Ephesians 4:11-13 11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
Wandering through Ephesians 4
Paul was a prisoner, we’re not; so don’t live like one. We have been called to live in the deepest kind of freedom — a freedom characterized by an unpretentious and gentle spirit which patiently hangs in there with love. Insistence in the name of God (perhaps) invites each one of us into wholesome relationships and increasing peaceful collaboration.
For the whole creation is grounded in unity and wholeness. We are called to be all-inclusive, even as God is all-inclusive. And how we demonstrate that all-inclusiveness is dependent upon our gifts. Not everyone is called upon to be the Messiah — some have been gifted to be an apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor, or teacher, or… Each of us can figure it out if we just realize that all those gifts are given, not to inflate egos, but to equip us all for messianic ministry – that is, for building toward the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice.
The end goal is the all-inclusiveness, the wholeness that leads to trust, wisdom, and maturity. Don’t waffle with doctrine or deceit in the name of religion. Grow up! There is a messianic maturity awaiting each of us that builds bodily strength through love and compassion.
So, we are not to live as if we know nothing about a Godly way of life. Instead we are to keep our hearts and minds clear, resolved to do what is right. Remembering what we have learned from Yeshua, we are to grow into the wholeness of being, renewed by the Spirit of Mystery, shaped by justice and holiness.
Be open and straight-forward with neighbors, because unity is to be preferred over discord and separation. Don’t allow anger to lead into hatred or resentment, which will bring each all of us down. We produce, out of God-given abundance, in order that we might share our abundant resources with those in need.
Speak without bitterness, antagonism, animus, or malice; instead let words build community. Kindness, compassion, and forbearance are building blocks for the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice. In that way our lives, our speech, and our actions will personify Yeshua’s gospel of forgiveness.