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WALKING WORTHY – Ephesians 4:1-6

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on May 3, 2017 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; May 3, 2017 from Ephesians 3:20-21

Theme: Paul urges his readers to walk in a manner worthy of their calling in Christ.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

We come this morning to a major turning point in our study of Ephesians. For the first three chapters, the focus of Paul’s letter has been mainly ‘doctrinal’. He began by affirming in verse one that God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:7); and then, he unfolds—in great and wonderful detail—the nature of those blessings, and our security in them in Christ. Reading about what is ours in Christ from these chapters would make us want to join Paul in his great ‘doxology’ in 3:20-21;

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21).

And it’s after that doxology—beginning with 4:1, and going all the way to the end of the letter—that Paul goes on to urge us to live faithfully in the light of those blessings. These remaining three chapters focus on our ‘duty’ in the light of the ‘doctrinal’ truths of our great calling in Christ.

And by the way; that should set an example to us for sound Christian living. True faithful practice of the Christian life is always to be built on a clear understanding and acceptance of the spiritual truths of our relationship in Christ. People often try to discount ‘doctrine’ in seeking to understand the Christian life because specificity in doctrine is often viewed as divisive. But we must never forget that sound Christian conduct always and only flows from sound Christian doctrine. If we don’t have our theology right, we can’t and won’t live the Christian life right.

So; let’s pay careful attention to how Paul urges a practical response to the things that he has laid out in this letter.

* * * * * * * * *

First, he makes …


He writes, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called …” Note here the graciousness of Paul’s urging. He does not ‘command’ his readers—even though, as an apostle, he certainly could. He does not issue an ‘order’. Rather, he ‘appeals’ or ‘beseeches’ or ‘implores’ his readers. He even puts himself in a low and meek position before them in making this appeal—calling himself “the prisoner of the Lord”. He himself was humbly paying the price for them to hear this gospel and to be able to take up that worthy walk—even as he wrote. That’s the way it is with God’s grace. It appeals rather than demands; and it makes the appeal in humility rather than in harshness.

And note the word “therefore”. Paul is here pointing the attention of his readers backward to all the things that he had laid out to them in the previous chapters, and is calling for a logical response to the things that he has told them. This is very much like his words in Romans 12:1-2;

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

To walk worthy of our calling, once we truly understand the nature of that calling, is a ‘reasonable service’ a—a rational response.

In previous portions of this letter, Paul prayed that our eyes would be opened to understand the hope of our calling in Christ (1:19), and that we would know the dimensions of his love (3:18). And what a difference it would make if we truly felt the greatness of the blessedness in Christ that we have been graciously called to! Oh, that the truth of it all truly gripped our hearts! If it did, then the call to walk worthy of it would be a thing we would be greatly and gratefully motivated to do!

But what does that response look like? Paul goes on to tell us about …


Paul says that, if the nature of our calling in Christ truly has gripped our hearts, we would walk “with all lowliness”. The idea here is that of spiritual ‘modesty’. The same word is used only once in the New Testament—in Philippians 2:3; and it is presented as the opposite of “selfish ambition or conceit”, and is shown forth through each one of us ‘esteeming’ others as “better than himself”; and never in a self-exalting attitude.

He also speaks of “gentleness”; and here we can think of the idea of meekness—power brought under tempered control. An awareness of our riches in Christ does not result in arrogant harshness, but rather in loving approachability. It comes from ‘sanctifying’ Christ as Lord of our hearts; and it displays itself gently even toward those who question our faith (1 Peter 3:15). It exhibits the very meekness of Christ Himself (Matthew 11:29).

Paul also speaks of “longsuffering” as a characteristic of this walk. To be “longsuffering” means to have a ‘long fuse’ with each other. It shows itself, as Paul says in “bearing with one another”—putting up with one another’s faults and imperfections. And it means doing so “in love”; and not with a grudging ‘have too’ attitude toward each other. Paul says in Colossians 3:13, “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

And finally, Paul says that it endeavors “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. Note that we don’t have to ‘create’ unity among ourselves. The Holy Spirit has already done that for us. Rather, the worthy walk involves laboring to preserving that unity “in the bond of peace”. Our manner toward one another is not to be ‘ constant conflict’ but ‘conscious concord’.

And do you notice something remarkable? These are all matters that have to do with our relationship with one another in the body of Christ. There’s something very important and instructive in that. Our worthy walk in Christ ought to be clearly visible to those who are outside the community of faith. But such visibility begins with a sincere pursuit of that worthy walk toward one another within the family of faith. As Jesus has taught us, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Paul takes us deeper into that unity in the Spirit; showing us …


He highlights seven “ones” that unite us—and all of these are gracious gifts to us, and not things created by us:

– There is “one body”—that is, the body of Christ; with all the diversity of parts brought into unity together (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

– There is also “one Spirit”—that is, the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer; “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13).

– This is “just as you were called in one hope of your calling”—that hope being our conformity to Jesus in full glorification at His return (1 John 3:3)—so that each of us share together the outlook of that glorious destiny.

– We have “one Lord”—the Lord Jesus Himself.

– We also have “one faith”—that is “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

– There is “one baptism” (which could speak of our one great spiritual baptism into the body of Christ at our salvation as in 1 Corinthians 12:13; or of the ordinance in a local church which symbolizes that spiritual baptism).

– And finally, there is “one God and Father of all,” who is “above all” (in authority), and “through all” (in gracious operation), and “in you all” (in loving relation).

You or I may meet a fellow believer from a different denomination, or perhaps from a very different tradition of the Christian faith from us. We may meet a fellow believer from a different economic or social position from us. We may even meet a fellow believer from a different culture or nation or language. In terms of the things of this world, we may have very little in common. But if these things are ours together in Christ, we have the basis for a unity that the world cannot know or understand.

May we, by God’s grace, walk worthily together in them!

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