v 1 – “ I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,”

  • Therefore – Given the previous text – all the previous text in whole, but specifically Ephesians 3:14-21:
    • v 14-15 – Paul prays diligently to the God of all creation – who is sovereign over the lives of those whom he has created for his glory.
    • v 16 – He prays to this God of glory, that, according to the riches of his glory
      • That those in his intended audience would be granted strength with power through the Spirit of God that lives in us – in their inner being
      • v 17 – For the purpose of Christ indwelling hem hearts, through faith, so that they, now rooted and grounded in LOVE (love for one another, and shared love for their creator, king, and savior)
      • v 18 – would have strength to comprehend (understand in depth), along with all the saints, what is the full counsel of God through his scriptures and the deepest understanding of God’s salvation and what it means for the converted believer
      • v 19 – and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (not Worldy knowledge, but understanding – is so great that it cannot be known, but merely embraced in its fullness to the best of our ability), and so that his intended audience would be “filled” with all the fullness of God. All that it means to know God, to know him intimately in the fullness of his character and nature, and to trust wholly in who he is and in the promises he has delivered to us.
    • v 20 – Paul finishes this statement with a song of praise to God, delivering to God the thanks for his work in their lives. Acknowledging that God, in his fullness, is more than any of us can imagine – more powerful than we can imagine, stronger than we can fathom, and greater, in all ways, than we even give him credit for. Our minds are so molded by our own struggles here in this temporal realm, that the capabilities of God exist outside of our understanding – so we often sell him short. We don’t think to ask for him to act for us, not because we don’t think that he can help us, but because our minds can’t imagine the ways in which he can, and will, act on our behalf. It is because of this that we need this reminder, and why Paul, in this song of praise, draws the minds of his intended audience back to the fact of God’s unimaginable greatness, power, authority, and love for us, his chosen children, whom he has promised to defend, deliver from our sins and struggles, and to protect until the end.
    • v 21 – To this God of unimaginable greatness, Paul continues his song of praise, directing the hearts and minds of his intended audience to him alone who is the God, Savior, Protector and Deliverer of his elect – and reminding them that it is this Christ of God who is the only hope for all people in all time – past, present, and future.
  • Given that above information, Paul reminds them that he, as a prisoner for the sake of Christ, their Lord, urges them to become unfettered in their service to God. If Paul, as their human example in the Church of God, was so willing to follow and serve God that even his own worldly desires were tossed aside for the sake of service to the God who saved him. He was unwilling to stand down when pressed by local authorities in the Jewish church, and even the civil authorities who have power over him, so that he will stand firm in the face of persecution and serve God – even in prison if that be where God has him.
  • His intended audience, therefore, given both Jesus’ example, as well as Paul’s own struggle for the sake of Christ, should live their lives in a manner that coincides with the worthy calling to which they have been called.
    • They were called not to serve themselves, nor their worldly desires, but the God who, in the supreme act of self-sacrifice, gave up even his own life for the sake of his elect. So we, as his redeemed, should live our lives with the sake kind of thoughtful abandon – choosing which battles to fight and which to endure for the sake of the body and those in our sphere of influence.
  • He goes into more detail in the text below:

v 2 – “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,”

  • They were called in humility and gentleness – not in prideful arrogance and bombastic demands. They are to first consider their own fate before God, acknowledging that they are not elected and saved by God because of their own inherent goodness or their ability to keep God’s laws (because as Romans declares, no one can keep God’s law as we should), but instead we were chosen despite our failures. Despite our inability to keep his commands. Despite our ability to do anything to make us worthy or desirable by God.
    • It was in this that we were saved, so we must also understand the plight of others in the church and the world outside – that our fellow members in the church are just the same as we are – lost sinners, saved by a good God who knew that his Justice and Wrath must be resolved so he stood in our place to take it in our place. We have no right or authority then to even raise our voice against those in the church who also struggle as do we.
    • We also understand that our past life – in the World – was one where we, in ignorance, lived lives serving ourselves and our own desires. We wanted to be our own god so much that we ignore the truth of God found in nature and spoken to us by those who are of God. We cannot then blame the heathens that surround us for acting as heathens. We should, instead, have mercy on them, knowing that it is God who is their judge, and that our service to him demands that we serve them in humility, not in prideful arrogance.

  • They also are to be patient with one another. We know that our lives are bound in our Savior and King – and that his action on our behalf also included his patient endurance (longsuffering) of our evil heart, which wrought evil thoughts, and ultimately resulting in evil actions meant to serve ourselves, even if it meant the destruction of our relationship to our creator and those around us. So as God was patient with us, so we must also be patient with others – both in the Church and World around us.
  • Bearing with one another – the image here is of one person, who is struggling under the weight of an unwieldy load, and someone comes along side them to help and steady that load, and to take some of the weight off of their shoulders. As the Holy Spirit of God is our paraclete – our designated helper who comes along side of us and bears the load with us, leading us to serve God with abandon – so we also are to bear with those who are weak (Rom 14). We are, in service to our sphere of influence, as Christ served us, to serve those with abandon who are near to us – to those in the Church first (so that they in the World will know us for the love we have for one another), and then to those in the World.

v 3 – “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

  • Living lives in a manner “worthy” of the calling to which we have been called also demands unity. Unity in the Church, unity in our families, unity even, as much as can be had, with the World. This is a common theme in Paul’s letters – that unity be forefront in the hearts and minds of those in Christ Jesus, as we, both Jews and Greeks, slaves and free, men and women, in as much as we are different in every possible external way – are united firmly in the salvation in Christ which binds us together. We, who would never give the other the time of day if left to our own devices, are now bound together in the deepest unity imaginable – in our humble adoration of our Savior and King, and in our mutual deference in all things prideful and sinful to the one who, outside of our own influence or any worldly “worth”, chose us who deserve only wrath and destruction. To him alone be all the glory and worth and honor and praise.