Monday, July 20, 2020

2020.07.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Ephesians 4:1–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle call himself in Ephesians 4:1? What does he beseech them to do? According to what? By what three characteristics is such walking marked (Ephesians 4:2a)? What does such walking do (verse 2b)? What does such walking endeavor to keep (Ephesians 4:3a)? By what have they been bound (verse 3b)? What six things do Ephesians 4:4-5 tell us all believers have in common? Upon what final commonality does Ephesians 4:6 focus, and what does it say about Him? What was given to each believer (Ephesians 4:7a)? Who measured out gifts to each (verse 7b)?
The various callings of church members are all glorious. The apostle had referred to his being imprisoned as a result of the dispensation of God’s grace given to him (Ephesians 3:2) and the role of preaching Christ to the nations as a grace that was given to him (Ephesians 3:8).

Now, he is going to be talking about the one equipping that we all receive (Ephesians 4:8-16) for a kind of life in the world (Ephesians 4:17-24, Ephesians 5:1–16) and in the church (Ephesians 4:25–32, Ephesians 5:17–21) that is expressed in each of our particular callings—whether in marriage (Ephesians 5:22–33), childhood and parenting (Ephesians 6:1–4), or the workplace (Ephesians 6:5–9). Of these particular callings he says in Ephesians 4:7, “to each of us grace was given according to the [portioning out] of Christ’s gift.”

So, the apostle has a calling as an apostle. And each of us have particular callings.

But we also all have one glorious calling—the calling of being a member of Christ’s church, a citizen, a family member, part of God’s glorious house (Ephesians 2:19–22). The church is both a building that is being built upon Christ, and a body that is growing up into Christ (Ephesians 4:15–16). And being a member of the church of the Triune God is the number one calling of every believer.

This is why the manner of our conduct (something that should be similar for each of us, regardless of the particular calling) is the first thing that he deals with before he gets to treating the matter of our conduct (particular actions, Ephesians 4:17–6:9).

Our character comes from this glorious calling to be part of the glory-temple that God has planned to build for Himself in Christ from before time began. This temple, this body, is a single unit, an organic whole being built by the Holy Spirit, so our conduct toward each other needs to reflect that the Spirit is joining us together by means of the peace that Christ has won for us with God and one another (end of Ephesians 4:3, cf. Ephesians 2:14–18). We need to respond to one another not according to the feelings of the moment, but according to the glorious reality of what Christ has done on the cross, what the Spirit is doing in applying it to us, and what we as a body/building shall be at the last when the Lord’s work is done in us.

If we are obsessed with God’s gloriousness, and see other church members as united to Christ, this compels us to “lowliness and gentleness.” If we are acting toward one another as we will wish we had, when we are all perfected in glory, then we will be “longsuffering and bearing with one another” now.

Our faith looks back to God’s testimony about Christ’s finished work, and our baptism is God’s testimony about the method and certainty of the Spirit’s applying that work to us and finishing that work in us and in His whole church—all of whom receive the same testimony from God.

And, if our God and Father, Whose glory is the ultimate purpose of all things, is especially glorified by our longsuffering and bearing with one another, let us be mindful of the fact that this life is our last opportunity for that. Once our brothers and sisters are perfected, they will no longer be sinning against us and giving us this avenue by which to bring this particular glory to God!

Oh, let us be more impressed by God, His glory, and His gospel than by any other factor in how we think of, speak about, and act toward anyone in the body of Christ!
About whom do you most need the reminders about what Christ has done for them, what the Spirit is doing in them, and the Father’s glory in giving His Son and Spirit? How are you going to be reminding yourself? What action are you going to take to reinforce these reminders?
Suggested songs: ARP197 “Christian Unity” or TPH409 “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

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