We have lots of problems in our society & even our churches. How can you be part of the solution instead of the problem?
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Ephesians 4 (ESV)
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk
in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
2 with all humility and gentleness,
bearing with one another in love,
3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is
and one Spirit—
just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
5 one Lord,
6 one God and Father of all,
who is over all
and through all and in all.
7 But grace was given
to each one of us
according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high
he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?
10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
→ 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry,
for building up the body of Christ,
13 until we all attain
to the unity of the faith
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to mature manhood,
to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
14 so that we may no longer be children,
tossed to and fro by the waves
and carried about by every wind of doctrine,
by human cunning,
by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
speaking the truth in love,
we are to grow up
in every way
into him who is the head, into Christ,
→ 16 from whom the whole body,
joined and held together
by every joint with which it is equipped,
when each part is working properly,
makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do,
in the futility of their minds.
18 They are
darkened in their understanding,
from the life of God
because of the ignorance that is in them,
due to their hardness of heart.
have become callous
and have given themselves up
greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—
21 assuming that
you have heard about him
and were taught in him,
as the truth is in Jesus,
22 to put off your old self,
which belongs to your former manner of life
and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
24 and to put on the new self,
created after the likeness of God
in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood,
let each one of you speak the truth
with his neighbor,
for we are members one of another.
26 Be angry and do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger,
27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
28 Let the thief
no longer steal,
but rather let him labor,
doing honest work with his own hands,
so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,
but only such as is good for building up,
as fits the occasion,
that it may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
by whom you were sealed
for the day of redemption.
all bitterness and wrath
and anger and clamor
be put away from you,
along with all malice.
32 Be kind to one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4 Summary
Here's what it means to walk in a manner worthy of your calling:
ALL IN: It's easy to sort of embody Christ's attributes in our daily lives, but that's not at all what we've been called to. We're told to 'be completely humble, gentle & patient' (v2) and to 'make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit' (v3).
KEEP BUILDING & BEING BUILT: We're to equip and be equipped for works of service, building one another up in Christ (v12). Doing this will bring unity in the faith (v13).
GROW UP: Stop acting like children who waffle back and forth on every issue (v14). Instead, speak the truth in love, which builds up the whole body in love (v15-16).
STOP LIVING LIKE A SINFUL PAGAN: Verse 19 describes so many people today: "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed." Paul is blunt in the next verse: that is not the way of life you learned. We need to stop dangling our toes in this water.
STOP TALKING LIKE A SINFUL PAGAN: Maybe your not really living like a sinful pagan, but your mouth is likely telling a different story. Paul tells us not to let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths (v29). Instead of tearing people down (their ideas, politics, race, etc), make sure your words build others up.
ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE: It's so easy to get carried away by the incessant sensationalized 'news' we're constantly bombarded with. Don't let it drive you to bitterness & wrath, anger & clamor, and slander (v31). Instead, find ways to be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving (v32).
This doesn't mean you need to capitulate on your principles. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is lovingly hold fast to Biblical teaching!
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: One God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all and in all (v6).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Be made new in the attitude of your minds and be like God in true righteousness and holiness (24).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: