Equipping The Church

First time to this blog? If you’d like to follow – them click on the ribbon at the bottom right of the page to receive this by email as it’s published weekly.
Ephesians 4 – Part 2

. . . put on the new self [man] which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Ephesians 4:24 New American Standard).

Ephesians 4:11-24 New American Standard
Ephesians 4:11-24 New Living Translation
Ephesians 4:11-24 In your Bible

Paul delineates positions in the church for the purpose of equipping the believers for God’s work. Then he continues to elaborate on how the believer should live in a manner worthy of his calling.

Gifts for the Church

* Apostles or special messengers
* Prophets or forth-tellers of the will of God by the Holy Spirit
* Evangelists or preachers of the gospel or missionaries
* Pastors or shepherds of his flock
* Teachers

The only thing to keep believers rock solid in their faith. . . is an intimate connection with Jesus Christ – the head and the directing mind of the whole body [the church]. * The goal for the believer is to become mature and complete in Christ. Keep on keeping on in Jesus.

Live a Godly Life

Paul starts by saying the believer should leave behind all ungodliness. Instead there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness—righteous holy and true (Ephesians 4:23,24 New Living Translation).

Prayer: Father, I want to be useful in the body of Christ and stay connected Help me listen for your voice, be available, grow up in Christ your Son.

Questions: How do you now see positions God ordained for the church? What do you need to do to transform your life and create a new you in Christ?

* Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, The Daily Study Bible, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1958. pp 178-179.

Walk In A Manner Worthy Of Your Calling

I therefore, a prisoner of the Lord, entrust you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. . . (Ephesians 4:1 The New American Standard).

Ephesians 4:1-6 New American Standard
Ephesians 4:1-6 In your Bible

Chapter four of Ephesians commands special attention. In order for these parts to sink in and edify us, we will study it in 3 shorter sections.

Called by God

Paul begs believers to walk (or lead a life) a manner worthy of your calling. His choice of the word worthy emphasizes salvation is a magnificent gift and wonderfully liberating.

Paul lists character attributes that believers need to develop:
* Be humble and gentle
* Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love
* Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit
* Bind yourselves in peace

He emphasizes the always keep: United in the Holy Spirit and bound in peace. Jesus exemplifies all these (and many more) attributes because he was led by the Holy Spirit.

God is All in All

Paul boldly declares the uniqueness and unity of the believers. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6 New American Standard).

We often hear this verse shortened to one Lord, one faith, one baptism. This is true, however the whole verse, including one Lord, one faith, one baptism declares God is our Father who is all and in all. Wow. Selah.

Prayer: Father, thank you for calling me. And blessed am I who can call you Father.

Questions: What is your impression of the phrase worthy of your calling? What does it mean to you that God is over, through, and in all things? How can this be?

God’s Plan

I was chosen to explain to everyone this plan that God, the Creator of all things had kept secret from the beginning. God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:9-11 New Living Translation).

Ephesians 3 – New Living Translation
Ephesians 3 – In Your Bible

Paul boldly proclaims his job is to preach the unfathomable riches of Christ Jesus. He is awed by the task and praises God for this opportunity.

Paul’s Prays for All Believers

Paul humbly falls to his knees before God and prays for all believers:

  • That God will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit
  • That Christ will have his home in your heart as you trust him
  • That you will grow into God’s love and keep you strong
  • That you may understand how wide, long, high, and deep God’s love is
  • That you experience the love of Christ (though too great to fully understand)
  • That you will be made complete (with the fullness of life and power from God)

Doxology

Paul continues with this powerful praise:

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20,21 New Living Translation).

Prayer: Father, thank you for disclosing your magnificent plan. Help me comprehend all you have for me and embrace it.

Questions: Have you ever thought that God has secret plans for you? Take time to write how this chapter expands your understanding of God’s plans for you.

Oneness And Peace In Christ

For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us  (Ephesians 2:14 New Living Bible).

Ephesians 2:11-22 The Amplified Bible
Ephesians 2:11-22 New Living Bible
Ephesians 2:11-22 In Your Bible

Ephesians is rich. Each Scripture hits home with truth to examine closely. Fewer of my thoughts and more of Gods Word is intentional.

Peace Through Christ Jesus

Paul taught the Ephesian Gentiles what Jesus accomplished. Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:11a, 13 New Living Bible).

Brought Near By Christ

The Amplified Bible gives us deeper understanding. Pause and meditate (Selah):

And [He designed] to reconcile to God both [Jew and Gentile, united] in a single body by means of His cross, thereby killing the mutual enmity and bringing the feud to an end . . . For it is through Him that we both [whether far off or near] now have an introduction (access) by one [Holy] Spirit to the Father [so that we are able to approach Him] (Ephesians 2:16,18 Amplified Bible)

Prayer: Father, until I met Jesus, I knew nothing of what you planned for me. Thank you for access to you and your overwhelming peace and love.

Questions: When you see the words Jews and Gentiles. Can you see the anguish Jews had at Paul’s teaching that Jews and Gentiles can be one in Christ? How does this historical situation apply to you today?