Called to do Our Part
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says, "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." 9 (In saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:1-16 ESV)
- Indicative and Imperatives
Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. There is a shift in the book of Ephesians at this point. Paul has been talking in the indicative and he will now begin to talk in the imperative. The imperative mood of language indicates commands. “Go clean your room.” “Watch where you are walking.” “Stop doing that.” “Do not steal.” “sit up front.” Those are all commands given in an imperative.
The indicative stating a fact, expressing an opinion, asking a question. “The sky is blue” is a fact. “I am an American living in Georgia.” “I like potatoes.”
Let me give some examples of the indicative from the book of Ephesians:
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Eph 1:3 ESV)
- “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, (Eph 1:7 ESV)
- “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10 ESV)
- “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (Eph 3:10 ESV)
Now let’s look at some commands in Ephesians:
- “speak the truth with his neighbor,”. (Eph 4:25 ESV)
- “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, (Eph 4:26 ESV)
- “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,”. (Eph 4:29 ESV)
- “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph 4:32 ESV)
In the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul has used only one imperative (mnemoneuete, 2:11). IN the next three chapters he will use 39! There is a shift in the book.
What is the point of this? The indicative and imperative go together. Do you ever like being told to do something but you have no basis for why you do that? The indicative provides the basis.
It’s like the story of the new bride cooking the brisket like her grandmother did. “
The new bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother’s brisket recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but says, “Why do you cut off the ends — that’s the best part!” She answers, “That’s the way my mother always made it.”
Then a few weeks later they go to the grandmother’s and she asks her grandma why do you cut off the ends. Grandma says, “That’s the only way it will fit in the pan!
The indicatives are important. They are the basis for the commands. She didn’t know the indicative but only the imperative.
You need to trust in christ. Thats a command. Why? The indicatives give the basis of it. He is the Savior of the world. Read your Bible. Why? It is the inspired word of God. a lot of times christians assume others know the basis for our command. You shouldn't do that. We have to help them understand that. Getting the indicative is a way to grow up in your faith.
A vital lesson for instructing others. Parents: You want to help your kids understand things. You want to help them see the place of obedience. You need both of these. When they are younger, it is more weighted toward obey mommy and daddy. They get to teens and it is more about helping them understand the why.
Paul wanted the Ephesians to know who they are in Christ. Now he wants them to know what to do. All this great doctrine and theological truths; they have very practical implications. The first three chapters are the basis for the commands he gives in the next chapters. He gives a series of ethical exhortations for how they are to live.
- Walk Worthily
The first command is to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.” Remember the Christian life is a walk. It is not a sprint. You have to be in it for the long haul. Pace yourselves. Make progress. This call to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord is what the next imperatives fill out.
Worthy of the Lord. Do you know there is a way you can walk that is not worthy of the Lord. We want people to see how we live, act, talk, behave and praise God for what they see. We want to do everything we do to honor the Lord.
“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (v2). The way you go about things is as important as what you decide to do. You have to trust God. Live in love. Keep unity. Don’t do things that burn others down. This requires trusting God for our good and glory.
People will do disturbing things in order to make their name great. There is one story from history of Ephesus that I want to share with you. We have talked about how one of the seven wonders of the ancient world was in Ephesus, the temple of Artemis.
The temple was 377 feet in length and 180 feet wide (three times the square footage of the famed Parthenon) with 127 gleaming white marble columns holding up its roof.
The temple stood for some two centuries as the jewel of Ephesus, until July 21, 356 BC when a man named Herostratus decided to burn it all down.
This giant marble building was framed with wood beams. It appears Herostratus snuck past the guards, placed various oiled rags around some of the wood frame beams supporting the roof, lit them on fire, and let the magic happen.
The destruction of the temple came as a shock to the citizens of Ephesus who assumed that the vast temple was largely impervious to conventional damage by virtue of its massive size.
What came as an even bigger shock though was when Herostratus openly admitted to the crime and willingly handed himself over to Ephesian authorities. He was almost immediately tortured to determine why he burned down the temple. While being tortured, Herostratus apparently exclaimed that he did it so that his name would be remembered throughout history.
Fearing that copycat criminals would similarly commit acts of arson or perhaps even worse crimes in an attempt to gain enough notoriety to have their name etched into the annals of history, the authorities saw to it that Herostratus was brutally and very publicly executed.
His acts of infamy led to the phrase “Herostratic fame” which is used to describe the actions of people who commit crimes solely to acquire fame or notoriety.
We want what we want and we are willing to hurt and put down others to get that. Its the same thing as what Herostratus did. Anger, impatience, disunity all lead to that. Paul reminds us to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. Our glory is connected to glorifying God. We want to honor him in everything. This is the first imperative given. What are you like outside of church? In the office? Is your speech the same as it is here? Are there things that you do that you wouldn’t want your church friends to see or know? Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
- Do your part.
The middle of this passage highlights the one hope we all have in Christ and what Christ has given to us to be mature, sound, strong in our faith.
The end of this section has a focus on God gifting people and calling each of them to do their part. I 'm building this message around the beginning and end of the passage. We need to walk in a manner that honors God. A key aspect is that we each do our part.
Jesus gives gifts to all his followers. He also gives us apostles and teachers in order to build us up in our gifts. And believers are built up to do something.
