Ephesians 4:11-16 NASB
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Gifts and Ministries
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we become members of his body, which is called the church. For, the church is the people who believe in Jesus. It is not a denomination or a building or a corporation or an organization. It is a living organism. And, the stones used to build this building are us, the people, not brick and mortar.
Within us our Lord God dwells. We are his temple. The Holy of Holies exists now within us. Within our lives dwells his sanctuary. We are the Holy City, the heavenly Jerusalem. We are the children of God, the children of promise. Physical Jerusalem is now of Hagar, the slave woman, for she is still in bondage to sin, for the Jewish nation, though not all Jews, rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and as their Messiah (See: Rom. 11; Gal. 3-4).
As the body of Christ, his church, the Lord has given all of us gifts and ministries (our body parts) for the building up of his body in the faith unto maturity in Jesus Christ, as each of us does our part. We all have different gifts, but the same Spirit who is the one who gives us the gifts as he determines. We all have different functions, but the same Lord who is the one who assigns us our roles within the universal body of Christ.
We all need each other. But, the only way in which we will have the unity of the faith that this speaks of is if we are all united with Jesus Christ in mind and in heart. And, to be united with Christ means to love what he loves and to hate what he hates, and to walk in obedience to his commands. It also means that we prefer what he prefers, which is what is holy, pure, upright, godly, moral, honest, righteous, just, fair, kind and loving (as he loves). And, if truly this is what we prefer, we will walk in this purity and holiness.
We all need each other because we need to encourage one another, because we all still live in flesh bodies and we are still subject to temptation and to being deceived. So, God uses each of us with our varied giftedness and our assignments (of God) within the universal (and local) body of Christ to help one another to walk in purity of devotion to Jesus Christ and to not be led astray by the trickery of humans in their deceitful scheming.
Ephesians 4:17-24 NASB
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Death and Life
Coming to faith in Jesus Christ means that we are crucified with him in death to sin and that we are resurrected with him to newness of life in him, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24 NIV). For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus did not die merely so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we leave this earth, as some would have you believe.
Yet, by the trickery of men (and women), by craftiness in deceitful scheming, many have been led astray and have bought into a false grace gospel which requires no death to sin, no living to righteousness, and no walk of surrender and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. So, they think if they merely acknowledge Jesus Christ and what he did for us, and if they accept his forgiveness for their sins, that it secures them heaven no matter how they live from that moment forward.
But, Paul made it plain here that that is not the truth of the gospel. He let us know here that the truth, which is found in Christ Jesus, is that we should have been taught death to sin and living to righteousness as required for our eternal salvation.
In other words, when we come to genuine faith in Jesus Christ, which is a gift of God, and which is divine persuasion as to our need to submit to his Lordship, we die with him to sin that we might live with him to righteousness. We forsake our former way of living to sin and self, we are changed in the attitude of our minds with regard to sin and to God, and we put on our new lives in Christ Jesus which are becoming like Jesus.
For, if we do not, we will die in our sins, not live with Christ for eternity. No confession of Christ or baptism or sinner’s prayer will ever guarantee us eternal life with God. We must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh. We must die daily to sin and self. We must no longer make the lusts of our flesh what we regularly practice. But, we must live holy lives, godly lives, which are pleasing to our Lord, but all in his power and strength now living within us (See Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Draw Me Close to You
Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m Your friend
You are my desire
And no one else will do…
You’re all I want
You’re all I’ve ever needed…
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, that you died that we might die to sin, and that you live that we might live to you and to your righteousness. Thank you that you not only forgive us our sins, but that you free us from our slavery to sin, and that you empower us to walk according to your Spirit in godliness and holiness. Thank you, too, for loving us the way that you do in how you encourage us to walk with you day by day. And, thank you for the body of Christ and how you use us to minister your love and grace to one another for our mutual encouragement. Amen!