Living your best life – ephesians 4

Living your best life

Living a life worthy of your calling

Ephesians 4

George Methodist Church

25th August 2019

8am and 10am

Preparing at sunrise on Vic bay

Our visit to Common Ground and Ryan’s challenge to be very intentional about the presence of God – a deeper walk. I think that Ephesians is the letter that challenges our way of living our best life for others and this chapter is all about living a life worthy of your calling.

You will probably notice that the first three chapters have really focused on our relationship with the Lord and now we begin to focus on our relationship with each other.

So Christ Himself gave (not hierarchical or in any order)

the apostles – sent one.

the prophets – messenger.

the evangelists – those who share the good news.

the pastors  – those who take care of people.

Remember that Paul is in a Roman prison with a death sentence and still he is calling his listeners and readers to live a life worthy of the calling.
(His calling was clear)

He lists 8 areas we are called to be worthy (axios – axis – balance – legal scales ) of : Ephesians 4. 

They are:

  1. Humility, gentleness and patience – Phil 2: 5-8 “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death —even death on a cross!” Humbled – humos ‘soil’ – these all hold together in many respects as we begin to identify the true calling of God on our lives. If we are to act like we are called then we should be active in these fruits. I often wonder what it would be like if you went to a doctor and you had no way of knowing if they were a doctor. They could be wearing a white cloak and a stethoscope but not have a clue as to what to do as a doctor. We know that when we go to see the doctor they are both called and qualified and also take an oath to serve wherever they are needed. What an example we have here in George. (Nadine’s plastic surgeon).
  1. Unity – the power of unity – how good and pleasant it is for the church to dwell in unity. One Lord, One faith one baptism, One Father.

It seems that the interpretation of these four words cause more division than unity.

Bear with one another in love (this is honest talk because it is not easy). I have been going on about this quite a lot, but I feel that it is the mystery and the key to what Jesus is wanting to achieve within the church as well as in community. He used Paul and the apostles and is using us in the same way, but I am wondering if we take this mandate seriously??? Keep the unity in the bond of peace.

  1. Maturity – what is this in the spiritual sense of the word? Not tossed around but gracious even in disagreements because you are solid within your faith journey. Other ways of doing things. The ability to see others as better than yourselves. It is interesting that the word says that grace is apportioned to us (it is not one above the other in maturity but rather the ability to really get grace.) It’s not just God’s riches at Christ’s expense as we have heard, but rather a ‘deep calling to deep’ about the real issues of this gift. When we live in GRACE we are living in a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit.
  1. Integrity – so critical for us today. Honour uprightness and sincerity. Made new in the attitude of your minds – integrity begins here. I have to ask myself questions about the decisions I am making on a daily basis. Do they bring integrity or not? (The young leader of Hillsong who has stepped away from his faith, it is not shocking that he did it but more shocking that he is looking at the church and wondering about integrity!!!!)
  1. Charity – charis – gifts – offering self and what I have. The chips illustration. Put off the old self and put on the new self. The fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit enable charity – Charity, in Christian thought, the highest form of love, signifying the reciprocal love between God and us that is made manifest in unselfish love of others. Paul’s classical description of charity is found in the New Testament (I Cor. 13). In Christian theology and ethics, charity (a translation of the Greek word agapē, also meaning “love”) is most eloquently shown in the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ. Augustine summarized much of Christian thought about charity when he wrote: “Charity is a virtue which, when our affections are perfectly ordered, unites us to God, for by it we love Him.” Using this definition and others from the Christian tradition, the medieval theologians, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, placed charity in the context of the other Christian virtues and specified its role as “the foundation or root” of them all.
  1. Purity – the state of being pure or clean – only in Christ are we pure or clean (filthy rags). Wholesome or unwholesome talk coming out of our mouths. Garbage in garbage out. (Aunty Cindy.) Don’t let the sun go down on your anger or disputes. There is too much dark in the way of light and light wants to shine in. Just say I am sorry… Forgive or it will crush you and the person.
  1. Obedience and submission – being part of a mission. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit – How? You can feel the Holy Spirit grieving within you and it’s often a loud voice inside your Spirit that moves you to obedience and sorting the stuff out.
  2. Responsibility to the church to others and to yourself. Get rid of the ugly stuff and get disciplined on the good stuff. Kindness, Compassion and Forgiveness.

And so in conclusion what does it mean to live a live worthy of your calling? I think Paul has outlined it simply and if we can follow these simple rules of life, then I believe we can begin to look more like Christians. People will see us and just know that we belong, are equipped and trained as ambassadors (representatives of almighty God.)

Some extra notes from the ESV Global bible study notes:

4:1–16 Unity of the Body of Christ. Paul shows how to apply the truths he has been teaching. There are three subsections: vv. 1–6, 7–10, and 11–16.

4:1 prisoner. Paul has been jailed because of his commitment to Christ.

4:2 The pagan culture of Paul’s day did not consider humility an admirable quality.

4:3 Peace is a bond that unites believers in Christ. They do not create this unity, however; they merely preserve the unity already established by the Lord.

