Ephesians 4:1-3 ¶ I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
This is the fourth chapter of the letter from Paul to the folks at Ephesus. Paul had been a believer for nearly thirty years when he wrote this letter. He was under house arrest in Rome at this time but was free to have visitors and write letters, so he did. He wrote this portion of the letter to the faithful followers of Yahushua HaMashiach as is written in the opening of the letter to the folks at Ephesus.
Paul and the other Apostles were ordained with the authority to render judgmental teachings according to the sentence of the law which they would share where ever they traveled. ~ Deuteronomy 18:8-13
It was Yahushua Himself that had established the judicial order in the body when He chose and ordained these elders and leaders among the brethren of the early church body. These elders and leaders would teach the ONE true doctrine in the congregation as they began to travel and share the good news that Yahushua the Messiah had set men free from the law of sin and death when He had paid the penalty for those who took up their cross and followed Him faithfully, according to what had been written in the law of Moses. When we the faithful, respond to His love by trusting in Him, His purpose becomes clearer thereby empowering us to continue in the path of seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness.
Paul’s letter to the folks at Ephesus was not written just to them but was a letter that we now know was circulated amongst the brethren all around the region and is still being circulated to mankind everywhere who will pick up the Bible to read this letter.
The blue print of this letter teaches unity in Yahushua HaMashiach the Christ and unity in the body, His family. In this letter Paul refers to the body as a temple as well as a soldier and the bride. The focus today in this offering regards the unity of faith, the unity of love and the unity of becoming one new man.
Paul’s words are encouraging. Here he is in prison, still teaching the same message that he shared wherever he had traveled earlier in his three missionary like travels around the Mediterranean Sea. Here he was held in bonds as a captive, but yet teaching comfort and freedom, both calling and inviting everyone to follow the path in the surname of Yahushua.
Paul encourages us to protect and extend the heart, mind, body and soul to great effort and diligence; to unite those who are filled with the Spirit, to be unified in peace, resting and trusting in the One we follow. His encouragement is to walk worthy of the invitation to which mankind is called. To walk in humbleness, forbearing one another striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; steadily pouring ourselves out for each other in acts of love. Even though we may be equipped with discernment at noticing differences, we can be just as quick to tenderly tear down the fence that keep us from being unified for the sake of the family.
Paul wrote to Timothy that the purpose of his instruction is that all Christians would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience and sincere faith. Paul said that this is where all the commandment ends. The fulfilling of the commandment as Yahushua said is that we are to love the Lord thy God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all of our mind, and with all our strength: this is the first commandment. He said that the second was likewise to it and that there was no greater of a commandment; that we would love one another, loving our neighbor as our self. What many folks may not recognize is that Yahushua was quoting Torah. > Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Paul also spoke in agreement that the fulfilment of the law is in one word, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. This teaches us that if we love Yahwey with all of our heart. The goal of the commandment is to love out of a clean heart and good conscience and sincere faith, thereby fulfilling the divine training that keeps us all unified. Simply put, from beginning to end, from Alef to Tov and from Alfa and Omega, we become one new man, the body joined fitly together, in the bond of love because it is the Spirit that unifies the body; the family of the God of Israel. From beginning to end, Elohim is love.
Why does there need to be peace with-in the body? The answer is in the garden where Yahushua is found in a blood sweating prayer. In it, He gives us the answer that we are seeking. He actually says it three times; “That they may be made one.”
John 17:11 ¶ And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as we are.
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent Me.
John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
We as the body can’t be found arguing over differences in doctrine when we the body KNOW that there is only One Elohim, One faith and One baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shall preform His duty through us. Let’s not dwell on the differences.
Let’s stay focused on the truth and share that truth and let the chips fall where they may. What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense of all the garbage we have been taught to be the truth. We ‘know’ the truth and this is the truth that we are to share with our neighbor. In the body, we’re all connected to each other, after all. When we suppress the truth and keep it from others, we are no better than the Israelites who were supposed to take this truth to the ends of the earth. We have nothing to fear from mankind. Yahwey will see to it that all the ones that He has chosen to be in His family… will be in His family. Do we think that He is not able to perform His own desire that none perish?
In the letter to the folks at Ephesus, Paul goes on explaining the importance of becoming one in the Spirit.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. ~ Ephesians 4: 4-7
We all belong to each other. As we begin to mature, we begin to fully come to this understanding. Those who are filled with His Spirit, who have a clean heart, a good conscience and sincere faith, make up the family of the God of Israel.
