Summary: After having learned who we are in christ in the first three chapters now we know right belief. Paul begins the last three chapters of Ephesians with right behavior. It begins with unity and leads to maturity.
Intro: Bruce Howell tells of “I Can’t Change Jesus” Bill Irwin, a man who is blind, has a talking computer he uses to study the Bible. He’s had a few chuckles over some of the pronunciations. "For a long time," Bill says, "the computer pronounced Holy Bible as ’holly bibble’ until I figured out how to modify it." But there was one thing Bill couldn’t change. The computer uses the Spanish pronunciation for Jesus Christ--HEYsus Krist. "The programmer is Hispanic," Bill said with a smile, "and he made sure that HEYsus Krist cannot be altered." I like that. It reminds me that among the things in life that can be changed to suit my taste, one remains tamper-resistant--I can’t change Jesus. When life is unsettled, I gain great comfort from the Bible’s affirmation that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb. 13:8). But the statement is also a stern rebuke to my tendency to try to modify the words and character of Christ when I don’t like what He says. How easy it is to forget that I came to Christ longing for Him to transform me, not the other way around! Praise God that His Word and His love are perfect and unchanging. And praise Him too that in His love He is working to change me1
If you identify with Jesus Christ he is working to transform you. We have spent several weeks learning what our identity is in Christ. Now as Paul often does he moves from doctrinal to practical. We are moving from the way we think to the way we act.
I have told you several times your identity will determine your activity. Paul is saying let your identity in Christ determine your activity. In other words live like you mean it. Live like Christ is your savior and your lord. He is not only our maker but also our master. Paul clearly urges you to prove it in your day to day life and relationships with others.
I. Live in a way that proves you belong to God (Ephesians 1.1)
Ephesians 1.1 “I, a prisoner in the Lord, encourage you to live the kind of life which proves that God has called you.”
Paul says I urge you I encourage you to walk worthy of your calling. He uses the Greek word axios, literally “bringing up the other beam of the scales.”
Paul is saying live a life in balance with your beliefs. If you believe all that we have spoke of from 1.1 to 3.21 of Ephesians then your lifestyle should be in balance with what you believe.
Your identity should be balanced by your activity. In the first three chapters we are called to salvation in Christ. We are called to a rich life in relationship to God through Jesus Christ. It is not only a call to salvation but a call to service. A call to something as Phil Hall said is bigger than us.
If He is a supplier of all your needs do you live as a steward putting Him first in your finances, your time, and your abilities?
If He is all sufficient do you depend on Him for your every need? If He is holy and calls us to be holy do you live in the world but you not of the world? If He is all knowing do you seek His guidance first? If he came not to serve but to be a servant is your first thought for others? If He came to seek and save that which was lost does the lostness of your friends and family grip you heart and move you to pray and share what Christ did in your life?
Paul is clear true belief leads to trusting action.
II. Live in a way that promotes unity (Ephesians 4.2-6)
Part of living a life that is in balance is living to promote unity.
Ephesians 4.2 gives four character traits that are part of our activity as Christians. These traits or qualities have to do with our relationship to others. This is highly appropriate for us as we represent Christ and build relationships.
A) Be humble and gentle
Greek and Roman cultures in Paul’s day considered humility and gentleness to be weakness showing lack of self-respect.
Even in the Old Testament God desired a different character for His children.
Isaiah 57.15 “The High and Lofty One lives forever, and his name is holy. This is what he says: I live in a high and holy place. But I am with those who are crushed and humble. I will renew the spirit of those who are humble and the courage of those who are crushed.
Jesus expected his disciples then and now to be humble toward each other and serve one another.