From Life to Death: Walk In Grace (Ephesians 4:1-16)
Walk In Grace (Ephesians 4:1-16)
A Worthy Walk (4:1-6) For the past three chapters, Paul made a great effort to describe the riches of God’s blessings through Jesus Christ: you have been elected and adopted through the blood of the Messiah (1:7), they were made right before Yahweh through the cross (1:7), you have forgiveness sins, you were made alive spiritually and saved by grace (2:4). This is what we call orthodoxy or right belief about the Lord. Yet, it’s possible to believe the right things about God and not be in the right relationship with him.
This dilemma describes the “cultural Christian,” a person who claims the name of Jesus but does not have a saving personal faith in the Messiah. To this person, Jesus says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say” (Luke 6:46)? If this is you, will you search your heart for the first time in your life? You will never be made right before the Lord by what you say or even do; it’s by grace through faith you are saved.
True orthodoxy always leads to orthopraxy or right living. Therefore, Paul frontloads the wealth of Christ’s grace to urge you to walk worthy of the Savior in grace.
When you receive the grace of Jesus Christ through faith, something changes. You become alive for the first time and walk with a different stance. The Bible describes the new stroll of faith as worthy. To be worthy carries the idea of rightness, truth, and weight. You don’t live your life to become worthy of the Father’s love; you walk worthy because Jesus made you right.
Walk because you have received. So, what does a worthy walk look like?
A worthy person walks with humility 4:2. To walk worthy of the upward call in Jesus Christ, you must walk with humility and gentleness. Now, if you think this is entirely ridiculous, you are not alone. Humility was uncommon in Greek society, and when the word was used, it always carried negative connotations. But something changed! When Jesus emptied himself and took in flesh in the form of a humble servant, all who are adopted into His holy family by faith clothe themselves with humility. By the second century, humility was a virtue in the Christian community and a point of ridicule from society.
Take-Home: Do you walk with humility, not overly impressed with your self-importance. A worthy walk shows the world that Jesus is the most important.
A worthy person walks with patience, one of the fruits of the Spirit. Remember, Paul is writing this as a prisoner of Christ in chains. So don’t see patience as sitting with folding hands enduring ignorant bliss. On the contrary, Christian patience is an active thing. It conveys the idea of positive endurance rather than quiet acceptance – Ajith Fernando.
Take-Home: When you walk with patience, we model the patience of a holy God towards us. Pet 3:9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance
A worthy person walks with love towards others. Specifically, Paul describes this kind of Christian love as bearing with one another. It’s the phrase used to describe putting up with something or someone annoying. Do you know anyone annoying– you know the ones who slurp their drink, text while driving, or grind their teeth?
Take-Home: We bear with one another because God’s posture towards us is not irritation. God’s default posture towards you is love through the blood of Jesus.
A worthy person walks with peaceful effort. Walking with Christ takes effort. On the one hand, we already have unity because of the finished work on the cross. On the other hand, we must maintain, with effort, the peace given to us.
Take-Home: The peacemaker is willing to risk pain to bring all things together in the bond of love.
Jesus did not sit idly in heaven, hoping that you would have peace with God one day. Instead, Jesus, the peacemaker, experienced pain to die on the cross for your sins that you might live in harmony with Yahweh.
Maybe you are like me when you hear this and think, wow, how will this ever be possible? Yet, here is an eternal promise: a worthy walk never walks alone (4:4). Seven times, the Word reminds you of your oneness: body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, and God the father.
Dear friend, you received eternal hope when you trusted Jesus as Lord through faith. This is the hope that leads you to the obedient waters of baptism, makes you one with every other believer, and unites you with the Godhead– Spirit, Son, and God the Father.
Take-Home: A redeemed person never walks alone. Walk worthy of the calling you have received.
A Wealthy Community (4:7-16) When every person saved by grace begins to live out their holy calling in a common world, we begin to see truly how wealthy we are in the riches of our Savior.
Paul describes the wealth of Jesus in this way, “grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
A saving grace is a grace that saves sinners and is given to all who believe in Jesus as Messiah. This is the grace spoken of earlier, “For it is by grace you are saved, through faith.”
Did you know there is another sort of grace? We can call this grace, as described here, as service grace. This is a heavenly kindness that equips the people of the Lord to serve.
Take-Home: The grace of Jesus that saved you is the same grace that sustains and sanctifies you. God’s graces don’t end at your new birth; it carries you every second of your abundant life.
Jesus' service grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. So when you give your life to Jesus, the spotless Lamb measures out to you a unique spiritual grace to accomplish what His spiritual gift in you requires.
Take-Home: In Christ, you have everything you need to accomplish God’s holy purpose in your life and the world.
Did you know that Jesus is the best gift-giver the world has ever known? Every single Christian has been given a gift through his service grace. Twice Paul reinforces the blessings of Jesus (4:7, 4:8). Next, the NT names some of these gifts through the church's history: apostles (those who had a historical connection with Jesus), prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. But the gifts didn’t end with the five offices in the early church. You see, from the very beginning, the Lord raised leaders to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
My grace gift as a pastor is to encourage your grace gift in Jesus. The church finds itself most like Jesus and most effective when every person called by the Father uses the gifts God has given her and him. God’s church is not a hierarchy; it’s a living organism, a body growing into the image of our Savior.
Take-Home: What service grace has the Lord given you? This is the beautify of God’s diversity. You have a unique spiritual gift that no one else has to make a difference.
The Lord richly pours out his grace upon His people so that we (plural) may grow to look more like Jesus every day. We grow to look like Jesus when we all exercise daily grace by speaking truth in love. Literally, this phrase calls us to “truthing in love.” No reference is made to speak.
Truth becomes hard if not softened by love, and love becomes soft if not strengthened by truth.
Take-Home: Are you truthing in love today? The wealth of Christ’s grace is displayed when you live out His sustaining grace in your life in this beautifully diversified kingdom called the church.
We are to be like the man who said, “Jesus has done too much for me; the rest of my life is a P.S. to his great work!”
How is your walk today? We walk worthy because Jesus walked to the cross. He emptied himself of his glory in humility and took on human flesh. With patience, Jesus calls us to confess our sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you – every single time. In love, He united you to the Father through his atoning death on the cross. Through the resurrection, we have peace with God; we are made right forever and never have to worry about our eternal status.
Jesus has done too much for me; I will walk worthy of the calling for the rest of my life.
Are you displaying the wealth of His service grace in your life? Do you know the measure of Christ’s gift to you? Are you exercising the service grace given to you? “Jesus has done too much for me; the rest of my life is a P.S. to his great work!”
We take seriously the call to serve our Savior. Why? Because you will never be satisfied until you exercise the measure of his grace and gifts in your life.
We receive his grace and gifts because he gave up His life. The love of Christ is broad enough to encompass all mankind, long enough to last for eternity, deep enough to reach the most degraded sinner, and high enough to exalt him to heaven.