Yahwey is building a family who will be one with Him, as He is One with Yahushua; so that we will all one day be One in the Spirit. Each one of us is individually given the gift of the Spirit according to the portion that was gifted to us through Messiah. We are given exactlythe right portion that He knows will equip us and that will form us as a whole and completely unified body.
Yahwey is One. When we think about being One, we recognize that this One is a make-up of a family that will one day be birthed from the grave. Praise be to Elohim and Father of our Master, who has given us new birth unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Yahushua HaMashiach from the dead, and that He has reserved our inheritance in the kingdom. The Spirit reigns in and through us, but Yahwey is above us all and is the Father of the One, THE FATHER of the family.
Each of us has been given the ability to serve in this unified family that is being created. Each of us has been empowered with the gift of the Spirit, who also empowers us with certain gifts by the One same Spirit. The Spirit with-in us is the presence of Yahwey, actively living in the world.
Ephesians 4:8-10 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Rational thinking can explain this brief passage. Heaven is above us in the spans’ of the sky. The earth is below the heavens. Yahwey it is written, came down from the heavens to live upon the earth in the form of a man. Yahushua was Elohim with us. He is still Elohim with us in the form of the Spirit. When Yahushua ascended into the heavenly sanctuary, He bestowed gifts to the faithful followers, those whom He has called unto repentance and those He has chosen. This was all prophesied long ago. Paul is revealing that this prophecy has been fulfilled.
Psalm 68:18-19 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
Yahushua climbed the high mountain, captured the enemy and seized the bountiful gifts. Then He handed out these gifts to the people whom Yahwey has called and is still calling, those who would serve and be faithful followers of the very same pathway that Yahushua blazed. This shows us His overruling care as He transforms the protocol with-in us, as to how we are to serve and worship our King. Any view that violates the law, does not paint a true picture of authentic worship. He is worthy of our complete sacrifice… to hold steadfast to the calling in perfect harmony.
Ephesians 4:11-16 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
These are the gifts that are given to equip us to preform our duty. The conclusion of the whole matter is to fear Elohim, and keep His commandments. These gifts are given for the edification of the whole body. The wholeness that is being formed in the body does not take away from our individuality, rather it equips us to teach, nurture and heal the body as a whole. Together we can obey the God of Israel more fully than we can on our own.
We could not even accomplish anything without the widespread empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This is why we are called to be members of One body, rather than winging it on our own. This shows us the importance of the role that the Holy Spirit utilizes within the family. He leads… but we have to yield to His authority to not only keep the peace but to keep the faith of all who are of the same faith as well as those who are still being called.
We simply do not KNOW who else will be called, so when we meet someone who is seeking with their whole heart, we know that they will find Him when they do. But it is up to the Holy Spirit to preform that final incision into the heart so that a person can accept the gift that will heal their own body, thereby sealing up the whole family that will one day be called, the New Man.
We the body need to fulfil our duty to be humble, gentle, patient, understanding and peaceful, instead of concentrating and focusing on what divides us. It is only the spirit of evil that works the hardest to keep us separated and denominated one from the other. When we yield to the power of the Spirit, we are able to look past the faults that we openly recognize or experience. None of us are perfect, no not one. However, by our acceptance of this fundamental truth we can strengthen the family rather than tear down what Elohim is building up.
When we begin to focus on the immersion of the Holy Spirit; we as the family of the God of Israel; will have fulfilled our calling, loving one another (Our neighbor) as we are loved by He who has created us and will give us new eternal life upon resurrection.
When the Holy Spirit floods our being, we then can share the empowerment of the gifts as we swing open the floodgates letting His love flow through us, loving one another as He first loved us. We can’t love as He does. We don’t know how too. But when we yield to the Holy Spirit power with-in us, He can love them through us. When we submit ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto Yahwey, which is our reasonable service; Yahwey can work through those who praise, worship and honor Him in obedience, thereby fulfilling the goal of the commandment.
And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. ~ 2nd John 1:6
The family of the God of Israel includes all who have believed in Yahwey in the past, all who believe in Him in the present and all who will believe in Him in the future. We are all His family, those who believe and have His Spirit because He is the Father of us all, in whom His Spirit dwells.