Ephesians 4:3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
A reading of the New Testament will lead anyone to conclude that God is very concerned with unity among His people. Unity was even one of the main things that Jesus prayed for in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prayed for you and me. That being the case, we should also be concerned with unity within the church.
This unity doesn’t mean that we all agree on all things. Christians are going to end up with different interpretations of Scripture, with different doctrines and practices, and different conclusions about the non-essential elements of the faith. But if we maintain the unity of the Spirit, we maintain a bond as brothers and sisters.
What does it take to achieve this unity? First and foremost, it requires us to extend the same grace to others that we have received from the Father. That’s difficult on human terms, but only with humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness can true peace be present. We can disagree on things, but we must do it as a family, not as enemies.
Ephesians 4:1-2 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
When you are one of God’s children, called to be part of His own family, you have a special opportunity. If you walk in a manner worthy of the calling you’re received, it can be a great testimony to others. This means living as someone who belongs to God’s family, as someone who is no longer bound by the Law, as someone who is free from condemnation.
It ought to be obvious when someone is a child of God. It should be reflected in the way you pray, the way you trust the Lord without worry, the way you treat others, the way you obey not as one who is trying to earn position but as one who already has it. A person who lives free from the bondage of the flesh is a unique thing indeed. It should be noticeable to people who still remain lost.
Jesus himself even said that the world would know His disciples by the love that we show one another (John 13:35). It’s important that we live with humility, gentleness, and patience as we continue in love with one another. To fulfill the two greatest commandments, loving God and loving people, is to walk in a manner worthy of your calling. So, can you do it? Can you walk that walk?
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
How do your prayers sound? If they’re anything like the prayers of the average person, they’re pretty mundane and lacking any real power. Why is that? Could it be that many followers of Christ simply don’t believe that the Father is capable of answering big, bold prayers?
But He is. He’s got everything at His disposal. He lacks nothing. He’s able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask for or even think to ask for. There’s nothing He can’t do, and He works according to the power at work within those of who who are His.
This isn’t some “name it and claim it” bit. Every material possession you’ve ever wanted isn’t promised to you if you would just ask for it. But the real deal is that anything you need in order to accomplish the will of God is available to you. Anything you can think to ask for and much, much more. Approach the Father as though He actually has the goods and the intention to give them. He does and He does.
Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
We’re blessed, as children of God, with knowledge of the love that Jesus Christ embodied in His self-sacrificial work on the cross. It’s unlike any other love that we can know here on this earth, in this life where everything is so limited. The love of a parent, a spouse, or a child can never even compare to the love of God
His love is beyond our knowledge, yet the desire Paul had for the Ephesians was that they could appreciate this love that surpasses human understanding. He wanted this that they might be filled with all the fullness of God. The same can be said for us today. Were we to fully know the love of Jesus Christ, we would be filled with all of the fullness of God.
Many attributes are discussed when it comes to God. He is mighty, He is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present. The list goes on and on. But to really know God is to know His love. To know Him is to be known (and loved) by Him.
Ephesians 3:17-18 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
What gives us the ability to really connect with God in a deep way? No matter how hard we try to build a tower up to heaven or how many good deeds we try to accomplish, we’ll never get close to Him on our own. It’s only through the work of Christ that we get reconciliation and relationship.
But you know that; don’t you? You know that only through faith in Jesus Christ can you have fellowship with God. You know that your own good works don’t get you any position with the Father, but only through the completed work of the Son do you have any standing.
You know that, but do you really understand just how broad, how long, how high, and how deep God’s love is for you? Can you even begin to comprehend just how vast that love is? The only way we can even begin to understand is to have Christ dwelling in us. That’s the key to unlock spiritual understanding. But to imagine how far the Father’s love stretches…that will take until we’re with Him, beyond this life, to even grasp it.
Ephesians 3:16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
What comes to your mind when you think of gifts from God? Is it health? Wealth? Something else entirely? Sometimes we really limit God by not realizing just how much He has to give. This isn’t about money or possessions, this is about riches beyond compare.
There are two very important things to remember about God: First, He is a Father who loves His children and wants to give to them. Second, He has ALL things to give. There is nothing that you could need that God does not possess. Everything is His to give.
