Jump to content
MrsSurvival Discussion Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Darlene

Ephesians 4:1-3

Recommended Posts

Heavenly Father,

 

Thank You for the study this morning and as it unfolds, let it be Your words, Your truths, Your understanding. Open our hearts and teach us that which You would have us learn.

 

 

1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,) beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

 

Matthew Henry comments (and I'm really coming to love his commentaries...my daddy was right, it's a good commentary), "We have gone through the former part of this epistle, which consists of several important doctrinal truths, contained in the three preceding chapters. We enter now on the latter part of it, in which we have the most weighty and serious exhortations that can be given. We may observe that in this, as in most others of Paul's epistles, the former part is doctrinal, and fitted to inform the minds of men in the great truths and doctrines of the gospel, the latter is practical, and designed for the direction of their lives and manners, all Christians being bound to endeavour after soundness in the faith, and regularity in life and practice. In what has gone before we have heard of Christian privileges, which are the matter of our comfort. In what follows we shall hear of Christian duties, and what the Lord our God requires of us in consideration of such privileges vouchsafed to us. The best way to understand the mysteries and partake of the privileges of which we have read before is conscientiously to practise the duties prescribed to us in what follows: as, on the other hand, a serious consideration and belief of the doctrines that have been taught us in the foregoing chapters will be a good foundation on which to build the practice of the duties prescribed in those which are yet before us. Christian faith and Christian practice mutually befriend each other. In this chapter we have divers exhortations to important duties. I. One that is more general, ver. 1. II. An exhortation to mutual love, unity, and concord, with the proper means and motives to promote them, ver. 2-16. III. An exhortation to Christian purity and holiness of life; and that both more general (ver. 17-24) and in several particular instances, ver. 25, to the end.

 

Consistency Enforced. (a. d. 61.)

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

 

This is a general exhortation to walk as becomes our Christian profession. Paul was now a prisoner at Rome; and he was the prisoner of the Lord, or in the Lord, which signifies as much as for the Lord. See of this, ch. iii. 1. He mentions this once and again, to show that he was not ashamed of his bonds, well knowing that he suffered not as an evil doer: and likewise to recommend what he wrote to them with the greater tenderness and with some special advantage. It was a doctrine he thought worth suffering for, and therefore surely they should think it worthy their serious regards and their dutiful observance. We have here the petition of a poor prisoner, one of Christ's prisoners: "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you," &c. Considering what God has done for you, and to what a state and condition he has called you, as has been discoursed before, I now come with an earnest request to you (not to send me relief, nor to use your interest for the obtaining of my liberty, the first thing which poor prisoners are wont to solicit from their friends, but) that you would approve yourselves good Christians, and live up to your profession and calling; That you walk worthily, agreeably, suitably, and congruously to those happy circumstances into which the grace of God has brought you, whom he has converted from heathenism to Christianity. Observe, Christians ought to accommodate themselves to the gospel by which they are called, and to the glory to which they are called; both are their vocation. We are called Christians; we must answer that name, and live like Christians. We are called to God's kingdom and glory; that kingdom and glory therefore we must mind, and walk as becomes the heirs of them."

 

This is the scary part of our relationship with the Lord. To 'walk out' this calling He has placed on our lives, and this is the area that so many, that profess to be "Christians" end up stumbling in and getting into great error. What a field day the enemy has as he distorts God's truths. It is an incredible weight and responsibility we all carry as we 'proclaim the Gospel of Christ'. It scares me sometimes because it is very easy to let 'me' spout words, and it is heart wrenching when I fail Him by misrepresenting Him. Thankfully, He judges the heart, the humility and earnestness with which I genuinely want to honor Him, He convicts when I stray, and He accomplishes His work, inspite of my failings.

 

Calvin shares, "The three remaining chapters consist entirely of practical exhortations. Mutual agreement is the first subject, in the course of which a discussion is introduced respecting the government of the church, as having been framed by our Lord for the purpose of maintaining unity among Christians.

 

1. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord. His imprisonment, which might have been supposed more likely to render him despised, is appealed to, as we have already seen, for a confirmation of his authority. It was the seal of that embassy with which he had been honored. Whatever belongs to Christ, though in the eyes of men it may be attended by ignominy, ought to be viewed by us with the highest regard. The apostle’s prison is more truly venerable than the splendid retinue or triumphal chariot of kings.

