Devo – Ephesians 4 – United in the Spirit, Maturing in Christ

Ephesians 4, United in the Spirit, Maturing in Christ

  1. Start

    1. I’m going to start at the end (kinda):

      1. [Eph 5:1 ESV] Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

      2. [Eph 5:2 ESV] And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

    2. Pray

  2. Intro

    1. Ephesians was written by Paul, while imprisoned, around 60-62 A.D.

      1. It shares many similarities with Colossians and is thought to be written at the same time.

    2. Ephesians lacks a personal greeting, which is important to note because the church in Ephesus was well known to Paul. He planted it and pastored it himself for three years.

      1. This lack of a greeting lends itself to this epistle being a circular letter. Meaning that the letter was intended to be circulated through to other churches… not the shape of the letter.

      2. This is important to remember as we dig deeper in Ephesians chapter four, where Paul writes about being united in the Spirit.

    3. Chapter four is where the book of Ephesians splits

      1. The first three chapters are where Paul writes about doctrine

      2. Then starting at chapter four, Paul transitions to the moral or practical.

      3. That is not just knowing, but living in truth.

  3. [Eph 4:1-3 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, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

    1. a prisoner for the Lord

      1. Here Paul is reminding the church that he is a prisoner. It is a reminder that Christian life is not filled with prosperity, but also hardship suffered for the sake of Christ.

    2. walk in a manner worthy of the calling…

      1. Our walk, our lives are to reflect our calling as Christians.

      2. Our common calling as Christians is to first love God and second to love our neighbor as we see in Matthew 22:37-40, and Mark 12:29-31.

    3. Paul then gives us attributes that should be evident in our lives if we are living out our walk in Christ.

      1. Humility,” the NKJV translates this “lowliness

        1. To be lower then others was an insult at the time, but Paul is here telling us as believers that we are to have a low, humble opinion of ourselves

        2. This is echoed in the beginning of Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, …”

      2. Gentleness,” the KJV has “meekness

        1. This goes hand in hand with treating people with humility, we are to be meek and gentle with others.

        2. The opposite of humility and meekness is arrogance and pride.

        3. We know from Proverbs 28:25 that “An arrogant man stirs up strife…” and all through the Old Testament God brings low the proud and arrogant.

        4. But in Matthew 5:5 Jesus blesses the meek.

      3. Patience [or longsuffering]

        1. David Guzik says: “We need this [that is patience] so that the inevitable wrongs that occur between people in God’s family will not work against God’s purpose of bringing all things together in Jesus – illustrated through His current work in the church.”

        2. Sadly, but thankfully the church is full of sinners, we will be wronged or hurt by others. But we should be patient with others, knowing that God is patient with us.

      4. bearing with one another in love

        1. Bearing each other up, supporting and lifting each other up with love in unity with Christ.

        2. [Rom 13:8 CSB] Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

        3. [1Pe 4:8 CSB] Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.

    4. Maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

      1. These attributes of a Christian walk should sound familiar to us all, as many are mentioned as part of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.

      2. Living these out, will help us live in peace with other believers that we might be united in the Spirit for Christ’s glory.

      3. [Gal 5:25 ESV] If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

        1. This is a call to be united with the Spirit.

    Unity in the Spirit

  4. [Eph 4:4-6 ESV] There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    1. Here Paul is driving home standard doctrine, enforcing his point that we should be united in the Spirit. Because…

    2. There is one body

      1. [1Co 12:12 ESV] For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

      2. [1Co 12:27 ESV] Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

    3. one Spirit

      1. [1Co 12:4-6 ESV] Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

    4. one hope

      1. Our hope in Christ and salvation through Christ.

    5. one Lord,

      1. [1Co 8:6b ESV] … and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

    6. one faith,

      1. [Gal 3:26 ESV] for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

    7. one baptism,

      1. [Gal 3:27 ESV] For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

      2. [1Co 12:13 ESV] For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

    8. one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

      1. [1Co 8:6a ESV] yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, …

    9. Through all these things we have unity as Christians. We have the same Lord of our lives, the same God who created us, the same Holy Spirit that seals us. The same faith and hope of salvation. It was even Christ’s prayer that we should be united:

      1. [Jhn 17:22-23 NASB] “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

Equiping the Church

  1. [Eph 4:7 ESV] But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

    1. As different parts of the body, we have different gifts to be used for Christ’s glory by His grace

  2. [Eph 4:8-10 ESV] Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

    1. This in part, is a paraphrasing of Psalm 68:18

    2. It is a picture of a king coming home from war.

    3. It is referencing Christ coming down from Heaven

      1. [Jhn 3:13 ESV] No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

  3. [Eph 4:11-12 ESV] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

    1. Christ paid the price on the cross for us, we were captive to sin, we are now His. By and through His grace, He gives us gifts to equip and support the body of Christ.

