I. "I THEREFORE THE PRISONER OF THE LORD."
A. Back at the beginning of chapter 3 he speaks of himself as the prisoner of Jesus Christ. The therefore takes you back to this verse.
B. "Beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called."
1. This takes you back to the first three chapters and all the spiritual blessings that you have in Christ Jesus.
2. You have been called to be children of God by adoption.
a. God has accepted you. 1:6
b. God has redeemed you. 1:7
c. He has forgiven your sins. 1:7
d. He has made known to you the mystery of His will. 1:9
e. You have been made heirs of God. 1:11
f. He has sealed you with His Holy Spirit. 1:13
g. He has made you alive together in Christ. 2:5
h. He has saved you by grace. 2:5
i. Seated you in heavenly places in Christ. 2:6
j. He is working in you, to prepare you to accomplish His eternal purposes. 2:10
k. He has brought you near by the blood of Jesus Christ. 2:13
l. He has reconciled you to God. 2:16
m. He has given you access by the Spirit to the Father. 2:18
n. He has made you a fellow citizen of the household of God. 2:19
o. He now indwells you by His Spirit. 2:22
C. Note that Paul does not begin the book with the exhortation to walk worthy.
1. He lays the groundwork in the first three chapters, letting you know what you are in Christ Jesus, and what God has done for you by Christ Jesus, and the power available to you through the Holy Spirit.
2. He has given you all of the equipment necessary to walk worthy.
3. To try to walk worthy without the aid of all that God has done would be an interesting study in frustration and futility.
4. So many sermons exhort the saints on how they should walk, what they should be doing for Jesus, but never instructing them in what God has first done for them. The result is guilt ridden frustrated saints.
D. What it means to walk worthy.
1. Walk in humility.
a. Paul speaks of himself as the least of the Apostles and not even being worthy of being called an apostle, but he said, "By the grace of God I am what I am."
b. In 3:8 he referred to himself as less than the least of all the saints.
c. In the Greek culture humility was not considered a virtue. They had a word megalopsuchia which is mega mind and opposite of humility that they considered a virtue.
d. The reason it is considered a virtue by us is that as Christians we live not for our own glory or worldly recognition, but for the glory of our Lord. "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2. Meekness or gentleness. The Greek word is Praus.
a. Aristotle defined it as the mean between excessive anger and excessive angerlessness. Being too angry and never being angry at all.
b. There are injustices in this would that should make us angry, but we should not be angry over every little thing that happens to us.
c. This same Greek word is used for an animal that has been tamed. Whose great forces are brought into submission and obedience to the trainer.
3. Longsuffering, Greek makrothumia.
a. It is the spirit that never gives up, never concedes defeat. The Romans did not ever even think of losing a war. They might lose a battle but they never saw themselves as defeated.
b. The belief in the ultimate victory.
c. The second meaning is patience with men. The spirit that has the power to take revenge but never does.
d. Paul amplifies it in I Cor. 13
, "Bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things."
e. You see it in a little puppy yapping and nipping at a large dog.
f. It bears insult and injury without complaint.
g. It is one of the characteristics of God.
4. Bearing with one another in love. Agape.
a. In the Greek there are four words for love.
1. Eros - passions.
2. Philia - emotional love.
3. Storge - which is family love.
4. Agape - A word coined for New Testament, love on the spiritual level.
b. When a new word is coined, it is then necessary to define what the new word means.
Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
2. In Galatians we have another definition.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
II. "ENDEAVORING TO KEEP THE INITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE."
A. There have been and are so many divisions in the body of Christ.
B. It is essential that we seek to keep the unity of the Spirit.
1. Further down in the chapter he will speak of the unity of the faith.
2. Man being what he is, that unity of the faith may never come this side of heaven.
a. I think it rather pathetic that so many people are looking forward to heaven to prove that their doctrinal position was correct.
b. They look to it as a place that they can say, "Ya, ya, I told you so."
3. Proverbs tells us that God hates those who cause division among the brethren.
4. Paul told the Romans to mark those who caused divisions among them.
5. In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he said,
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house] of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
6. In the third chapter Paul speaks of the divisions as a mark of carnality.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
7. We need to recognize and even appreciate the diversities in the body of Christ.
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
For the body is not one member, but many.
C. The result of seeking to keep the unity of the Spirit will be the bond of peace.
1. We will be all bound up together in the peace of Christ.
2. It is amazing how so many people will not let you take a neutral stand on issues.
a. The try to force you to get on one side or the other.
b. Many times their whole purpose in getting you to state your position is so that they may argue with you.
3. I believe that there are those who have such inner turmoil and strife within that they are determined that they will not allow anyone else to have peace.
III. I HAVE BEEN CALLED TO BE A REPRESENTATIVE OF JESUS CHRIST. THERE IS NO HIGHER CALLING IN ALL THE WORLD.
A. I need to walk worthy of that calling, by walking in gentleness, even temperedness, patience, and love, as I seek to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.