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Summary: Nothing destroys Christian work like an inconsistent life. If we want to be successful as a Christian worker we must live holy, separated lives. (Part of a series)

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WALK IN WORTHINESS

Text: Ephesians 4:1 – 16

Introduction:

· Nothing destroys Christian work like an inconsistent life.

· Skeptical German poet Heinrich Heine told a group professing to be Christians, “You show me your redeemed life and I might be inclined to believe in your redeemer.”

· If we want to be successful as a Christian worker we must live holy, separated lives

· Paul is saying, “Conduct yourselves in a way that is befitting a Christian worker.” (v. 1)

The way that you conduct yourself as a Christian worker should produce seven qualities:

A. Humility (v. 2)

· Lowliness: word not found in Greek or Roman vocabulary; evidently coined by Christians or maybe Paul himself to describe the sense of unworthiness; not pride or self-exaltation

· Meekness: mild-spirited and self-controlled; not cowardice or fear; self-suppression for the purpose of serving others

· Longsuffering: opposite of short tempered; able to endure without retaliation; turn the other cheek

· Forbearing: putting up with one another in spite of faults

· Do all of this because we love one another

B. Unity (vv. 3 – 6)

· “Oneness”

· We are members of the same body

· We are called by the same Spirit

· We all have the same promise

· We all serve the same God

· We are all saved the same way

· We all have the same testimony

· We all owe our existence and salvation to the same God

· Anyone who claims otherwise is not a Christian

· We’re all in this together

· Some say, "I don’t want to have to go to church, read Bible, pray, pay tithes"; neither does the world

C. Utility (vv. 7 – 12)

· “Usefulness”

· Paul shifts from unity of true believers to uniqueness of believers

· Gifts: special abilities God gives us to use for his service

· Each Christian has at least one gift

· No one has all the gifts

· Not all have the same gifts

· Equipping gifts:

o Apostle: chosen by Christ, 3 responsibilities:

1. lay foundation of church

2. receive, declare, and write God’s Word

3. confirm Word through signs, wonders, and miracles

o None today; Ephesus commended in Revelation 2 for trying false apostles

o Prophet: spoke direct revelation from God in absence of written Word

o None today: done away with when Word was written down (1 Cor. 13)

o Evangelists: traveling proclaimers of Gospel to unbelievers

o Pastors/Teachers: given to local congregation to shepherd flock by teaching, by example, by service

o Help individuals to grow, to be able to serve God in their ministries, build up and encourage

D. Maturity (v. 13)

· Knowing Christ in a personal, meaningful way results from humility, unity, utility

· Not growing?

o Wrong attitude about self and others

o Not unified with rest of body

o Refusing to work in God’s kingdom

· Maturity means different things at different levels

· Piano Practice – I had to master one piece at a time, then move on to the next one

· Our goal is to be like Christ

E. Stability (v. 14)

· Maturity produces stability; ability to discern and withstand false teaching

· Check commentaries and speakers for virgin birth, deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, inerrancy of Scripture

· Must know scriptures yourself

· Must be able to sense leadership of Spirit

F. Honesty (v. 15)

· Speaking the truth: truth of Gospel, but also truth of our lives as a result of the Gospel

· Humility, unity, utility, maturity, stability enable us to be honest in our testimony for the Lord

· Damaged influence caused by “Christians” who say one thing and do another, especially judgmental

· Live a consistent, holy life before others will enable us to declare the truth of the Gospel with the truth of our lives

· The motivation of our work is love, not bigger numbers, more money in offering, popularity or praise of others

G. Community (v. 16)

· Humility, unity, utility, maturity, stability, honesty leads to a community of believers that can be effective in their Christian service

· God knows who to put where

· Everyone does his or her part

· We all benefit

· John MacArthur: “Godly, Biblical church growth results from every member of the body fully using his spiritual gift, in submission to the Holy Spirit and in cooperation with other believers.”

Conclusion:

· Are you conducting yourself in a way befitting a Christian worker?

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