Ephesians 4:1-16

Fulfill the Purpose of God’s Call to Follow Him (v. 1)

God’s call requires us to listen closely and carefully. His sheep listen for the voice of the Great and Good Shepherd.

Our choice is demonstrated in our daily living
(vv. 1-3). It is directly related to our relationship to our divine
Lord (notice the Trinity in vv. 4-6)

I. Live in Unity, Not Conformity (vv. 1-6)

This is an epistle of Unity; the word appears in vv. 3, 13; the word “one” appears 7 times in vv. 4-6

A. The Virtues of Unity (v. 2)

B. The Responsibility for Unity (v. 3a)

i. Diligence (frequent work)

ii. Preservation (natural result; normal gift)

C. The Nature of Unity (v. 3b)

i. of the Spirit

ii. Bond of peace

D. The Basis / Boundaries of Unity (vv. 4-6)

i. One body (OF Christ) = church

ii. One Spirit (FROM Christ) = Pentecost; Another Comforter

iii. One hope (TO Christ) = He calls us to Himself in heaven

iv. One Lord (IS Christ) = Jesus Himself

v. One faith (IN Christ) = salvation faith, not doctrinal system

vi. One baptism (FOR Christ) = water baptism, symbolizing personal experience of salvation

vii. One God & Father (OVER Christ)

1. Creator (“of all”)

2. Lord (“over all”)

3. Sustainer (“through all”)

4. Life (“in all”)

But unity is not uniformity or all being just
alike. It is much deeper. It is a common purpose. Not the same
function, activity, feeling, passion, or program. We share a
co-mandate (Lev 19:18; Mtt 5:43; Lk 10:29), co-mission (Mtt 28:19-20),
and co-vision (Acts 1:8).

II. Serve in Diversity, Not Divison (vv. 7-14)

A. Serve FROM divine appointment = “each one” (v. 7a); each has a gift

B. Serve WITH divine favor = “grace was given” (v. 7a)

C. Serve IN divine diversity = “according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (v. 7b-9)

i. Psa 68:18 = a loose quotation or allusion from memory

ii. Ps 68 = Pictures God leading His people thru wilderness
into the promised land, taking captives along the way, &
receiving bounty or allegiance from them.

iii. Rabbis = saw a picture of Moses ascending Mt. Sinai,
receiving gift of the Law from God, and giving the gift to God’s
people.

iv. Paul (v. 8) = sees application to Christ climbing Mt.
Calvary, receiving those captive to sin, and giving gifts to His
people as result of victorious ascension to eternity

v. “lower parts of the earth” (v. 9) = the earth itself (from viewpoint of heavens), not the underworld

vi. V. 9 = reference to Christ’s incarnation, not a descent
into hell; Paul is identifying the risen, ascended Christ with
the earthly Jesus

D. Serve WITH divine gifts (v. 11)

i. Lists some of the NT gifts, or actually gifted persons; Christ is the source of these divine gifts

ii. 1 Cor 12:8-10, 28-30 = the Spirit is the source of these divine gifts

iii. Rom 12:6-8 = God is the source of these divine gifts

iv. In 2:20 and 3:5, apostles and prophets are mentioned as
foundational gifts to the church (church planters; truth tellers)

v. “pastors-teachers” may be the same person by the grammatical construction, but not necessarily

1. ( v. 12) “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service”

2. (v. 12) “to the building up of the body of Christ”

E. Serve FOR / BY / TOWARDS a divine plan / purpose / goal (v. 13)

i. No matter what gifts, all need to grow & develop (not atrophy)

ii. All virtues & gifts develop harmoniously to provide a
properly function body of Christ – there is nothing like the
local church when the local church is fully functioning – it is
the last & best hope of the world

iii. The measure of ministry (v. 13) – “Does it reflect . . . ”

1. unity of faith

2. knowledge of the Son of God

3. mature persons

4. fullness of Christ

iv. The marks of maturity (vv. 14-16)

1. Doctrinal stability (v. 14)

2. Relational healthiness – “truth in love” (v. 15a)

3. Christ-focused growth (vv. 15b-16)

a. Submission TO the Head of the Body (v. 15b) = “grow up . . . Who is the Head, even Christ”

b. Coordination BY the Head of the Body (v. 16a) = “from Whom . . . being fitted and held together”

c. Empowerment FROM the Head of the Body (v. 16b) = “according to the proper working of each part”

d. Expansion THROUGH the Head of the Body (v. 16c) = “causes growth”

e. Acceptance IN the Head of the Body (v. 16c) = “for the
building up in love” (second time “love” is mentioned)

________________
Sermon brief provided
by: Dennis Phelps, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Cabot,
AR

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