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Ephesians 4:1-7 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; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
This morning we studied a three parable message that Jesus gave us in Luke 15. We briefly discussed the elder son in the parable of the two sons. Tonight God wants us to learn what it means to walk worthy as elder sons and daughters of His Kingdom.
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,
Paul starts by describing himself as the prisoner of the Lord. He has been imprisoned by Rome for preaching the Gospel of Christ. When I am tried or under stress I often find myself more biting or brittle. But the Apostle maintained his royal etiquette by constantly reminding himself that where he was, was where Christ wanted him to be. You see this attitude reflected throughout his writings. He is NOT a prisoner of Rome, NOR a prisoner of satan, but a prisoner of the Lord. Listen:
Philemon 1:1 … Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ …
2 Timothy 1:8 … Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God ..
To Paul our God was always in control. If he was a prisoner he was not a prisoner of evil, but the prisoner of Christ. Christ had a reason for him being in this situation. This was not just an act. When Paul was imprisoned with Silas in Philippi the Bible tells us:
Acts 16:22-25 … And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
It was this mindset that allowed Paul and those early Christians to walk worthy of their calling. We who have received Christ as Savior are not saved by our works. We are saved by His glorious Grace. The Scripture says:
Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
and… 2 Timothy 1:8b-9 … according to the power of God;  Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began …
Salvation is not a work that you do, but it is a work
that the Holy Spirit does TO you based upon the COMPLETED work of Jesus Christ on the Cross
and in the empty tomb.
Jesus defeated sin and death at Calvary. He destroyed destruction. He conquered satan and his forces. And conquering, He rose again, ever to live and reign – praise be unto God! You receive this great Gift of Grace by FAITH in Him:
Romans 1:17 .. The just shall live by faith.
Romans 3:28 … a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 5:1 .. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ..
2 Corinthians 1:24 … by faith ye stand.
Galatians 3:11 … The just shall live by faith.
Galatians 3:26 … ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Salvation is by faith. You become saved by faith in Christ, in what He has graciously provided for to you. But once you are saved by faith you are not as you were. You are not a lost person trying to be saved. You are a saved person, a son of God, a saint destined for Heaven.
And Heaven has its standard!
The Worthy Walk Is The HUMBLE Walk
God did not save you so you can be like the rest of the dark lost world. He saved you to be part of HIS kingdom. God paid a GREAT PRICE for you, dear Christian. He gave His Only Begotten Son for you! This should amaze you. It never ceases to amaze me. The Scripture says:
1 Peter 1:18-20 … ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you …
If there were an earthly price that could have been paid for your redemption, then God would have paid it. But your sins brought with it an infinite offense against an infinite and Almighty God. There was no earthly fee that could bring you into God’s good graces. But Christ died for you. He loved you enough to pay for you with His very life. He did not die an easy death, either. He died a horrid death, a terrible death, a miserable death, an undeserved death. Yet He did this because He loves YOU and loves you STILL. How does the Apostle define our worthy walk?
Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
The Apostle doesn’t just say “love one another”. That is not a measurable standard. The Bible is, if anything, very practical. So what does God our Father consider a “worthy walk”?
Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness
We were low – very low – so low in sin that God had to give up His Only Begotten Son for us. How dare we be prideful now, for we have nothing to be proud of! We dare not raise our heads above those of our brethren, for
we were one and all lost until Jesus found me. Like the song says:
I was lost, but Jesus found me,
found the sheep that went astray,
threw his loving arms around me,
back into the narrow way.
Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story
of the Christ who died for me,
sing it with his saints in glory,
gathered by the crystal sea.
Walking worthy means we must never forget our roots. We are to walk “with all lowliness” (ταπεινοφροσύνη tapeinophrosynē) refers to “humility in the mind, having humble opinion of oneself”. We were nothing when Christ found us. What we are, we are because of Him. What we have, we have because our Lord has allowed us to have it. The greatest danger is to become arrogant or prideful in ourselves. It was arrogance that led to the fall of mankind from Eden. It was satan who told our foreparents:
Genesis 3:4-5 … Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
This is satan’s greatest ploy. He fell from Heaven because he said:
Isaiah 14:14 … I will be like the most High.
And this is what the devil replicates, over and over again, through the children of Adam. This is what caused the fall of mankind into sin. This is the basis for every evil that possesses our society today. “I will be like the Most High”. I will be like God.
Judas Iscariot believed this till he hung himself (Acts 1:18)
Simon Peter believed this till the Rooster crowed (Luke 22:60)
Herod believed this until worms ate his flesh (Acts 12:19)
The murderer believes this.
Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness
The word “lowliness” refers to the inner mind, but “meekness” (πραότης praotēs) refers to the outward display. The Bible is very clear that:
Proverbs 23:7 … For as he THINKETH in his heart, so is he:
What is on the INSIDE of you is what will show on the OUTSIDE of you. This is why Jesus spoke of false teachers thusly:
Matthew 7:17-20 … every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
A religious person or a teacher of false doctrine will eventually be exposed, for the type of heart that is godly produces a different fruit from the type of heart that is ungodly. I am currently reading Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer’s book “Hitler’s Cross”. I often wondered how in the world an entire nation could follow such a monster as was Hitler. I often wondered how it was that the Church in Germany did not stand firmly against Hitler and his SS murder machine. Then I read this quotation and it made my blood run cold:
“I lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it? A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars! Week after week, that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the churchyard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we’d just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more. Years have passed, and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.” (pages 124-125)
We have a similar Holocaust going on in America today, and it’s called abortion. If every Christian who was indeed a Christian would vote against every politician who supports abortion in any way then we could end the murder on innocents in our country. Yet this is not happening. Why? Because some professing Christians and false teachers are promoting the concept that “it’s not murder if you kill the unborn – it’s just a free choice”. I find it amazing and amazingly hypocritical that the voices screaming loudest for the outright ban of all firearms is also the same voices screaming “keep abortion legal and free!”
What is in the heart is what will show on the outside. What is in your heart, dear professor? What is in your heart, dear believer?
The Worthy Walk Is The PATIENT Walk
Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering,
The word longsuffering (μακροθυμία makrothymia) means “to be slow in avenging wrongs”. Many times when we are offended the offense was unintentional – for we are all human. This is why Jesus taught us to pray:
Matthew 6:12-13 … And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Most people stop reading the text I just quoted at the “Amen”, but don’t neglect to read what Jesus said next:
Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Too many people go about quoting “an eye for an eye and a tooth tooth”. You need to be careful when going down this road, for if we all do this we will
all be blind and toothless!
We need to be patient with everyone around us, loving, and forgiving. The mar of the child of God is that we love our ENEMIES, not just our friends:
Luke 6:27-35 Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
God is not impressed with how religious we are. He is impressed with how loving we are. The Lord will one day avenge every evil, this we are to give place unto wrath, for “Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Let God be God. Let the Father wield the paddle. He will balance all things out in the future. Trust Him, and do good to them which hate you. God will take care of all things in the end!
Ephesians 4:1-3 … walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The Worthy Walk Is The UNIFIED Walk
We are in particular to maintain Christian unity in the Church. In order for Christ’s order to be accomplished in this present world His Church must work together in unity and love. We are to keep on making every effort to
keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The Spirit of God cannot work in a divided Church. The Church must be in one accord. After Jesus ascended into Heaven we are told that:
Acts 1:14 … These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication …
When the Holy Spirit fell on the Church and empowered it to bring 3000 souls to Jesus in one day, what was the state of that Body?
Acts 2:1-2 they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Had the early Church been divided as the American Church is today then there would be few if any Christians in the world. We are to strive to be unified, to remove any barriers that might keep us from unity. Unity is so very important for the Church. When we read the rest of this blessed text what WORD keeps popping up?
Ephesians 4:4-7 … Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE body, and ONE Spirit, even as ye are called in ONE hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Seven times the word ONE is repeated. When God called you into salvation, He did not call you by yourself – He called you into a great company of believers, the Family of God, the Church. You cannot do your job, your
stewardship, your calling apart from the Church that God has placed you. You cannot satisfy God nor yourselves apart from the Church that God has placed
you. In the Old Testament God had His Israel that was used to glorify Him. In the New Testament the Lord has His Church.
I am sickened of the nonsense and drivel that I hear from so many lost people pretending to be saved. The statement that nauseates is:
I love Christ,
But I despise Christianity.
I love Jesus,
But I can’t stand the church.
Dear friends, the Church is Christ’s method to reach the world. The Apostle reminded the Corinthian believers:
1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. (13) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (14) For the body is not one member, but many.
Jesus Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). The Church belongs to Jesus (Ephesians 5:23). Jesus is building His Church (Matthew 16:18) daily. And Jesus will one day come back for His Church. You are called together as one to serve God our Father. Some of you may be thinking, “What does it matter if I am not in one accord with this body?” Think about it this way – have you never met someone who had lost the use of a limb or a function of the human body. Did you ever hear that person bless the loss of that part? No, and you will not. To Christ every member of this Body has purpose, function, calling, a job to do – do it with all your hearts! Do not fool yourself into believing that God will not hold you accountable. You are accountable, and I am accountable.
Let us love one another the way that Christ has called us to do. Let us love our Creator with all that we have, and let us love one another the way that we want to be loved. May Christ grow His Church to be the Bride He wants us to be! In Jesus’ name. Amen!