Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ephesians 4-6:9

Eph. 4:1-16 – Believers called to Unity

How can you live a life worthy of His calling?  Your conduct should show that Christ has been made alive in your life.  In living such a life you should be humble, gentle, patient, loving, forgiving and keep in unity of the Holy Spirit.  You can do this by doing what Jesus did follow His example.  He was forgiving and loving.  You must keep your eyes on Him.

This would also apply to the church.  We should not be so petty about things and always want our way.  It’s all about Jesus, not you!  We should have organic unity.  Organic means being made of interdependent parts with each having its own gifts - like the human body.  Each part of the body is different, but depends on each other for unity to make up the body.  Another example is the Bible.  It was written by several different writers, but altogether they make up the book known as the Bible.  Another is the church.  We each have different gifts, but altogether we are unified together making the church.

There is hostility toward Christians in the world.  Our selfish desires certainly give the world something to talk about.  God wants to give the world something to talk about, but not about our faults and shortcomings.  In order to do that, the world needs to know who we are and see us living in humility, holiness, and submission.  God wants them to see how much He loves us, how Christ died for our sins, and how He’s living in us.

We all want peace in the world.  Peace comes from Jesus.  Jesus is our peace.  A worthy walk begins in the heart.  We need to have inward attitudes.  “Be humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Eph. 4:2).  This all leads to unity.  In John 17 Jesus prayed for unity.  Christian should be different that those who belong to the world.

Humility is the opposite of pride.  Pride is the first sin.  Sin in general is some form of pride.  Humility begins with self awareness.  Knowing who we are in Christ develops humility.  Living in humility will bring meekness.  It’s power under control.

Patience is longsuffering and can endure discomfort without fighting back and never give in to circumstances.  It’s hanging in there and trusting.

What would the world be saying about you or your church?
How would others describe your church?
How committed are you to living humble, loving and patient?  You can’t do it on your own.

These character traits will lead us to His purposes.

There are seven ways Christians are united:
1 Body – We all share in the body of Christ.  All Christians make up the body called the church which Christ is the head.
1 Spirit – We all receive the same Spirit – the Holy Spirit
1 Hope – We all have 1 hope in Christ and the promise of God of eternal life
1 Lord – there is only 1 Lord and He is the head of the Church
1 Faith – We all have faith in Christ who is our foundation
1 Baptism – We all were baptized in the Spirit when we believed.
1 God and Father – There is only 1 true God

Christ gave different kinds of gifts to us and we give them to the church.
Apostles – Apostles are sent by God to do special work.  They lead by example, they teach, they comfort, they endure hardships, they glorify the church.
Prophets – A prophet is someone who speaks for God.  They warn, direct, encourage, teach, counsel, and bring the Word of God to the people.
Evangelists – An evangelist is someone who seeks to convert others to Christ.
Pastors and Teachers – They teach the Word of God, help us to understand the Word, shepherd the flock, oversee the church, and pray for the members and model Christ.

These gifts make us stronger and build us up.  We expect Pastors to do it all, but it’s the responsibility of every believer.  If you could build up other Christians in your home, church or relationships; you would be encouraging, quick to forgive, be humble, be understanding, would keep their secrets, always be positive and not be judgmental.

Christians walk in unity when joined together in humility and love.

Eph. 4:13-14 should be the goal of a Christian.  We would become mature as Christians and no longer be deceived.  We would know the truth and become more like Jesus.  We can avoid being childish by staying in the Word, listen to the Holy Spirit, be thankful in all circumstances, put God in the center of our lives and stay on our knees in prayer.  We can speak the truth allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you.  We can speak the truth in love with humility and not be offensive or judgmental.  We can grow up into Christ in all things by trusting Him in all things, being thankful in all things, praying and staying in His Word.

How would one describe your humility?  We are to be completely humble.
What are you doing to build and maintain unity in your church?

