Sunday October 28 "Walk In a Manner" Pastor Wood
Text: Ephesians 4:1–16 (ESV)
- 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, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 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. 15 Rather, 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.
4:1–6 God’s Purposes in the Church
Ephesians is the perfect balance between doctrine and duty. The first three chapters deal with doctrine, the believers’ spiritual blessings in Christ. The last three chapters focus on the church’s responsibility to live in unity, variety, maturity, purity, and victory. We learn from Paul’s balanced perspective the need for both orthodoxy (right belief) and orthopraxy (right living).
Commentators have suggested that the pivotal verse of the entire letter—indeed, the key that unlocks its structure—is 4:1. It brings together the themes of chapters 1–3 and in a stirring appeal announces Paul’s emphasis of chapters 4–6. The church’s privileged position and calling carries with it weighty responsibilities. Paul exhorted the church to worthy living. He emphasized the character and effort required for such exemplary living (4:1–3). Then with characteristic Trinitarian emphasis the apostle claimed the church could so live because it is energized by the Spirit, established by the Lord, and empowered by the Father.
4:7–16 The Church’s Gifts
Borrowing an illustration from Psalm 68:18, Paul described the gifts given to the church. God is both sovereign and generous in His distribution of the various gifts (4:7–10).
The gifts in fact are gifted persons: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (or pastor-teachers). Apostles and prophets were already mentioned in 2:20 and 3:5 as the foundational gifts to the church. In a strict sense apostles were witnesses of Christ’s resurrection and were commissioned by Him to preach. It broadly included those associated with such men, who also were commissioned for ministry (for example, see Acts 14:4, 14; 1 Thess 2:6). Prophets, under the direct inspiration of God, carried out a
Unity and diversity in the church 4:1–16
For three chapters Paul has been unfolding for his readers the eternal purpose of God being worked out in history. Through Jesus Christ, who died for sinners and was raised from death, God is creating something entirely new, not just a new life for individuals for a new society. Paul sees an alienated humanity being reconciled, a fractured humanity being united, even a new humanity being created. It is a magnificent vision.
Now the apostle moves on from the new society to the new standards which are expected of it. So he turns from exposition to exhortation, from what God has done (in the indicative) to what we must be and do (in the imperative), from doctrine to duty, ‘from the credenda … to the agenda’, from mind-stretching theology to its down-to-earth, concrete implications in everyday living.
1.) Christian unity depends on the charity of our conduct (verse 2)
2.) Christian unity arises from the unity of our God (verses 3–6)
3.) Christian unity is enriched by the diversity of our gifts (verses 7–12)
a.) The giver of spiritual gifts is the ascended Christ (verses 7–10)
b.) The character of spiritual gifts is extremely varied
c.) The purpose of spiritual gifts is service
4. Christian unity demands the maturity of our growth (verses 13–16)
Here, then, is Paul’s vision for the church. God’s new society is to display charity, unity, diversity and growing maturity. These are the characteristics of ‘a life
worthy of the calling’ to which God has called us, and which the apostle begs us to lead (verse 1).
The more we share Paul’s perspective, the deeper will be our discontent with the ecclesiastical status quo. Some of us are too conservative, too complacent, too ready to acquiesce in the present situation and to resist change. Others are too radical, wanting to dispense with the institution altogether. Instead we need to grasp more clearly the kind of new society God wants his church to be. Then we shall not be content either with things as they are, or with partial solutions, but rather will pray and work for the church’s total renewal.
preaching ministry that included both foretelling and forthtelling.
Evangelists ministered in a manner itinerant and external from the church. They were missionaries to the unconverted empowered with special insight into the gospel’s meaning. Pastors and teachers most likely constituted two sides of one ministry. This ministry was indigenous and internal to the church. Persons with this gift shepherd the flock and instruct them in divine truth.
All of these gifted people carry out equipping ministries so that service ministries can be actualized. Or as Paul put it, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith” (4:12–13).
Holman Bible Handbook