Monday, August 1, 2011

Ephesians Part 2 (chapter 4)

The book of Ephesians is all about Christians being united. Jesus, through his life and death united everyone who believes in him. The Church (universal) is the earthly vehicle through which all believers are united and held together.

Paul believed it was very important that Christians be united in the faith. Jesus had stated in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 12, that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”(Matthew 12:25) In order for the Church to have the full power of Jesus’ name, unity is of paramount importance. A divided church cannot help the world or even the people within its walls as effectively as a united one. Paul was adamant that Christians put aside their differences for the greater good of spreading the gospel of Jesus.

In the Fourth Chapter of Ephesians, Paul discusess how Christians stay unified in practical ways. He reminds us that Christians should live very different lives from non-Christians because we are called to new lives reflecting the holiness and righteousness of God as those who have been adopted as children of God. Because of this we are to live lives that are marked by kindness, compassion, generosity, humility, equality, and truthfulness.

Living in this way is not easy and in our culture where so much 'slides' it is easy to let our own values and standards slide, as well. Paul is adamant that we not let this happen because it is through our lives that the gospel is shared. If we live lives that are unworthy of that gift, how can we spread the love of Jesus?

Through worship, prayer, study, and fellowship with other Christians, we can continue to make progress on our spiritual journey, recognizing and repenting of those sins we commit on a regular basis. While the Church strengthens us for our mission, we are not to live our lives barricaded behind its walls. We are to go into the world as those who are different and changed by our faith, not as those who mimic secular culture. This is a distinction that is uncomfortable for most Christians. We don't mind divisions in almost any other part of our lives, but we don't want to be seen as different when it comes to the division between Christian and non-Christian. This division, however, is unavoidable if you truly want to live a Christ-centered life. It doesn't mean you cannot be friends with non-Christians, it just means that you have to realize there will most likely be differences that you cannot pretend away.

As Christians, we are called to live lives that reflect Jesus - something that requires a lot of prayer and support from the Christian community (i.e. - The Church). It is hard and it is sometimes offensive - but Jesus never said it was easy.


- For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:8-13