Summary: A sermon on Ephesians 4:1-3
Living in Balance
©Copyright October 29, 2012 by Rev. Bruce Goettsche SERIES: Ephesians
Even I can tell when my tires are severely out of balance. The car and even the steering wheel start to shake. Balanced tires are necessary for your car to run smoothly. In much the same way we need balance in our life to live effectively.
As you read Paul’s letters one of the things you will marvel at is his balance. He helps us understand what is true by teaching doctrine clearly and effectively. However, he doesn’t leave us with notebooks of information. He also turns his attention to the practical aspects of how this doctrine should impact the way we live. Belief and practice must be in balance.
The unbalanced believer is either: frequently arguing over some theological construct or they may go to the other extreme and say “I don’t believe in doctrine” (which of course is a doctrinal assertion!). They say the only thing that matters is what “works”. Paul shows us what balance looks like. Let’s tune in as he begins to apply solid doctrine.
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.
Live Lives that Are Worthy
Paul’s lays out an overarching principle: we should live in a way that befits the calling we have received. Let me stop here and remind you that Paul is NOT saying we should live lives that will be worthy (or deserving) of salvation. We will never earn salvation! He says we should live as those who have been granted forgiveness and new life even though we do not deserve it.
The word “worthy” in the Greek is the work AXIOS which is the word from which we derive our word axiom or axiomatic. An axiom is a self-evident truth. Paul is saying that we should like lives that are right, appropriate, and even obvious for someone who is called a child of God.
When Kate Middleton and Prince William were considering marriage I am sure that Ms. Middleton was talked to about the responsibility of living a life of royalty. Every “royal” knows that there is a certain standard of behavior that is required of their position.
It is the same with someone who serves as an Ambassador or even one who serves in the military. These people are reminded that they represent the United States and should live in a way that brings honor to their country. We see the same thing with teachers, Pastors and other public officials . . . position often dictates behavior.
Paul argues that since we are now children of God, we should live in a way that shows others that we have been made new in Christ. People should see the influence of God’s resident Spirit reflected in us by the way we live. Then he gets specific.
Adopt the Right Attitude
External behavior is determined by our internal disposition. Because of this Paul writes, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” He gives us four attitudes or characteristics that should be evidenced in our lives.