Oct. 7. Ephesians Urged to Remain United

Eph. 4:1-16

Jesus prayed just before His captors took Him in the Garden of Gethsemane that His disciples would be united as one. Since Jews and Gentiles had been united in the church, Paul issued the same plea for the Ephesians to maintain that unity. As Christians, they were to forget the bitterness and traditions that had divided them in the past and press forward with lowliness, gentleness and patience in love as children of God. He stressed that there is one body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism and God.

The one body is Christ’s church. He promised to build only one church. Today, when one through faith obeys that same gospel, he becomes a member of that same body. Groups of people, regardless of the name that they are wearing who are teaching anything contrary to that which is found in the Scriptures are dividers or denominators. Denominations, as the word implies divide the body of Christ and have no place in God’s plan.

There is but one Spirit to give life and guidance to that body. As with the physical body, the Spiritual body cannot survive if it is divided. Christians are fed by the word of God that was inspired by that same Holy Spirit.

Eternal life is the one hope or desire expected by children of God as an eternal reward in heaven for a faithful life in Christ. This hope gives Christians strength in the face of persecutions.

The one Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born of the virgin, Mary. He lived among men and died a cruel and shameful death on the cross for all mankind. After being buried in a borrowed tomb, He was resurrected from the dead, ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God. Paul informed the Gentiles that this same Lord is Lord of the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Faith that is regulated by and conformed to the word of God is the only one faith that will lead to salvation. This faith comes only by hearing God as one studies the Scriptures.

Paul wrote of one baptism. Careful study will inform one that this baptism is the burial of a penitent sinner in water after he has died to his sins. These sins are washed away (forgiven) by the blood of Christ in baptism. He is then raised out of the watery grave as Christ was raised from the tomb. As Christ lives a new spiritual life with God, a newly risen Christian also lives a new spiritual life.

Even though people believed in and worshipped many different false gods, Paul stressed the fact that there is only one true God and Father. This one God, our creator demands total allegiance and total unity among His people.

Paul explained that it was through God’s grace that Jesus descended to earth and led captivity captive (bound and overcame death) when He was resurrected from the grave. As He was resurrected, man will also rise from the dead. Christ ascended back into heaven. In like manner His faithful children will ascend at the judgment.

In order to prepare man for that glorious resurrection, various men were given special responsibilities as gifts. They, through divine guidance from the Holy Spirit provided the instructions and teaching necessary to establish and guide the early church. Since these men have all passed from the earth, man receives instructions and teaching today through studying the Scriptures that the inspired writers left. By following those instructions, the body, the church with Christ as its head grows and matures into a strong spiritual body.