Being good news (Ephesians 4:1-6)

At the hinge of the book, Ephesians calls us to outwork the gospel: to live a life worthy of the calling you have received (4:1).

Previously, it explained the good news: God is reuniting humanity in the reign of his anointed. Now it explains how the good news people embody his reign: in community (4:1-16), in ourselves (4:17 – 5:20), in home and business life (5:21 – 6:9), and in the wider community (6:10-23).

Did you notice what’s missing? In a book about the gospel, he forgot to advise us on how to get the unsaved to make a decision, how to get our neighbours into church, how to get that aunt to pray the Sinner’s Prayer before she dies.

Our paradigm for evangelism doesn’t match the New Testament. Our approach is flawed because we set ourselves up as judges of who’s in and who’s out, of who’s saved and who’s lost.

God never called us to be judges. We are to live a life worthy of the calling we have received (4:1). We’re called to be the restored community under King Jesus, his diverse, unified kingdom. Being that community is our message. Where will Aussies discover the good news? In the good news people.

The gospel reunifies humanity. It ends our hostilities and power-plays. It empowers us to do life together under the Father, in the Son, through the Spirit.

Ephesians 4 shows how the good news comes to life:

  • The gospel says that King Jesus is our peace, he who … destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility (2:14).
    The gospel community embodies his peace-making governance: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love (4:2).
  • The gospel says, His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity … making peace … to reconcile … through the cross by which he put to death their hostility (2:15-16).
    The gospel community functions as reunified humanity, so we make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (4:3).
  • The gospel says that in the Messiah we are being joined together and rising to become a holy temple in the Lord … built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (2:21-22).
    The gospel community is his corporate restorative presence, for there is one body and one Spirit … one hope … one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over and through all and in all (4:4-6).

What’s at the root of all the strife and conflict in the world? Grasping at God’s authority for ourselves (Genesis 3), and people taking power over each other’s lives (Genesis 4). That’s the nature of sin.

What reunites humanity with each other, under God? The good news of our heavenly sovereign restoring us to his governance in his anointed. That’s the gospel.

As we get a grip on the multi-dimensional love of Christ, we become the community filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (3:18-19). That’s the embodiment of the gospel.

Meditate on what it would look like to be the good news in your family, neighbourhood, and workplace, in all the communities where you live:

Ephesians 4 1 … life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (NIV)

 

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Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Riverview College Dean

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