-Paul continues his “tour de force” into Spirit controlled living as a new creation by urging his readers in Ephesus to walk in a manner worthy of their calling with all humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, and unity in the bond of peace and love (Ephesians 4:1-3). Paul exalts the common theme of oneness in the body by claiming that as Christian believers there is only one hope, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (immersion). In other words we are all in this together although we each posses a variety of giftings and abilities. God has given the church apostles (sent out ones, delegates, envoys, messengers, one holding the most responsible position of service in the Christians communities), prophets (people who proclaim a Divine message, discerners who see the way things should be), evangelists (sharers of the gospel of Jesus Christ), shepherds (pastors, care takers, nurturers, protectors), and teachers (instructors, honored educators, Ephesians 4:11). All of these ministries are for the building up of the saints for the work of the body of Christ and for the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God unto mature status in the fullness of Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:12-13). Once mature, the faithful are not tossed to and fro by the confusion of contrary doctrines by human cunning and craftiness in deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14). They speak the truth in love and continue to grow steadfastly in their Lord Jesus, who is the Head (Ephesians 4:15). *Application* God has a definite role for you to play in His Kingdom work. Don’t get sidetracked by temporary pleasures and pastimes of this world. Seek out what He is calling you to and get equipped to fulfill that mission that only you can complete. Serve the Lord in your generation the very best you can with the gifts and talents He’s given you. Don’t make excuses. Be determined and focused!
-Paul further exhorts his readers to not walk in the futility of their minds as the Gentiles do with their darkened understanding and alienation from the things of God because of ignorance due to the hardness of their heart (Ephesians 4:17-18). Hard hearts produce a callousness, which gives in to sensuality (licentiousness, debauchery, insolence) and greedy impurity (Ephesians 4:19). Paul says to “put off” this old nature and “put on” the new life in Christ, which is created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. This is a renewing transformation with no more corruption or disease. It is the truth and leads us into speaking no lies to our neighbors; it keeps us from staying angry and giving any opportunity to the devil. It keeps us honest in our labor with no desire to steal or rob. It keeps our speech pure and unadulterated for the building up of each other in the love of our Savior and His grace (Ephesians 4:22-29). Paul notes that we as believers can grieve the Holy Spirit, who has sealed us for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). We should never do that. Finally he says to let ALL bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor (shouting, crying out), and slander (blasphemy) be put away, along with all malice (badness, ill will, evil intent). Instead, be kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate), and forgiving (showing unmerited favor) one another just as God through His Son Jesus Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:31-32). *Application* What a great world we could have if we all could simply employ these principles each and every day. Today is a great reminder of how we should live with all the joy and love of Jesus Christ. Put Him on!
Verses to Memorize- Ephesians 4:11-12, 15, 32