Ephesians 4 … Consider His Call to Unity

Originally posted: 9/21/2020

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also 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, (4:4-6).

There’s an urgency in Paul’s tone.

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, (4:1).

The book of Ephesians is said to be composed the way preachers prepare a sermon. Always begin with doctrine; then move to application. In the first half of his letter in chapters 1 through 3, Paul painstakingly explained the surpassing riches of His grace in Christ; salvation as the undeserved gift of His grace and never of works, received by faith; and that His offer of salvation to all nations has been His purpose for all of eternity.

And now, armed with this doctrinal teaching, Paul implores the Ephesians to be compelled by their knowledge of truth and put into practice what they know; to choose to live a life that is in harmony with who they now are, and more importantly, Whose they now are.

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, (4:1).

And Paul goes on to describe how a life worthy of His calling is to be walked out.

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, (4:2-3).

Paul urged the believers in Ephesus to be attentive, to be diligent to preserve the Unity of the Spirit. Because the truth is, when God’s children live in Unity, the Spirit of God reveals Himself to a lost and dying world through His church. His Call to Unity is the means in which a world fraught with discord will be drawn to Him, as they witness a group of flawed individuals who bring God glory as they humbly and obediently bind themselves together in the Spirit’s peace.

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Romans 15:5-6).

Consider His Call to Unity

He has given everything needed to answer His Call to Unity

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; (4:11-12).

  • His Call to Unity is His Call to pursue maturity and wisdom in Christ.
    • until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; (4:13-14).
  • His Call to Unity is His Call to speak the truth in love.
    • but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, (4:15).
  • His Call to Unity is His Call to grow in love.
    • from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love, (4:16).
  • His Call to Unity is His call to renew our minds in His truth and likeness.
    • and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth, (4:23-24).
  • His Call to Unity is His Call to discipline our emotions.
    • Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity, (4:26-27).
  • His Call to Unity is His Call to walk in purity and grace.
    •  Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear, (4:29).
  • His Call to Unity is His Call to extend the peace of His Holy Spirit.
    • Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice, (4:30-31).
  • His Call to Unity is His Call to demonstrate His kind forgiveness to others.
    • Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you, (4:32).

How do we respond to His Call to Unity?

Maybe you’re feeling a bit conflicted and left wondering, how are we really supposed to answer His Call to Unity?

Paul exhorted the Ephesians to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Now there’s a thought! Living in Unity and peace. But did you find yourself retreating into the “if only” world? I sure did. If only churches would follow Paul’s exhortation. If only our nation would remember our founding principles. If only families would seek to display His humility. And then it happened. Uh oh… if only… I… Ouch.

God Calls us to Unity because when we are United, the world sees Him.

A few sayings came to mind: “We might be the only Bible some people ever read.”
And then there’s this one: “There’s two reasons that people are not Christian… 1: They’ve never met a Christian; or 2: They’ve met a Christian.” Ouch.

So how do we answer His Call to Unity so the world will not only see Him but will want to know Him? Paul provides some very wise counsel in this chapter: Almost like a list of dos and don’ts for Unity.

Dos: Be humble. Be patient. Be gentle. Be tolerant. Be loving. Be diligent to keep the peace. Lay aside your old self. Lay aside falsehood. Put on the new self. Be truthful. Share with those in need. Speak words that edify. Be kind. Be nice. Be tender-hearted. Be forgiving.

Don’ts: Don’t be childish. Don’t walk like you used to. Don’t steal anymore. Don’t sin in your anger. Don’t give the devil a foothold. Don’t trash talk. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit. Don’t be bitter. Don’t be wrathful. Don’t be argumentative. Don’t slander. Don’t be hateful.

So really, His Call to Unity is really His Call to be like Him. And that is a pretty tall order. Impossible really. Way beyond our reach, in and of ourselves.

But, if we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap of attempting the Christian walk by checking off our list of dos and don’ts. And if we’re checking off our own list, there’s a good chance we’re keeping tabs on the lists of others too. So how are we ever supposed to answer His Call to Unity, this impossible feat that is clearly way beyond our reach?

Jesus gave us the answer. We can never answer His Call to Unity in and of ourselves.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me,” (Luke 9:23).

    • As we deny ourselves, we will be strengthened to answer His Call to Unity.
    • As we take up our cross (die to self) every day, we will be enabled to answer His Call to Unity.
    • As we follow Him, He will lead us in the way to answer His Call to Unity.

Unity was on the heart of Jesus the night he was betrayed. He knew He was going to the cross and He prayed that we would be perfected in Unity. Because when we are, people will believe. Because Unity is His supernatural work of grace.

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me, (John 17:20-23).

The dos and don’ts will come; but not because we are striving, in and of ourselves, to live by the law; but rather the result of living in surrendered faith as we trust His life in us, to enable us to live a life that is in harmony with who and Whose we now are.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly,” (Galatians 2:20-21).

Oh let us ask Him to grow us that we would live our life, not dependent on our works, but by faith in Him. Because He died for us, and we died with Him, we can daily die to self and be empowered to answer His Call to Unity.

Let’s Grow Together!

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