May 22, 2022


Passage: Ephesians 4:1-10
Service Type:


  • On March 8, 2016 we had an incredible task.
  • It’s a task that many of you have had to undertake.
  • It was a big deal for us.
  • And Megan and I were having the most difficult time with it.
  • My son had been born, and we had to have a name picked out before it was time to leave the hospital.
  • His name was a big deal to me, because names are important things.
  • We named Melana Renee after all of our moms. We put Melanie and Jana
  • Audrey has the middle name grace and it is not by accident. Her name means noble strength, and grace is unmerited favor.  She is certainly God’s grace in our lives.
  • So when it was time to pick a name for my son, I wanted his first name to be a good one.
  • We named him a Bible name- Ezekiel. It means “God will strengthen”.
  • My dad was a chain breaker in his family. His father had not lived for the Lord or raised him to do that.
  • So, my dad made sure that the Jennings named something to us.
  • There were many times when we would be walking into a circumstance, especially when making a first impression- the first day of school, or meeting another family for the first time. Dad would tell us, “Boys, you are Jennings and you are Christians.  You have Jesus’ name and my name.  Act right.”
  • I want the name Jennings to keep meaning something.
  • This is essentially what Paul has been doing for the first three chapters of Ephesians.
  • This is who you are…
  • If you were to summarize the book of Ephesians into two words it would be these two words: “In Christ”.
  • The first 3 chapters are full of declarative statements that tell us who we are.
  • Then we get to Chapter 4:1

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

  • This verse is the hinge on which the whole letter turns from doctrine to duty.
  • The “I” here is Paul.
  • “Therefore” speaks of everything that he has said in the first three chpaters.
  • He calls himself “the prisoner of the Lord”.
    • It’s as if he could say, “ I am in jail because of you gentiles being put into Christ. I have this stewardship of the mystery given to me by my God.”  More about this in a coming point.
  • He uses the word beseech which means “to plead with”.
  • Paul pleads with his audience to live up to the calling that they have received.
  • He was asking them to live up to their privileged status.
  • To do so he uses this command “Walk worthy”.
    • “Walk” is used multiple times in chapters 4-6.
    • Walking is something each of us do every day.
    • It’s everyday living and deciding.
    • He is saying to live up to or live appropriate to the “vocation wherewith ye are called”.
  • What was this privileged status? What is this vocation and calling?
  • Everything he’s already stated from chapter 1 to chapter 3.
    • As believers they are “in Christ”!
      • They are holy, without blame, chosen, adopted, redeemed, and sealed. (1:3-14)
      • They have hope, power and an inheritance! (1:15-23)
      • They were dead but are now alive and ordained to good works! (2:1-10)
      • They were without hope and foreigners to God’s covenants and promises, but have been brought near by the blood of Jesus Christ. (2:11-22)
      • They have had the mystery of the church age (redemption for Jews and Gentiles brought together in the assembly) revealed to them, which was previously unknown. (3:1-13)
      • They had been told that God wanted to strengthen them, dwell in them, show them His love, and fill them up with all that He is so that He could get the glory! (3:14-21)
    • So as he is calling on them to walk worth of their “in Christ” calling, what does that look like?
    • It looks like living out who you already are.
    • It looks like Becoming Who You Already Are.
    • What does it look like to walk worthy of this calling and identity? That’s what the whole rest of the book is about.
    • The first way it looks, according to Paul, is unity among the assembly. It is unity between those who are in Christ.

We demonstrate our unity in Christ by walking together based on 3 facts.