 

That ye may walk worthy. This is a general sentiment, a sort of preface, on which all the following statements are founded. He had formerly illustrated the calling with which they were called, and now reminds them that they must live in obedience to God, in order that they may not be unworthy of such distinguished grace."

 

Interesting thought...obedience to God brings forth the fruitfulness we all have the potential for, through Him.

 

Clarke comments, "The apostle exhorts them to walk worthy of their vocation, and to live in peace and unity, 1-6. Shows that God has distributed a variety of gifts, and instituted a variety of offices in his Church, for the building up and perfecting of the body of Christ, 7-13. Teaches them the necessity of being well instructed and steady in Divine things, 14. Teaches how the body or Church of Christ is constituted, 15, 16. Warns them against acting like the Gentiles, of whose conduct he gives a lamentable description, 17-19. Points out how they had been changed, in consequence of their conversion to Christianity, 20, 21. Gives various exhortations relative to the purification of their minds, their conduct to each other, and to the poor, 22-28. Shows them that their conversation should be chaste and holy, that they might not grieve the Spirit of God; that they should avoid all bad tempers, be kindly affectioned one to another, and be of a forgiving spirit, 29-32.

 

NOTES ON CHAP. IV.

 

Verse 1. I therefore] Therefore, because God has provided for you such an abundant salvation, and ye have his testimonies among you, and have full liberty to use all the means of grace; The prisoner of the Lord] Who am deprived of my liberty for the Lord's sake.

 

Beseech you that ye walk] Ye have your liberty, and may walk; I am deprived of mine, and cannot. This is a fine stroke, and wrought up into a strong argument. You who are at large can show forth the virtues of him who called you into his marvellous light; I am in bondage, and can only exhort others by my writing, and show my submission to God by my patient suffering.

 

The vocation wherewith ye are called] The calling, klhsiv, is the free invitation they have had from God to receive the privileges of the Gospel, and become his sons and daughters, without being obliged to observe Jewish rites and ceremonies. Their vocation, or calling, took in their Christian profession, with all the doctrines, precepts, privileges, duties, &c., of the Christian religion.

 

Among us, a man's calling signifies his trade, or occupation in life; that at which he works, and by which he gets his bread; and it is termed his calling, because it is supposed that God, in the course of his providence, calls the person to be thus employed, and thus to acquire his livelihood.

 

Now, as it is a very poor calling by which a man cannot live, so it is a poor religion by which a man cannot get his soul saved. If, however, a man have an honest and useful trade, and employ himself diligently in labouring at it, he will surely be able to maintain himself by it; but without care, attention, and industry, he is not likely to get, even by this providential calling, the necessaries of life. In like manner, if a man do not walk worthy of his heavenly calling, i.e. suitable to its prescriptions, spirit, and design, he is not likely to get his soul saved unto eternal life. The best trade, unpractised, will not support any man; the most pure and holy religion of the Lord Jesus, unapplied, will save no soul. Many suppose, because they have a sound faith, that all is safe and well: as well might the mechanic, who knows he has a good trade, and that he understands the principles of it well, suppose it will maintain him, though he brings none of its principles into action by honest, assiduous, and well- directed labour.

 

Some suppose that the calling refers to the epithets usually given to the Christians; such as children of Abraham, children of God, true Israel of God, heirs of God, saints, fellow citizens with the saints, &c., &c.; and that these honourable appellations must be a strong excitement to the Ephesians to walk worthy of these exalted characters But I do not find that the word klhsiv, calling, is taken in this sense any where in the New Testament; but that it has the meaning which I have given it above is evident from 1 Cor. vii. 20: ekastov en th klhsei h eklhqh, en tauth menetw? Let every man abide in the calling to which he hath been called. The context shows that condition, employment, or business of life, is that to which the apostle refers."

 

There is a huge accountability to the Lord, and to the saved and unsaved, in how we walk out our relationship and calling to Him. We are not islands unto ourselves, nor are we pearched on pedistals to exhort the Gospel that we distort sometimes in our humanness.

