Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

15 Proactive Peace – Part 1

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Ephesians 4:1-3

1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beseech you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

The first three chapters of Ephesians deal primarily with Christian doctrine where the last three chapters deal primarily with Christian duty. To say it another way Paul starts with our calling and concludes with our conduct.  When it comes to our Christian life the Word of God always starts with our wealth in Christ and then our walk in Christ. So as we come to chapter 4 we are admonished to walk in, Unity (4:1-16), Purity (4:17-5:17), Harmony (5:18-6:9) and Victory. (6). Today we have a tendency to focus more on our wealth than our walk, partly because we want a simple, easy, care free Christianity. We want the comfort of a feel good not the conviction of guilt or the reminder that we have a responsibility to live right. We want all the wealth of the Lord’s blessing without the walk of the Lord’s burden. But authentic Christianity weaves together our wealth and walk, doctrine and duty, riches and responsibility, salvation and service, calling and conduct, conversion and a cross. So as we come to chapter four we need to pay attention to two important words, “therefore” and “beseech.” When we see a “therefore” in the Bible, we need to ask and understand what it is there for. This “therefore” ties together what Paul has been teaching with the truth that he is about to tell us. He is telling us that we need to base our walk upon our wealth. This therefore ties together what Paul had just proclaimed in Ephesians 1:3: “God has blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.“ with what we are to practice in Ephesians 4:1, that because of God’s great blessing we are to “Walk worthy of our calling.” Second we see the word “beseech” this is more than pushing and pleading, this is Paul in love urging us to live for God’s glory. Paul could have said, “in light of doctrine I demand that you do your duty.”  But this is our response of grace, it a “I get to not I have to”, it’s a response to relationship not rules. First we need to see that this is a call to:

  • Action

When we are saved we are called to be active for the Almighty, to excitedly.

Authentic Christianity acts according to the Almighty, its excitedly engaged in eternity. Yet so often we see the saved slip into a sedentary spiritual life, where instead of being active they are apathetic. Paul is pointing us to a life of power and purpose, he is challenging us to choose to live for the Lord to continue in our calling. When Christians talk of a “calling” they tend to minimize the message by focusing on a specific vocation, being called to preach, the mission field or a music ministry for example. And while these are specific callings, there is a higher, holier calling and that is to be a Christian, a child of the King. The calling to be a Child of the King is the highest honor and the greatest grace God could bestowed on us. II Timothy 1:9 Paul says, “God has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” We need to remember that God does the calling, we are not the caller, we are the called. God calls us by convicting us of sin and convincing us of the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ. Today we want to believe that we can come to God in own time and on our terms, rather in His time and on His terms. Yet the truth tells us that He holds both the time and the terms in His hand because His Son was traded for our sin.  To put our calling into its proper perspective we need to hear how Paul refers to this calling in other epistles. He calls it “The high calling” in Philippians 3:14, “The heavenly calling” in Hebrews 3:1) and “The holy calling” in II Timothy 1:9.  There is no calling on earth more desirable or dignifying, more special or significant than being a son or daughter of the King. It means to be a joint heir with Jesus Christ, an ambassador of the Almighty. This is not just some nice position, it is a noble one, a position of prestige and honor, but do we see it as a position of privilege or as a pain, is it praise or a problem? When Paul calls us to walk worthy of our calling, he is saying that we have been called to the highest position and we should live a life fitting and suitable to such a position. As Christians we are to carry the name of Christ, not drag it in the dirt. We should represent His rule, and present His plan of peace in the way that we live life. What Jesus are you presenting to people? What plan of peace are you presenting, the world’s or the Words?  Which child do they see, Christ’s or the carnal? So often we forget who we really are and whose we really are, so Paul gives us a passionate appeal to come back to our calling, to walk in our wealth and not the world. This means that we are to stop being passive start proactively pursuing His peace. There is a story about a man who fell into a pit and could not get out. A subjective person came along and said, “I feel for you, down there.” An objective person came along and said, “It’s logical that someone would fall down there.” A Pharisee said, “Only bad people fall into a pit.” A self-pitying person said, “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit!” An optimist said, “Things could be worse.” A pessimist said, “Things will get worse.” Jesus seeing the man took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit. What about us are we going to put our salvation to service and share the saving plan of peace, or just offer pity or worse yet live life in our own pit? Have you responded to the call to act, to stop being apathetic and start engaging in eternity? Who do you need to help out of the pit, what if you were to extend the hand of healing and offer God’s plan of peace to the people in your life?  We have been extended the highest calling in this life, to live for the Lord, to extend His holy and helping hand to a hurting world. It’s time to stop sitting around taking God’s grace for granted and get on with our calling as Christians, to live out our lives for the Lord.

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