Season of Pentecost: A Life Worthy
August 1, 2021
Ephesians 4:1-16 CEB
Reverend Nancy Amos
Call to Worship
Leader: Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you are called:
People: We cannot do this alone, we dare not try this alone, so we gather as God's people.
Leader: Lead a life worthy of your calling, a life filled with service and meekness.
People: We come to build up Christ's Body, in humility and gentleness, with patience and love.
Leader: Lead a life which reflects your calling, that life of peace grounded in the Spirit.
People: We rejoice in our oneness in Christ; we would share the grace offered to us.
Leader: Live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.
People: We gather as God's family at the Table prepared for us, waiting to be fed by the Bread of life.
One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all, take this patchwork collection of persons and quilt together your church. Like old pieces of cloth, take these words and songs and prayers, take our thoughts and inner hungers, and join them all together into a new and living fabric—the purpose of which is to cover and color your world (or at least our corner of it) with grace and love. We ask this in the name of God our Creator, Jesus our Redeemer and the Holy Spirit our Advocate. Amen.
Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-16 CEB (Common English Bible)
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.
7 God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ. 8 That’s why scripture says, When he climbed up to the heights, he captured prisoners, and he gave gifts to people.
9 What does the phrase “he climbed up” mean if it doesn’t mean that he had first gone down into the lower regions, the earth? 10 The one who went down is the same one who climbed up above all the heavens so that he might fill everything.
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. 14 As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.
The Great “Therefore” (Ephesians 4:1) In this case, the word “therefore” is the fulcrum balancing all that came before with all that follows. It is the center point between gift and task, call and response, blessing and gratitude.
Worthy Means Shared The way the writer talks about responding to God’s overwhelming initiative is by asking for a “worthy” life in response. By “worthy,” the writer means living cooperatively with others.
Unity: Our best means of showing gratitude to God for all that has been expressed in three chapters of this letter turns out to be more horizontal than vertical. To appreciate God’s bounty to us is to live graciously with one another.
Steps of Faith
- What steps are you taking to help this community of believers to live graciously in unity?
- Put your GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide into practice this week.
Resources: Bible by God, UMC Lectionary resources, Commentaries on Ephesians 4