Ephesians 4 begins the practical section of the book in which Paul lays out the spiritual maturity necessary to produce godly character. Maturing Christians have the attitude that they have never arrived.
Unity in Christ's body is maintained by more than individual behavior and relationships. It is maintained by having a unified mission.
Spiritual togetherness is another way to say "unity." Believers will be spiritually one as we understand who God is and who we are in Christ. We should not want to live life alone.
Humans need to be together and to celebrate something bigger than themselves. We also need to be together as God's people. We prepare to be with each other, and we enjoy being with our Christian family. Our unity is based on our position in Christ and our disposition produced by the fruit of the Spirit.
An infinite God created a finite world in Genesis 1. God exists in the eternal present, but humanity lives within the bounds of time. What is the proper use of a Christian's time and resources? The first three questions in the Westminster Catechism give simple answers to biblically appropriate questions about the purpose of mankind.
On days of remembrance, the reality is especially poignant that our freedom is never free. In the history of this country, God has not primarily used religious or political leaders to safeguard liberty; He uses the sacrifices of men and women in the armed forces to secure our freedom.
Spiritual liberty, too, was bought at a high price. Jesus Christ paid his life for our eternal freedom.
God has ordained that the Christian life is to be lived not in isolation, but in conjunction with the community of saints. So how is it that Christians, particularly here in America, have become used to amputating limbs off of the body of Christ (which is the local church)? In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, the Apostle Paul refers to the Corinthian believers as being eyes and ears and noses—body parts. This is the same kind of language that Paul uses in Romans 12:5 when he writes that we are members one of another.
The Bible teaches that Christians are to be mutually reliant upon each other. This doctrine is incredibly important and should be a major heading in our ecclesiology (doctrine of the church). However, it has been almost entirely lost in American evangelicalism. Possible reasons include the American way of life that emphasizes independence and the rejection of denominationalism. American Christianity has become a complex collection of isolated congregations and an even more divided and isolated collection of Christians.
Becoming reliant on autopilot is as dangerous for Christians as it is for pilots. We must never become busy at the risk of endangering souls around us.
At the end of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul presents his friend Tychicus as a model for the whole book of Ephesians. He was not a superhero, just an ordinary man who made a profound impact through simple service. This is the message for us to take to heart: Nothing done in the local church is insignificant. Even simple tasks are necessary and count for eternity.
There is no question in Paul’s mind that evil spiritual forces exist as the enemies of all souls. A truly saved soul, united and governed by the Spirit of Christ, is prepared to confidently endure spiritual conflict.
“Ordinary” Christians have no less responsibility to live a worthy walk than those in full-time Christian work. Our prayer in every setting should be that others will come to Christ because of us. We’ve learned about how the overflow of the Gospel influences our individual walk with the Lord, our domestic relationships, and now our public life. Paul tells employees and employers how to take the Gospel to the work place through our work ethic.
Paul describes the reality of relationships between children and parents when both are in Christ and Spirit-filled. Saved people who desire to obey the Spirit will just live this way. Obedience to these instructions requires growth in Christ-likeness on both sides.
If the Christian home isn’t a warm and joyful place, then our culture is lost.
In this passage, we learn what marital and domestic relationships look like in Christ. When this passage is preached apart from its context, it can lead to bitterness, regrets, and disillusionment. We need to remember that all of us have been baptized into Christ and are brought into Light to live moral lifestyles (Eph. 4:1-6). Having already covered that ground, Paul assumes that his readers are being governed by the Spirit and living like Jesus in the home. As all members of a home live by the Spirit’s filling, there will be mutual submission to the direction of God. We are to respect, honor, reverence, and learn from one another. Outside of corporate worship, there’s no better place in the world than a Christian home.
The next few verses continue the application of our worthy, obedient, loving walk. Christians who are Light not only make wise choices but also embrace divine influence. This has a negative side and a positive – we are to avoid negative influences and instead be governed by the Spirit. The verbs of these commands are in the present active tense, which tell us they are to be continuous actions.
This section is the climax of Ephesians 4-6. We have just talked about black-and-white areas that a Christian, as Light, clearly avoids. Now we focus on Light’s desire to make wise choices in “gray” areas.
God is light, and as we experience His work of dramatic transformation, we will find ourselves shining as lights in a world that loves darkness. The Bible knows nothing of a saved person who has a lifelong lifestyle of struggle with sin. God’s effective grace ensures you will grow more like Christ over time. These verses continue to describe what Light looks like.
In these verses, Paul gives a pretty specific description of the
lifestyle of darkness. The passage is not assuming that Christians are
still living in the darkness described – rather, the Holy Spirit gives
us a reminder of what we are not to go back to. It’s not worth going
back! Our delight, as people transformed by His grace, is to live to
In this passage, we find a unique command to be like God, a call to non-emotive love, and the ultimate example of both.
When we are owned by Jesus Christ, we no longer desire to communicate sinfully. The church ought to be known as the most ethical family in the community. Last week we learned how this plays out in two areas - speaking truth and addressing anger. Biblical anger can become unbiblical over time. Things in the body of Christ can disappoint you, but they need to be addressed. We are all fellow saints.
This passage describes the spiritual “body language” of the church. The Holy Spirit through Paul’s pen gets laser-specific about what things the new nature does and should not do. These are instructions for how we behave within the local church. If they are not lived out, we grieve the Holy Spirit and hinder His ability to work among us.
"Who am I? What am I here for? Where am I going? What should I do?" These are the questions that shape our personality and character. The unbelieving mind is always answering these questions with selfish, sinful, and worldly thinking. This old self is what we are able to lay aside once we are saved. Christ completely transforms us so we can mirror His character and tell others how he changed our lives.
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