Ephesians 4:1

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Ephesians 4:1  

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” – Ephesians 4:1 

In this verse, Paul is laying out to the Christians in Ephesus the kind of walk he desires and encourages them to walk.  In our focus verse we read, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” Ephesians 4:1.  This is the basic encouragement Paul was now giving to those who followed his teachings in the prior three chapters.  And the general idea here is unity in the Body of Christ.

In those chapters he has taught them what this Christian life is about.  He told them about the spiritual blessings they have received in Christ; that they have been saved by the grace of God on their behalf through Christ’s blood being shed for their redemption.   They were dead in their sins; however, God provided the way their transgressions were removed, through accepting, by faith, the sacrifice of Christ who did not sin and therefore was able to pay for theirs and bring life to them once again.  And through everything, He shows His mercy and love to them.  There is much more that was said; however, this is the core of what Paul presented to them.

And because of this, he entreats them to walk in a manner worthy of Him and the sacrifice He made.  There are four foundation stones that are used to build Christian unity.  “ With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another, in love,” Ephesians 4:2.  In this verse, He starts with humility.   Humility, or lowliness of mind, was much despised in the ancient world. The Greeks never used their word for humility (tapeinotēs) in a context of approval, and even less in admiration.  Instead, it was used in the context of an abject, servile, subservient attitude in the crouching submissiveness of a slave.  When Christ came, He exhibited a true humility, for He humbled Himself.  And among all the world’s religious figures and ethical teachers, only He set the model we were to follow, as of a little child.  

Next there is gentleness, also referred to as meekness. This was warmly applauded by the philosopher Aristotle because he hated extremes and leaned more toward moderation, which here refers to the middle of being too angry and not being angry at all.  We see this idea from Paul later in this chapter where He said, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Ephesians 4:26.  As theologian John Stott says, “So ‘meekness’ is not a synonym for ‘weakness’. On the contrary, it is the gentleness of the strong, whose strength is under control. It is the quality of a strong personality who is nevertheless master of himself and the servant of others. Meekness is ‘the absence of the disposition to assert personal rights, either in the presence of God or of men’. It is particularly appropriate in pastors who should also use their authority only in a spirit of gentleness.

The next quality is patience, which is the idea of bearing with one another.  Patience is essentially longsuffering in difficult situations, which may include difficult people. And we should exhibit it in the same way Christ showed toward us.  It is forbearing one another with tolerance without which no group people can live together in peace.  And lastly, doing all these things within the bounds of love.  Everything we do must be covered in love.  “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. his is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40.  Remember, our neighbor is anyone we come into contact with.

God calls us all to walk in unity.  Paul tells the Ephesians this in a later set of verses.  “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” Ephesians 4:11-13. 

In closing, let me add one more quote from John Stott.  “Here, then, are the foundation stones of Christian unity. Where these are absent no external structure of unity can stand. But when this strong base has been laid, then there is good hope that a visible unity can be built. We may be quite sure that no unity is pleasing to God which is not the child of charity.” Let us pursue unity in our faith in all we do.  When this becomes the norm, we will be amazed how much we can accomplish for Him. And this is what it means to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” Ephesians 4:1b.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

2 Timothy 1:8

Verse of the Day Devotion:  2 Timothy 1:8  

“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” – 2 Timothy 1:8

This is Paul’s second letter to Timothy, his companion and partner along with Silas.  In this part of the letter, Paul is encouraging his disciple Timothy to stand strong for the gospel of Christ.  He starts by telling Timothy that he is reminded of his mother and grandmother.  “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” 2 Timothy 1:5.  They were strong women of faith that set the foundation for Timothy.  And because of them, he had the opportunity to work with Timothy regarding Christ.  “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” 2 Timothy 1:6.  Paul here is using the analogy of a fire as representing the gift God gave him.  The idea here is that if this gift is not frequently stirred up and fresh fuel added, it will go out.

He goes on to tell Timothy God has given him a gift of boldness.  “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7.  The idea here is that the spirit which He gave us, was not the spirit of timidity or cowardice, which is weakness, but of power exhibited in a fearless testimony for Christ.  And this power comes through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49. 

Paul then tells Timothy to let his boldness shine forth.  In our focus verse we see, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,” 2 Timothy  1:8.   He is encouraging Timothy to join him in his suffering which is a result of his sharing the truth regarding the gospel according the power of God. 

And this gospel is from God “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.” 2 Timothy 1:9-11.  And it is because of this gospel, which is absolute truth, he has suffered.  “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12.

And we should be encouraged by this as well.  Many in this world are turning away from belief in Jesus Christ and the salvation He brings our way, and ridicule us who continue to declare the truth of the gospel as a way to save us from our sins which will result in eternal life with God.  If we truly believe this, we should never be ashamed to share this truth to all so that many can believe and be saved as well.  The definition of ashamed is a feeling of shame, guilt or disgrace for something you have done.  We should never feel shame, guilt or disgrace because we have shared the gospel or stood firmly for the truth.  If we do feel shame, then we need to look at ourselves and see where we are and then pray that God will help us, knowing that the gospel is truth, to live like it is truth.  If we show timidity it may hinder others from seeing the truth in us. 

Let us always be proud and determined to declare and live the truth of the gospel of Christ.  We should forget the ways of the world and do the work God has called us to.  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.