VIII. Perfection. Ephesians 4:1-16 Message Fifteen
- The Choices to be made. 4:1-3
Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Last week, we looked at –
1. The choice Paul made in his life.
Ephesians 4:1a I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord…
Paul made his choices believing with all of his being that God is in control of all things. What about our choice? And also we saw that having this same confidence provides us with the foundation for –
2. The choice of an obedient attitude. Ephesians 4:1b
“…beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,…”
a. The exhortation “…beseech you…” you have a choice to “…observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”
b. The exaltation “…that ye walk worthy of the vocation…”
c. The expectation “…wherewith ye are called…” submission to the request of He who called.
Today we declare that –
We, believing that God is in control of all things, and having the attitude that our submission and service to God is more than just required obedience, but service from an attitude of love which becomes a life of worship unto Him that is worthy, testified of in the world by –
3. The choice of observable actions.
Ephesians 4:2-3 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Once we are saved, we should be –
- Exchanging our pride and self confidence with lowliness and meekness
Moses, an example of lowliness and meekness. He had been a prince in Egypt, raised in the house of Pharao. When he put that life behind him, choosing to be with his people, Israel, we note that his defense of his person or his position is never heard from his own lips. He put his trust in God.
Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)
He was accused by the people of not knowing where he was leading them.
1). He led them –
a). To an impassible Red Sea What happened? –
Salvation to Israel Opened to pass through on dry ground
Destruction to Egypt Closed upon and drowned them
b). To undrinkable water The pool of water, called Marah (bitter) What happened? Made sweet by throwing in a branch
c). To unimaginable hunger Exodus 16:4 What happened? Manna
d). To uninhabitable wilderness Exodus 17:1
Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. What happened? Smote the rock and water came forth
e). To an unprovoked battle Exodus 17:8 Amalekites What happened? Raised his arms and the battle was won
2). He was also accused by family and ‘familiar friends’ –
a). His sister Miriam of not including her in the leadership of the people.
b). By Korah and 250 princes of taking the leadership for himself only.
c). By the people for leading them to a land they could not conquer, being influenced by men that he had chosen as leaders.
He is an example to men of lowliness and meekness of character, every time, praying to God to settle the problems and unite the people that they might follow God’s leadership into the land of Canaan. He wanted the people to exchange their pride for lowliness and meekness.
We are to be –
- Exchanging our rejecting others in anger with longsuffering.
1 Timothy 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Jesus did not reject his friend, Peter, for denying him.
Jesus did not reject his enemy, Saul, for persecuting him.
Through the Lord’s longsuffering, we learn what results are possible in people’s lives. Along with longsuffering is the need of –
- Exchanging our impatience with others for forbearance, loving them by giving them time to grow in grace.
Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
The Lord has every right to declare us guilty every day, but He does not. He convicts us of our sin and gives us an opportunity to repent.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We might say that we are longsuffering with people, not rejecting them, but how often do we not reject them, but with that, do not forgive them and restore them as if nothing had ever happened? “Forbearing one another in love”. To forgive and choose not to remember the transgressions.
Remember the hymn – Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between –
Nothing between my soul and the Savior,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor;
Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.
Can we take the words of this familiar hymn and apply them to those around us? Are we able to forbear one another in love?
- Exchanging our inclination to destroy with the desire to unite – endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
As new creatures through the Lord Jesus Christ, we must admit that the wrong things, the wrong thoughts, the wrong actions, must be stopped and the new things, the new thoughts, the new actions must be done, but it is difficult because we have lived for ourselves and so long in sin that it is a struggle to change.
Illustrate the old nature with building blocks. We are born with it and act accordingly. The problem is that even when we get saved and are changed by God – we still desire to break down that which others have built. The thoughts come upon us suddenly and we ourselves are taken by surprise at them, yet we must cry to the Lord for help as Paul did –
Romans 7:24-25 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
When we endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit, Who is in us, we will bind ourselves with others who are doing the same thing in the “…bond of peace.”
Putting off the old man and his ways and putting on the new with energy and determination.
This is God’s plan for His church, united in carrying out His command, taking His Word to the world!
Will we say today to the Lord, I –
- Give you my pride and self confidence. I want to simply be your servant.
- Give my
- Give you my impatience and anger toward others, and be longsuffering.
- Give you my desire to tear down others and seek your leadership in my life to be an encouragement and build up others, united in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I want to be used of you to build up others and encourage them to be all that they should and can be for you!