Eph. 4:17-5:20 – Believers called to Holiness

To walk worthy life has to change.  The key is to be different than your old self and it begins with your thinking.  Our old desires have to die.  We need to feed the desire for God and starve any desire outside of Christ.  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”(Rom. 12:2).  God’s plan is we walk in holiness – called sanctification.  We should intentionally engage with the Lord – in His Word, in prayer, in listening to Him, in worship and in service to Him and others.

Eph. 4:17-5:21 tells us what we as Christians should put off and put on:
Verse              Put Off                      
4:23                old self
4:24                falsehoods
4:26-27          in anger do not sin and while in anger do not give the devil a foothold.   Anger is not a sin.  It’s what you do with it.
4:28                stealing
4:29                unwholesome talk
4:30                grieving the Holy Spirit – He will never leave you, but He grieves when you sin.          
4:31                 bitterness, anger, rage, brawling, slander, every form of malice
5:3      `          any hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity or greed
5:4                  obscenity, foolish talk, course joking
5:6                  let no one deceive you with empty words
5:11                 have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness
5:15                 living unwise
5:17                 being foolish
5:18                getting drunk with wine

Verse              Put On
4:23                new thinking
4:24                new self
4:25                speaking truthfully
4:28                working and doing something useful so you can share with those in need
4:29                building up others
4:32                kindness, compassion, forgiveness
5:1-2               being imitators of God and live a life of love – As we imitate Him we honor Him.  We say to the world what Jesus did matters.  It says I don’t want you to see me, but Him.
5:4                  thanksgiving
5:9-10             living as children of light and please God
5:11                 exposing deeds of darkness
5:15                 living wisely
5:17                 understanding the Lord’s will
5:18                being filled with the Spirit
5:19-20          speaking in hymns, psalms, make music in your heart and always give thanks
5:21                 submitting to one another out of reverence to Christ

How will you put into practice these things?

If we used these principles in our homes and businesses, we would be setting the right examples for our children and others.  There would be no disrespect and the pride that is so prevalent today.

Believers will imitate God’s character to the extent we surrender our minds and hearts to His Spirit and truth.

What do you need to surrender?  Is it bitterness, your tongue, anger, a hint of sexual immorality in your mind or you heart?  Playing out sexual immorality has to go.
How visible is He in you?

Eph. 5:20-6:9 – Believers called to Submission

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, love you wives, just as Christ love the church and gave himself up for to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”(Eph 5:22-24).  By human nature we want to promote ourselves, but the Holy Spirit enables us to submit.  We are to develop an attitude of submission.  We need to yield to one another out of love.   After all, aren’t we to be followers of Jesus?  He submitted to God to die on the cross.  We are to be humble and not self-seeking.  Paul gives us the order of God to man and man to woman in 1 Cor. 11:3“Now I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”  This doesn’t mean that a wife should obey her husband as a child would obey his parents or be like a slave to his master.  This is God’s order of authority and submission and is only possible in those who are filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.  We are trusting God to direct our lives.  Submission does not cancel out equality.  We are all equal in the sight of God.  We as Christians are to submit to other Christians. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”Eph. 5:21.

Submission is God’s goal.  We honor and respect Him through our submission.  Submission in marriage is easier when we submit to Christ.  Submission to your husband is honoring the Lord.  Submission to you wife is a form of sacrifice to Christ.  A Christian marriage is a description of the church.

Will you entrust your husband to God?  If you have a Christian husband, thank God for him. 

To teach your children to obey God isn’t easy.  They have little sinful hearts and must be trained to obey.  You should teach that this is a command of the Lord.  Obedience enriches our character. 

Are you a parent that is easy to respect and love?
Do you make this a command hard for them to obey?
How intentional are you in training your child?
How are you as a wife or husband?

Our reverence to God displayed in relationships honor God and others.

How is your life giving impressions to others about Jesus?  As we live by the Spirit of God we reflect Him.

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