Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 9 - Ephesians 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is Ephesians 4. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Paul begins by encouraging us to live lives that are worthy of what God has done for us. We can show this by being humble, gentle, patient, and loving. 
  • Paul then explains that the church is just one body and God has given gifts to every single person in this "body." 
  • Some of these gifts are leadership roles (in verse 11) that are given to help prepare people for service and to build the body of Christ. The ultimate goal is that the church will be built up and people will be brought to unity in faith and knowledge and spiritual maturity in Jesus.
  • He warns the reader not to live as the Gentiles. Gentiles didn't believe in God, and as a result, did whatever they wanted- giving in to every desire they had. Instead, he says they need to leave that life behind and be made new through Jesus. We can do this by renewing our mind to be like God's.
  • Some of the ways we can be made new is by speaking the truth in love, controlling our anger, being kind and compassionate to one another, and always forgiving each other.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God has done so much for us. We should want to show our gratitude through our actions. Remember, we are all in this together. We are connected to every person that loves God into one body.
  •  The leaders (otherwise known as the staff) are kind of like "player-coaches." They do ministry, but more essentially, they prepare and equip others to do ministry. Ministry belongs to the people of the church. That means God has called you to serve and make a difference in His church!
  • We are to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. This means we need to put off our old self and put on our new. This act is similar to changing clothes.  It is a conscious choice you must make everyday. Similarly, being made new in our attitudes is a choice to learn about God and replace all of our selfish attitudes with loving ones.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Where are you volunteering in the church? If you don't have a ministry, you need to get one! That's part of God's purpose for your life.
  • Which part of verses 25-32 do you find hardest to live? Think of an effective way to make that attitude or behavior a reality in your life. For instance, if you struggle to get rid of anger try this: when you get mad, bring your closed clenched fists into an open hand to receive God’s peace and joy. And then ask God to fill you with what you need: strength to be kind, compassionate and forgiving of others.