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John Brown :: Ephesians 4:1-16

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I. INTRODUCTION

A. Last week as we studies Chapter 3 of the book of Ephesians, Paul told the Gentiles that they were equal with the Jews in Christ!

1. In fact we are all equal at the Cross!

B. In Chapter 4 He is going to exhort them to live and act Godly.

1. It is an exhortation to us all regarding our relationships with other believers.

a) Paul shows us how to maintain the unity that should exist amongst Christians.

II. TEXT

A. Ephe 4:1-2 (NKJV) I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech (beg or plead) you to walk worthy (suitable) of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,

1. lowliness = "humble opinion of one's self"

a) Roma 12:3 (NKJV) For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think [of] [himself] more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

2. gentleness = "power under control = meekness"

3. bearing with one another in love = "holding up one another in love"

B. Ephe 4:3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

1. The word "endeavoring" here indicates that we make a real effort to keep unity and peace.

2. Paul is not talking about "uniformity" here but unity!

a) A husband and wife do not always agree on everything but they find a path of peace.

b) Not even brothers and sisters agree on everything, but they love each other and allow differences of opinion.

c) Likewise, Christians should make every effort to focus on the things that matter, not upon personal preferences or prejudices.

(1) The phrase "bond of peace" references the ligaments that hold our joints together.

(2) They "bond" the two bones together, but allow for the freedom of movement of both.

(a) As bothers and sisters in Christ we likewise will be able to keep the unity of the Spirit if we treasure and "hold on" to peace, by letting each other be different!

(b) Psal 133:1 (NKJV) Behold, how good and how pleasant [it] [is] For brethren to dwell together in unity!

(c) Bottom line = we must agree to disagree, agreeably because the work of the Lord is too important to get sidetracked.

C. Ephe 4:4-6 [There] [is] one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of 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 you all.

1. In other words, "You have in common the things that matter the most."

2. Thomas Carlyle said, "Men's hearts ought not to be set against one another, but set with one another, and all against evil only."

D. Ephe 4:7-8 (NKJV) But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 (NKJV) Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men."

1. Paul begins to tell us that although we should do everything we can to keep the unity, that the Lord made us different and gave us all different gifts.

a) He uses a quote from Psalm 68:18 to illustrate his point, then feels like he needs to briefly explain Christ's ascension.

E. Ephe 4:9-10 (NKJV) (Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

1. Paul wants us to know that this is the One and only Jesus Christ, who came from the Father, and returned to the Father!

2. John 3:13 (NKJV) "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, [that] [is], the Son of Man who is in heaven.

3. Now, Paul gets back to his original topic, the gifts that the Lord gave us out of His grace!

F. Ephe 4:11-13 (NKJV) And He Himself gave some [to] [be] apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ

1. We don't have time tonight to go into all the gifts, (We already have that on tape), but I will say this:

a) There are those out there today that say they are apostles and prophets. In fact there are even "Apostles and Prophets schools".

b) But here are the qualifications of an apostle:

(1) They had to have seen the Lord.

(2) They had to be an eyewitness of His resurrection.

(3) They had to be invested with miraculous sign-gifts.

(4) They had to have been chosen directly by the Lord or by the Holy Spirit.

c) And, in the official office of prophet, the prophet was 100% accurate or he was stoned to death!

(1) So, as far as this two "official" offices go, I don't see them in use today!

(2) However the Lord still uses people to start new works like He did the Apostles, and there are people with the gift of speaking forth the word of God!

d) Verse 11 links "pastors and teachers" together, but Romans 12:7 and 1Peter 5:2 list them separately.

(1) But most often you will find that the "pastor - teacher" gifts go together.

e) All these gifts and offices are for one reason: vs. 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ

(1) Please note that the saints are to be doing the work of the ministry!

(2) The saints often feel that they are paying a pastor so, let him and the elders to the work.

(a) But that is not what Paul tell us here.

(b) The pastor, pastors and teaches in order to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, and for the "building up" of the church!

(c) And as that work is done, people mature as they gain (vs. 13) knowledge of the Son of God, and by that knowledge, the unity of the faith grows.

(d) And a by product of maturity is the next 3 verses.

G. Ephe 4:14-16 (NKJV) that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

1. It is much harder to be "tricked" or "deceived" if you know the Truth!

a) It is only the immature that changes what he believes with everyone's opinion. (Whichever way the wind blows at the time)

b) But not all people want to hear the truth, sometimes not even Christians.

(1) Vance Havner, "If we preach the whole counsel of God, we will be accused of extremism, not only by the world but also by a professing church that cannot endure sound doctrine."

2. But, Paul tell us in verse 15 if we speak the truth in love, (Paul is speaking of the body of truth that is Christianity), we are bound to grow up in Christ!

a) Then he goes back to the human body illustration and reminds us that all "2000" body parts work in unity and answer to the brain or head, and our Spiritual Head is Christ!!

(1) And the body of Christ, the Church, should do the same.

(2) If we do, verse 16 tell us according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

1. A church will grow where there is unity and love and the saints are doing the work of the ministry!

III. CONCLUSION

A. We will have to have to do a "part two" with the second half of this Chapter because it is too good to rush it!

1. So, in conclusion, Paul has told us to treasure and work hard at keeping unity and peace in the Church!

2. Then we told that the Lord gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor teachers to help equip us for the work of the ministry.

3. And finally, Paul told us that if we will let the Word of God mature us, and do our part in the work of the ministry with love, the church will grow!

B. Next week Paul give us a list of things we should and shouldn't do as Christians.

1. Christ like qualities we should "put on", and ungodly practices we should "put off".

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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