Ephesians 4:4-6, One hope of your calling, part 3.
length: 65:16 - taught on Dec, 8 2020
Tuesday December 8, 2020
The first three chapters emphasize what God has made us and blessed us with, most importantly, the Person of Christ, the mystery.
What God has made us to be and what He has blessed us with makes us heavenly creatures - the new humanity in Christ.
No one had any special qualities that qualified him for this regeneration. It could not be attained by works. All who have believed in Christ as their Savior have become this. They have to discover it and put their faith in it.
Then in chapter 4, Paul turns to the application of that truth to our daily lives and conduct. The first thing he leads us to is our conduct and unity.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Foundational virtues of our heavenly unity: humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, and love.
Before any of us are promoted to heaven we remain in our bodies that possesses the dead sin nature that still has passion and desire for itself alone and we remain in a world filled with ignorance, sin, and evil pride. So, God instructs us in the manner of our so great salvation and election. This is the type of people He has made us to be. We obviously do not behave this way automatically. We put our faith in it and watch the Holy Spirit accomplish it within us.
Still on the theme of unity, Paul reveals our common foundation.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
We have studied the one body with its diversity of gifts. We worked on a short study of the ministries of the Holy Spirit in this age, which we will return to. Now we study the one hope of our calling, this time focusing on the living realization that our calling or election is coming to fruition in our lives.
The broadest brush stroke on election is that each of us have been called to be like Christ. In this it is imperative that we know that we are in Him and He in us - our very souls are intertwined in a mysterious yet real way.
Also, our calling is in many ways unique for each of us. The works we are called to do, the gift or gifts we receive, the manifestation of those gifts, our individual ministries, our different challenges that arise from our genetics and environments, all make us different. It is vital that our differences do not detract from our unity that is based upon this seven pillared foundation.
Our calling has a hope and therefore a goal. “Run the race in such a way that you may win.” The church’s goal must be this end, conformed to the image of Christ; mature in full-knowledge and faith.
The pagan world fell apart because it was without hope. Every one of Satan’s religions, the theology of hell, eventually fall apart because they promise hope to some and can never deliver. The various gods of the various nations, city-states, and empires always spoke of a glorious past, but could not promise anything for the future, nor did they show any promise of actual inner joy and peace in their followers.
The Roman Empire became a place of syncretism. Religions from conquered provinces were incorporated into the Roman pantheon, and mystery religions became popular. The mystery religions, combining several older religions, professed to have found secrets to power and life and life after this world. They also died because no one ever found the professed results of the secrets, even the initiated. Without hope, the secret religions died. Then came Christianity. It is no wonder it spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire and took it over in only two generations. It was the only religion that had an actual hope, and an actual fulfillment of that hope in the hearts of men.
Each of us have a calling that is both unique and common. It must, over time, come to be known and its realization seen.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Realization is seeing your calling coming into focus. Its reality is beginning to be experienced.
To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; 12 in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Thessalonians were being heavily persecuted.
One of Satan’s devices to defeat Christians from their victorious life is suffering, which can remove gratitude and weaken faith.
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; 4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
The man who does not permit his spirit to be beaten down and upset by dryness and helplessness, but who lets God lead him peacefully through the wilderness, and desires no other support or guidance than that of pure faith and trust in God alone, will be brought to the promised land of maturity. He will taste the peace and joy of union with God. He will, without “seeing,” have a habitual comforting, obscure and mysterious awareness of God being always present and acting in all the events in life.