The outcome of our unity, gifting diversity, and equipping by God for his service is that we would grow up to be mature and attain to the measure of the fullness of Christ as his body. How you doin? Does your life and mine measure up to that image of God?
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
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…
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
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.
15 We will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
Ephesians 4:1, 3-4, 7, 11-13, 15, 17
Paul starts this section of his letter to the Ephesians with the urging for us to live lives worthy of the calling we have received. I’m thinking about this as a test today. Or a paper. Something about which we can think about our grade. What’s our outcome? On the scale of worthiness, how worthy are our lives of the calling we have received?
How reflective are our lives of the image of God?
There is some good definition to a worthy life in these verses. The first emphasis is on our unity of the Spirit. A worthy life is a life which is unified with other followers of Jesus. We see Paul, early on in this chapter, define the body of Christ as the image of what the church is to resemble and express. The body gives us so much to work with in terms of metaphors for the christian life and experience together.
We are to be unified as a body is unified, yet we are also to be diverse in our expression of Jesus. Pastor Brent said last Sunday that unity does not mean uniformity. Moreover, we see that each of us in the body has been given grace as Christ apportioned it. Each of us has a different purpose and a different gift to bring to bear for the sake of the church.
The outcome of our unity, gifting diversity, and equipping by God for his service is that we would grow up to be mature and attain to the measure of the fullness of Christ. Paul goes further to say that we will become the mature body of him who is the head: Jesus.
The contrast is the image of infants being tossed around by wind and waves. We are no longer like that if we have progressed in unity, gifting diversity, and maturity. That’s our image of a perfect grade. Our paper will get an A+ if it looks like that…
Now, grade your paper. Mark your test. How reflective are our lives of the image of God?
When Paul grades the Ephesians, they don’t pass the test. We see in verse 17 that he says, “So I tell you this… you must no longer lives as the Gentiles do.” Stop living like the world, and start reflecting the Lord Jesus. They were not measuring up to the unity, gifting diversity, and maturity of the example of Jesus they had received.
How about you? How about me? Take a sober look at your life as a reflection of the image of God today. Is it time to take action?