Live What You Believe.
What the world needs now is authentic Christians who are Christians not just by name, but by deed. God’s word is more than a list of “to do’s”. Live out what you say you believe. Don’t be worldly but be godly. Be ready by being in God’s word and being accountable. Our relationships are affected by how faithfully we walk with God. We help our world not by being popular, but by being faithful.
Bible Reading Plan: Ephesians 4-6
In Ephesians 4:7-16, the Apostle Paul is making an appeal to the church at Ephesus and to the church in general for unity and maturity in the body of Christ so the church can grow and fulfill its God-given purpose.
He describes the gifts that have been given to God’s people, the purpose of those gifts, and then challenges them to rise up and be who God made them to be.
The church has many gifts that have been given to it—the gift of salvation, the gift of people, the gifts of the Holy Spirit—but how the church uses these gifts will determine whether or not the church successfully represents Christ to a fallen world.
Live Out What You Have Been Given
The purpose of the gifts and grace from Jesus is to save people and serve God in the church so God’s people and God’s kingdom would grow. But disunity within the church threatens the church’s ability to accomplish the work given to them by Christ.
If God’s people misunderstand the purpose of God’s gifts and calling, a divided church will not accomplish God’s will. Paul sought to teach the church how to be unified in order to accomplish God’s will.
Live Your True Identity
Paul wrote this letter to God’s people to help them understand the gifts of God and their identity in Christ, so they could accomplish God’s will and represent God well to a lost world by being built up, mature and unified through the Holy Spirit.
Live Worthy Lives
First, Paul urges us from the prison he writes from to live worthy lives for Christ.
“Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”
Why walk worthy?
Christ died for us. We don’t take advantage of this grace. We are witnesses of Christ’s transformative power and the Holy Spirit lives within not so we will be worldly, but godly.
Notice Paul says that we have already received a calling. How we live out that calling matters. We need to walk in that calling in a manner that glorified God.
How do we walk worthy?
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
What stops us from being humble? Obviously pride and a preoccupation with self. But something fuels that pride. An offense. We get offended by other people’s treatment of us or perhaps what they have said about us.
This requires care and thoughtfulness. Putting the other person before us.
This means we don’t box people in and define them by their weakness, but seek to give them the same grace we were given.
God’s people need to forgive and let go of shunning and excluding others. We need to be radically different.
We seek to unite, not divide. Sometimes people can feel a sense of belonging by getting people “on their side”. They gossip to get others to hold their view. This does not unite. People are imperfect and will make mistakes, but when we love one another through them while sharing truth with grace and love (as it says in Ephesians 4:15), they can grow and we do, too.
Life is Full of Problems
The church at Ephesus had problems. The culture had problems. Rife with political issues and racism, Paul was crying out for them to be unified.
And into this mess, God gives the church gifts of godly servants to help mature and grow the church to be a healthy, equipped united witness for God. God also gives the gift of salvation.
But we need to think and live differently than the world surrounding us does. We will not be popular for this, but we were not called to popularity, but to faithfulness.
Scripture of the Day: Ephesians 4:17-19
17 “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.”
Don’t live like the gentiles do. We are not supposed to be like the world—We live by a different paradigm. We don’t exalt self but seek to serve.
Our culture today thinks it can be “shameless” just by saying so. But shame does not disappear so easily.
Continuing on in 4:20 to the end of chapter 4, Paul lays out basic guidelines of what a Christian should look like – not as a to-do list of good works, but as expectations and an encouragement to live out the grace we were so graciously given.
We have to come out of the world’s way of thinking:
20 But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21 assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
25 Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the devil an opportunity. 28 Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need.
29 No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Did you catch all of the to do’s?
- Be angry
- Be bitter
- Renewed in Your mind and Spirit
- Put on the new self/Put off the old
- Forgive one another
Simply put, Ephesians 5:15-17 sums it up well:
“15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Pay careful attention, friends. How we live and walk in the LORD matters.
Ephesians 5-6 discuss how to treat our spouses and children and parents. Our relationships are affected by how faithfully we walk with God.
And so how do we do all this? We need the armor of God. Friends, we are in a war. A spiritual battle every day of our lives. But the one who called us is faithful
We put on the armor of God by getting into His word.
“10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. ”
- Live out what you say you believe.
- Don’t fit into this world, but reach the world with godliness.
- Be ready by being in God’s word and being accountable.
- Our relationships are affected by how faithfully we walk with God.
- God’s word is more than a list of to do’s.
- We were not called to popularity, but to faithfulness.
7-Fold One-Year Bible Reading Plan
Day #175: Ephesians 4-6
Scripture of the Day: Ephesians 4:17-19
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