“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.” Ephesians 4:1-3.
The true Christian church is not organized religion, though it is organized as we shall see as we go through Ephesians chapter 4.
The three chapters leading up to our study lay out three basic things among others.
Chapter one shows the believer our complete acceptance in Christ, even the lowliest of sinners is accepted in Jesus, sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, and blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places; this ends with a prayer for every Christian.
“[Paul’s prayer]…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:17-23.
Chapter two contrasts this with the utterly lost and hopeless state which we were in before having accepted Christ as Savior, and then shows us the exalted position we have in Christ, even seating us in the heavenly places.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” Ephesians 2:1-6.
Chapter three examines our part, as part of the body of Christ on earth, namely the church which manifests the wisdom of God to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus Our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” Ephesians 3:8-12.
Chapter four, which we will examine shortly, shows us the organization and reason for the church.
Chapter five shows us our need to walk in Christ; and how to do so.
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2.
And finally chapter six tells us how to stand in Christ against the wiles of the devil.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12.
With this overview we can now return to the first three verses of Ephesians chapter four.
“I [Paul], therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…” Ephesians 4:1.
The word “therefore” takes us back to the end of chapter three shown below.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21.
Since the word “therefore” is referring back to the above prayer and the things preceding it, Ephesians 4:1 might be worded this way:
“I [Paul], [because of the things spoken of earlier]…, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.” Ephesians 4:1.
It is no small thing that the Christian has been called into. We are not only sanctified (set apart) from suffering in hell for eternity and sanctified (set apart) to enter heaven; we are sanctified (set apart) to walk worthy of our calling in Christ. The apostle repeats this call in 1 Thessalonians.
“…as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12.
To walk worthy of the calling of God in Christ Jesus, it must be done in lowliness, and gentleness.
“…with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love…” Ephesians 4:2.
The New American Standard Bible renders lowliness as humility and the word gentleness as meekness, and longsuffering as patience, they are fruits of the Spirit, so they are important in the Christian’s life.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26.
The last sentence above is the exact opposite to lowliness and gentleness. “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:12-17.
The verse above, among other things, tells us to put on love which is the bond of perfection. Think of that, love is the bond of perfection. Perfection something that few of us attain to at anything we do in this life.
“[Jesus answered a scribe] And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31.
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well…” James 2:8.
Our study ends with the following.
“… with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2b-3.
People, even Christian people can be a strain on Christian love. This is why there are words like, longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, and endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12.
Christ’s church – the body of Christ must avoid letting petty differences tear them apart. Otherwise they are easily destroyed as they have been for centuries.
It takes a unified front to rid the body of divisive people who are usually non-Christians.
“Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer [gossip or slanderer], strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer [gossip or slanderer] are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.” Proverbs 26:20-22.
“But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.” Titus 3:9-11.
Men selected for leadership positions in church should not be a new convert, a novice, lest pride creep in.
“…not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside [outside the church], lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:6-7.
The Christian church, being filled with many different individuals, takes a lot of effort on the part of those who by the power of the Holy Spirit, endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Christians’ lack of determination “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” over the centuries is the reason for the current failure of the church to be the salt of the earth, and is now being trampled underfoot by men and false religions.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matthew 5:13.
Salt is a preservative, that rotting stench you smell in the world around you is caused by evil men doing what sinful men naturally do. But this pandemic of evil surrounding us is out of control because Christians are not doing what God has told us to do.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16.
Christ’s Church, Ephesians 4:1-3 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 2-5-16, updated on 5-21-21.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.