If you were your own greatest obstacle to having good community and relationships, would you want to know? Would you be willing to change?
When Paul says that there is “one God and Father of all,” he reminds us that despite our differences—even those as great as the ethnic and social differences that separated those in the church at Ephesus—we are all of the same family because we share the same Father (Eph. 2:18–19). The God of all is even more clearly the Father of all who have been given the righteousness and identity of God’s own Son. This means not only that we have the Father’s affection, but also that we are brothers and sisters in Christ and should have family affection one for another. Knowing that we are of one eternal family should reduce all earthly hatred…There are all kinds of divisions among God’s people: race, social status, national background, personal differences and perspectives. All threaten the unity that Paul knows is necessary for the church to fulfill her grand mission of world transformation. How can we overcome these differences?
– Bryan Chappell
He returns to explain the distribution of gifts, and illustrates at greater length what he had slightly hinted, that out of this variety arises unity in the church, as the various tones in music produce sweet melody. The meaning may be thus summed up. “The external ministry of the word is also commended, on account of the advantages which it yields. Certain men appointed to that office, are employed in preaching the gospel. This is the arrangement by which the Lord is pleased to govern his church, to maintain its existence, and ultimately to secure its highest perfection.”
It may excite surprise, that, when the gifts of the Holy Spirit form the subject of discussion, Paul should enumerate offices instead of gifts. I reply, when men are called by God, gifts are necessarily connected with offices. God does not confer on men the mere name of Apostles or Pastors, but also endows them with gifts, without which they cannot properly discharge their office. He whom God has appointed to be an apostle does not bear an empty and useless title; for the divine command, and the ability to perform it, go together. – John Calvin
Ephesians 4 Outline (Tripp/Lane)
A Call to Unity (Eph 4:1-6)
– Maintain the unity of the Spirit,
– Make every effort
– Be humble, gentle, patient, and forbearing in love
– There is one Spirit, one Lord, and one Father
An Appreciation of Diversity (Eph 4:7-16)
– But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it
– So that the body of Christ may be built up
– The tendency toward self-indulgence (vv.19-24).
– The tendency toward deceit (v. 25).
– The tendency toward anger (vv. 26-27).
– The tendency toward selfishness (v. 28).
– The tendency toward unhelpful communication (vv. 29-30).
– The tendency toward division (v. 31).
– The tendency toward an unforgiving spirit (v. 32).
– How much wiser God’s plan is for us than our plan for ourselves (vv. 19—24)
– The life-changing power of truthfulness (v. 25)
– The healing benefit of gentleness, patience, and love (vv. 26—27)
– The joy of serving the needs of someone else (v. 28)
– The value of loving and wholesome communication (vv. 29—30)
– The beauty of functional unity in a relationship (v. 31)
– The freedom of practicing forgiveness (v. 32)
Lane, Timothy S., and Paul David Tripp. Relationships: a Mess Worth Making. New Growth Press, 2006.
Easley, Kendell H., and Christopher W. Morgan. The Community of Jesus: a Theology of the Church. B & H Academic, 2013.
Halter, Hugh, and Matt Smay. The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community. Jossey-Bass, 2008.
Bridges, Jerry. True Community: the Biblical Practice of Koinonia. NavPress, 2012.
Chester, Tim, and Steve Timmis. Total Church: a Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community. Crossway Books, 2008.
Ryken, Philip Graham ed: The Communion of Saints. P&R, 2001