Monday, October 19, 2020

Christ and The Church 3: Christ In Our Walk - Ephesians 4

 Christ and The Church 3: Christ In Our Walk

Text Ephesians 4

Power Point Link

Video Link

Review: Chapter One

Chapter One - We are In Christ

 Location in Christ - Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Sanctification in Christ - Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 

Vocation in Christ - Ephesians 1:11-12  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Illumination in Christ - Ephesians 1:17-19  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.

Ephesians 2 – Salvation In Christ

Our Past: Dead in Sin - Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  

Our Present: Seated in Heavenly Places - Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Our Future: Showing the Riches of His Mercy - Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 3 – Grow In Christ

Passion - 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Prayer - 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Power - 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us


Introduction: Quick Thinking Youth Ministry

There is a story about a new youth minister in a church.  A church member asked him if she could get a copy of the Old Testament but not the New Testament. 

“I already have a New Testament.  I only want the Old.” Not knowing what to do, he excused himself to ask the pastor.

"Pastor, some nut out there wants to get half the Bible..." he began, and, suddenly realizing that the member had entered the office behind him, continued, " ...  and this lovely lady would like to get the other half if it’s the Old Testament."

Thinking he could help the youth minister to think before he spoke instead of using his wit to try and avoid the foot in his mouth, the pastor asked him  "Where are you from?" asked the pastor.

"Fessairton, Pennsylvania," replied the youth minister, "home of ugly women and great hockey teams."

"Really, said the pastor, “Well what would you say if I told you my WIFE is from Fessairton.”

Without skipping a beat, the youth pastor asked, "Well, I would ask you, what hockey team was she on?"

As we’ve read and preached through Ephesians, we have moved with Paul and the Holy Spirit from our Position in Christ, to our Purpose in Christ, to Passion and Power in Christ. Now with chapter 4 we’ve moved in to the practice of being in Christ. As will all of Paul’s letters, after establishing the doctrinal he moves to the practical. Knowing becomes doing. Understanding brings us to action.

Paul describes this practice, this action of our life as a walk, in fact as several walks all the way from chapter 4 to 5. A "walk" is a visible lifestyle or action.   

The Walks of Ephesians

Walk In Unity 4:1-6

Walk in Maturity 4:7-16

Walk In Newness 4:17-32

Walk In Love  5:1-7

Walk In Light  5:8-14

Walk In Wisdom  5:15-21

You can see this transition from the doctrinal to the practical as he begins in 4:1 with the word “therefore.”

 Christ In Our Walk, Unity - Ephesians 4:1-6

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The Rule of One

Paul exhorts the Ephesians to act, to walk, in keeping with the calling they have received. The word vocation is translated 10 times as calling and this once as vocation. It is half of the word ekklesia which is the compound word used for church in the Greek NT. It means Called Out.

Paul says we are called by God. First called to salvation but with that call to salvation is also a call to vocation. We are called to be and act like the Children of God that we are. We are called to be Christians, ones like Christ in all that means and as Paul especially focuses on the church, he tells us that we are called to walk in unity.

In order to walk in unity requires Christ like attributes of lowliness, gentleness and long-suffering.  These give us the ability to “forebear” one another, to put up with the faults, failures and foibles of our brother and sisters in our local body. (And if some of you don’t think you have foibles, well you need to look that word up because believe you me, we got foibles all up in this place.) Having these qualities then, Paul says, Endeavor, not just try but try hard and keep trying, to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The bond of peace means we are tied together, bound together with the cords of peace. First bound to God but then also tied together with one another.

Then Paul gives us the example, the goal we are to be walking toward in 4-6, “  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says, there is only one faith and one baptism. Their one faith was the truth they believed, and the one baptism was the ordinance of the church that showed that faith publicly and the brought them into that local church and submitted them to the authority of that local church. It was a symbol now of their unity to that body.

This is why the church should be united because we are all under the rule of one. As there is unity in one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, over us all, there should be unity in us all.

One Rule to Bind Them

Baseball manager, Casey Stengel used to say, "It's easy to get good players. Gettin' em to play together, that's the hard part." He might have been pastor Casey Stengel and saying it about his church.

If Calvary Baptist church is ever to accomplish the mission God had given us, we must be united pulling together, praying together, struggling and sacrificing together.  Without that kind of unity, not only will we not succeed we won’t even survive.

Exhortations to unity: It is so important to the life of a church that Paul constantly reminds the churches in his letters, you need to be united, you need to be one body.

1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Thomas Carlyle said, "Ten men banded together in love and unity can do what ten thousand separately would fail to do." We don’t need a church with a thousand members to fulfill Jesus commission, we just need the members we have united by the rule of one, walking in unity.

Illustration: Pulling the plow

Back in 1957 the First Brethren Church of Sarasota, Florida had a ground-breaking service. Instead of the usual shovels for special people to use in digging, they brought an old one horse plow. Recalling the words of Jesus, "Take my yoke upon you," they borrowed an old yoke and two stalwart laymen were hitched up. But the two were unable to pull the plow. Then the entire Building Committee of the congregation were put on the rope, but even then, the plow did not move. Other church officers were added, and the Sunday school officers and teachers, but still the plow did not move. Finally, every member of the congregation who was present each took a hold of the rope. With every member pulling together, the plow moved, the ground was broken.