Fact #1– We are unified by our calling. V.1-3

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

  • Notice the vocabulary:
    • Lowliness
    • Meekness
    • Longsuffering
    • Forebearing one another in love
    • Unity
    • Bond of Peace
  • They had been given so much that they don’t deserve.
  • This should cause humility.
  • This is Paul’s case.
  • He asked them to live out their vocation with lowliness or humility. We think about others the way Jesus did, by putting others ahead of ourselves.
  • He asked them to live out their calling with gentleness. We are reasonable with people, responding appropriately to them.
  • He asked them to be longsuffering with others. We are patient with others because God, in Christ Jesus, was patient and longsuffering with us.
  • He asked them to forebear with one another with love.
  • The defining mark of a disciple of Jesus Christ is their love reflected from Jesus Christ to their brothers and sisters in Christ, especially when it is difficult.
  • Lastly he asked them to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
    • Notice we don’t create some false unity, but we keep the unity we already have.
    • We are in Christ.
    • We stay unified based on what we already mutually have.
  • What is something that cause siblings to be at odds with one another?
  • Answers can include- Competitive attitudes, selfish motives, different ways of thinking…
  • My brother and I were at odds quite a bit growing up.
  • I did things that bothered him, and he certainly knew how to get under my skin.
  • One day we were on the playground playing basketball. I was in middle school, and Shad was in upper elementary school.
  • I remember someone getting upset with him and then trying to fight him, and I had this weird feeling. I wanted to stick up for my brother.  In fact, I felt it so strongly that I actually did stick up for him and tried to fight the other kid off of him.
  • And I remember thinking, “You don’t hit my brother. I hit my brother, but you don’t hit him!”
  • Ultimately, we defended each other in moments like that because what he have in common is so much more important that what divided us at the time.
  • We both had the identity of being “Jennings” and that prompted us to act in unity as we matured.
  • Just like Shad and I are both Jennings and so we bare the same name, those who are in Christ are no longer divided by other things.
  • We have more in common than we do that divides us.
  • Paul says that our “in Christ” position should make us humble.
  • We should seek to put others first because of how we have been treated and loved in Christ.
  • What is our “vocation” that we are to live up to? We are in Christ.
  • We have been called “into Christ”, so we should be unified!
  • Our “in Christ” position should lead to “in Christ” living!
  • We are humble, gentle, patient, loving, unified and peaceful because we are in Christ!

We demonstrate our unity in Christ by walking together based on 3 facts.

  • Fact #1– We are unified by our calling. V.1-3

Fact #2– We are unified by our spiritual realities. V.4-6

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism,One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

  • Paul spoke in verses 1-3 of attitudes and behaviors that would promote unity in the local church.
  • In verses 4-6 he describes the Spiritual realities that are the basis for this unity.
  • Paul says “one” 7 times in these 3 verses.
    • He points to the unity that they have by pointing out the singularity in all these areas.
    • Belief always produces behavior. Having right theology here should lead to right living.
    • Behavior always displays belief.
  • He says we should have unity because in Christ we are part of the same spiritual reality:

One body- Body of Christ

  • In talking about “body” he is referring to the church- the assembly.
  • The church is the body of Christ.
  • How would they have understood this idea of “one body”?
  • There were Jewish “ekklesias” called synagogues.
  • Paul went to these synagogues that existed in these towns across the Mediterranean world. We saw that this was his pattern when he entered a city.
  • He went into these assemblies to announce that God had done something.
  • He would preach to these Jewish people that their Messiah had come, that it was Jesus Christ, and that repentance and faith in Christ was necessary for salvation.
  • He would also teach that God was doing something new. The assembly that Christ was building was now based on faith in Jesus Christ and not exclusively for the Jews alone.
  • Some of the Jews would believe and some would not.
  • Paul would then go out and talk to gentiles. Some of those would believe and some would not.
  • When Jewish people believed they would leave the synagogue to be a part of the church.
  • Gentiles that received Christ would also be saved and baptized and added into that assembly with other Jewish and Gentile believers.
  • What made them a part of this new assembly is their belief in Christ.
  • There are not two kinds of assemblies- two kinds of bodies of Christ. There is one kind of assembly- the body of Christ.
  • Jews and Gentiles now make up one kind of assembly- based on faith in Christ and baptism into that local New Testament body.
  • This is what God had planned from the beginning.
  • These believers would not have seen this one body as a universal, invisible assembly.
  • They would have understood it to mean that God was doing something new.
  • Jews and Gentiles assembled in local churches because of their in Christ identity.

One Spirit- the Holy Spirit

  • There is only One Spirit.
  • This is the Holy Spirit that seals us for the day of redemption.
  • There are not multiple Holy Spirits leading in different directions. There is one Holy Spirit.
  • He wrote a book. We follow what He says.

One hope of your calling

  • We are all saved the same way with the same destiny.

