Ephesians 4:1-16 – July 7
The Bible is basically a compilation of love letters from our Father in heaven, His loving words breathed onto each page. Over the next several months, as we study the letters of the Bible, Galatians through Jude, I pray that You will experience His eternal love in new ways and that it will transform you. These letters were written by Christian leaders, most of them by Paul, to establish and grow the Christian Church. For us, they are filled with love and gold nuggets on living a Christian life. Join along in our study by reading today’s scripture, journaling on it using SOAP, then sharing how God spoke to you today. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading, then below that is a SOAP from one of our study leaders. The Comments section on our website is an open forum for sharing, requesting prayer, and asking questions.
Ephesians 4:1-16 – Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 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 to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Life Group Mission | Becky Newman
Verse 11 says God gave us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip us, to give us the necessary tools to focus us on the unified mission God made us for. The implication here is that works of service (a.k.a., serving others) builds up the body of Christ by pointing more to Jesus and encouraging fellow Christians to keep their eyes on Him. Everything after “until” in verse 13, I believe, will not be accomplished in this world, but we will not reach this unity until sin is no more and we as a body of believers are unified in heaven. However, it is a goal we’re supposed to strive for here and an indicator of maturity in our walk.
These verses could be a mission statement for Life Groups and Bible studies — any group of believers actively seeking to know God more. Another important indicator of a group pursuing maturity through Christ is speaking truth to one another in love (verse 15). These are the words I need to assess the health and fullness of my friendships and groups: equip, serve, encourage, expand, unify, mature.
Lord, You bring groups together like my Moms Group to do all of these things well for Your glory. I pray these words over my friendships and groups. Please strengthen us together in equipping, serving, encouraging, expanding, unifying, and maturing.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.