4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is overall, in all, and living through all.
7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. 8 That is why the Scriptures say,
“When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.”
I love how Paul continues pushing unity in Ephesians 4, while he started in the 3rd chapter. He’s really hammering the point home here.
A True fact that makes me sad, Christians are extremely divided today. Whether, you’re catholic, pentecostal, baptist, etc. There is only one baptism, one God, and one Father.
This means our petty differences and beliefs really don’t matter, instead if someone is a follower of Jesus, what does anything else matter?
God will lead us into all truth. I’m sure all of us have our petty religious tropes. And personally, I wanna be rid of them myself. All I want is Jesus, and if I have to surrender some things to get to him. So be it.
Unity Will Make Or Break Us
As I read Ephesians 4 I’m reminded of the story in Genesis about the tower of babel. After the great flood, the people rebelled against God by building a great tower that reached heaven.
God looked down and said the people are united and nothing will be impossible for them.
There’s a power in being unified, and Ephesians 4 goes into that. However, that power in the wrong hands will lead us down the wrong path. Look at Germany in WW2, they were unified in purpose, but they were led down a dark, evil, and destructive path.
Be careful what banner you unify under, and we should only be unified under the banner of Jesus Christ. He’s the only one who’s loved us enough to die for us.
Ephesians 4: Jesus Descended & Ascended
9 Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended into our lowly world. 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.
11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Earlier in Ephesians 4, Paul alludes to God’s Mysterious plan, and I think we’re still discussing it. Jesus came down to earth to rescue us. It’s almost like he brought a lifeline, and tethered it down here for us.
Then he climbed back up, and now he’s reeling us in from the top. However many people don’t know, or even want to climb the rope.
And some don’t know how.
That’s why he gave the gifts to the church. He gives us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These are all offices given to us so we can learn how to climb the rope, and teach others about the rope.
I know I’m simplifying this a lot, but Ephesians 4 is about showing the way, finding the way, and following the way. In essence, Ephesians 4 is all about being saved and unifying with the church.
Jesus didn’t have to come to earth. Instead, his love for us drove him to come, he could’ve stayed in heaven in the highest of places. But instead, He and God hatched a plan, to rescue their sinful children. It was the only plan that would work.
You see we have this belief that God can do anything, and that’s not true. The bible states that he cannot lie, and he cannot change his nature.
God’s nature puts limitations on what he can do. He is love, therefore he won’t change us into mindless zombies who love him. Because that’s not love.
He won’t lie, because his nature is truth.
Some of the beliefs we have in Christianity are wrong. maybe they’re well-meaning, but they distort the truth, of who God really is.
God is love, and anybody who follows him will be filled with that love. They will not lie, cheat, or steal. Instead, they will live righteously following after him.
Ephesians 4 Living as Children of Light
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
The later part of Ephesians 4 gives us a standard to live by. Especially if we want to be pleasing God. It’s a standard of Righteousness that we ought to be following.
When you choose to follow Christ, you are giving up yourself. You surrender your future for his future, whatever that might be.
However, with this surrender, you receive eternal life and a traveling partner in life. I can’t imagine what life would be like without the Holy Spirit working in my life. He walks next to me every day and speaks to my heart. I receive wisdom, peace, and direction from him.
I urge you, if you’re reading this, don’t follow Jesus just because you’ll receive eternal life. Follow him, because he gives you strength to get through life. My life is better because I know him, and that doesn’t mean things go well. In fact, it’s the opposite most of the time.
However, when you’re living in the light of righteousness and unified with other Christians, you can face anything and come out smiling. I love Ephesians 4 because it describes exactly who we need to be in Christ, and Ephesians 4 shows how should differ from society.
Sterling grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis. As a kid he loved skateboarding but mostly did street riding. He injured his ankle badly when he dropped into his first half pipe. His skateboarding slowed down after that, but he still loved the sport.
While in his 20's he needed to make a change, so he did some world traveling with a motivational speaking group. Through it all, he visited 46 states and 3 continents and eventually lived in Mississippi. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore through the state. He jumped into the fray, helping mobilize support for the evacuees of New Orleans & The Gulf Coast. During the aftermath he helped run a shelter and drove food & medical supplies to affected areas by truck. Currently he lives in Minneapolis, runs his snowboard shop, and shreds Vail Whenever he can.