If we are going to carry out the Lord’s work in Athens, Texas we must do it together there is no other way for God’s people in the Lord’s church to walk but in unity.


Next in vs. 7 -15 Paul urges the church to walk in maturity.


Christ In Our Walk, Maturity Eph 4:7-16

7  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.8  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.9  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Gifts To Grow

Paul points out that Christ gave various gifts to the church. These gifts are different from those in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, where the gifts are to individuals for the work of the church. Here they are offices giving to the church as a body for the purpose of maturing the church.

He says the gifts were, apostles; prophets; evangelists; pastors and teachers;

These were given that the church would edify (build up) itself in love.

Translated from the Greek work oikodome {oy-kod-om-ay'} (the act of) building, building up promoting another's growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness.

Notice the path this walk must take.

First the gifts were given by Christ to the Church. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”

Then we are told why, or the purpose of these gifts was for the maturing of the members that they might to the work of the ministry that that work might build up the body of Christ.  Look at vs 12 “ For (this purpose) the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Only after this begins can we come to where this path is leading, vs13 – 16; “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

What is the end product of growing as a church? Its not numbers, or a building, or money or a fancy pastor, or a great music ministry. The mark of a mature church grown by the gifts given, and what ever joint supplies is a church that grows in the knowledge of Christ, grows in love and unity, is able to stand against false doctrine, speaks the truth in love and builds itself up in love.

Making Maturity

We all want to be a church that mature church, filled with perfected saints and each of us supplying that which will builds our church and one another up in love but it won’t happen unless we walk along the path that Paul just laid out for us.

The church Jesus built was never meant to be a church run by a professional staff with an audience of onlookers.  Christianity was never meant to be a spectator sport. Or a business administered by proxies. Once that happens and it happens all the time,  then the real church, the Church Jesus left upon this earth to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth, grinds to a halt and the Firs Church of Passive Non-Involvement begins.

“Let the preacher and song leader do it, that’s what we pay them for.” In some denominations its designed that way, like the Catholics, the Presbyterians and the Methodists. They don’t want people in the pew messing things up and so they run your church for you, sometimes all the way from Rome and I’m not talking Rome, Texas. The church is meant to be the vanguard, the front line of the battle for the souls of men and that means everyone of us needs to be matured by the church, in the church for the work of the church.

Story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

Once upon a time there were four church members named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. But Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it. But Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about it, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, and Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody and Nobody did the job that Anybody could have done in the first place.

Illustration: Parable of the Orange Tree

I dreamed I drove on a Florida road; still and straight and empty.  On either side were groves of orange trees, so that as I turned to look at them from time to time, line after line of trees stretched back endlessly from the road -their boughs heavy with round orange fruit.  This was harvest time.  My wonder grew as the miles slipped by.  How could the harvest be gathered?

    Suddenly I realized that for all the hours I had driven (and this was how I knew I must be dreaming) I had seen no other person.  I was alone in a forest of orange trees.

    The sun had long passed its zenith, and the shadows were lengthening when, without any warning, I turned a corner of the road to see a notice, Leaving NEGLECTED COUNTY -Entering HOME COUNTY.  The contrast was so startling that I scarcely had time to take in the notice.  People by the thousands swarmed the road and crowded the sidewalks.

    Even more startling was the transformation in the orange groves.  Orange groves were still there, and orange trees in abundance; but now, far from being silent and empty, they were filled with the laughter and singing of multitudes of people.

I parked the car and mingled with the crowd.  Smart gowns, neat shoes, showy hats, expensive suits and starched shirts, everyone seemed so fresh, and poised, and happy.

    Is it a holiday?  I asked a well-dressed woman with whom I fell in step.     You're a stranger, aren't you?  she said, This is Orange Day.”

    She must have seen a puzzled look on my face, for she went on.  It is so good to turn aside from one's labors and pick oranges one day of the week.

But don't you pick oranges every day?  I asked her.

One may pick oranges at any time, she said.  We should always be ready to pick oranges, but Orange Day is the day that we devote especially to orange picking.

I left her and made my way further into the trees.  By and by I noticed around one of the orange trees seats had been arranged, rising upward in tiers from the ground.  The seats were almost full but, as I approached the group, a smiling well-dressed gentlemen shook my hand and conducted me to a seat.

There, around the foot of the orange tree, I could see a number of people.  One of them was addressing all the people on the seats and, just as I got to my seat, everyone rose to his feet and began to sing.  The man next to me shared with me his songbook.  It was called Songs of the Orange Groves.

    They sang for some time, and the song leader waved his arms with a strange and frenzied abandon, exhorting the people in the intervals between the songs to sing more loudly.

    I grew steadily more puzzled. When do we start to pick oranges?  I asked the man who had loaned me his book.

“It's not long now, he told me. We like to get everyone warmed up first. Besides, we want to make the oranges feel at home.”

After a while a rather fat man took over from the song leader and, after reading two sentences from his well-thumbed copy of the Orange Picker's Manual, began to make a speech.  I wasn't clear whether he was addressing the people or the oranges.

