Summary: We are to walk worthy of the calling God has given us.
Ephesians has to be one of my favorite books of the Bible. I wrote my baccalaureate thesis on Ephesians 2 and Paul’s calling the church to a Christ empowered unity. One underlying theme of Ephesians is Paul’s constant reminder that our problem is always sin – but – the answer to the problem is always Jesus. In the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul shows the church (members in particular) who they were before Christ; who they have become in Christ; and who they will become because of Christ. In Ephesians 4-6 Paul moves us from understanding our position in Christ to understanding our practice – that is – how we live out the new life given us by Christ.
We could call chapters 4-6, “The Believers Walk in this World.” This morning (and this evening) we will look at HOW TO WALK WITH CHRIST BRINGS GLORY TO GOD THE FATHER while living in this world. I think the message of Paul has more impact when we understand what kind of world the church at Ephesus was living in (we often view biblical lands with a sanitized view – this is not the case).
Brief Historical Context of Ephesus
1. An important city with great political and religious power.
2. Three temples built for the worship of the Roman Emperor
3. One of the largest temples in the region was in Ephesus and dedicated to the worship of the goddess of virginity and child bearing – Artemis (a.k.a. Diana / cf Acts 19)
4. The Ephesian’s place major importance on the idea of “spirituality.” They used astrology and magic.
5. They were widely known for their “Ephesian Letters.” Pieces of papyrus with blessings or curses written on them. Sorcerers would cast spells on the paper to either heal the bearer or so that someone else could become sick. (cf. Acts 19 - when revival came to Ephesus the sorcerers burned their books filled with spells and incantations used in their magic – eventually causes a riot).
When Paul instructs the church at Ephesus to live in a way that brings glory to God he recognizes the people are living in a terribly dark situation. I think Paul would look at our day and see many of the same problems and darkness. I also think he would tell us that we CAN WALK WORTHY OF OUR CALLING AND BRING GLORY TO GOD even in the midst of the darkness that surrounds us.
This morning we will look at Ephesians 4 and see how Paul tells us that because of who we are in Christ we can WALK WORTHY OF OUR CALLING
So, let’s pray and then dive into the Scriptures.
I feel the need to define what I mean by “worthy.” I certainly mean to do what is right. But the biblical idea of worthiness does not begin with my actions but with God’s redemption. We can only walk worthy when we have first recognized our own unworthiness and placed our faith in Christ to make us new. With that said…
Paul urges the church at Ephesus to “walk worthy of the calling you have received.”
Question: What is the “calling?”
Answer: Not a specific calling (i.e. to pastoral ministry or evangelist) but the general calling we have all heard to come to salvation. The language refers to the act of being called by name and subsequently taking on that name of the one who called. If you have, by faith, confessed Christ as your Lord then you have been adopted into His family and therefore bear His name. But that brings a new responsibility and accountability.
Illustration: Passing on my name to my children – must give them a name that is worthy of honor. Why? So they will be proud to pass it on to the next generations of Davis’.
How do we, as Christians, walk worthy of our calling to represent the name of Christ in this world? How do we take the Name of Jesus and bring honor to it so that others will want to be a part of the family. Paul gives us some great tools in the next few verses:
1. “Be completely humble and gentle…” (v. 2) = not thinking we are better than others because we are Christians or have this great revelation of Jesus Christ. (we are no better than the sinner outside - that is who we once were. Coming to Christ and living godly doesn’t make us arrogant – it makes us humble because we recognize where we would be without Him.)
2. “Be patient, bearing with one another in love (KJV longsuffering…” (v. 2b) = literally to “put up with one another” even when we may not like someone because of their personality type. They are being used by God to teach us to walk worthy – to get our relationship with Jesus right.