Summary: A series from Ephesians 4 about unity in the church.
February 3, 2013
I’m not sure if you knew that today is Super Bowl Sunday. Or as some are calling this the “Har-Bowl.” I’m stuck with a dilemma. You see, the pregame show started at 9 a.m. That means they will talk about this game for 9.5 hours before the game. So, that means I should shorten my message so that you can get home to learn more about the game.
But on the flip side, I thought, or I learned last night, that if they’re going to talk about the game for 9.5 hours today, and countless hours over the past days, then I should be able to talk about God’s word for countless hours. To determine what I should do, I flipped a coin. My answer is - you may want to go for 2 out of 3.
Well, today and for the next couple of weeks, I want to look at Ephesians 4, and what Paul has to say to the early church. His words back then still apply to our lives today. Today, we’re going to look at the first 3 verses, then the next 3 next week.
Paul wrote this to the church ~
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
Sometimes we think the early church knew what they were supposed to do and who they were supposed to be, but they didn’t. Often times they didn’t have their act together. So, Paul writes these words to the church. We’re not a whole lot different from the early church. You see, Paul was concerned about the lack and potential lack of unity in the church.
In Paul’s day, church unity or the destruction of unity came from false teaching and disagreements over doctrine. Today, that is still a possibility, but most break ups in church unity start with a disagreement over some issue, which can range from worship music, to preaching styles to carpet color to just about anything.
You see, most issues in the church start with an issue, but end up with our passion taking over and the I, self-centeredness takes over. The attitude of many Christians is that unless something represents their views, or conforms to their positions and beliefs, it is not acceptable.
Paul wants us to understand the context from where he is reading and what he is basing his argument on. Firstly, Paul helps us to understand where he is. He’s in prison, he’s a prisoner for Christ. And as a result of his commitment to serve Christ, Paul urges us to live a life worthy of the calling we have received.
When Paul writes of our calling, it’s kind of like he’s reminding us of all that we have in Christ. And he’s referring to what he’s already said in the first 3 chapters.
God chose us
He has great love for us
We’re alive in Christ
Christ died for us
God adopted us
We’ve been redeemed
We’ve received forgiveness of sins
We’ve received the Holy Spirit
By grace we receive salvation
It’s God’s gift to us
We are God’s children
Through God we can do more then we imagine
That is what Paul is referring to. This is the calling we have received. So, we should live a life which is worthy of that calling.
It’s like getting a promotion at work, and the owner says to you, “hey, look, now you have this position, you’ve earned it, now show people what you’ve got.” Maybe you’re made the captain of the team, now the coach comes up to you and says, “okay, now it’s time to show what you’re made of. It’s time to lead this team.” It’s like the pastor saying to the people of the church, “hey, look at what you’ve received in Christ, you’ve got it all, and now it’s time to show one another and the world what you’re made of. Go and make a difference in the world, show the world that you are worthy to be called a Christ follower!!”
We’ve received spiritual blessings from God, but what are we going to do with them? Will we make a difference because of Christ, or will we sit and do nothing, but exert our opinions with passion, but not lift a finger to make a real difference? I know that sounds harsh, but too many churches work that way.
You see, we need to recognize that all of our spiritual blessings are the result of what Jesus has done for us. We have not done a thing to earn anything. There’s absolutely nothing I could ever do to earn or deserve all that God has done for me.