Eph 4:1-3 the Worthy Walk
Dec 2, 2017 // By:Dave // No Comment
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 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.” -NASB
The Message brings this out:
“In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.”
Paul’s epistle to Ephesus stands out as one of his most formal letters. While 2nd Corinthians and Galatians are full of personal touches (either about his own life or those of the readers), this letter is far more formal and deals with topics at the core of christianity.
I have to admit, I have been looking forward to “crossing over” in the book of Ephesians. The entire epistle is set up like a big “if-then” statement. You could look at as a six chapter letter with the first three chapters focusing on truths of the faith, followed by three chapters of applications of those truths. It still boils down to “if’s” and “then’s”. Most people will agree that believing something to be true should somehow affect how you react or respond to that truth.
By this I mean:
- If you believe the ice will hold your weight, then you are not afraid to walk out onto it.
- If you are purposely chosen, then this is the purpose-driven response
- If you are given this, then this is what you can do with it.
- If you are invested with power, then this is what you should be doing with that power.
- If you are given a gift, then you should receive the gift, open it, and use it to honor the giver.
Chapters 1-3 are the “IF“, and this is why chapter 4:1 starts with “Therefore …” which is the “THEN“.
Paul starts the “then” of the equation by reminding the readers (which includes you and I) to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called.
- Understand that you have, in fact, been called by God. You did not call yourself to Jesus Christ, the Father called you to His Son. (convicted by the Spirit in John 16:8 as the Father draws us to the Savior John 6:44)
- This means the calling is not our determination or definition; it is His calling on us. He sets the purpose for our walk, our very existence, not ourselves. Psalm 138:8, Jer 29:11, Rom 8:28
- We are to walk this walk, live this life, and run this race in a manner worthy of the calling upon us. (running the race also in Acts 20:23-24, Phil 3:14-16, Heb 12:1, 2 Tim 4:7)
What defines the “worthiness of this walk” ?
What defines a “race well run” ?
Paul briefly explains how in verses 2-3. There are three groupings offered between these verses. They are written in what seems to be another example of parallelism. (each statement is using different wording to define the same concept or idea with another facet or view)
- all humility, gentleness, and patience
- tolerating one another in love
- diligently preserving the unity of the Spirit (in the bond of peace)
These three points are all describing the same thing with different wording, but they work together to give us an expanded idea of the “life worthy of the calling”.
The entire things boils down to the Unity of the Body of Christ.
Let’s look again at the Message version of the calling in verse 3:
…steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
Eph 4:4-6 goes on to define the source of the oneness and the oneness we are actually called to: one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father …
Our worthy walk, a life offered up in sacrifice that is worthy to be offered up is one lived for the unity of the Body of Christ ! (Rom 12:1)
What are some practical applications of this ?
- placing others needs above your own (bring a servant just like our Lord)
- being patient and gentle with one another (rather than being short, judgemental, quick to assume the worst motive, etc)
- be quick to forgive offenses from others
- Christ payed for that offense
- Father forgave that offense through Christ
- How does the offense compare to all the offences Jesus paid for you?
Let’s face it, one of the greatest reasons we have so many denominations in protestant christianity is the following: “being right means more to us than being united” (meaning we are more willing to seperate into different groups over minor doctrines, than we are concerned with living and functioning as one Body under one Head, Jesus Christ)
Think back over the last week and the dealings with people. Now replay those with the “what-if” tool:
- What if I had refused to judge, or make bad assumptions?
- What if I assumed the best, and served that person who offended me?
- What if I spent less time protecting myself and sought to protect others instead (not just phsycially, but their reputation, their feelings, their relationships)
- What if I took every single situation that occured in my life and my very first thought was “how can I bring God’s grace and love into this?“
I do not bring out these things to condemn anyone, since I share the same ministry as all of you (who are in Him), the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:11-21). I bring these points out so that we may:
- “walk worthy of the calling”. (Eph 4:1-3)
- be the living sacrifice offered up to the Father. (Rom 12:1)
- be transformed into Christlikeness from the inside out (Rom 12:2)
- be a spotless bride when Christ returned as the bridegroom (Eph 5:27)
Jesus Christ did not die on the cross just to, one day, get us into heaven. He died and rose to get Heaven into us, and to empower us to encourage Heaven into each other.
The Father called us to the Son.
The Son lifts us to the Father.
The Spirit seals us and empowers us to show all three to one other.
All Three desire us, and gave to us so that we would understand and be able to love Him and each other. God’s utmost desire for each of us is intimacy with Him and then with each other. Matt 11:25-30, Rev 21:2-4. Unity of the Body of Christ would be the result of that achieved intimacy. If we would believe and trust that our Father’s purpose for us is better than our own, we would more quickly grow in that purpose and contribute to the unity of the body that Paul reminds us that the Father so dearly desires for us to enjoy.
Now that’s a worthy walk !
(If this impacted you, let me know (encouragement is good for all of us 🙂 )
εν διακονια τω θεω, Dave Cadieux