Episode #172. Today we’ll read Ephesians chapter 4 together: Paul talks about unity and diversity in the body of Christ and then living the new life we have in Him.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #172. Today we’ll read Ephesians chapter 4 together: Paul talks about unity and diversity in the body of Christ and then living the new life we have in Him.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
I cannot read Ephesians without thinking about my friend, Cindy Grabowski. She is brave and strong and a devoted mom to five grown and nearly-grown Godly children. We have done children’s ministry together…braving church camp and singing and dancing at Vacation Bible School. She and her husband, DavidMark, are pastoring their own church now several towns over and I still miss them.
Cindy is one of those quiet people who does what she does and has no idea the impact she has on those around her. She’s a devout studier of the Word of God and introduced me to the importance of memorizing Scripture.
Now, several years ago, our church did a Beth Moore study on James and that study encouraged the participants to memorize the book of James. And several did! At that time though, I thought it was impossible and I didn’t even try.
Then several years later, Cindy memorized the book of Ephesians. She has since gone on to memorize several more. Because of that, I was inspired to memorize 1 & 2 Peter. And here’s the deal: when you start out by creating an outline and grouping subjects together and then go thru the long process of stacking one memorized verse onto the previous one, you are left with an intimate knowledge – dare I say, relationship – with the book. You just can’t imagine the impact.
Now, I’ve told you before, I have the retention of a gnat. And unless you’re repeating the whole book every single day, it will fade from memory. But the impact – the affection – never does.
Ephesians Chapter 4
Unity and Diversity in the Body of Christ
Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope at your calling — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. For it says:
When he ascended on high,
he took the captives captive;
he gave gifts to people.
No Longer Little Children
But what does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head — Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part.
Living the New Life
Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts. They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
But that is not how you came to know Christ, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit
Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity. Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.
And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Now we begin the three chapters of very practical direction. The living, day in and day out as followers of Christ. Paul moves quickly into pointing out that we all have been given different gifts with which to serve each other and Christ. Or as Paul writes, …to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build ups the body of Christ… with unity of faith, knowledge of Christ, and maturity as our ultimate goals.
He again refers to the human body as a metaphor for the unity of the Church, working together, different parts with each part needed. It’s interesting to me that he prefaces this with the admonition to speak the truth in love, something I’m still working on in my life. Be angry but don’t sin and don’t hold on to it for long. Let it go. Share with each other; help someone in need.
Here’s a tough one, especially if you spend any time at all on the Internet. The foul language and coarse jokes abound. And they’re funny….some of them, at least. But I sure don’t want to be listening, laughing and passing it on when Jesus comes again. What would that say about how I love Him? Let’s pray.
Father God, let us be found doing what pleases You. Not for a reward and not to earn our salvation, but because we love You, we are grateful to You, and we want to be good witnesses to those who don’t know You yet. Indeed, help us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted and forgiving one another, even as You, for Christ’s sake, have forgiven each of us. Amen and Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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