This is Episode #344 and today we’ll read Ephesians chapters 4-6 together. Paul provides the reader with practical instruction for living life as a follower of Christ.
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Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #344 and today we’ll read Ephesians chapters 4-6 together. Paul provides the reader with practical instruction for living life as a follower of Christ.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I'm your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me - from the beginning - simply reading God's word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Ephesians Chapter 4:
Unity and Diversity in the Body of Christ
Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope at your calling — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. For it says:
When he ascended on high,
he took the captives captive;
he gave gifts to people.
But what does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head — Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part.
Living the New Life
Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts. They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
But that is not how you came to know Christ, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity. Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Ephesians Chapter 5:
Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. Obscene and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Light versus Darkness
Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. Therefore, do not become their partners. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light — for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness, and truth — testing what is pleasing to the Lord. Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by them in secret. Everything exposed by the light is made visible, for what makes everything visible is light. Therefore it is said:
Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
Consistency in the Christian Life
Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.
Wives and Husbands
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.
Ephesians Chapter 6:
Children and Parents
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land. Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Slaves and Masters
Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as you would Christ. Don’t work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing God’s will from your heart. Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to people, knowing that whatever good each one does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord. And masters, treat your slaves the same way, without threatening them, because you know that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit — which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should.
Tychicus, our dearly loved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me so that you may be informed. I am sending him to you for this very reason, to let you know how we are and to encourage your hearts.
Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Becoming a mature Christian does not happen overnight. If fact, for many of us, it is a lifelong journey. We will never “arrive” until the return of Christ when we are finally glorified. In the meantime, we are to strive for continual growth in this Christian faith of ours.
Jesus tells us in John 17:15-16 – I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
We cannot completely divorce ourselves from the world in which we live. We cannot continue to live as we once did before Christ entered our lives. As the old saying goes, if we continue to lie down with dogs, we will continue to get up with fleas. Instead, we are instructed …to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to god’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Putting on the “new self” involves more than just hanging around with other Christians. We are to increase our faith and knowledge through daily reading the Bible, supplemented with frequent prayer and attendance at regular church services and Bible studies. If we are diligent, Paul tells us in Eph 4:14 – Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.
Let’s pray. Lord, it can be so difficult to set aside our old lifestyle and adopt new ways of living through Jesus. It’s unfamiliar to us; it can be uncomfortable and even scary. But the rewards are incredible. Thank you for giving me the strength to persevere in my walk with Christ. I pray for anyone who is struggling with this, Lord…come alongside them and give them Your strength. Amen.
Do you struggle, with one foot in your old life and one foot in the new? Share your thoughts with me at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.