: Because we are indwelt by the same Spirit, saved by the same Savior, and children of the same Father, we are to be intertwined together in One Unity. In Him, we are one body . . . one spirit . . . one hope . . . with one Lord . . . one faith . . . one ba
THE SUPREME MYSTERY – THE BODY OF CHRIST
ACT II: The Mystery of The Body Unveiled
3. A SUPREME CALL TO UNITY (Eph. 4:1-6)
Folks, we have followed together carefully through these first three chapters of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. From this study, we have learned the essentials of what it is that we are to believe and who we are in Christ, if we have put our faith in Him and received His salvation. So often, that is enough to make us content. But not for Paul, and it shouldn’t be for us either!
Intro. to “What If I Stumble”
I’m reminded of the mom who was trying to persuade her seven-year-old son to go to church with her. "Daddy doesn’t go," the boy said. Thinking quickly the mother replied, "Well, when daddy was your age, he went every Sunday." "Is that true?" the boy asked his father. He was assured it was. "All right, I’ll go," he said, "but I don’t think it will do me any good either."
“Perhaps this insightful seven-year-old has identified the main reason why so few people value the church anymore. It just doesn’t seem to make much difference in the lives of those who participate.” (Kerry Bauman).
This morning’s section marks the principle transition of the Epistle, where Paul’s focus shifts from the doctrinal to the practical, the theological to the devotional, from creed to conduct, understanding to doing.
THE WORD: READ EPHESIANS 4:1-6
A.) THE WALK THAT PRESERVES UNITY (vv. 1-3)
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord . . . (v. 1a)
“Therefore.” That is, in light of the fact that God himself has, through Christ, filled us with His riches and blessings according to the incomparable love of Christ and without limit here is the ’bottom line!’ . . . Because God has done all of this, therefore, . . .
As “the prisoner of the Lord,” For Paul being “of” or “in” the Lord means being a prisoner, captured by Him and at His mercy!
Urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received . . . (v. 1b-c)
“Walk” – We have already discussed that “walk” is a euphemism for our daily living in thought,
attitude, and action.
* Notice that Paul is exhorting with passion and urgency (“beseech/urge”). He is intentional when
he refers to our living for Christ as a “walk” rather than a “saunter,” “jog,” or “run.”
“Worthy” (axios) – has a root concept of weight and literally meant “bringing up the other beam of the scales” (to achieve equal balance). Paul’s careful, divinely-inspired word choice clearly exhorts us to strive to have balance (or equality) between our theology (beliefs, professions) and our daily living and practice. That is, is a walk worthy of our talk and vise versa?! One could also draw an implication from this that our lives (thoughts, attitudes, actions) are to reflect and equal the blessings we have been given (as explained in Chaps. 1-3).
Illustration: Learning to ride a skateboard. All about balance – when to keep it perfectly distributed (most of the time), and when to focus on one end or the other (special maneuvers).
“Calling” – What is “the calling to which you were called”?
Paul’s admonishment here, is much broader and encompassing than a detailed list of rules. It is meant to encompass all areas of life. What follows, then, are the over-riding principles by which we are to live and apply to EVERY area of our lives - in Christ!
Q: Are YOU living up to the calling you have received? In our home? Work? Your relationships?
In public? Private? Why or why not?
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love . . . (v.2)
It is no “accident” that in shifting to a discussion of the Christian’s conduct, the very first thing that is addressed is the need for Christians to live together in love and unity!
Therefore, Paul directly proceeds to pinpoint the 4 Main Qualities or “Graces” that we must exhibit to attain balance between our calling and our character (see also Col. 3:12-13).
1.“Humility” or Lowliness: This quality was widely despised in the ancient world as being something for slaves. Paul redeems this term as a recognition of our own complete dependence upon God for all things. It is a recognition that any ability/power/influence/ wealth comes to us only by God’s grace! Therefore, we can unhesitatingly give up our ’rights’ for another’s interest.
Illustration: Watchman Nee of China writes of a Christian farmer in China who had a rice field on a hill. He had to use a hand-worked water wheel to bring the water up from the irrigation stream at the bottom. He also had a neighbor with two rice fields below his. One night, this neighbor made a hole in the dividing wall between their properties in order to drain out all the water from the Christian’s field to fill up his own two. Naturally, the Christian farmer was frustrated to discover what had happened. Not wanting any trouble, he simply fixed the hole, and with great effort pumped water back up to his field. His neighbor once again stole it. This cycle repeated itself several times. Finally, the Christian farmer consulted one of his Christian friends for advice. “What shall I do?” he asked. “I have tried to be patient and not retaliate. Isn’t it right for me to confront him?”