4:4 Spirit. Just as a human body has one spirit that gives it life, so Christ’s body, the church, is given life by one Holy Spirit. One hope. Christians will live with God forever. This hope unites them. On the church as a body, see Rom. 12:4–8; 1 Cor. 12:12–31.

4:5 one Lord. Jesus Christ. one faith. The spiritual truths Christians believe. One baptism may refer to the baptism of all believers into one body (see 1 Cor. 12:13) or it may refer to water baptism as such. Verses 4–6 of Ephesians 4 seem to make a special point of mentioning the three members of the Trinity: “One Spirit” (v. 4), “one Lord [Christ]” (v. 5), and “one God and Father” (v. 6).

Christ and the Church

Paul describes the relationship between Christ and the church as a profound mystery (5:32) – a hidden plan of God now revealed and fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

Christ is the head of the church1:22–23; 4:15; 5:23 Christ is the cornerstone of the church 2:20 Christ is the Savior and sanctifier of the church 5:23, 26–27 Christ gives the church ministry workers 4:11–16 Christ loved and sacrificed Himself for the church 5:25 Christ nourishes and cherishes the church 5:29 the church and her members dwell and grow in Christ 2:21–22; 4:15 the church is a means through which God manifests His manifold wisdom 3:10 the church submits to Christ 5:24 the church is Christ’s body, and individual believers are members of His body1:22–23; 3:6; 4:4, 16; 5:23, 30

4:6 over all . . . through all . . . in all. God is present everywhere (see Ps. 139:7–12; Isa. 66:1).

4:7 grace . . . according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Gifts given by God’s choosing to serve the church.

4:8 it says. Paul cites Ps. 68:18 to show that Christ gave gifts to His people from what He had taken from his enemies. The “gifts” are the church leaders described in Eph. 4:11. The captives over whom Christ triumphed are most likely demons (compare 1:19–22).

4:9 lower regions, the earth. In the incarnation, Christ descended from the highest heavens to the lowest regions (that is, to the earth). He then ascended (Acts 1:9) 40 days after his resurrection to the highest heavens at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33).

4:11 For apostles, see note on 1:1. Prophets. A reference to the gift of prophecy in the NT church. Evangelists. People who proclaim the gospel to unbelievers (see Acts 21:8; 2 Tim. 4:5). Shepherds (or “pastors” [esv footnote]) and teachers. People who teach and guide those who become believers. There is some uncertainty whether these terms refer to two different ministry roles or functions (see 1 Tim. 5:17) or a single “shepherd-teacher” ministry role (see esv footnote).

4:12 Church leaders are to equip the saints (all Christians) to do the work of ministry (1 Cor. 12:7, 11; 1 Pet. 4:10).

4:13 The variety of gifts serves to bring about the unity of Christ’s people. Mature manhood contrasts with “children” in the next verse (see Heb. 5:11–14). knowledge of the Son of God. Knowing Christ personally and understanding all that He did and taught brings about “mature manhood” measure. Christ Jesus is the standard of maturity. Christ’s fullness is the expression of His divine and human perfection (see Eph. 1:23; 3:19; Col. 1:19).

4:14 deceitful schemes. Compare 1 John 4:1–3; Jude 4; Rev. 2:2.

4:15 The truth must always be presented in love. As head, Christ leads, directs, and guides the body (see 5:23; 1 Cor. 11:3).

4:16 As part of Christ’s body, every believer has an important role in the church’s growth. In love. See 1 Corinthians 13.

4:17–24 Paul’s Testimony. Paul explains the new life in Christ that the Ephesians have experienced.

4:17–18 ignorance. Not having saving knowledge of Christ. Hardness of heart. Unwillingness to turn from sin and accept Christ (see Matt. 13:14–15).

4:22 put off your old self. See Col. 3:9–10. As the esv footnote indicates, “self” translates the generic Greek term for “man” or “human.” The “old self” refused to trust and serve Christ. Corrupt. Human hearts are “deceitful above all things, and desperately sick” (Jer. 17:9).

4:23 renewed. The “renewal” or “transformation” of the mind (Rom. 12:2) occurs as believers study and apply God’s Word and begin to think in new and right ways.

Fact: Renewed minds

Renewed minds. Christians sometimes distinguish between “head knowledge” and “heart knowledge.” But the Bible clearly teaches that we are to love and serve the Lord with all that we are, including both our hearts and our minds (4:23; see Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37).

4:24 put on the new self (literally, “man”; see note on v. 22). Believers are created anew after the likeness of God. Compare Gen. 1:27; 1 Cor. 15:49.

4:25–32 Encouragement for a Holy Lifestyle. Paul gives practical examples of how church members strengthen Christ’s body (compare vv. 13–16).

4:26–27 Be angry. Not all anger is sin, but believers should not remain angry. This will only give an opportunity to the devil to do evil.

4:29 Christians are to avoid corrupting talk. They must speak in ways that are good for building up and giving grace, that is, what they say should benefit others rather than corrupting them.

4:30 To grieve the Holy Spirit means to cause Him sorrow by one’s sin. Sealed. See note on 1:13. The day of redemption is the day of Christ’s return (see Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:23).

4:31 All modifies every item in the list. Bitterness may be listed first because it often leads to the other sins Paul names.

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