Vs. 1 "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye
walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called."
At this point in our study of the Ephesian Epistle we have
arrived at the half way mark in chapter division. We have progressed
at an average of a fraction less than three verses per Lesson. While
this rate of study may be considered by some to be a slow pace,
nevertheless, many spiritual treasures have Been overlooked, and
others by-passed on purpose so as to use the time in mining those
jewels which were needful for the church in its present spiritual
frame at best we have presented only a synopsis of the first three
Our studies thus par have been mainly doctrinal, and I trust the
time given to these lessons have not been misspent, but has served
to enhance our thankfulness to God for the redemption of our souls
and has further solidified our appreciation for his church.
In Vs. 1, Chap. 4, we enter second division of the book, which is
in the main, practical or exhortative. Many bible scholars see Verse
one of chapter four as the key verse of the book, or they see in the
phrase "walk worthy or the vocation wherewith ye are called" the
cohesive element whereby the whole structure of the Epistle is
mutually held together.
The phrase "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,"
Is a broad and comprehensive statement, including the whole of our
Christian experience. Yet, our gracious Lord has not left us with
this general statement, but uses Paul to detail for us in the next
three chapters how to succeed in our Christian profession.
"Walk worthy." in these two words is sounded the death knell to
antinomianism, and from whose face apathy and lethargy flee away.
The saint’s responsibilities are weighty, and of such nature that
anything less than our best comes short of accomplishment. This
being an undeniable fact, "how shall we escape, if we neglect so
great salvation? Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to
the things which we have heard, lest at anytime we should let them
slip" (Heb. 2:1 & 3). Sonship in the family of God, and membership
in the Lord’ s church demands loyalty infinitely above that of the
greatest patriot nation has ever produced.
So, let us accept our responsibilities with determination,
carefulness, joyfulness, and with a dedication that stands as an
impregnable wall, hurling back everything that would deter us from
performing our spiritual duties.
The word "walk" is used in scripture to distinguish one’s course
of life, Paul, speaking of the Pre-Christian life of the Ephesians,
says, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of
this world..." (Eph, 2:2). The unsaved people render perfect
obedience to his fallen nature, "fulfilling the desire of the
flesh and of the mind" (2:3). There is not the first single
deviation in the entire course of the lost person’s life where self
interest is forsaken, "for they that are after the flesh do mind the
things of the flesh..." (Rom. 8:5).
In Holy Spirit regeneration one is called to a walk, or course of
life which is diametrically opposed to his former life, the First
public duty this side of the new birth is Baptism, and Baptism one
acknowledges his responsibility, and avows to "walk In newness of
life" (Rom. 6:4).
Enoch walked with God (Gen, 5:22), Noah walked with God (Gen, 6:9). Abraham and Isaac walked with God (Gen, 48:15) and Christ has promised those who do not defile their garments shall walk with him in white, (Rev. 3:4).
The degree of affinity, or fellowship one with another depends on our adherence to the life of Christ. John tells us, "he that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked" (1st John 2:6). And he says in another place, "if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellow one with another..." (1st John 1:7).
"Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. This calling is a Holy calling, a heavenly calling, a high calling, and one that allows for no halting between courses of life. In fact, the calling is of such nature that it erases all alternatives between the spiritual and carnal life, "for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of body, ye shall live" (Rom. 8:13). No saint in his right mind considers death by divine chastisement an alternative to faithfulness to Christ.
Vs, 2 "with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering,
forebearing one another in love."
Walking worthy of the vocation wherein we are called will produce the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Vs. 2, and where these five fruits of verse two are manifest, there is a great "endeavoring" To keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace" (vs. 3). It is the obligation of every member of the church to preserve cultivates fellowship within the church family, and genuine fellowship can only be realized when the conditions set forth in verse two are met, let one member become disgruntled, and the fellowship of the church will suffer in proportion to the God-dishonoring attitude of the peevish member.
The term "unity" in verse three is not so much a reference to doctrinal orthodoxy, or church polity, as it is to proper relationship of each member with every other member of the body. Doctrinal exactitude is not sufficient within itself to edify the body.
Doctrinal correctness is to be diligently sought, and once attained; nothing should be so great as to dispossess you of it. But be it understood, orthodoxy is not the exclusive life Line of the church. It takes both, the doctrine of Christ, and devotion to Christ to constitute a New Testament Church.
Devotion to Christ begets love for the brethren, and where there is love one for another, there is fellowship. Paul brings this truth into focus in his letter to the church at Philippi; he shows in one brief text the mutual necessity of both doctrine and care one for another.
Phil. 2:2 "fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind,"
Church covenants as wonderful as they are cannot generate love among the brethren. Articles of faith and by-laws in harmony with every biblical precept cannot within themselves give birth to fellowship among the brethren, simply, fellowship or unity cannot be realized by the majority vote of a church. We can by the means of by-laws set up defenses against the disturbances of fellowship, but true fellowship is without variance the offspring of the Holy Spirit. We are evermore responsible to exercise every possible endeavour to keep the fellowship which the Holy Spirit has been pleased to generate among us.
Vs. 3, presupposes "unity" for it says, "Keep the unity," and this means that there is no humiliation which is too high of a price to pay for the keeping of the spiritual unity within the church. The word "endeavoring" is translated from a Greek word (spoudazo) which means to manifest haste, eagerness, and zeal. So we should be eager, zealous, and in a hurry to mend the least break in fellowship with any of the church members.
All the virtues mentioned in verse two (lowliness, meekness, Longsuffering, forebearing, and love one to another), bespeaks A ready submission to God’s will. Where these are present, fellowship is not only present but is nurtured, and where a nurturing process is being carried on, fellowship is not only present, but strong enough to stand any test the world may subject it to.
One thing for sure, as long as a church is cultivating fellowships bickering and squabbling will either be non-existent, or kept at a minimum.
The scripture says, the Lord hates the person "that soweth discord among the brethren" (Prov. 6:16 & 19).
And Paul admonishes us to withdraw ourselves from the persistent disrupter of church peace, (2nd Thes. 3:6).