Summary: As a prisoner of Christ we are to walk worthy of the call of God upon our lives. How can we do so? If we learn this lesson we will learn the true meaning of life itself.
How is a Prisoner Supposed to Act?
By Pastor Jim May
Ephesians 4:1-7, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."
We are all prisoners, but we have more freedom and liberty than any prisoner, of any institution of correction in the world. We are prisoners by choice and by selection, for we were given a special invitation, written in the Blood of Jesus to become his prisoner of love and to be a part of the family of God.
As prisoners of love and slaves to Christ we must ever strive to fulfill the duties of our high calling in God, and we must also constantly work to walk worthy of our chosen profession and that means living in such a manner that everything in our lives serves to prove that we are truly the called and anointed, highly favored, children of the Most High God, and heirs and joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul gives us some instructions on how to maintain that walk with the Lord in these next few verses and I want us to examine them this morning and make sure that we are walking according to the ways that will show the world that we are truly the Born Again people of God.
Paul knew what it was like to be a prisoner in the Lord and for the Lord. He had totally surrendered his life, and all of his personal ambitions to become the greatest leader among the Pharisees that he was member of, to become a sold-out, blood-bought disciple of Jesus Christ. He had paid a heavy price for the commitment that he made after his experience on the Damascus Road.
He spoke of the price that he had paid in the flesh on several occasions during his writings in the New Testament. In Philippians 4:11-12 he said, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
And again, in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 Paul speaks of the price that he has paid for being a prisoner of Christ when he says, "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."
But Paul was not complaining, only stating the facts, because we also see his great declaration of commitment and love for Jesus in Philippians 3:8-11, "… I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."
Paul was clearly a disciple of Jesus Christ, a slave by choice to the service of his Master, and prisoner, held in chains of love that wrapped around his very heart, that made him the prisoner of his Savior and King. Many times Paul was forced to look out into the world through bars of iron made by men; but not one time was he silenced; not one time did he fail to preach the gospel to which he had been called; and not one time was his Spirit bound so that he could not be free to worship the Lord with his heart and with his life.