In Ephesians 1-3 we learned about receiving salvation through Jesus and becoming children of God with many riches in Him. Now, in the rest of Ephesians, now that we are His children, we read how we should now live in this new life! The end in Ephesians 6 lets us know that this kind of life will require a fight and battling with God’s enemy and now ours also.
Ephesians 4: 1-3
Now that you are in God’s family, I beg you to lead a a life worthy of His calling…being lowly in mind, humble, unselfish, gentle, patient with each other, and strive to keep peace and oneness of the Spirit in His power.
Ephesians 4: 4-6
We are especially to love our siblings in Christ. Why? Because we are in one body, one family, one Lord Jesus, one Spirit, one faith, one Father who is authority over us all and lives in us all! Remember, we are to be like Him and His character is love.
Ephesians 4: 7-13
Salvation is not indiscriminate to all, but rather it is individual to those who choose to love Jesus. Jesus descended from heaven to save us and then ascended in victory to set captives free. To His people, He gave varied gifts..some of which are anointed messengers, inspired preachers and teachers, expounders, traveling missionaries, and shepherds of His flock. This was to mature them towards perfection, equip, help to know God fully and accurately, and to become like Jesus.
Ephesians 4: 11-20 Quoted
New International version (CAPS are mine):
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be BUILT UP until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become MATURE, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their DECEITFUL scheming. Instead, speaking the TRUTH in LOVE, we will GROW to become in every respect the mature body of 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.
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must NO LONGER LIVE as the Gentiles (WORLD) do, in the futility of their THINKING. They are darkened in their understanding and SEPARATED from the life of God because of the IGNORANCE that is in them due to the HARDENING of their HEARTS. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to PUT OFF YOUR OLD SELF (COME OUT OF THE WORLD), which is being corrupted by its DECEITFUL desires; to be made new in the ATTITUDE of your MINDS; and to PUT ON THE NEW SELF, created to be like God in TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS (RIGHT STANDING RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD) and HOLINESS (BECOMING PURE – OF 1 SUBSTANCE – HIS SUBSTANCE – NOT A MIXTURE).
How about The Message version:
“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, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”
Ephesians 4: 14
No longer be tossed back and forth between every sudden push being taught and change in doctrine (truth and morals). These are the cunning trickery of unscrupulous men who invent errors to mislead. This is deception. It usually sounds so good and right, but is not. Do not buy into it. This certainly is relevant today as well!
Ephesians 4: 15
Let your life lovingly express truth in everything….speak truth, deal in truth, live in truth. Enfolded in His love, grow up in every way and in all things into Christ Jesus who is the Anointed Head of the family.
Ephesians 4: 16
The family of God is one body with all its various parts. We are to all function properly and all grow to maturity together, building up the body in love.
Ephesians 4: 17-20
Seriously, in Jesus name and God’s presence, we must no longer live like the worldy unbelievers, in their perverse foolishness, vanity, emptiness of soul, and futility of mind. Their willful blindness and hard heart results in darkened reasoning and immorality. Their spiritual apathy makes them callous and reckless, with unbridled sensuality and greedy indulgence in every form of iniquity. This is not what you learn and practice if you are in Christ.
Ephesians 4: 21-24
These verses begin by saying that all truth is embodied and personified in Jesus. Now that we are in Jesus, we are to throw away our old unrenewed self and corrupt manner of life which was springing from delusion. We should be constantly renewed in a right and true mental and spiritual attitude. Put on our new nature created in God’s image into true righteousness and truth. Follow Jesus.
Ephesians 4: 25-32
More instructions for good living…
- Reject falsity and express truth.
- Control your anger, exasperation, indignation…making sure it is dealt with before sundown. Not letting Satan get opportunity.
- Do not steal, but be honestly industrious, even able to share with others.
- Let no foul, polluting, unwholesome, worthless or evil talk come from your mouth. Speak what is good and true, beneficial to spiritual progress, fitting the need and occasion, to bless and extend God’s grace when heard.
- Do not grieve, vex, offenc, or sadden the Holy Spirit who seals and marks you for the day of final deliverance through Jesus.
- Banish from you all spite, ill will, or baseness….as in bitterness, indignation, passion, rage, resentment, anger, quarreling, brawling, clamor, contention….and evil speaking, slander, gossip, abusive talk, and blasphemy.
7.God in Jesus forgave you, so become kind, helpful, useful, compassionate, understanding, ready and freely forgiving.
Now, there is a challenging assignement from our Lord! Try to be like Jesus!