Ephesians 4:1-16 … Most letters of Paul divide into two distinct sections: the first providing doctrine or teaching and the second providing application of the doctrine. In Ephesians, the doctrine is in chapters 1-3, where we’re told that believers, those who are trusting in Christ alone for salvation, are part of a single, unified Body called the Church, which is united in Christ its head; dead to sin and alive to Christ. That’s the calling of the Church.
Now, what does all that mean? That’s what will be addressed in chapters 4-6. First of all, it means walking worthy of our calling, with visible attributes of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:2 together with the evidences (fruits) of the Spirit which are listed in Galatians 5:22-23). Secondly it means unity in the Church. If Ephesians 4:4-6 were read at the beginning of every gathering of the Church, we wouldn’t have denominational differences; we’d be committed to unity around the Person of Christ. Third, it means that believers have a diversity of gifts for ministry in the Body (Paul addressed this in another letter, 1 Corinthians 12).
We might note here that the gift of pastor-teacher (v.11-12) is expressly for equipping the saints (believers) for the work of the ministry … and a good question to ask after every message is this, “am I being trained for the work of the ministry?” … and what did I learn that can be put to use for the work of the ministry? In the process of that training (equipping) we’re to grow in the knowledge of Christ (v.13) in a way that the whole Body grows together (v.16). This is an important teaching about the Church. Ray Stedman wrote a wonderful little book called Body Life which ought to be required reading for every church.1 It says a great deal about Ephesians 4:16.
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