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Themes of Ephesians Chapter Four

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord  , beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The concept of the call .

Vocation (Greek: klesis); means “Calling.”
Calling: the definite impression, feeling, conviction that you are supposed to do something specific with your life. (1 Corinthians 7:20-22)
Sometimes audible, usually the “inner” voice .
Rejecting the call does not cancel the call. (Romans 11:29; Jonah)
We are all called to some level of service. (Romans 1:1; 1:7) Each level is increasingly more focused and restricting.
Are you doing what God called you to do?

Walking worthy of the call.

“Be all you can be.”
Diligent, serious, committed .
Excellent , high standards, visionary.

Attitude toward your call.

Lowly, meek, longsuffering.
Forbearing others.
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 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.

This is a prime example of truth within truth, or cocooned scriptures. While Paul is teaching us about the overall unity of our calling, he refers to the oneness of God. In so doing, he teaches both. (Eg: marriage (Eph. 5), hair, communion, (1 Cor. 11).

This also addresses the pagan ideas of diverse gods.

7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity  captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill  all things.)

We all have an unlimited supply of grace, given by the accomplishment of Calvary.
Christ’s ascension enabled him to give us gifts of our calling.

Psalm 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

This is called a targum of the Scriptures. It is a paraphrase of the Hebrew scriptures in the Aramaic vernacular. Here, Paul likens Christ to Moses ascending Mt. Sinai and bring down the law to the Israelite nation.

Leading captivity captive means that he overtook Satan and spoiled him.

Colossians 2:15.
Jesus ascended and descended. The descension of Jesus is on two levels.
He descended from heaven to earth, from deity to humanity. (Phil. 2:7)
He descended from life to death. (Phil 2:8; Acts 2:27; Romans 10:7).

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Five -fold ministry:

Apostles: Sent ones, usually to regions, nations.
Prophets: Preachers, revivalists, special messengers.
Evangelists: Bearers of good news, preachers to the lost.
Pastors: Shepherds, guiding and caring for the needs of the flock.
Teachers: Those who help others to understand.

Some people are multi-gifted, some are single gifted; all are important for the advancement of the church.

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Perfecting: Completing, equipping , correcting all that is deficient.
Work of their ministry: Every person has an individual gift and calling.
He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, (The Message)

Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger. (New Century Version)
To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. (New International Version.)
The sense of this scripture seems to be that God placed each person in the body of Christ for a specific reason and purpose .

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Every gift and every minister should have the unity of the faith as the common goal. We are not to strive, be jealous of each other or seek to advance our own agenda at the expense of the welfare of the church. Factions, cliques, parties and church splits violate the spirit of this scripture. (Surviving Church Storms).

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

This is an admonition to be mature , stable, anchored to the truth and not gullible.

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (New International Version).

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

God has given us teachers who have taught us the truths of the Word. He expects us to honor their teachings and to continue in them. A word of caution here: Be very careful when you go out in search of various teachers and teachings, and forsake the teachers that God has put in your life. You will most likely seek out teachers who say what you want them to say.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3.

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

The “spirit” of your mind refers to the attitude , not to cognitive processes. Regardless of how true or thorough the pastor’s teaching is, if your attitude is not right, you will not receive it.

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Live your faith. The greatest principles in the world are of no value if they cannot be translated into practical, literal actions of the body and mind.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein , he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:22-25.)

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

There is no need to tell us to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving if we were not challenged in these areas. You cannot demand that people treat you right. You can only demand right attitudes and righteous living of yourself.

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