Sunday, June 7, 2009

The KEY: Unity in the Body

Eph 4:1-16.

Live a life worthy.

Given by the Lord.

Each part does its work.
(This is the short answer...)

It is my firm belief that we all want what is best for ourselves and our family. Sometimes, when situations change, it is hard to hold on to those intentions. Something always seems to enter life and with it, brings a mixed bag of problems and interesting changes that must be dealt with over time.

One of the facts of the Holy Scriptures, from were we get all understanding of who God is and what He requires of us is found, is that our walk MUST reflect what we hold in our hearts. Should our hearts be dark and uncertain, then our walk would not be a true one if we act out our Belief system based on falsehoods and un-unbelief. For those who’s walk matches their growing Faith in God, they then are walking the right road and God gets the Glory.

Notice, I said growing Faith. We are not there yet! A process over time. We are not to be discouraged; not give into the pull of the World. We are to run the race of Faith with diligence and with truth.

Such was the case in the Church founded by Paul in Ephesus. It seems that Paul was well pleased with them in every way. We can see from the opening verses that he has been in prayer for them as they were blessed with every spiritual blessing that are found in Christ Jesus.

Paul saw in them such great evidence of their love for others in the Faith (1:15).

He then tells them just what he was praying for them:
Giving thanks for them
For the spirit of wisdom and revelation
For a better understanding of their God
That their eyes would be enlightened
That they will know the Hope they have in Jesus
Then Paul goes into one of his long sentences covering the full council of God—on their behalf.

Paul then explains WHY we are saved. By Grace. Grace alone. That alone covers all the things that had been on his heart for them. God could not love them any more than He does right now. They are IN Jesus, and therefore, all His Grace is on them. Not by works…not by guilt…not by wishing…not by any effort we could muscle up on our own…all by just His Grace---alone. And as he says in 2:10, For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

He called the Believers to remember where they had come from. Outside the Faith. Far from God. 2:12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the Blood of Christ…

What does this mean for us today? Are any of you in some personal pain? Anyone going through a hard time emotionally? Are you feeling alone and forgotten? Yes, even you could feel this and be in the Family of God. That is why He has given us His Holy Spirit to be---what? Our Peace. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.

It means that we are no longer OUTSIDE God’s Grace. All of it! His peace. His Forgiveness. His love. His Grace. His touch—even in the times of hardship. His touch is one of healing—with time—and would cover all our pain and concerns. Over time: a process. Worth the wait.

It means that we are built into Him. Look at verses 19-22. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

This is one of the reasons I love the Church. (Oh, there are some problems with what the church looks like in history and what the church did in history,) but it is His Body and we are His Bride. He loved the Church and so do I. He died for the Church.

Which brings us to Chapter four. There is much in Chapter three, but we shall leave that to someone else to cover and deal with.

Paul starts chapter Four with: As a prisoner for the Lord… Strange way to put it but what a privilege. To be tied to Him. Under His authority. No freedom except what He gives us… No were to go. Tied to Him. Depending on Him. Surrendered to Him. Lost to your own ego and set free to be owned by the God who made the universe. All that in six words in English.

Paul then urges his fellow prisoners to live a life worthy of the calling they have received.
Not to throw the life away to foolish living like the prodigal son.
Not to waste the joy of forgiveness on temporary pleasures.
To walk in such a way that brings total joy to Him who has called us.
Live a life worthy.
Not drifting around like a ship blown by winds of the sea.
Not wasting time with silly petty foolish activities that pull us away from His Love and Service.
Not half-power but full power.
Not weakly following but strongly leading others to that life of worthiness.
Not luke warm but Hot for Jesus.

Living a life that is humble and gentle. Is the word “humble” a positive one in your heart language?
1. modest and unassuming in attitude and behavior

From the other words in this list, we can see that it is not a negative meaning. In fact, looks like the life of Jesus. So live life that way! Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love

You were called to a better way. Called to live a life that is worthy of His calling on you and that we are called as well into ONE HOPE. He is our Peace and He is our Hope. Paul states this as fact. No question about this at all. He is our Peace and He is our Hope!

As we have been looking at the Spiritual Gifts for a few weeks, we can see that Eph 4 continues in this same vein. There is a reason you have been given each a Spiritual Gift. Verse 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up.

We are to be prepared to work for this new life—not in the sense of working so that we get it but working so that we would walk worthily of the Calling.

And He has called us to this walk of Faith. Three reasons are found in the next verse. until
a we all reach unity in the Faith and Possible in Christ Jesus!
b in the knowledge of the Son of God and Our goal is to know Him! Not just a head knowledge nor just a bare accepting Christ to be the Son of God, but the kind of knowledge that brings trust and obedience. There is the FULLNESS in Christ. Never full measure until we arrive in Heaven.
c become mature, So that we are not falling away.

So that the Way of the Cross is followed to bring Him Glory as the result of our obedience. Mature. Isn’t that why we are here this morning. To grow up. To grow up in Jesus. Not to remain satisfied with how things are in our walk but to press on to the FULLNESS of Christ. Mature in Him. Grown up Godly People.
= attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

In no way are we to act as infants. Vs 14-15.
So that each part does its work. Mature and with unity of heart and mind. Working together to build a Kingdom-like community where we love each other and effect the society we live in because of the Grace of God alive in our walk of Faith. That is why we studied Spiritual Gifts!
Verse 16 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