Ephesians 4:1-13 Unity & Maturity in Christ RG 5/04/2016

Key points from 5/4 Ephesians 1-3 Summary “The Greatest Gifts Ever Given”:

  1. God lavished the believer “IN CHRIST” with His love, grace and mercy.
  2. God has given us EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING “IN CHRIST”
  3. We have been given faith to be accepted into a new family, a new home, access to our heavenly Father, filled with His Spirit and redeemed by His Son.
  4. We are members together, with all believers of every age, in Christ’s body, The Church. We together are being formed into a holy temple where God resides by His Spirit.
  5. Positionally, we are presently seated with Christ in the heavenlies.
  6. We have been sealed by this same Spirit and are guaranteed a heavenly inheritance “IN CHRIST”.

Leading Questions:

  • What unifies, strengthens, and builds the “Body of Christ”?
  • What do we have “FAITH” in?
  • Does what we believe matter?
  • Is what we believe supposed to affect how we behave?
  • How do we distinguish sound teaching from false teaching?

We will discover the answers to these and other questions as we open chapter 4 of Ephesians

 

God’s Word: Ephesians 4:1-13   Unity & Maturity in Christ

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions)? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 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.

 

Questions and Observations:

Vs 1 This verse reminds us where Paul is writing this letter of encouragement from, do you remember?

Paul’s instruction to the church in this verse forms the Central Theme in the Letter to the Ephesians, what is it? How is this based on what you have learned from the contents of Chapters 1-3?

  • Paul is writing this letter while chained to a Roman guard in Rome.
  • The Central Theme is: Live a Life Worth of Your Calling
  • Chapters 1-3 are all about our calling and election unto grace

 

Vs 2 Paul starts this section on unity with explaining the right attitude and heart condition necessary for unity.  Can you name 3 attitudes listed in this verse?  What is the heart condition sited here and again in verse 16.

3 Attitudes:                                                    Heart Condition:

Humility                                                           Love

Gentleness

Patience / Forbearance

Vs 3 How do believers, who are joined together in one body, maintain the Unity of the Spirit?

  • Through the bond of peace (eiréné: one, peace, quietness, rest, complete welfare, wholeness)
  • This infers an understanding of all that God has blessed us with (Ch 1-3) that will keep us from competing with each other and instead seeking to relate to and build each other up in these great truths.

Vs 4-6 These verses form and early creed and understanding of the common faith to which we have been called.  Name these 7 unifying truths critical to the Christian Faith

1 One Body
2 One Spirit
3 One Hope
4 One Lord
5 One Faith
6 One Baptism
7 One God and Father of All, over All, through All, and In All

 

Vs 7 Who determines how the gifts of Grace are given to each member of the church? What are they? See verses 11,12 and for more on the gifts of grace you can look up 1 Corinthians 13-15, Romans 12:3-21, and 1 Peter 4:7-11

  • Jesus, Our Victorious Kings, distributes the spoils of victory in these gifts of grace given to each member of the church.
  • From vs 11-12 Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are a gift to the body of Christ, the church.

 

Vs 8-11 These verses form and Old Testament analogy to what Jesus did through His life, death, resurrection and ascension to the throne over the entire universe.

Like the kings of old: went out to battle; they would have to descend from the throne; come down from the mountain of God in Jerusalem; enter the lower earthly regions; and engage their enemy.  When they gained the victory with God’s help, they would return to Jerusalem.  They would again ascend the mount of God leading captives in their train and distributing the spoils of war to all who were in God’s army.

Likewise, Jesus: descended His throne in heaven; came to these lower earthly regions; He has gained the victory over sin, Satan, death and hell; was resurrected from the dead; ascended into heaven; is seated at God’s right hand above every authority; and is filling the whole universe with gifts of His love and Grace.

 

Vs 11 What are the gifts that Jesus gives His Church listed in vs 11?

  • Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are a gift to the body of Christ, the church.

Vs 12-13 According to these verses what are the purposes for these specific gifts?

  • to equip his people for works of service,
  • so that the body of Christ may be built up (oikodom – properly, a building (edifice) serving as a home; (figuratively) constructive criticism and instruction that builds a person up to be the suitable dwelling place of God, i.e. where the Lord is “at home)
  • until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God
  • become mature,
  • Attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 

Key Points and Principles:

  • Since you have been called into the family of God, Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
  • Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  • Jesus Christ, as the head of the church, determines how God’s grace is administered in the church.
  • Jesus Christ is our victorious king who lead us out of slavery to sin and set us free to serve Him. He is distributing Spiritual Gifts that we are called to use for the building up the Body of Christ.
  • When the Church: grows to maturity; does the good works that God planned for her; keeps the unity of the Spirit in Love; then the world sees the love of God exhibited “In Christ”.