We plowed through some information and events in the last lesson that possibly left some of you in a little bit of a fog. It was not with that intent we reviewed those subjects. I could have just told you, “This is the way it is. Trust me.” Or I could show from Scripture that “this is the way, walk ye in it”. To have presented those various subjects in such a manner as to have clarity of each, would have taken weeks of detailed study. I didn’t want to take that much of time in this phase of our study. Yet, I wanted us to see that these facts were presented in Scripture. That information will make a great deal of difference as we progress in our study of the church.

In Ephesians 4, Paul gives us information concerning the church as illustrated by the body concept. He doesn’t use the illustration of the body as an isolated fact. The illustration of the church as a body is inseparably interwoven with the doctrinal teaching of proper living and God’s plan of the ages. The church was never designed by God as an institution of rigid rules and creeds. The church is a living organism made up of sinful but redeemed humans, who are at different stages of spiritual growth and maturity. Therefore the church, like its illustration, the body, can accommodate many situations both good and bad. The purpose of the body is to aid each member in their growth and development, thereby bringing and keeping each cell of that body in full and complete health. The body is a magnificent organism of unity through great diversity. When all members are healthy and working in harmony, it is a fearful and wonderful organism that is capable of achievements beyond imagination. When we take the realities of the illustration and incorporate within that body the very life of God, we have a spiritual organism that goes beyond any physical creation. Therefore, the pronouncements of Christ and Paul about its attributes and abilities.

Matthew 16:17-18 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

To clearly see the impact of the church as demonstrated by the body concept, we need to study the context of the illustration, especially the 4th chapter of Ephesians. We began that process a few week ago. Let’s review a little and move on.

Ephesians 4:1-10 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men." 9 (Now this, "He ascended"-- what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

We are to walk worthy of our calling, and that worthy walk will be demonstrated in:

lowliness = (Greek) humiliation of mind i.e. modesty
modest = (Greek) orderly i.e. decorous
decorous = does not call attention to one’s self, is orderly in an orthodox manner
modest = (Webster) having a limited and not exaggerated estimate of one’s ability or worth; not bold or self-assertive
gentleness = (Greek) mild; by implication humble

Gentleness is an inward grace of the soul. The exercise of gentleness should be first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. It is closely linked with humility, and follows directly upon it.

longsuffering = (Greek) longanimity (the disposition to bear injuries patiently) i.e. forbearance or fortitude, sometimes confused with patience

Longsuffering is that quality of self restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish. It is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy, and is used of God. There is a shade of difference between longsuffering and patience. Patience is the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial, because it is based on a greater hope than either. It is the opposite of despondency and is associated with hope. It is not used of God.

bear with = (Greek) to hold one’s self erect and firm; to endure without condescending.

A person who is humble in mind, not calling for attention to themselves, but instead having a grace of soul that accepts God’s dealings without disputing or resisting, and has self-restraint in the face of provocation, and does not hastily retaliate, and is able to hold himself straight and proper when putting up with the strangeness of others, and above all else, through this lifestyle endeavors to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This person would make a very good church member.

Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

Paul, as we saw last lesson, presents the reality of the church by illustrations other than the body. However, there are two great teachings by Paul concerning the Christian life that are described in terms that could only apply to the body.

The Believer’s Walk

Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 10:2-3 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
Galatians 5:14-17 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The list could go on, and on. Paul certainly tells us about our pie in the sky, but he wants to make sure that we keep our feet on the ground. Our walk and the power to walk that walk is based on what we are and have in Christ, not in our own moral strength. God does not walk for us. However, when we walk according to Biblical principles, God will give us the grace and strength to walk properly. God has set us on high in Christ in the heavenlies. After the rapture, the heavenilies will be our permanent dwelling place. Until that time, God want us to stand on the earth clothed in Christ’s righteousness and outfitted in the whole armor of God. Christians should have their feet on the earth so they can walk among men. Christians should have their hearts in the heavenilies and their affections set on things above, not on things of the earth.

We should not be so taken with that which is ours and will be ours in Christ, that we fail to walk properly in our sojourn in this place of Satan’s throne.

Revelation 2:13 "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

My friend, this world is not our home, but we must travel here until we are called home by death or the rapture. We need to be aware of our surroundings, because Satan is waiting to both deceive and/or devour those who are not walking according to the Spirit. We teach our children to act and walk safely in the malls, on the streets, etc. We teach them to be alert to the dangers around them, because to be forewarned is to be forearmed. We should teach our children these protective methods. However, all Believers must walk daily in a hostile environment. Our walk may not take us to the wrong side of the tracks, but our walk is on the wrong side of eternity. Therefore, we must be aware, be warned and be equipped to walk and not faint or fall.

Colossians 3:1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Because of who we are in Christ, and what we will be in our home country when Christ comes, there are some things we need to do while walking in this life. Because of what we are, and what we have Paul starts this section with therefore as he did in Ephesians 4.

Colossians 3:5-7 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you also once walked when you lived in them.

Our walk was once in our home town of the world, and we walked in harmony of those who were citizens here. When we accepted Christ as our Savior, we were placed in Him, and our citizenship changed to the heavenilies. So, no longer is this world my home, I’m just a passing through. Because of these changes in my status, there needs to be some changes in my life style while walking here on this foreign soil of the earth.