What’s more, He doesn’t give from His riches (that would mean He would be depleting His stash). He gives according to His riches. He’ll never run out, He doesn’t give to each of His children in percentages, He isn’t stingy. He has all things to give and He freely gives.
But most of the Lord’s blessings are not material, but rather spiritual blessings. His greatest blessing of all is himself. He has given, according to the riches of His glory, His own Spirit to dwell in those whom He calls His children. With that gift comes all the power that is included with having God dwelling inside you. Now, how thankful does this make you for the Father’s blessings?
Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
When we pray, we don’t do it as a chore that’s required of us to please a deity that doesn’t care about us personally. When we pray we approach our loving Father, who cares about us. He’s not distant from us, He’s only a prayer away.
All too often we neglect to pray in the context of a family. If you’re a child of God who has been adopted into His family, then every other one of His children is your sibling. Families think about what’s best for every member, and Christians ought to do the same. We’re called to be part of God’s family, to project His image into the world, and to carry out His purposes — together.
That means when we pray, we should be thinking about the greater context of God’s family. What’s best for the overall purposes of God? What will best benefit all of His people? Who can we pray for right now that’s
-weak and needs strength
-lonely and needs comfort
-sick and needs healing?
What does the Father want for me in the context of everyone He’s called to be His own? Does He want me to pursue something that makes me uncomfortable? I should pray for His guidance. Does He want me to reach out to someone? I should pray for boldness?
When you bow your knees before the Father, do so in a way that keeps in mind your place in His family, among many other children.
Ephesians 3:7-13 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
We’ve all been given a ministry and the Lord has equipped us specifically for the role He’s given us. What’s your ministry? If you’re not sure, take an inventory of your circumstances, talents, abilities, resources, and even what burdens you.
The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church with his own specific burden. No one else quite cared the way Paul did about certain people or certain issues they faced. He had his own ministry that was no one else’s. You and I also have to live out our own calling, not one that belongs to someone else.
Just when you may object to the idea that you are a minister of any sort, look at Paul as an example. He not only calls himself the least of all the saints, but if you know anything about his history, you know he’s not exactly who one might have expected to be used in such a huge way to see people converted for Christ. If Paul’s the least of all the saints, the chief of sinners in his own eyes, how can you be any worse? You’ve received no less grace than Paul. Isn’t it time you had “boldness and access with confidence through [y]our faith in him?”
Ephesians 3:1-6 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
There’s so much about God that we’ll never be able to understand in this life and much of that won’t even be revealed to us until such a time as we can better accept it. The Father does, however, from time to time, choose to reveal mysteries about himself.
When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Ephesus, he wrote to a people that had long heard of the coming of the Christ, of the Messiah. The Jews in that time were quite aware of the prophesies about the Sent One, but some of them missed Him when He came in the flesh. The invisible God dwelled in a physical body (Colossians 1:15), revealing all of His nature (Hebrews 1:3), but He went unnoticed by many.
Then God chose to do something unexpected. He revealed himself to those outside the “chosen people.” He made it possible for the so-called Gentiles to join into His family. For most of us today, this has personal significance. If you are not of Jewish lineage and you have put your faith in Jesus Christ and received His salvation and adoption as one of God’s own children, this means everything.
We’ve been brought in on a promise made to a people long ago. We’re now coheirs under that promise, able to receive all that is due to God’s people, to His children. We are now His family.
Ephesians 2:17-22 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
The startling truth about God’s work to reconcile us to himself through Jesus Christ is that it comes with full acceptance. It’s not just that God forgives us and then forgets about us. He doesn’t forgive in a way that is passive. He fully forgives, so much so that He brings us on in to His own family and His own household.
Stop, think about that for a minute. You’re part of God’s own household. Does that seem a little crazy? It’s right there in His Word. It says it plain as day. He joined us together with Him and welcomed us into His household. We’re not strangers, not even just acquaintances. We’re His children and we belong in His home.
You know what you do with people who are truly welcome in your home? You invite them to make themselves comfortable, to eat of your food, to use your facilities. “My home is your home,” as the saying goes. But God is the one calling us to His home, allowing us to partake of everything that is His. This passage rightly points us that we are being built together as a dwelling place for God, with Jesus as the cornerstone. What a picture. What a home!