On Feb 1, 2015, pastor Darin preached from Ephesians 4:1–16, Walking Worthy of Our Calling. If you are a Christian, you have a calling more significant than any other: to be used by God to communicate the truth of how Jesus bore our sins on the cross, and that by God’s grace, we as broken, sinful people have been saved by Jesus through faith alone in His name. So, in v. 1 of our text, Paul “urges”—he strongly appeals as one who cares deeply for them—to walk (live) in manner worthy of that calling. Paul will unpack what that looks like in the rest of Ephesians. In our text, the first thing he points to is living in unity with one another (see vv. 11-16). Throughout the Scriptures, unity is seen a powerful and beautiful thing (Psalm 123; Phil 2:1-8). Unity then is not a side issue.
But what is unity? It does not refer to total agreement with leaders and others. Instead, in verse 13, it is described as attaining the knowledge of Christ—to know more of the person and work of Jesus, where we are all in alignment with His desires, thoughts, methods, actions, and beliefs. The main idea of the text then is that we must live in a manner worthy of our calling in Christ by living in unity with one another. There are three broad themes of how to get this unity the Paul speaks of:
1. By living with humility
a. Verse 2: Humility is basically defined in the text as walking with gentleness, patience, and love toward others. If you write people off, you are being arrogant and not walking in humility. Humility then is always in reference to how we relate to others. Dig deeper: C.S. Lewis helpfully said of humility, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Is your focus constantly on yourself? When others share what’s going on with them, do you quickly turn the conversation back to you?
b. This humility is grounded in the purpose of God in salvation. Dig deeper: Phil 2:5-8 points to the incredible mindset of humility that is in Jesus. He did not cling to His rights and privileges as God, but without ceasing to be God, He humbled Himself and took the form of a servant, becoming a man so that He could die the most humiliating of deaths on the cross to redeem us. This is the same mindset we are to have toward one another—of laying aside our rights and privileges for the sake of others. This is what makes unity possible, because we will no longer will be consumed with our own interests, but the interests of others (Phil 2:4).
2. By using our unique gifts to serve
a. Verse 8 – Christ gave gifts to each of his people. These gifts are to be used to serve one another. Dig deeper: There is great diversity in the body of Christ—we are not all exactly the same, by God’s glorious design. Though there is diversity, there is also to be unity. This is reflective of the Trinity, where there is perfect unity and diversity among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
b. Verses 11-12 - He gave leaders to the church to equip the people on how to use their gifts. God wants the church to come alive with service. Dig deeper: It’s not about positions being filled, but people thriving in the positions that they are called to. What needs to be done in the church? Look for ways you can serve.
3. By getting below the surface with one another
a. Verses 14-15 – We must develop in our trust with one another so that we can be truthful about our struggles. Dig deeper: this is what home groups, and other small groups are all about. But this requires all of us taking the “risk” to be transparent and vulnerable.
b. It is in this speaking and listening that Christ begins to change the church.
a. Verse 10 – Christ has come to fill all things: He does this through His perfect life and death on the cross through which He changes us and conforms us to His image. Because of His devotion to the Father He came to earth, and when He did that He demonstrated His devotion to His people.
b. And His entire life was characterized by truth because He is the truth (John 1:17; 14:6). We thus move forward by trusting the One who is truth incarnate, who humbled Himself and devoted Himself to us. Christ is the ground our unity. And the unity that we are to have is to be reflective of the unity that is found within the Godhead, Father, son, and Holy Spirit, who, from all eternity, dwelled in perfect, joyful fellowship and unity. It is by this unity that we have with one another that we demonstrate that we have come to know the Lord by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (John 17:20-23).