 

I'm just feeling a real seriousness as I read the beginning of this new chapter in Ephesians. I like to close my eyes and dance blindly sometimes, not remembering these things. In doing so, can create a level of irresponsibility that harms the meaning behind God, in His Son Jesus, suffering and being tortured on the Cross to pay for MY sins, because He loves me.

 

This is one of the reasons it's important for me to study His Word...so that I can learn and be reminded of all that was accomplished on the Cross, what it was all about and what it meant, and in turn, become more willing to let go of selfish, self centeredness, so that I can be filled with more of Him, and less of me.

 

2. With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love;

 

Henry writes, "Here the apostle proceeds to more particular exhortations. Two he enlarges upon in this chapter:—To unity an love, purity and holiness, which Christians should very much study. We do not walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called if we be not faithful friends to all Christians, and sworn enemies to all sin.

 

This section contains the exhortation to mutual love, unity, and concord, with the proper means and motives to promote them. Nothing is pressed upon us more earnestly in the scriptures than this. Love is the law of Christ's kingdom, the lesson of his school, the livery of his family. Observe,

 

I. The means of unity: Lowliness and meekness, long-suffering, and forbearing one another in love, v. 2. By lowliness we are to understand humility, entertaining mean thoughts of ourselves, which is opposed to pride. By meekness, that excellent disposition of soul which makes men unwilling to provoke others, and not easily to be provoked or offended with their infirmities; and it is opposed to angry resentments and peevishness. Long-suffering implies a patient bearing of injuries, without seeking revenge. Forbearing one another in love signifies bearing their infirmities out of a principle of love, and so as not to cease to love them on the account of these. The best Christians have need to bear one with another, and to make the best one of another, to provoke one another's graces and not their passions. We find much in ourselves which it is hard to forgive ourselves; and therefore we must not think it much if we find that in others which we think hard to forgive them, and yet we must forgive them as we forgive ourselves. Now without these things unity cannot be preserved. The first step towards unity is humility; without this there will be no meekness, no patience, or forbearance; and without these no unity. Pride and passion break the peace, and make all the mischief. Humility and meekness restore the peace, and keep it. Only by pride comes contention; only by humility comes love. The more lowly-mindedness the more like-mindedness. We do not walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called if we be not meek and lowly of heart: for he by whom we are called, he to whom we are called, was eminent for meekness and lowliness of heart, and has commanded us therein to learn of him."

 

There is so much depth in what Henry wrote that it leaves me kind of speechless.

 

Calvin states, "With all humility. He now descends to particulars, and first of all he mentions humility The reason is, that he was about to enter on the subject of Unity, to which humility is the first step. This again produces meekness, which disposes us to bear with our brethren, and thus to preserve that unity which would otherwise be broken a hundred times in a day. Let us remember, therefore, that, in cultivating brotherly kindness, we must begin with humility. Whence come rudeness, pride, and disdainful language towards brethren? Whence come quarrels, insults, and reproaches? Come they not from this, that every one carries his love of himself, and his regard to his own interests, to excess? By laying aside haughtiness and a desire of pleasing ourselves, we shall become meek and gentle, and acquire that moderation of temper which will overlook and forgive many things in the conduct of our brethren. Let us carefully observe the order and arrangement of these exhortations. It will be to no purpose that we inculcate forbearance till the natural fierceness has been subdued, and mildness acquired; and it will be equally vain to discourse of meekness, till we have begun with humility.

 

Forbearing one another in love. This agrees with what is elsewhere taught, that “love suffereth long and is kind.” (1 Corinthians 13:4.) Where love is strong and prevalent, we shall perform many acts of mutual forbearance."

 

Clarke comments, "With all lowliness] It is by acting as the apostle here directs that a man walks worthy of this high vocation; tapeinofrosunh signifies subjection or humility of mind.

 

Meekness] The opposite to anger and irritability of disposition.

 

Long-suffering] makroqumia? Long-mindedness - never permitting a trial or provocation to get to the end of your patience.

 

Forbearing one another] anecomenoi allhlwn? Sustaining one another - helping to support each other in all the miseries and trials of life: or, if the word be taken in the sense of bearing with each other, it may mean that, through the love of God working in our hearts, we should bear with each other's infirmities, ignorance, &c., knowing how much others have been or are still obliged to bear with us."

