God does not tell us to avoid contact with unbelievers; quite the contrary. We are called by Christ to love others as He loved us and to lead them to Him. However, we are to be an influence in this world and we are to guard ourselves from being influenced by it. In Ephesians 5:6 Paul says, Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. We must always remember that the promises of this world are fleeting and hold temporary satisfaction and fulfillment. It is through our love and obedience of God that we are able to make an eternal impact on those around us.
So many of us (myself especially) are too quick to give our opinions without completely thinking about the impact our words have on others. Paul warns us in Ephesians 4:29, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. If our words do not impact others in a positive way, we should rethink what we have to say. While there is a time to correct and instruct, we should still take great care in what we say and how we say it.
We are supposed to live in communion with one another, but there are times it feels like there is more separation than anything else. This is not just believer/non-believer relationships, it exists within the body of Christ’s church as well. In Ephesians 4:25 Paul reminds the Ephesian church to get past the areas of false teaching and disagreement and remember we are all part of the same community. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Nothing bothers me more than Christian believers arguing with one another. We need to stop majoring on the minors and find where God truly wants us to focus our attention and efforts for His kingdom.
The knowledge of Christ and a relationship with Him are two separate things. In Ephesians 4:21 Paul reminds the Ephesians of this, Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. As believers who have a relationship with Christ, and who study His word, we are taught the truth of who Christ is and how we are to be a reflection of Him. We have no excuses when we believe in these truths. If we fail, it is because of a conscious decision to rebel against what we know is true.
We all have our good days and our bad. We all sin and make mistakes. The body of Christ is there to support us in our times of need, just as we are there to support the body of Christ when others need us. We do this because we have a common love created and supported by the love Christ has for us. In Ephesians 7:16 Paul says, From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. As individuals we have our weaknesses, but as a body of believers we are strong and have very few gaps in our faith. If we were all a little more open to understanding how we can work together as a body of Christ, we would all be stronger in our faith and stronger in influence and deed.
The unity we experience as believers should be prevalent and obvious to those around us. Ephesians 4:4-6 Paul says, 4 There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. In reality, many times we experience anything but unity. We focus on majoring in the minors and fail to look at the big picture. If we cannot see the “big picture” message of Christ, which is to love God and love others, then we fail our mission from Him. We need to focus on the things that bind us and not on the things that divide.
God deserves to be honored and praised because of His ability to do more than we can ever comprehend. In Ephesians 3:20-21 Paul finishes the third chapter with, 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. God has taken care of His people for all generation and He will continue to do it into eternity. We are never alone and He will never leave us. Praise God for that!
The freedom we received through Christ is immense. Without Christ our approachability to God would be limited, just as it was for the Jewish people in the Old Testament. In Ephesians 3:12 Paul says, In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. We have confidence because of the freedom we have through Christ and it is because of Him that we can have true relationship with God.
Before Christ, there was only a path to God through Israel. But God’s plan is perfect and He made a way for all people through Christ. In Ephesians 3:6 Paul says, This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. The plan has always been for all to be able to receive salvation. What is new is that we are now co-heirs; both Jews and Gentiles. God created all of humanity and His perfect plan and desire is to have a relationship with everyone.
Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are all part of the family of God. Paul says in Ephesians 2:18, For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. The Jewish people first had access, and now through Christ all have access. We are all part of the same eternal inheritance as co-heirs in Christ.