Ephesians 4:1-16

Daybreak for Students

Ephesians 4:1-16

OVERVIEW
DAYBREAK
Ephesians 4
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. — Ephesians 4:1-3

As we settled into our seats, the lights in the auditorium dimmed. Soon the musicians began to take their places on the stage. Each one had prepared for this day, when their months of hard work would be subjected to the scrutiny of a panel of judges. Music had been checked and re-checked, and instruments had been polished and carefully inspected to make sure they were in perfect working order. This was an important performance, because one group would be awarded the title of State Champion at the end of the contest. 

As the conductor prepared for the downbeat, every eye was turned toward him. The musicians showed by their posture that they were focused and ready. The conductor gave the cue, and the music began. Each entrance was perfectly timed, the crescendos soared with authority, and the diminuendos whispered the message of the music. As the piece concluded, the audience sat in silent awe before the thunderous applause began. The performance had been perfect, and the students knew that their efforts as a group had resulted in something wonderful. Later that evening, this group would receive the award of State Champion from the judges.

As Christians, we are preparing also. However, our prize will be much greater than that experienced by these musicians. While only one group could win the state championship, all of us can win the prize God promises His people. Each one of us should want to be united in our focus on the work at hand so that we can obtain the reward. 

Paul began Ephesians 4 by challenging the Christians at Ephesus to walk worthy of the incredible calling they had received from God. He wanted to remind them to keep their sense of purpose, and to have a compelling goal. What they had been called by God to do could only be accomplished if they were unified as a body of believers. 

Just as an orchestra, band, or choir is made up of various members coming together to create something wonderful musically, each of us has been given a place where we can serve God: in school, at work, at home, or at church. Our strength comes when each of us fills the place God created for us, working together to further the Gospel of Christ.

BACKGROUND

In the first three chapters of Ephesians, Paul emphasized the riches of Christ that are available to those who believe. He closed Ephesians 3 with a prayer for the believers. Chapter 4 begins with the word “therefore,” which indicates that he intended to expand on the advice he had given in the preceding chapters. By his use of the word “beseech,” he conveyed his love and earnest hopes for these people. He was not demanding or threatening, but earnestly urging them in love to live a life that was worthy of the calling they had received from God. This same message also appeared in the Epistle to the Colossians, but here Paul expanded on the theme and gave much greater detail in his exhortation.

In order to be in unity, Paul instructed the believers to exercise the following Christian virtues:

  • Lowliness (humility): Early Christians used this word to signify that in their own power they were nothing, but that by allowing God to work through them, great things could be accomplished.
  • Meekness: Gentleness is another word for meekness, which sets it apart from weakness. This referred to the controlled, yet awesome strength and power of God working through His people.
  • Longsuffering: Also called fortitude, this represented the Christian’s desire to endure discomfort without fighting back. This trait may need to be demonstrated toward our fellowman, or in holding onto God’s Word during a test or trial.
  • Love: Only through a genuine love — the kind that God alone can give — is anyone able to adequately demonstrate the other three virtues.

Paul further expanded on these attributes by listing seven unifying factors in verses 4-6. He sought to remind the Christians in Ephesus that only by being in agreement on the foundational traits of the faith would they be truly united in their purpose to serve God.

At the conclusion of this text, Paul focused on the definite God-given differences within the body of Christ. The purpose of these differences was to give strength to the body. 

AMPLIFIED OUTLINE

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III.   The conduct of the church
     A.   Conduct in unity (4:1-16)
           1.   The basis for unity (4:1-6)
                 a.   Call to unity (4:1-3)
                 b.   Necessity of unity (4:4-6)
           2.   The means of unity (4:7-16)
                 a.   Distribution of gifts (4:7-11)
                 b.   Purpose of gifts (4:12-16)

A CLOSER LOOK

  1. What are the seven unifying factors mentioned in verses 4-6? 

  2. What are some actions and attitudes that will be part of a “worthy walk” for Christians?

  3. What specific steps can you take to maintain spiritual unity with others?

CONCLUSION

God did not create us all with exactly the same talents and abilities. No matter how insignificant you may think you are, God has given you a spiritual gift that He wants you to use for His glory. Prayerfully ask for His help in knowing where you fit in His plan so that you may work in unity with other believers, and walk worthy of your calling.