Nov15MonNovember 15, 2021
NLT 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,6 one God and Father of all,who is over all, in all, and living through all.
We have come to the transition point in the book of Ephesians. As I said last week, we had 3 chapters of theology, now we get 3 chapters of application of that theology in our lives. Or, as I read somewhere: “Ephesians 1-3 = How God sees us in Christ; Ephesians 4-6 = How the world should see Christ in us.”
In Chapter 4:1, Paul exhorts us to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called”(NKJ). Remember that God chose you out of the world, to be holy and blameless (Eph. 1:4). The church is the “ekklesia” – the called out ones. He literally called out to you, and by the awakening and regeneration of Holy Spirit, you heard that call, responded and answered the call. Now, we need to walk out that call, in a lifestyle that best reflects the One who called us and the reason for which He called us – namely holiness (1Cor. 1:2; 2Tim. 1:9; 1Pet. 1:15). By holiness, we mean a completely different people than the world – a people set apart from the world, that does not live to satisfy self, but lives to please Jesus and to reflect the new kingdom community of God. That is why Paul so emphatically emphasizes unity. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (NIV). I believe this is the heart of the passage – unity requires effort. No one likes division. Quarreling, fighting, arguing over trivial matters is not fun. Yet, the church has an ugly track record - 40,000 denominations prove it. Division has been around since the beginning of the church 2,000 years ago. We are continually warned to not be divided (Rom. 16:17-18; 1Cor. 1:10-13; 1Cor. 11:17-22; Titus 3:9-10; Jude 1:16-19). Actually, the Greek word for “make every effort” in verse 3 is a very strong word which implies a difficult challenge that will require a strong determination and resolve to accomplish the mission of unity. In other words, it’s not going to be easy, but we must give it all we’ve got! It is a mission we must all endeavor to undertake. Some of us have become really good at this unity thing, trying to keep peace and harmony in our own homes, between the members of the household.
Thankfully, Paul under the leading of Holy Spirit has given us a 3-fold formula for maintaining unity. It is found in verse 2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Notice first of all, the adjective “completely” or “all”, which means full, absolute, the greatest amount possible. In other words, give your 100% best effort to being:
We cannot ignore the role of Holy Spirit in enabling believers, both corporately and individually to operate in unity. Only He can give us the above character to maintain unity amongst ourselves in the church and in our earthly relationships. Peace, unity, love, humility, gentleness, and patience are all the fruit of a life lived in communion with and led by Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
I leave you with an amazing passage from Colossians to meditate on this week.
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.
(Colossians 3:12-17 - NLT)