After calling on unity within the church of Ephesus, our lesson this week takes a look at the high calling of God. We will see that the high calling of God is a calling to love. As you have heard me say before, God did not create us to be as divided as we are as a society. No, the Lord created us to work together and to uplift each other. In our lesson this week, we take a look at the high calling of edification.
The High Calling
Paul called for those of the church of Ephesus to “walk worthy of the calling” for which they had been called (v.1). Now, some of us may be wondering, what was their calling? Well, was their calling not the same as our calling? Is your brother and sister in Christ calling not the same as your calling? What do you think?
I believe that many of us would say that all of us have our own unique calling, right? For example, some will look at me and say, “Pastor, your calling is to preach but I wasn’t called to do that.” This is true: all have different gifts. With that said, I want to show you want Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, Paul wrote, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit […] the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” So, yes, we have different gifts but the high calling is for us to uplift (to elevate) each other.
Walking in the High Calling
So, what should be our approach in moving in our high calling?
Something that we have seen was evident in the church of Ephesus was the lack of compassion. In our study of the church of Ephesus, Jesus called out the church lack of love. In Revelation 2:2, Jesus commended the church for its works, labor, and patience for not bearing evil. While this commendation sounds great, Jesus had something else to say to this church.
In Revelation 2:4, Jesus said, “I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” As we have seen, they struggled with loving each other in the church, so how could they love others? So, the believers professed faith but they weren’t necessarily walking by faith.
So, Jesus then said to the church, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works (Rev. 2:5).” What are the first works? Jesus taught the disciples that the first work is to love the Lord with your whole heart. Jesus then said His disciples should love their neighbors as we love themselves (Matt. 22:36-40). Bitterness should not dwell in our hearts.
This is why we see Paul tell those in this church to walk with “all lowliness” and to bear with one another in love (v.2). Paul said to those of the church of Ephesus to strive to keep “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (v.4).”
You see, the moment believers begin to look down on others , they strive not according to the Spirit. This, to me, is a major problem because many profess to be of faith but don’t actually walk by faith. God’s children are to be imitators of Christ, not imitators of those that live according to the flesh.
Remember Christ in Your Calling
Again, we will see Paul address the lack of compassion that was present in this church. Paul wrote, “to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift (v.7).”
Now, in Ephesians 4:8-10, Paul begins to discuss how we are able to receive these gifts. We have received these gifts through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Jesus explained to the disciples in John 16:5-7, 13, that He needed to ascend. Why did He need to ascend? Jesus needed to ascend so that we who sincerely believe may receive the Holy Spirit.
The receiving of the Holy Spirit is our confirmation of Christ being Christ. The receiving of the Holy Spirit, we should also understand, is confirmation of God’s love. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus taught that we are led into all truth – this is Christ’s gift.
Uplift and Elevate Like Christ
Paul then wrote, “He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (vss.11-13).”
Christ, we must always remember, came to uplift us, mankind. You have not received your spiritual gifts from the Lord to look down on others and tear down others. As we saw in our lesson last week, the Jews were wrong for talking down to the Gentile believers. The Jews talked down to the Gentiles because they believed themselves to be more special.
Are we more special than others because we have received spiritual gifts from the Lord? You may think so but God will bless and His children with gifts. As we saw earlier, no one gift means more than the other. You and I are equipped for the high calling of edifying the body of Christ.
To edify means to instruct and improve; to uplift, build, and establish. I tell you, you cannot instruct and improve from a place of bitterness and hatred. As we know, bitterness and hatred is often met with bitterness and hatred in return. How can one produce the righteousness of God from such a place of bitterness and hatred? This is exactly why Paul was writing this letter to the church of Ephesus.
Do you see why it was so important for Paul to share this message with the church of Ephesus? Do you understand why it is so important we recognize our high calling? Do you see why we must strive to walk worthy of the calling of God? The reason why we are to move in the love of God is because it, as Paul said, “causes growth of the [body of Christ] (v.16).”
Our calling, I want you to understand, is for us to keep growing. As you have heard me say recently, we cannot go idle in our growth. An idle mind, we know, is the devil’s playground – this is why the Lord wants you to keep growing and progress forward.