Ephesians 4:1-6, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
This passage is such a moving passage for the church. I think FRIST, we have to look at the writer of this letter. Paul identifies himself as, “a prisoner of the Lord”. Wow! That in itself says a lot more than I could expound on in this short devotional. Paul considered himself as a prisoner to Jesus, but not a prisoner out of drudgery but a prisoner out of gratitude for what Christ had done for him and in him. So Paul writes these words to the church with passion and from the point of view of someone who doesn’t see himself with rights. His only desire, his only care, his only worth is to live for God and bring glory to Him.
SECOND, Paul points out to us a model of how we ( the church ) should be walking and behaving in our daily living. He says, “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called”. (vs. 1 ). You have been saved Christian, and you should behave like you have been saved. Then he characterizes what that looks like. We are to walk in lowliness. We are to walk in gentleness. We are to walk in longsuffering. In other words, as a child of God, I should display humility, kindness and patience in my life. I believe this includes a display of these traits both towards my brothers in Christ, and the lost world. Don’t misunderstand me. This doesn’t mean we become liberal in our thinking, politically correct, or to the dire extreme of excusing sin. It simply means we show Christ-likeness to non-believers and we realize non-believers behave the way they do because they don’t have Christ living within their hearts. We also must understand that this also puts a responsibility on the Christian to behave like a Christian and for the Christian to NOT live like the rest of the world.
THIRD, as we ( the church ) relate to one another and live out our calling in this worthy manner Paul describes, we, through the power of Christ mature with the ability ( in Christ ) to unify in the essentials of doctrine and theology. We are to promote unity and Christ-likeness within the body of Christ. How do we do that you ask? Paul tells us there are two key things we must do. We must “bear with one another in love”, and we must also, “endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. Both of these commands are key to promoting unity within the church. We, the church, are to be like a city on a hill that cannot be hid. The church is called to be light in this dark world. We must unite on the essentials and learn to disagree agreeably on the non-essentials to the glory of God. The outside lost world needs to see the church in unity. Our enemy is not ourselves, but Satan who loves to sow discord and trouble within the body of Christ. Notice these two things take work. To bear and to endeavor requires action and effort on our part.
FOURTH, Paul addresses the big question of WHY we should do all of this. The answer really is simple, because there is one body, one spirit, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Wow! Then, it’s like Paul puts a capstone on this message by exhorting us through the fact that God is above all, through all, and in you ( the church ) all. Again, this is to the church. He is reminding us of the greatness of our God. God is above all! Everything and everyone else does not compare to Him. God is in those of us who are His children, and who make up the church. Since God is who He is these things should be, and certainly should be in us.
In closing, the church should never be discouraged because the church will never die. We know this because of what Jesus told Peter. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”.
I am blessed to serve at Morris Memorial Baptist Church in Moscow, TN with some of the greatest Christians I have ever known. It is truly an honor to serve as their pastor, their friend, and their brother in Christ. The people of our local congregation are so sweet, kind and really have unified to bring glory to God, but I am very aware it’s not like that everywhere. May we as the bride of Christ work hard to bear with one another in love, and endeavor to promote Christ-likeness in all of our living.