I glanced behind me and saw a number of groups of people similar to our own group gathering around an occasional tree and being addressed by other fat men. 

   “Which trees do we pick from?”  I asked the man beside me.  He did not seem to understand so I pointed to the trees round about.

 “This is our tree, he said, pointing to the one we were gathered around.”

    “But there are too many of us to pick from just one tree, I protested.  Why, there are more people than oranges!”

    “But we don't pick oranges, the man explained.  We haven't been called.  That's the Pastor Orange Picker's job.  We're here to support him.  Besides we haven't been to college.  You need to know how an orange thinks before you can pick it successfully, orange psychology, you know.  Most of these folk here, he went on, pointing to the congregation, have never been to Manual school.

    “I see, I murmured.”  I had no idea that picking oranges was so difficult. The fat man at the front was still making his speech.  His face was red, and he appeared to be indignant about something, but a moment later a glow came on his face.

 “But we are not forsaken, he said.  We have much to be thankful for, we are now completely debt free from the money we owed on the new cushion covers that grace the seats you now sit on.

    “Isn't it wonderful?  the man next to me murmured.”  I made no reply.  I felt that something must be profoundly wrong somewhere.  All this seemed to be a very roundabout way of picking oranges.

    The fat man was reaching a climax in his speech.  The atmosphere seemed tense.  Then with a very dramatic gesture he reached two of the oranges, plucked them from the branch, and placed them in the basket at his feet.  The applause was deafening.

 “Do we start on the picking now?”  I asked.

    “What in the world do you think we're doing?  he hissed.  What do you suppose this tremendous effort has been made for?  There's more orange-picking talent in this group than in the rest of Home County.  Thousands of dollars have been spent on the tree you're looking at.”

    I apologized quickly.  “I wasn't being critical, I said.  And I'm sure the fat man must be a very good orange picker, but surely the rest of us could try.  After all, there are so many oranges that need picking.  We've all got a pair of hands, and we could read the Manual.”

    “When you've been in the business as long as I have, you'll realize that it's not as simple as that, he replied.  There isn't time, for one thing.  We have our work to do, our families to care for, and our homes to look after.  We...

 But I wasn't listening.  Light was beginning to break on me.  Whatever these people were, they were not orange pickers. Orange picking was just a form of entertainment for their weekends.

The moral of the story is that I don’t want to be the fat man getting red in the face talking about seat cushions and every single one of us should be out there picking oranges! The mature church is supplied by every joint, every member of the body.


Paul has one more walk that we are going to look at this morning, Walk in the Newness of Jesus Christ.

Christ In Our Walk, Newness - Ephesians 4:17-24

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20  But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

New Walk For New Minds

Notice the characteristics of the old man.

17 That walk in the vanity, the folly the emptiness,  of their mind.

18 Their understanding, moral insight, reasoning, is darkened

18 They are alienated, separated from the life, the blessings of God

18 They are ignorant, unable and unwilling to know God.

18 there is a blindness of their heart:

19 They are past feeling, made hard and callous

19 They are given unto lasciviousness, sensuality, the pleasure for the senses

19 They work all uncleanness, immorality, depravity, with greediness, serving self and no others. 

But, Paul says, you have not so learned Christ. That is not you as the body of Christ, that is not you as mature, growing members of the Lord’s church.

Paul says in Vs 21 If ye have learned Christ, if you have heard him and been taught by him because the truth is in Jesus. Christ is the embodiment of all Truth.

Vs. 22 Because you have learned and been taught the truth, 22-24, 22  That ye put off (means to strip off as one removes old dirty clothes) concerning the former conversation (the old way of life)  the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

The idea here is that every day we strip off the old person we were and we put on the new person we are in Christ.

And Paul gives us very specific examples of those old life rags we should be stripping off.

Ephesians 4:25-32 25  Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27  Neither give place to the devil. 28  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

In chapter 2 Paul said we were, in the past Dead Men walking but now he is telling us that we are new so we should be …

Live Men Walking

Each day, we must be conscious of doing what Paul is exhorting here in these last verses.

Remember who Christ is and who you are in Christ, remember what you have learned of Christ and in Christ. Remember Christ is the truth.

We must make a conscious decision and commitment to strip away the shreds of the old man and his lingering lifestyle, and with that stripping away, be renewed. You must choose to put on the new man, the new woman, the new child.  This is not and cannot be a passive, automatic, non-action but it must be the deliberate, conscious choice of someone who knows Christ, has been born again and desires to face this day and every other day as a new creature in Christ. Be renewed!

Scripture: 1Corinthans 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

That is true the day you were saved, and it should be true every day we walk as children of God, taught by Christ.


He Died Climbing

High in the Alps is a monument raised in honor of a faithful guide who perished while ascending a peak to rescue a stranded tourist. Inscribed on that memorial stone are these words: HE DIED CLIMBING.

Wouldn’t it be fitting if that could be inscribed on our memorial at the end of our life.  He died climbing. She died climbing.  

Every day to us as Christians is new, every day should start with the old stripped away and the power of the new put on. We should just keep climbing in our walk with Christ.


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