One baptism

  • Some believe this speaks to water baptism and others to Spirit baptism. Either way, there is only one baptism that is commanded of the believer- believer’s baptism (Matthew 28:18-20).  Every person who believes is baptized by the Spirit at conversion.  This is not commanded, but it is experienced.

One God and Father of All

  • We serve a triune God, not three gods. He is the One true and living God and is unified three-in-one.  This Father of all is above all, and through all, and yes, He even indwells us all who are in Christ!
  • Paul appeals to the unity of our beliefs as what should be the basis of our unity in behavior.


  • How does this work practically?
  • Submission to the right authority should bring about unity.
  • Not everyone will be uniform, but on the main things there should be unity.
  • As we all submit to the Word of God in beliefs and behavior it should spur on unity!

We demonstrate our unity in Christ by walking together based on 3 facts.

  • Fact #1– We are unified by our calling. V.1-3
  • Fact #2– We are unified by our spiritual realities. V.4-6

Fact #3– We are unified by Christ’s victory. V.7-10

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

  • Paul is quoting Psalm 68:18.

Psalms 68:18

(18)  Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.

  • This part of the psalm is praising God for His strengthening of the Children of Israel from the time of the Exodus even to the time of David.
  • This was a Psalm written by David.
  • It describes God has a God who makes battle and comes back as a king.
    • Kings would come back home with captive enemies, prisoners of war who had been set free, and the spoils of the victory.
    • Kings would return ascending up to Jerusalem, a city set on a high place, and sit back down on the throne.
    • He is using this ascension language to talk about God ascending up on high. He is bringing back the captive ones he has defeated and he is giving the spoils of war to his people.
  • Now Paul is making a point about this verse being about Christ.

(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

  • And here it compares that ascent to the throne to Christ’s ascent back to heaven.
  • Did Jesus Christ descend?
  • You better believe it.
  • We quote these verses often, but many have called it the great decent.

Philippians 2:5-8

(5)  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

(6)  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

(7)  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

(8)  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

  • But the good news is that the decent ended.
  • He got up out of that grave.
  • He ascended into heaven.
  • Through his death, burial, and resurrection Christ returned those who were once prisoners of Satan back to God.
  • Once he ascended to heaven he gave spiritual gifts to all those who were in Him!
  • This Jesus who went up is the same Jesus who came down.
  • He came and taught us, trained us, redeemed us, freed us, and now he has ascended to heaven.
  • Why? That he might “fill all things”.
  • The word “fill” here is the word “
  • What does “fill all things” mean?
    • The word is transliterated plerao. The idea is to “fulfill” or to “fill full”. It means to bring about the culmination of all that he wants to be accomplished.
  • He has ascended on to His throne so that everything will be accomplished and brought to an end!
  • Christ won our freedom.
  • Christ defeated our enemy.
  • Christ includes us in the spoils of His victory!
  • And now He lives and rules to bring to fruition all that needs to be completed.
  • Remember what Paul prayed in 3:19- “...that we would be filled with all the fullness of God”?
  • Because of Christ, the one that is sitting on the throne is the one who is enabling us to be filled up with all of the fullness of God, because He is the one fulfilling all of His Will in redemptive History to its final culmination!
  • You and I have been made victors in Christ!
  • We have been given Spiritual gifts to do Spiritual work.
  • They are not toys to play with, but tools to work with, and weapons to fight with in this spiritual battle.
  • We must view our lives and ministries as primarily spiritual work done by spiritual means.
  • And as believers we must be unified as victors in the army of the Lord, with the same commander and the same mission!
  • When I obey Christ, get filled up with Him, I am under the authority of the one seated on the throne of God!



  • This Jesus calls us to walk worthy of this vocation.
  • He has called us to be on his mission.
  • It’s called the Great Commission.
  • He has gifted us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.
  • He has saved us by His grace through faith and has made us his workmanship unto good works.
  • And we are part of a spiritual army that ultimately will share in the victory with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


  • When fisherman don’t fish they fight.
  • When soldiers don’t fight the enemy they tend to fight each other.
  • We ought to be unified in one body, submitting to our authority, on mission for Jesus Christ because we have a calling. We are in Christ!

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