Home > Bible Study, Devotional, Ephesians Devotional > Ephesians Devotional—Week Four, Day One (12/21/09)

Ephesians Devotional—Week Four, Day One (12/21/09)

Ephesians 4:1-10

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 led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” {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.)

The true Christian says “I am not worthy to receive the least of God’s blessings or the depth of His love and forgiveness” (e.g. Genesis 32:10; Matthew 8:8; Luke 15:18-19, 18:13). But the true Christian has been declared worthy of an incredible and high calling. As Paul implies everywhere in this letter, we have been made worthy through the finished work of Christ.

Therefore, the believer should be humble, knowing what he is—and what he is not. He should reflect that humility in his relationship with others, and grant them the same grace that he himself has been granted by God.

Every believer is a part of something very important to God … the body of Christ. He/she is not an island, but is one among many. The many are called together in a unifying body of truth. We have the same hope; we also have the same Lord, faith, and entrance into the Christian life. We share the same God and Father, the same and the same grace. Our lives are thus entwined.

Ultimately, we’re all connected to the same Messiah, the One who suffered and died for us, and the One who ascended into heaven as our great High Priest. He has a strong and specific purpose for all who are in Him.

  1. Using a Bible and standard dictionary, look up the word “humility.” How do these definitions help you in your understanding of Ephesians 4:1?
  2. Look at the passages cited in the first paragraph. Write out a few of the ways that these verses help you with humility.
  3. Consider your relationship with other believers. How have you gauged your connectedness with them? According to today’s passage, how should you gauge or measure your connection with believers from other churches, groups, or ethnicities?
  1. Peggy
    December 21, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Being that we’re at the midway point (actually past it, but I thought of doing this last week) in this wondrous devotional study which is delving deeply into the richness of our Lord – I thought I would surface to make a comment…I’ve intended to long before this, yet, this study has had me deeply enmeshed and the time the Lord has allotted for it has been spent one on one with the Word and the Spirit…and with no time or leading to check in with a comment – until this moment, when I cannot pass by the incredible richness of Ephesians 3:19, and the concept of “the fullness of God” which I’ve been meditating upon the livelong day. Peter, in John 13…he knew about that fullness…within a moment he went from “you aren’t going to wash my feet, Lord” to “oh, then wash my head and hands also” when Jesus told him that if He did not allow the Lord to wash his feet, Peter could have not part of Him…how I thank God for my brothers Peter and Paul who have gone before us! The word washes/regenerates…changes us…this study has come at such a great time as we’ve had non stop snow here and where I sit to do the study I can see the 24 plus inches so beautifully covering the back deck and hills…washing, regenerating the earth and the roots of dormant things, changing the landscape with such a look of purity…the more deeply the Spirit has taken me in to the Word during this study, the deeper the snow has gotten! This has not gone unnoticed by me!

    It’s the week we celebrate Christmas, and I find myself thanking God for all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in and because of Christ Jesus, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords…I pray the fullness of God in to the life of each of my brothers and sisters in Christ. And I thank God for the continuing gift of teaching flowing from brother Bill Holdridge.

    Merry Christmas to all; and, because the calendar reflects the information of this being Winter’s first official day, I think of Robert Frost’s famous last line:

    “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep.
    And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep…”

    How wondrous, how marvelous, that our Lord keeps His promises; and offers the indwelling power for each of us who believe, the power to keep our promises…what a gift.

  2. Peggy
    December 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Hi, Pastor Bill:

    I have a query regarding Eph. 4:5, and Paul’s reference to “one baptism”.

    What is Paul’s literal meaning here?

    Because baptism can be one of those divisive areas among believers and denominations – and the subject comes up from time to time within my God given circle of believers, I want to be “ready with an answer” as it pertains to this context, many, many thanks!


  3. December 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Peggy,

    Nice to hear from you. Great question!

    There are two major parts of the baptism debate that cause contentions. One part is the meaning of baptism. The other is the mode of baptism.

    The New Testament teaches quite clearly that the meaning of baptism is that it is an outward sign of an inward reality. The inward reality is faith and commitment to Christ and what He has done for us. The outward sign is baptism with water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). So there is only one baptism—that is, there is only one entrance into the Christian life. That entrance is through Christ. Baptism seals one’s faith in Christ. No one is saved by being baptized, but everyone who is saved should get baptized.

    The mode of baptism is another matter. The mode of baptism refers to the way one’s baptism took place. Was the person sprinkled? Was the person baptized by pouring? Or was it by immersion?

    While the New Testament seems clear enough to me (the reason why I baptize people by immersion), there are those who disagree. The ultimate issue isn’t the mode of baptism, however, but the meaning of baptism. What if a man wants to be baptized in the desert? In such a case, I’ve no problem with sprinkling or pouring!

    The New Testament teaches believer’s baptism, in water, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    So one baptism isn’t referring to the mode, but rather to the meaning, of baptism.

    Here’s a great statement by the wonderful Bible commentator Matthew Henry:

    “There is one Christ in whom all believers hope, and one heaven they are all hoping for; therefore they should be of one heart. They had all one faith, as to its object, Author, nature, and power. They all believed the same as to the great truths of religion; they had all been admitted into the church by one baptism, with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as the sign of regeneration. In all believers God the Father dwells, as in his holy temple, by his Spirit and special grace.”

  4. Peggy
    December 22, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Many thanks for the clarification and further knowledge, Pastor Bill.

    Paul, in the context of this letter, by saying “one baptism”, is then focusing on water baptism.

    Just so long as I have an answer regarding the fact that this verse cannot, does not, negate the baptism of the Holy Spirit…of which I know and believe and bear witness…and of which Paul further writes of in the New Testament.

    I’m prayerfully studying for wisdom to be at the ready if God grants an opportunity for me to further speak with those in the Body of Christ who do not recognize the baptism of the Holy Spirit as anything other than New Testament information that was only for “the people at that time”, etc. I’ve come across some believers today who seem to think that anyone who believes in the baptism of the Spirit as a subsequent experience to salvation, are calling those Christians who have not had said experience, “have not Christians”. I don’t contend, but I do pray. The Spirit of God is the agent of change, not me. But I do want to be ready with an answer. The Holy Spirit teaching segment of your personal web site is a resource to which I hope to direct anyone God places before me who does not believe that believers can have this experience subsequent to being saved.

    And in doing this Ephesians devotional, those words of Paul’s stood out as I studied; perhaps this very verse may be used by those who may take it out of context to back up their thinking of “one baptism, period.”

    The fullness of God…still enjoying and being blessed by meditation upon those words. For me, God’s fullness can only be complete by the wondrous gift and work of His Holy Spirit being not just within, but poured out upon…hallelujah Jesus.

    Thanks again.

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