This week we begin looking at the four characteristics of our new lifestyle, in direct contrast to the characteristics of the unsaved we studied last week. When we have been saved, we think and live differently.
In the next section of Ephesians 4, Paul continues his focus on individual Christian responsibility. He does this by contrasting the lifestyle of a Christian with two unsaved lifestyles - the Gentiles and the Jews. As dispossessed citizens of Heaven, we will no longer live in our old lifestyle. The worthy walk of Christians in our culture will be radically obvious and distinct.
The 1999 U.S. women’s soccer team changed the face of women’s sports worldwide because they were well-trained and passionate about working toward their goal as a team. If we are functioning well as a church, we also will influence the world – for Christ.
In these verses, Paul’s focus changes to individual responsibility within the body. Each member is specifically gifted by God, and each part works together toward a glorious goal. God designed the team and empowers it to have divine influence.
Paul’s plea for unity in verse 3 is based on 7 doctrinal truths which form the Profound Source of our Worthy Walk. Doctrine is the foundation of righteous living, and spiritual oneness is the foundation of an effective church family. We must be in agreement on doctrine of Christ, then agree on the character and conduct our worthy walk. Understanding and pursuing spiritual maturity maintains our unity.
As the glorious church of a glorious Savior, we have a glorious opportunity to live His character in our culture. When unbelievers observe our interaction, they should be amazed at the love we display (John 13:35). Maturing saints will be able to maintain the unity produced by the Spirit in a way that pleases the Lord.
This passage is important to understand because it forms the foundation for the rest of the book. The focus comes in verse three: “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” We will find that a truly unified church requires spiritual growth and maturity.
Theme: The enjoyment of unseen spiritual realities prepares our hearts for unified daily living in God’s glorious church. This week, we finish up the doctrinal teaching portion of Ephesians. Paul’s main point can be summarized in 1 sentence: God desires to take every soul on the globe, from various cultures and backgrounds, and blend them into one family in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This pinnacle passage takes the form of a prayer, preparing us for the practical instructions to come in chapters 4-6. Last week we discussed God’s Enablement and Indwelling. Remember that these four aspects flow into one another as a natural Spirit-given progression. If we’re governed by the Spirit, Christ will feel at home in our hearts. As Christ is at home in our hearts, we will know the infinite measure of love God has given to us in His Son Jesus Christ. As we know that love, we will know increasing maturity over time.
Theme: The enjoyment of unseen spiritual realities prepares our hearts for unified daily living in God’s glorious church. The last part of Ephesians 3 is what Peter O’Brien calls “the highest peak in the book,” from which we gaze back on all Christ has given to us and forward to all He asks us to do. This passage is a prayer that actually began in verse 1 with the phrase “For this reason.” Paul’s mind drifted to the spiritual resources we have been given, but now he returns to prayer.
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Paul continues discussing the resources available to Christians in service of the “mystery.” What was not formerly understood by everyone is now revealed: God offers the Gospel to all the world. Paul’s focus shifts back to his person for these verses – but he is also describing you! All members of the new, unified Christian family have a responsibility to carry out the mission.
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Ephesians 3:1-13 is a “parenthesis” in Paul’s letter that redefines the content of 2:11-22. It clarifies what we’ve been given in the mystery of God. This mystery is essentially taking two separate entities, Jew and Gentile, and making one family out of all who own Jesus Christ as their Lord (1 Peter 2:9). The single purpose of this one family is to let the whole world know about Jesus (John 17:20-21).
Theme: We have adequate, divine resources to fulfill Christ’s mission in a way that honors Him. Just as a soldier’s backpack contains everything they need for survival and execution of their mission, Christians have been given adequate resources by God Himself. As God’s soldiers, we are properly prepared to survive in the field of Christian service.
Theme: From Alienation to Restoration In this passage, Paul applies the truths from verses 1-10 to a specific problem in the church he wrote to: disunity among those who were already made one in Christ.
Living Contrasts: From Death to Life in Christ The Greek of this passage only contains 2 sentences, divided into three sections. Last week we looked a sober and fair assessment of lost people in verses 1-3 and introduced the jubilant initiative of God in verses 4-7. This week we will continue with the second section and look at the outworking of our response to God’s grace.
Living Contrasts: From Death to Life in Christ Paul often describes our lost state to set up a contrast with our new life in Christ. The structure of this passage reveals its main points. The Greek only contains 2 sentences (verses 1-7 and verses 8-10) but three sections. This week we will look at the first sentence, which outlines two different states of being: lost and saved, dead and living.
Paul continues to pray for believers’ understanding of who they are in Christ to increase. As we pray the same for each other, it will be answered because it is the revealed will of God! God is very proud of His Son. He loves and longs for people to know more about His Son, and to keep learning more of Him forever.
Theme: Our Eternal Foundation, Part 4 – Every Spiritual Blessing is In Christ Paul continues his prayer that we started looking at in verses 15-16. In these verses, his prayer turns from thanksgiving to request for the Ephesian believers, that they would continually understand more of all they were given in Jesus Christ the moment they were saved. This morning, we looked at 2 of the 3 things that Paul wanted the Ephesian believers to understand:
Theme: Our Eternal Foundation, Part 3 – Every Spiritual Blessing is in Christ As the introduction to the last section of chapter 1, these verses mentions two practical ways that our riches in Christ are most vividly displayed. This passage is a prayer of praise offered personally by Paul in response to the testimony of the Ephesians.
Theme: Our Eternal Foundation, part 2 – Every Spiritual Blessing is in Christ. You may not have a million dollars waiting to be claimed by you, but Christ has something of indescribable value with your name on it. Our passage today may be the most exhaustive description of the value of our salvation in Scripture. Though these spiritual blessings are outlined as experienced in the past, present, and future, they all came to us at the moment we believed.
Theme: Investigating our Eternal Foundation, part 1 Why is the church glorious? Because she has a glorious head, foundation, and shepherd – Jesus Christ. When the church is promoted as a marketing tool of social good and philanthropy, she is robbed of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and His power to save. God’s grace is what makes the church glorious.
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