[This section, Ephesians 4:1-16 is my own take on these verses, and does not come from the local church I was taking these sermon notes from.]

Ephesians 4:1-16,

Are You Worthy To Be Called A Christian?

Ephesians 4:1-16, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

'When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.' [Psalm 68:8]

(What does 'he ascended' mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching [k.Js. "doctrine"] and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 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."

Ephesians 4:1-16 is a very profound statement made by Paul about unity in the body of Christ. Back in Paul's day the body of Christ was made up of individuals in one Church, the apostalic Church of God. Now it is made up of the various Christian denominations and fellowships who possess the Holy Spirit in their midst. All these fellowships share in the knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God and that salvation is through Him and Him alone, that His atoning sacrifice on the cross paid for all our sins—basically the gospel of Christ. But on many secondary doctrinal issues, the differing fellowships and denominations are not in agreement. Paul said the body of Christ should strive for unity in the faith, i.e. faith denoting doctrinal understanding, and unity in the knowledge of the Son of God, i.e. unity in the knowledge of salvation through Jesus, i.e. the gospel of Christ.

Almost all the various denominations and fellowships that are of Jesus have areas of spiritual strengths and spiritual gifts given to them by the Lord, just as individuals do. Almost all have a better understanding of certain Scriptures that the other denominations don't properly understand. Until all the fellowships can be humble enough to learn from others what they themselves don't properly understand, this unity ideal Paul wrote about here will not be possible. But Paul held it out as a high ideal for the body of Christ to strive for. I elaborate on this theme on the link titled "What Is Pre-Evangelism?". Turn to the end of that link, about 15 pages or so, and you will find another link about Church Unity. Click on that and read it. It contains some interesting ideas about unity in the body of Christ, which may be very timely and appropriate for the times we live in.]