Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, Part Five

In the first three chapters of his letter to the Ephesians Paul writes about the Gospel in great detail. Now in the fourth chapter he begins applying the Gospel to our everyday lives. This is important because you can have the greatest message in the world, which I believe the Gospel is, but if does not apply to our everyday lives then what good is it?

Here is how Chapter four begins:

[1] I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, [2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, [3] eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [4] There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—[5] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, [6] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6, ESV)

He begins by reminding them that he is, “a prisoner for the Lord.” Still today, if we would be as serious as Paul was about applying the Gospel to our lives we could well end up in prison. I think that if I would receive a letter from someone who is in prison, not because they had done anything wrong but simply because of their work in spreading the Gospel, I would pay close attention to it.

Then he continues with what I would call the “Golden Rule” of the Gospel. The Golden Rule of the Ten Commandments is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule of the Gospel is: walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”

One of the reasons the Gospel is so great is because it assures us that we are very precious to the Lord. He gave us his own dear Son, Jesus, for our salvation. So we know that no matter how worthless we may feel we are still very precious to the Lord.

To live a life worthy of the Gospel is to live is such a way that we show that the Gospel is the most precious thing in our lives. It means that whatever we do we want to honor that worthiness with which we have been gifted in the Gospel.

Then Paul gets specific about living a life worthy of our calling: “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.”

Next Paul talks about unity. Unity is one of those things that is two sided.

On one hand there is a unity among believers that is unshakable. Paul writes, “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, on baptism, one God and Father of all.” That unity can never change.

On the other hand we must be eager to maintain unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said, “for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:7, ESV)

Another application of the Gospel to everyday life that Paul talks about in chapter four is called spiritual gifts:

[7] But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. [8] Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

[9] (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? [10] He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) [11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, [12] to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] 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, [14] 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. [15] Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, [16] 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. (Ephesians 4:7-16, ESV)

“Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” The gifts Paul mentions here include apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. Don’t see your gift on this list? More are listed elsewhere. See I Corinthians 12:4-11, I Peter 4:10-11 and Romans 13:6-8. Even things like serving, giving and leading are spiritual gifts.

You may already know exactly what your spiritual gifts are and are using them to build up the body of Christ. Praise the Lord! But many people struggle knowing what their spiritual gifts are and using them to build up the body. If that is your situation I encourage you to ask one or more of your fellow Christians for help. Others can often see our gifts better than we can ourselves.

Because Jesus, the Son of God gave his life for us, we know our lives have ultimate worth. So now as we apply the Gospel to our everyday lives, let us follow the golden rule: always strive to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

 

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