 

3. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

 

Henry writes, "II. The nature of that unity which the apostle prescribes: it is the unity of the Spirit, v. 3. The seat of Christian unity is in the heart or spirit: it does not lie in one set of thoughts, nor in one form and mode of worship, but in one heart and one soul. This unity of heart and affection may be said to be of the Spirit of God; it is wrought by him, and is one of the fruits of the Spirit. This we should endeavour to keep. Endeavouring is a gospel word. We must do our utmost. If others will quarrel with us, we must take all possible care not to quarrel with them. If others will despise and hate us, we must not despise and hate them. In the bond of peace. Peace is a bond, as it unites persons, and makes them live friendly one with another. A peaceable disposition and conduct bind Christians together, whereas discord and quarrelling disband and disunite their hearts and affections. Many slender twigs, bound together, become strong. The bond of peace is the strength of society. Not that it can be imagined that all good people, and all the members of societies, should be in every thing just of the same length, and the same sentiments, and the same judgment: buy the bond of peace unites them all together, with a non obstante to these. As in a bundle of rods, they may be of different lengths and different strength; but, when they are tied together by one bond, they are stronger than any, even than the thickest and strongest was of itself.

 

III. The motives proper to promote this Christian unity and concord. The apostle urges several, to persuade us thereto."

 

Calvin shares, "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit. With good reason does he recommend forbearance, as tending to promote the unity of the Spirit. Innumerable offenses arise daily, which might produce quarrels, particularly when we consider the extreme bitterness of man’s natural temper. Some consider the unity of the Spirit to mean that spiritual unity which is produced in us by the Spirit of God. There can be no doubt that He alone makes us “of one accord, of one mind,” (Philippians 2:2,) and thus makes us one; but I think it more natural to understand the words as denoting harmony of views. This unity, he tells us, is maintained by the bond of peace; for disputes frequently give rise to hatred and resentment. We must live at peace, if we would wish that brotherly kindness should be permanent amongst us."

 

Clark comments, "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.] There can be no doubt that the Church at Ephesus was composed partly of converted Jews, as well as Gentiles. Now, from the different manner in which they had been brought up, there might be frequent causes of altercation. Indeed, the Jews, though converted, might be envious that the Gentiles were admitted to the same glorious privileges with themselves, without being initiated into them by bearing the yoke and burden of the Mosaic law. The apostle guards them against this, and shows them that they should intensely labour (for so the word spoudazein implies) to promote and preserve peace and unity. By the unity of the Spirit we are to understand, not only a spiritual unity, but also a unity of sentiments, desires, and affections, such as is worthy of and springs from the Spirit of God. By the bond of peace we are to understand a peace or union, where the interests of all parties are concentrated, cemented, and sealed; the Spirit of God being the seal upon this knot."

 

Holy Father,

 

Forgive me my sins...the weight feels especially heavy this morning as I read the above scriptures. It is so glaringly apparent how short I fall, and You are teaching me that "of course I fall short", but that You are able to accomplish all this and more in my life.

 

So, I ask Father God, to do this work. I'm my own worst enemy.

 

If the Apostle Paul, who is by many, considered to be the greatest Apostle we know of, can write with such intense love and humility, who are we to not humble ourselves before You and conduct ourselves in the same manner...

 

I don't know why I sometimes hang on to things I know are wrong, but I just ask that You would complete the work in my life to remove any and all. It's a little scary to take that step of faith and to ask for something I don't fully comprehend, but I know in my heart that it is needed.

 

We are such an unholy bride...make us holy Father...make our lives pleasing to You, let us truly honor You. Remove the cover that blinds us, that keeps us stagnant, because as Your truth shines into our inner most hearts, that conviction is laced heavily with Your love and forgiveness.

 

Give us the courage to want this Father.

 

In Jesus Name,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Humility and meekness restore the peace, and keep it. Only by pride comes contention; only by humility comes love.

 

Thank You Jesus. Thank You for this Light. I am so pitifully unable to walk this out consistently despite my best efforts. And yet, there is repentance when I fall short. It's part of a 'maturing' trial through which He intends to Bless us as we grow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.