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry,
13 "attain” to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:1-16 ESV)
If we do not walk in our gifts we do not walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. What if we never use our gifts to build others up or to reach others. The name of Christ is never lifted up for others to hear.
We are to be participating in the mission God gives to us. This is also called the priesthood of all believers. God doesn’t just use some people. He uses all people. This is an exciting part of Christianity! We are all in the mission. We all have a part to play.
I was at a GABN meeting this week. The leader asked all the pastors to go around and share one struggle their church has and then we prayed. After hearing all those complaints I felt compelled to pray that we don’t lose the wonder of knowing Christ.
We are all stronger together when each is working properly. Church is not a spectator sport. And a healthy church has each member doing its part.
I want to give you a few key ways to express this.
- Sundays: Corporate Meetings.
We need every person doing their part. We need people who can sing, who can set up, who can teach, who can administrate. Everyone is needed. Sully.
If you are not a part of a Sunday team we would love to have you join one. Sundays is not about you but other people. We are here to serve, reach, and help others. We have several teams that could use an extra pair of hands.
- Small Groups: Discipleship
You also see this in the life of the church. We need people using their gifts to build up the body the other six days too. A structure that can help us in this is our small groups.
This is an opportunity to grow in your gifts. Do you have a gift in leading, planning, teaching, discipling, leading worship. This is a great place to use your gifts. We are going to grow stronger as a church when we have more people doing ministry. Small groups can facilitate that.
Here are some things I want our small groups doing.
Bible: hanging out watching the baseball game is not Christian fellowship. Neither is going out to eat. There should be Bible involved in someone. Read it. Talk about it. Ask questions. Share insights. This is what the early church did in Acts. They sat around reading the Bible and talking about it. That is the foundation of the church. If we are not excited to be in God’s word with other people, then we have already failed in our mission.
Community: God created us to be in relationship with others. You cannot do what God calls you to do if you are not connected with other believers. Community is doing fun things together, its meeting each other’s needs, it’s getting to know what another person likes or doesn’t like. Its finding out what God is doing in their life. How you can really be praying for them. Their struggles, desires, fears, hopes, dreams.
Mission: Small groups are not here just to meet our needs. They are here to move us into mission. If you are reaching out to someone then one of the best things you can do is introduce them to someone else from church. Do a cookout and invite people you want to reach. Find ways to get involved in the community. Serve a non-profit. Help somewhere.
Partner in mission. How is the church growing. How is your small group growing. We are not supposed to sit around wondering where people are coming from. If we are to build a church it will be from the people that you are reaching.
Small groups are a way to position yourself to learn from others. You get to know people. you can call someone when you have a parenting issues, when your boyfriend breaks up with you and it seems like the world has ended. In small groups you get to know others and how you can help them. I want to have groups that we are really getting to know one another. It’s easy to hide behind superficial talk, behind Bible lessons too, we want to really know one another.
We have a couple small groups, and I want to promote those. However, the thing about small group is that it is a way to disciple and be discipled. We should be learning from older believers. We should be investing in younger believers. Every believer needs a Paul and a Timothy. This can happen in small groups.
Forming healthy people who are igniting change in the world. People have unhealthy lifestyles. And I don’t just mean eating Big macs and biggie fries. I mean people are alienated from God. They struggle with depression and despondent because they don't have hope. They struggle with loneliness because sin separates people. They don't know how to repent and change. Fathers are not leading their families or discipling their kids. Families sit in individual rooms and dont talk. People don’t know how to have meaningful relationships with others. They don't know how to read the Bible and talk about it and ask questions. Small group isn’t about a bunch of people with it all figured out talking about how great they are; it’s a bunch of people striving to walk with Christ and learn from others how to do it. Maturity.
Seeing the gospel sets people on fire.
Seeing others built up and equipped is how you determine success in the church.
We are going to measure success based on our sending capacity rather than our seating capacity. I am not concerned with our seating capacity in here. I want to know who is doing ministry. Who is reaching the lost. Who is discipling others. I want missionaries doing this oversees but it wont happen if it is not first in churches.
We need every person moving forward in this. Talk about this in your small groups. If you are not in a small group I want you to think about how you can go deeper with others. Discipleship Essentials Gregg Ogden.
**Whose your one? Who is someone in your relational sphere that is not a Christian or is not walking with the Lord that you can spend time with, talk to, grab lunch with, invite to something fun you are doing. I want you to prayerfully determine someone one you can start to build with (Other than a child). Someone you can get to know. In the next three months say “I’m going to ask them to go to church at least one time. Get to know and hang out.
Sometimes we don’t see the trees because of the forest. There are so many people out there and we are not sure why they aren’t following Christ, why our small group isn’t growing. God is calling you to reach one.
Simplifying the great commission.
- Not going well.
- Not prepared for that.
- Not from here.
What its like? How can I pray for you? I would love for you to come to church with me. Plan to have someone over to your house once a month. Am I eager to share the gospel with people in my life. Am i as eager as Paul was.
Imagine if everyone reached one person this next year. One person you were going deeper in Bible, community and mission.
We need to own our mission privately and corporately. Being here on Sunday because it might be the day someone brings that one person they have been reaching out to.
We all need to be walking toward our mission together.
Group effort. Military walking in step with one another.
Called to walk together. To go deeper. To help one another. To make Christ known.