Day 38 | As One

Ephesians 4: 1-32
Unity of the Body and of God
1 Therefore I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you were called—
2 with complete humility and gentleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love,
3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Ruach in the bond of shalom.
4 There is one body and one Ruach, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one immersion;
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace was given in keeping with the measure of Messiah’s gift.
8 Therefore it says, “When He went up on high, He led captive a troop of captives and gave gifts to his people.”
9 Now what does “He went up” mean, except that He first went down to the lower regions of the earth?
10 The One who came down is the same One who went up far above all the heavens, in order to fill all things.
11 He Himself gave some to be emissaries, some as prophets, some as proclaimers of the Good News, and some as shepherds and teachers—
12 to equip the kedoshim for the work of service, for building up the body of Messiah.
13 This will continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Ben- Elohim—to mature adulthood, to the measure of the stature of Messiah’s fullness.
14 As a result, we are no longer to be like children, tossed around by the waves and blown all over by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men with cunning in deceitful scheming.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head.
16 From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. The proper working of each individual part produces the body’s growth, for building itself up in love.
Put Off The Old, Put On The New
17 So I tell you this, indeed I insist on it in the Lord—walk no longer as the pagans do, stumbling around in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance in them due to the hardness of their heart.
19 Since they are past feeling, they have turned themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of immorality, with greed for more.
20 However, you did not learn Messiah in this way—
21 if indeed you have heard Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Yeshua
22 With respect to your former lifestyle, you are to lay aside the old self corrupted by its deceitful desires,
23 be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and put on the new self—created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 So lay aside lying and “each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
26 “Be angry, yet do not sin.” Do not let the sun go down on your anger,
27 nor give the devil a foothold.
28 The one who steals must steal no longer—instead he must work, doing something useful with his own hands, so he may have something to share with the one who has need.
29 Let no harmful word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building others up according to the need, so that it gives grace to those who hear it
30 Do not grieve the Ruach ha-Kodesh of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness and rage and anger and quarreling and slander, along with all malice.
32 Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other just as God in Messiah also forgave you.

REFLECT

One of the most important aspects of our lives as disciples of Yeshua is to remain in unity. In this passage, Paul is reminding the believers in Ephesus that God had called them to a unity that superseded their personal need. They were called as individuals who were made new creations who were to function as one. We can see a great example of this special, cohesive unity in the film The Gladiator. In the film Maximus is a betrayed general who escapes execution only to be sold into slavery to become a Gladiator. One of the film’s great battle scenes occurs in the Roman Colosseum, where those organizing the “festivities” are going to reenact the battle of Carthage (149 BCE). Maximus and his companions were slated to play the role of the losers of that battle (Hannibal and his men); this meant they would face certain death. Just prior to entering the arena, they are given the counsel that they should “go and die with honor”.

Instead of shrinking back in fear and resignation, Maximus realized there were only two options; life together or death alone. He gathered his courage and spoke these words to his friends: “Whatever comes out of these gates, we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together! Do you understand? If we stay together we survive!” As the scene unfolds, we see that those who followed his advice would indeed survive... Maximus led his men with courage, wisdom, and cunning strategy to a stunning victory over a much more heavily armed force. However, those who ventured off on their own where picked off by the enemy’s archers and were eliminated before the real fight ever began! Friends, this is an incredible illustration of what we can achieve when we purpose to strive for unity.

Through the example of Yeshua’s life and His words, the whole purpose of His earthly ministry becomes clear... Not only did He come to redeem us from sin and death but also to make us one people with faith in the one true God. He wants us to share in the unity that He and the Father shared, a unity that is fueled by meekness, selflessness, and love. When we live this concept out and intentionally put aside our own agendas while seeking to meet the needs of others first, many lives will be dramatically transformed by the power of God’s love moving through us.

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