Allow me to run through a brief overview of the great truths we have already encountered in this book.
• God has given us all spiritual blessings through Jesus—Eph.
• God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world—Eph.
• God has determined that we will be like Jesus, and with Jesus, one day—Eph.
• God has made us accepted in Jesus—Eph.
• God proved the blood of Christ that washed us from our sins—Eph.
• God reached out to us when we were dead in our sins and headed to Hell—Eph.
• God loved us—Eph.
God gave us life—Eph.
• God has secured our future—Eph.
• God has secured our salvation—Eph.
• God has given us a new life in Jesus—Eph.
• God has brought Jews and Gentiles together in Jesus—Eph.
• God has made a new race of people from those who believe the Gospel—Eph.
• God desires to use us, bless us and teach about the divine mystery of His everlasting grace and love—Eph.
We have seen great theological truths revealing the believer’s position in Christ—truths that show the believer soaring in the heavenlies!
But now, coming down to earth and dealing with where we are: How are we to live day by day?
How does our position in Christ work itself out in our lives?
How does Christ help us deal with the trials, problems, difficulties, and sufferings of day to day living?
The believer’s walk is the subject of Ephesians from this point on.
Ephesians 4:1 (KJV 1900)
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
The word “beseech” is filled with meaning.
It means, “to call to one’s side, to summon; to exhort, to entreat, to comfort; to encourage and strengthen by consolation; to instruct, to teach.”
Paul is saying, “I come alongside you to strengthen you through instruction; to encourage you to walk in the right path; to comfort you, to lead you, to be your friend.”
The word “beseech” is from the same word that is translated “Comforter” in four times in John’s Gospel.
John 14:16–18 says,
Part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is that of being our “Comforter.”
He comes alongside the saints of God like a trusted Friend to offer encouragement, guidance, consolation, instruction, teaching, comfort, exhortation, among others things.
He performs this ministry in an effort to help us to grow in the Lord.
He does it to make us more like Jesus Christ.
He does it to challenge us to reach our fullest potential in the Lord.
If you are saved, you have experienced and benefited from this personal and powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit.
But, this isn’t the Spirit of God who offers comfort, consolation, encouragement and strength, it is Paul, one of the saints.
This highlights an important truth.
While we have the Spirit of God Who fulfills the role of Comforter in our lives, we have an obligation to one another to come alongside one another to help one another reach our fullest potential in Christ.
A true friend is someone like Paul.
A true friend is someone who refuses to allow you to live a substandard life.
A true friend is someone who helps you become more like Jesus by coming alongside you “to exhort, to entreat, to comfort; to encourage and strengthen by consolation; to instruct, to teach.”So, the challenge Paul issues is a personal challenge.
It is as if a trusted friend had walked up to them, placed his arm around their shoulders and said, “Listen, I want to tell you about everything God has given to you in Jesus Christ, and I want to help you live up to your true potential in Jesus.
I am here to help.
I am here to guide you.
I am here to teach you.
You can count on me.
I am your friend.”What
a comfort that we have such a friend in the Holy Spirit.
What a blessing it is when you have that kind of friends in your life.
What a testimony it is when you are that kind of friend to someone else!
While this challenge is personal, it also powerful.
Paul says, “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you …” Paul reminds them that he is a prisoner in Rome.
But, he wants them to know that he is not the prisoner of Rome.
He wants them to know that He is “the prisoner of the Lord.”
There is a vast difference!
Paul was not held captive by bars or iron.
He was held captive by the bonds of love.
He was the prisoner of Christ.
This is what Paul said in Eph.
Ephesians 3:1 (KJV 1900)
1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
The word “prisoner” refers to “one held in bonds.”
Paul wants his readers to know that while he might be locked up in a Roman jail, he was really in the custody of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Paul became a Christian, he became the property of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was up to the Lord to use Paul as He saw fit.
God did use Paul.
He wrote 14 books of the New Testament through his pen.
Most of them written, by the way, while Paul was in prison for preaching the Gospel.
God used Paul to found churches in many of the major cities of the day.
God used Paul in great ways in spite of the fact that he spent much of his time in prison.
Rome may have held the key to Paul’s cell, but God controlled the length of Paul’s chains!
Paul does not identify himself as a prisoner to gain their sympathy.
He is not trying to stir up some emotional response.
He is saying, “Consider the source of this challenge!
I am not asking you to do anything that I am not already doing.
I am not asking you to believe something that I don’t already believe.”
He is saying “Look at me!
These are the doctrines I believe, and they have determined the very course of my life.”
He is not calling attention to chains of Caesar; he is calling attention to the chains of Christ!
Paul was imprisoned by Jesus on the road to Damascus, and he never sought to be free of the Lord’s incarceration.
Because Paul was captive to the Lord Jesus Christ, he had no will of his own.
He had no rights of his own.
He had no plans of his own.
He saw everything through the eyes of the Lord Jesus.
Paul was held in such divine captivity that every thought, every plan, every deed, every word written or spoken, and every other thing Paul did was carried according to the will of the One Who held Paul captive.
He did all that he did to the glory of God, 1 Cor.
Paul is telling simply teaching us that he is living out the very life he is challenging us to live.
The fact that Paul is living this kind of life, even while he is the prisoner of Rome, gives weight and power to this challenge.
This challenge also carries weight because of who makes it.
This is no trifling hypocrite, who calls people to live one way while he lives another.
No, this is the holy Apostle who calls people to live like Christ, a life that he is already living.
By the way, before we challenge others to live a certain way, we need to be sure that our life matches our exhortation.
Holy words carry heavenly weight, but the words of a hypocrite are nothing but empty words; as empty as a hermit’s address book.
Paul’s challenge is simple.
He says, “… that we walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”
Listen, we have in the first three chapters the rights and the honors and the privileges of salvation and joining a church and now in the last three chapters he says—Here are the requirements.
“Therefore walk worthy”
The apostle Paul comes through ringing loud and clear,—Walk worthy of such a calling!
This is who you are! Walk in accord with that!