Colossians 3:8-17 But now you must also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

When we walked in this world as natural born citizens, we walked to fulfill our own pleasure and satisfy our lusts. Now as we walk as citizens of a far better country, we need to change the object and motive of our activities, walk, affections and allegiance. As heavenly citizens walking in a satanic world, we need to make sure that whatever we do in word and deed is done by means of the only power we have that is great enough to protect us in this hostile atmosphere. What we do in word or deed, on this earth, must be done in Christ, because that is where we are in the heavenlies.

Listen, my friend, the Star Wars saga doesn’t come close to the real heavenly warfare.

Our position in Christ in the heavenilies is not just pie in the sky by and by, our position in Christ is far more than pie. Our position in Christ is our only source of life, and power to safely operate on this hostile planet called earth, the throne room of Satan. To overcome and survive in Satan’s territory, we must live consistently, equipped with God’s provision, and constantly nourished by His Word. In living consistently in Christ by means of walking in the Spirit, we are able to live in and use God’s divine power. Without God’s life and power, we are sitting ducks for Satan’s shooting range.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

A devouring foe is one of the dangers we face in our walk, but God has made provision for this danger and many more, if we will use God’s provision in God’s way.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

God has provided life and protection for us as individual Believers. However, that provision is designed to be used collectively through the church. One of the major doctrines of the church is the the Believer’s walk. A subject far more extensive than we have covered in this short overview.

Another major doctrine of the church is...

The Believer’s Warfare

2 Corinthians 10:2-7 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. 7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ's, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ's, even so we are Christ's.

As with our walk, our warfare is a different form and scope than that of the world. Our warfare is a part of our walk. As long as we are on this earth, if we are walking in the Spirit, it will be warfare. Our major battles will be of the mind, or maybe better phrased the attitudes and thoughts of our minds. Our greatest victory is the casting down of anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

In any war, things are not always as they seem. The enemy and their weapons are often hid or camouflaged. If there is to be victory, we must be able to see past the facade of the enemy, and see things as they really are. Paul ask, “Do you look at things according to the outward appearance?”. The reason for the question? The answer is found in:

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

From this type of warfare and protection, victory comes more often and with greater ease through the Body, the church than it does when a Believer is warring as a lone solider.

2 Timothy 1:17-19 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

We must find our strength in Christ. When living and walking according to our position in Christ, we have the power of God’s might at our disposal. We referred to both of these areas earlier. These would make a good study, later.

Ephesians 6:11-18 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--

In our portion in 2 Corinthians 10, the battle was primarily against personal thoughts and attitudes. Here, in Ephesians 6, the battle is primarily against satanic attacks from without.

As in any battle, the victory is not won by a single solider. To achieve victory, it takes the whole army, each doing their own part. We don’t have the time to follow these themes to their conclusion, but the subject of the Believer's walk and the Believer’s warfare are two of the major doctrines associated with the this illustration of the body concept of the church.

Paul spent 3 chapters explaining the intricate working of God’s Plan as it was in the ages past, as it is in this present age, and as it will be in the future. Much of that plan had not been revealed to those in past ages, but has now been revealed to us. Paul shows how there is a new administration of God’s plan called the church, and it is independent of time. This new administration, the church, is based on the glorification of Christ. Yet the church, at the present time, is firmly set within the boundary of time. The church is temporally limited by time, but through its association with Christ as His spiritual Body, it is blessed with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.

To the human mind, this kind of knowledge has a tendency to separate the spiritual from reality, and a person might begin to think of himself far more highly that he ought to. Paul had that problem with this same knowledge.

2 Corinthians 12:1-2 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. 6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I forbear, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.

Paul wants us to know the spiritual heights to which we have been elevated in Christ. It is equally needful for us to know that all Believers have spiritual blessings in heavenly places, and that we must walk in practical purity of speech and attitude while on earth. Paul shows us that there is an inseparable connection between these great spiritual truths and the present daily duty of our walk in time. The Christian life is not regulated by the Mosaic Law. However, spiritual living in not independent of rules. Living the life of Christ through these mortal bodies is more than observing some code of ethics. The Christian life is the very expression of the life of Christ through our lives in words, actions and attitudes.

Colossians 1:24-28 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

Paul has set forth what God has provided in Christ for those who believe. Now Paul is going to show the type and quality of life that is expected of those in Christ, the ones who make up the church.

Ephesians 4:1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

For those reasons Paul says in 4:1 “therefore”. Christian conduct flows from Biblical doctrine. Christian conduct finds its life source in Biblical doctrine taught by the Holy Spirit. The practice and conduct of a believer flows from and finds its power directly within the unspeakable gift from God. The motive for the conduct of Believer is the gift of the grace of God, and the unspeakable debt we owe for that gift. Our obligation as a Believer should be to live in a way that is pleasing to and directed by the One Who bought us and Whom we serve.

Colossians 1:9- For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. 29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Boy, we could spend a few week in those two passages, couldn’t we? Paul, bases how we are to walk and how we are to function within the Body on the great truths of God’s person and God’s plan presented in the first three chapters. He establishes those facts as the base for what he is going to say by the one word therefore, or because of what has proceeded, we can and should do the things that follow. Paul knew that just academic knowledge of spiritual truth does not always bring appropriate response. In light of that, Paul says I beseech you to walk worthy. We will look at the import of this word later.

In this case, Paul does not command us to follow. He instead beseeches us to follow.

As an apostle, Paul had the right to command, but he chose to use a different means.

Philemon 1:8-10 Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting, 9 yet for love's sake I rather appeal (beseech) to you--being such a one as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ-- 10 I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while in my chains,
To command is law, to beseech is grace
Proper response to either is obedience
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 1998