Ephesians 4


Ephesians 4:1-3

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.

 

Paul encourages the Ephesians to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1).  The term to "walk" is referring to a lifestyle (see notes on Ephesians 2:1 in lesson 3).   Though we are unworthy when we are called (Ephesians 2:5), God sheds his grace upon us (Ephesians 2:8) and creates something of worth out of us (Ephesians 2:9).  This very creation calls for us to do “good works”  (Ephesians 2:10).  Characteristics of this walk are humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, and maintaining the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).

 

Ephesians 4:4-6

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.

 

There are seven manifestations of unity that are mentioned in Ephesians 4:4-6.  These are described as one:

·      Body - i.e. the church (Ephesians 1:22-23)

·      Spirit - i.e. Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14)

·      Hope - i.e. the hope of eternal life (Ephesians 2:1-9, 12-13)

·      Lord - i.e. Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3)

·      Faith - i.e. in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 1:15)

·      Baptism - i.e. immersion in water to get into Christ (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27)

·     God and Father- i.e. the Creator and All- Powerful One (Ephesians 3:14-15, 20-21)

 

Ephesians 4:7-13

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 parts of 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 pastors 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,

 

When Christ ascended, he gave gifts to his followers so that they could be effective apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11).  These gifts accomplished two purposes (Ephesians 4:12): (1) to equip the saints for the work of ministry and (2) for the building up of the body of Christ (his church). 

 

These gifts, according to Ephesians 4:13, would last until three things happened:

1.   We all attain the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God.

2.   The church reaches mature manhood.

3.   Until we reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

 

Ephesians 4:14-16

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.

 

The purpose of the gifts was so that we would not be like children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine that may take the form of human cunning or by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:14).  The opposite of this would be that we would speak the truth in love and grow up into Christ who is the head (Ephesians 4:15).  The ultimate result of this happening is that the body, the church, is working properly and building itself up in love (Ephesians 4:16).

 

Ephesians 4:17-32

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ! 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

 

Since the church is to be a mature and functioning body, in the last half of Ephesians 4 Paul reminds the Ephesians of the way they learned Christ (Ephesians 4:20) and that the former life is to be “put off” and exchanged for a “new self” (Ephesians 4:21-24). 

                                

Review Questions:

   

1.   Christ gave gifts to individuals that allowed them to serve as apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11).  Why was it important for these gifts to exist in the church?

 

2.   What purpose did these gifted men fill in the early church?

 

3.   Look at Ephesians 4:17-32 and list at least six or more comparisons Paul makes between the “old self” and the “new self.”

 

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