Friday, December 14, 2012

Living Together

In a study of Ephesians 4:1-16, you will find that it is one of the most important practical teachings in the New Testament about the structure and work of a church.  The book of Ephesians consist of six chapters.  In first three chapters are doctrinal; Paul described how God called the church into existence before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1: 4); Paul reminds us how God redeemed the church through the blood of Jesus (1:7); Our last lesson showed how the church was to be used in the unification of the Jews and the Gentiles into one body (2:11-22), and that a church fulfills God's purpose when it lives in unity through the Holy Spirit.  Now, Paul begins teaching life applications to the doctrine in Chapter 4.

In Paul letter to the Ephesians he discusses how they should live in a practical sense.  He tells them to live (walk) in a way that would be worthy of the calling God has given them.  How should we act (walk)?  What constitutes a Christian lifestyle? What characteristics should we possess? We should walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4).  We should walk after the Spirit (Romans 6:8).  We should walk in honesty (Romans 13:13).  We should walk in faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).  We should walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10). And, we should walk in love (Ephesians 5:2).  As we strive to meet God's expectation to live in unity of the Spirit and have peace with one another, we should be humble, gentle, patient, and love  each other, remembering that there is one body.  Our character, the character of the church, is to be in unity (oneness) with God.  God is three persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Holy Trinity) - One God.

Paul shifts the direction in Ephesians 4:7, "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."  It is through Jesus Christ who descended and ascended, that set us free, leaving the Holy Spirit (a gift) to dwell in us.  God equips each member in the body of Christ with gifts to do the work of the church's ministry.  These gifts not all the same for each person, just as our body has many parts, the church has many separate gifts, to work together.  When these gifts used by the Holy Spirit empower the congregation to do God's will and purpose, for the benefit of the church, God's mission will be accomplished.

Paul calls attention to what is reference as the "fivefold gifts of leadership."
Verse 11 stated, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" These leaders are to lead, preach and teach believers and non-believers the Gospel, spiritual food to help them grow in Jesus Christ; prepare them for the work of service, so the body of Christ will be lifted up, and to keep them from error.  Teach until believers become mature in spirit and the doctrine of Christ.  Then we will not be tossed back and forth by the influences of false teachings and doctrines, even if persuasive techiques are used.  Hence, the church as a body of believers, when fed properly, walk together in unity of the Spirit, each member ulitizing their gift given by God, becomes a healthy congregation fit to carry out God's commission.

No comments: