Mike Gerhardt, September 17, 2017, Community – Outline #2, Walk Together, Ephesians 4:1-10. Introduction: There is an art to giving proper gifts. I have always believed if a gift is practical then it is not a real gift. I learned that from Amazon, which will find the perfect impractical gift to give anyone on your list. Other websites promise exotic gifts for the person who has everything. Years ago, there were these chemistry sets you could give to your children that could stink up an entire house in a few seconds (I know from experience) or explode a test tube in a flash of fire. There were parents back then who would give a bb gun to their six-year-old, which provided a wonderful safety lesson for the entire family when they got back from the hospital. Maybe we have learned from giving our children gifts of explosives, hazardous materials and instruments of mass destruction or maybe not. Paul begins this section on the gifts Christ has given (verse 7) to encourage every believer to walk together first in unity based in the unified triune God. Because of the great salvation, we have in Jesus, Paul urges each one to live a life worthy of their calling. Worthy comes from the Greek word axios transliterated axis in English. It could mean of equal weight or in balanced. Elsewhere it is translated consistent. A merchant would weigh your coins or valued product against his coins or valued product until the scales would balance. A believer begins with Christ but they follow through with a consistent life according to your calling.
The passage: Verse 1&2 Live Consistently with your calling. We are the ekklesia, the Church (with a capital C), the called-out ones. We are to live differently than the those around us. We are to be marked with qualities that are in short supply these days. These marks promote unity. Humility (servanthood) a strong understanding of who you are in Christ (look back to chapter one) with modesty and meekness, not pride. Someone has said: Humility is that grace that, when you know you have it, you have lost it. It means knowing ourselves, accepting ourselves, and being ourselves to the glory of God. Gentleness (kindness, meekness not weakness): Keeping our emotional responses in check, not cruel or rude. It is power under control. In the Greek language, this word was used for a soothing medicine, a colt that had been broken, and a soft wind. In each case you have power, but that power is under control. Patience (a calm attitude) having perseverance, not short-tempered, or arrogant. Forbearance (steadfastness, considerate), not apathetic or uncaring. Two good old boys were talking and one said: Jeb, this world is filled with too much ignorance and apathy. Well, Clem, I know I don't care and I don't care to know.
Humility, gentleness, patience, and forbearance comes from the love of Jesus who said in John 15:12 Love each other as I have loved you.
Verse 3. Keep the Unity through the bond of peace. Blessed are the debaters, blessed are the arguers, blessed are the disputants, blessed are the fighters…No, blessed are the Peacemakers.
Verse 4-6. Deuteronomy 6:4 The LORD is one (is Unity). God is Unified. The best example of unity is the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Within the Trinity, there is a procession of authority and responsibility. Jesus said to the Father: not my will but Your will be done. Yet the Godhead together are equal, perfectly united. Uniformity is not the same as unity. Unity comes from within and is a spiritual grace, while uniformity is the result of pressure from without to conform.
One Body - the Church visible. We, at Parkside, are the Local Visible Part of the Body of Christ. We, who are saved, also belong to the Universal Invisible Whole Bride of Christ. One Holy Spirit, One (future) Hope, One Lord Jesus, One Faith (Jude 3: the faith which was once delivered unto the saints), One Baptism (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that comes upon every true believer 1 Corinthians 12:13: For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.).One commentator wrote: We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), but we are never commanded to be baptized with the Spirit, for we have already been baptized by the Spirit at conversion. And One Father in Heaven of all, who is over all and through all and in all. We are children of the same family, loving and serving the same Father, so we ought to be able to walk together in unity. Variety is the spice of life. Some would want us to believe that variety can be the vice of strife. Keep everything the same. Uniformity is safe and comfortable but it is not unity. Variety is why God made you different than me. He gave us different gifts, to be used in different ways for His kingdom. Maybe my style is not your style but let us try celebrating those differences instead of criticizing them. When God gave us gifts, he gave us different ones and the Gifts were given for unity. Grace, in verse seven, is the word Charis meaning gift or spiritual enablement as in this context. It is the root of our word charismatic. Paul then gives a paraphrase of Psalm 68:18. Christ Jesus having led captivity captive (sinful people) by redeeming them, is the Victor and gives them as gifts to the church. Paul explains the words ascended, descended, and gave as the coming of our Lord, his death, burial (lower earthly regions) and resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit to give gifts to His New Church to minister grace to the world around us. We will be studying some of the gifts in two weeks, but for now what is the message for us. I came up with four things: Don't be a hypocrite. If you are truly a redeemed believer in Jesus as Savior and Lord, show it in all you say and do. The Church is Jesus Body here on earth. We are to represent His sacrificial love to others, especially to his family. Kids use to bring in something to school for show and tell. My son brought me to his class on career day. There was a dad who was a plumber who fixes broken pipes, one who was a doctor who fixes broken bones; so Brandon at 8 years old, said: my dad is a pastor and he fixes broken relationships (I think I coached him on the intro). Show people who you really are by your love and tell them it because of Jesus.
Live outside of your skin. So often we know this truth about the church and our calling to be His light to the darkness but we don’t live it out. You know how your mind works: should I go over there to see why that young man is sitting alone and looking so sad or just walk by? I too go through these exercises in being Jesus to others.
Know your faith and your God. Be proactive in learning the Word of God. If you’re dependent on the preaching for all there is to know about the Bible and to feed you truth each week, that it way too long between meals. Life Groups, Discipleship Groups, personal devotions, Family devotions could help keep you from starving. Know your faith and Know the King. Lastly, use your giftedness for His Kingdom. To get a jump start on the gifts you can Read Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. There are many gifts listed there. Bible Scholars do not believe these lists are exhausted. You may very well be gifted for changing diapers in the nursery or teaching Junior high. These gifts aren’t listed but I am sure the Holy Spirit has a special motivation for service in mind especially for you. Sign up and start serving in order to find out your gifted ministry.
Paul began this section with: I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
I can almost hear Paul saying: your call is important to us at the church; your call will be handled in the order in which it was received. Now here’s a question: Is your call still on hold?