    2. [Rom 12:4-5 ESV] For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

  4. [Eph 4:13-14 ESV] 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, 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.

    1. The gifts given to the body are for the equipping of the saints that we might mature in our faith and knowledge of Christ.

    2. We are not to be deceived by false doctrine but to discern what is will of God and pleasing to the Lord (Romans 12:2 and Ephesians 5:10)

  5. [Eph 4:15-16 ESV] Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 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.

    1. Where an immature or baby Christian might be easily deceived, a mature Christian speaks in truth and love.

    2. “Truth in love” can be literally translated as “Truthing in love.” It is to be an active outpouring of God’s love and truth in our lives. That every action should be done in truth and love.

    3. As opposed to the “… human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” of verse 14.

  6. [Eph 4:17-19 ESV] Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

    1. Gentiles here means unbelievers, people who have not been saved, have not been redeemed by Christ.

      1. [Rom 1:28 ESV] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

    2. Their lives are in sin and their minds can not comprehend the will of God.

      1. [1Co 2:14 ESV] The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

  7. [Eph 4:20-24 ESV] But that is not the way you learned Christ!– assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    1. Our old self, our old life is one ruled by corruption, selfish desires. But this is no longer so for the born again believer.

      1. [2Co 5:17 ESV] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

    2. As new creations in Christ, we are dead to sin. The lives we live are to be in pursuit of God’s righteousness and holiness though faith.

      1. [Gal 2:20 ESV] I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    How Christians should act in Unity

  8. [Eph 4:25 ESV] Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

    1. Falsehood is of the old self, it has no place in a believers life.

    2. Instead we should be “truthing in love”

      1. Pursuing God’s righteousness in our lives and speaking in love to one another

      2. [Pro 13:5 NASB] A righteous man hates falsehood, But a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully.

  9. [Eph 4:26-27 ESV] Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

    1. We are to not sin in anger, and if we are appropriately angry we are not to stew on it. We are to give it up to God before the end of the day.

    2. If not it can turn into bitterness, and sin.

    3. [Pro 14:29 ESV] Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

    4. [Pro 15:18 ESV] A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

  10. [Eph 4:28 ESV] Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

    1. Here we have forgiveness and even rehabilitation and restoration of a thief.

    2. The former thief is to do honest work, no longer stealing for themselves, and to share what they have earned with others who have need.

  11. [Eph 4:29 ESV] Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

    1. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths

      1. The NASB uses “unwholesome”

      2. Can also mean worthless

      3. We should be cautious with what we say and how we speak to others.

        1. [Pro 15:4 ESV] A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

    2. Instead our tongue should be used to edify and build each other up.

      1. [Heb 10:24 ESV] And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

  12. [Eph 4:30-31 ESV] And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

    1. Spurgeon on grieving the Holy Spirit:

      1. “He is grieved with us mainly for our own sakes, for He knows what misery sin will cost us; He reads our sorrows in our sins… He grieves over us because he sees how much chastisement we incur, and how much communion we lose.”

    2. Also when we exhibit these sinful attitudes of bitterness, anger, and slandering towards other believers. We are grieving the Holy Spirit, for there is one Spirit, it is the same Holy Spirit that seals and indwells fellow believers as it does us.

  13. [Eph 4:32 ESV] Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    1. Instead of being bitter towards one another, we should be tenderhearted.

    2. Instead of being filled with wrath and anger, we should be kind.

    3. Instead of making a clamor or speaking in slander, we should forgive one another.

    4. as God in Christ forgave you.

      1. This is a tall order, that we can only truly fulfill through Christ. For God in Christ forgave us by:

        1. Loving us while we were enemies.

        2. Crushing Christ for our sake, which was predestined before the creation of the world.

        3. Christ coming down from heaven to be God incarnate.

        4. Shedding His blood to cleanse us of our sins.

        5. Suffering death to pay the penalty for those sins.

      2. Knowing these things, how can we not forgive others? How can we not treat eachother with love? For what harm did they cause us that we have not sinned against God in comparison?

  14. Closing

    1. As I mentioned, chapter four transitions the book of Ephesians from doctrine to the practical. It starts with our common calling as Christians. Next, addressing how we as Christians should have unity with one another through the Holy Spirit. Then giving examples of how Christians should live their life in unity with other believers as a part of the body of Christ.
      Through this all there is a common connecting thread. That thread is truth and love. The body cannot be united when there is deceit and a lack of truth. That truth is to be tempered in love and kindness. Our words should be for the building up and edifying of the body, not slander, bitterness or wrath. Let our actions be for God’s glory and the benefit of the body of Christ. Let us be “truthing in love.”

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