Good morning my friends. It was a good long weekend. It is sad to leave it behind but life is always about moving forward. I hope this is true for us spiritually as well. We are remaining in Ephesians 4 this morning.
For me Ephesians chapter 4 is one of those "eye opening" passages that changes a person's life and the way they see everything. So I plan on staying in this chapter for the next few days. Yesterday we considered the first couple of verses as a continuation from the previous chapter. Today I want us to consider them again but this time in the context of the paragraph:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make 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 when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. vs. 1-6
A worthy life is an empowered life. Empowered to allow the Father's will through us but also empowered to live the example of Christ in us, especially in the Body of Christ. We are empowered by the resurrection power in us (previous chapter) to live a life worthy of the calling we have received, even though we were not worthy to receive it. But now that we have received it we need to allow the power of Jesus in us to transform our lives so that we are completely humble, gentle, patient and loving. These are a few of the fruit of the Spirit that we bear as a result of being Spirit-filled. It is what this fruit allows that also fascinates me: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
Unity was and is a concern and desire Jesus has for us; it was a major theme for Paul; it should be a thing of passion for us to live. It can only exist in the Body when each member understands their responsibility to bear the fruit that the Spirit produces in us. It is by this fruit that we are able to bear with each other; humility, gentleness, patience, love when shared between brothers and sisters can do a lot to cover our weaknesses. We have too much in common with each other not to be united:
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Is this what we see when we see a brother or sister in Jesus; the body, the Spirit, the Lord, the faith, the baptism, God, our Father? That is what we should remind each other of any time we see each other. However, we often see labels instead of Jesus. We say, "He's a Baptist" or "She's Pentecostal" or "They are independent". Even worse, when we look at them we see all the baggage they once carried because the enemy doesn't want us to forget. He continues to sow his seeds of disunity by reminding us of each others past. Come on now, if Jesus' love covers us doesn't it cover everyone who calls on the name of Jesus Christ?
Unity requires the effort of staying submitted to the Spirit so he is able to produce the fruit in us. It is our willingness to bear this fruit and allow others to taste of it that promotes unity on the Church. There are probably a hundred things that would prevent us from becoming friends but there are several major things that have formed us into family. Jesus told us that when the world saw our unity they would know that we belong to him. It is when we fail to live a life worthy of the calling we have received that the world fails to see Jesus.