Just for fun, and perhaps for critique, I thought I’d post my “Sermon Notes” on Ephesians 4:1-6, the passage that I preached this morning. Since I’ve already confessed to being a stealer of thoughts, I thought I’d return the favor so that you can steal stolen stuff. Seriously, I write these notes for two reasons. One, I find it to be a helpful exercise in gathering together all my thoughts on the day before I preach. Secondly, I actually read some of these sentences. Why? Because they are good sentences. At least, I think so. And I haven’t gotten fired yet so they must be decent.
If you are an astute reader of commentaries and etc., this will not be new information for you. You will also notice that at the end, I have no notes for the last few verses. That’s because I knew what I wanted to do there, so I didn’t write it down. So here are my notes, for what they’re worth:
UPDATE: For some strange reason the outline didn't transfer. I had this in a format that would put in Roman numerals, but they've vanished. Oh well.
Introduction: When we join something, we must know of its designs, its goals, and its rules. We must be in line with them and hope for their success. The first three chapters were doctrinal; they were truths that ground us in the faith. They let us know that we are indisputably God’s children. They teach that the Father chose us in Christ Jesus before the world began, that Christ Jesus suffered for us, and that we are given the indescribable gift of the Holy Spirit. Now seeing that we have so great a confidence, Paul will turn to the practical. Now that Paul has paved the road of faith beneath our feet with solid doctrine, he will call us to walk it in faith.
- To Walk Worthy
- “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
- Worthy of the calling with which you were called. What is the calling? That God spoke your name before He created the worlds (1:4). That He decided to save you before you were ever born. That He has raised you up to seat you with His Son, that He treats you as His son!
- A member of the royal family is watched constantly. They are taught impeccable manners so that they may dine with heads of state. They are called to a higher accountability.
- Attitudes that Bring Unity
- Lowliness- The chief Christian virtue is humility, translated here “lowliness”. The world does not teach us to behave in this manner. Look back to Phil 1:27, after entreating there to walk worthy, Paul quotes the characteristic humility found in our Lord Jesus. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Phil 2:3).
- “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
- Humility is not a false contriteness or a despicable hypocrisy or a self-loathing that focuses too often on self and not the redeeming grace of God.. But knowing ourselves rightly. We are miniscule compared to God, and we are all-together unworthy of His gracious affections. This is not pious talk; this is stark reality. David captures this humility when he writes, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him” (Psalm 8:3-4)
- Meekness- Refers to a controlled spirit that is not easily provoked
- Longsuffering- Patient. Pray for patience. Pray that God will do whatever is necessary to make you patient. Do not be flip and say, “Don’t pray for patience…God will put you through trials!” Rather say, “At whatever cost, make me like Jesus.” We must have all of these virtues in order to “bear with” our own brothers and sisters. How beautiful it is that you must bear with me! Our perseverance begets the peace of fellowship.
- The One Faith
- Tie everything together with the great truths of the faith that all must believe and live for.