There is a clarion call for all Christians in the whole universe to be focused on their calling into the kingdom with all humility and gentleness of heart, walking in love not for personal interest but endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul wrote this epistle to the Ephesians to encourage them to work in unity, having in mind we are all working for the same master, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all.
He admonished them, that the different gifts of God bestowed on them are to deliver their callings. Every child of God will only deliver if they stay on their calling utilizing the gifts of God in their lives. These gifts are for the edification of the body of Christ until we all come to the knowledge and the fullness of God.
Who wrote Ephesians 4:1-16 and when was it written?
Ephesians 4:1-16 was believed to be written by Apostle Paul to the Ephesians sometime in 60–61 AD when he was in prison. Some scholars recently, suggested that it was written between 80 and 100 AD by another writer using Paul’s name and method.
What is the context of Ephesians 4:1-16?
The context of Ephesians 4:1-16 talks about unity among believers and how the spiritual gifts of God must be used to build the maturity of the body of Christ.
Paul Apostles understood the importance of unity in the new testament church. In the previous chapter, Ephesians 3, he talks about a very crucial mystery in the kingdom that was revealed to him as a Prophet of God.
He mentioned that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which he is a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to him by the effective working of the power of Christ.
This gospel can only be achieved with oneness and unity among brethren.
He, therefore, gave specific instructions to all believers in this chapter to walk worthy of their high calling so they can achieve this mandate as delivered to them.
The Bible says in Psalms 133 verses 1 and 2,
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.”
The attributes of the worthy walk according to him was detailed in his epistle.
Ephesians 4 verses 2 to 3 mention those attributes,
“With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
He enlightened the people on the spiritual gifts that God has endued them with to build and sustain unity in the church. Those gifts and their purposes are mentioned in Ephesians chapter 4 verses 11 to 12,
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,”
He concluded this chapter, stating the agenda of God for all Christians, that we should no longer be children, being tossed here and there and carried about with every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men, and in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.
Paul admonished them to speak the truth in love, and grow up in all things into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
What is the message of Ephesians 4:1-16?
The message of Ephesians 4:1-16 talks about God’s agenda to see all believers being fully rooted in him.
God loves his children and will not want any to be cheap prey in the mouth of the devil. The only way to avoid this is through our knowledge and understanding of God.
Hosea 4 verse 6 says,
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”
The destruction in the above context is not to be destroyed, it simply means to be “ripped off” of what belongs to you.
God has ordained some of our leaders with various gifts for this purpose. Disunity is one of the tricks, the devil uses to frustrate the effort of the church today.
The devil knows there is power in christian unity and will want to do everything possible to divide the people.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says,
“And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
What are the causes of Disunity in churches today?
One of the greatest means the devil is using to attack the whole body of Christ today is disunity. Satan understands the power of unity, that nothing can stop the men of true unity. We saw that in the building of the Tower of Babel.
The men that built the Tower of Babel were in one accord. They are ready to build the tower to heaven and God saw that. The only way to stop them is to cause confusion among them which is what God did.
We saw in Genesis 11 verses 5 to 8,
“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.”
Pride is the major cause of disunity in our churches today. Jesus said clearly to us. Anyone that must come to him must come with lowliness of heart. Pride is a destroyer of destiny. God resists the proud, but gives more grace to the humble. ( James 4:6). He detests pride with all seriousness. Among the list of what God hates most, pride is first on the list.
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. ( Proverbs 6:16-19)
Apostle Paul also mentioned that as part of the attributes of unity in the church. ( Ephesians 4 verse 2) A proud man does not see anything good in another person. Some church leaders feel they are all in all because they are in a position of authority in the church.
They are wrong but feel too big to feel remorse and apologize. This is one of the things that can cause discord among the members.
Abuse of Power
Abuse of power by the church leadership can also lead to disunity in the church. Some Pastors or unit leaders bring favoritism into their duties. They treat some members differently from others causing strife and envy thereby causing enmity among the flock.
They forgot that there is no entitlement in the title. Everyone will receive his reward according to his labour, not according to his title.
Lack of Effective Communication
There is a need for effective communication in every organization including the church of Christ. Some believers, instead of relating with one another, chose corrupt communication, deceitful scheming, and gossiping about others.
Paul speaking in 1 Corinthians 1:10,
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Effective communication can be achieved by several meetings with transparency in all aspects of church administration. Members feel more secure and comfortable in a place that is open and transparent.
Lack of Prayer
Every church needs prayer to grow and to keep the flock together. Every growing church also needs prayer to keep growing. The day any church stops praying is the day that the church stops growing. A quick weapon of satan to stop any church from growing is to sow the seed of discord among the members.
One of the things the prayer does is to keep filling the leadership and the church members with the Holy Spirit. We need the Spirit of God to maintain unity in the local church. We cannot do anything without the help of the Holy Spirit.
John 4:24 says,
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
The devil is always after the church and Jesus knew this. Jesus said I will build my church and no gates of hell shall prevail. He knew there were gates of hell. Devil is the master planner. The good news is that only the counsel of God shall stand, Shame to the devil.
Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:17 to 18,
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
We also saw in Ezekiel 36:37,
“Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.”
The scripture above reveals the essence of prayer in keeping the flock together.
Poor Church Governance
The politics in some churches is worse than what we see in the secular world. People can go to any length to actualize their selfish interests. Some people go to different places with same attitude of church politics causing confusion everywhere. Serious cautions must be taken in the body of Christ today.
The church is supposed to be the reference for good governance but what we see is an exhibition of shameful acts, not glorifying to the body of Christ. The anchor scriptures have said it all. There is only one God manifesting in different dimensions.
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Factions are not expected in the church. Apostle Paul clarifies this in 1 Corinthians 3:3-6
“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”
Any house that is divided against itself cannot stand.
What is Ephesians 4:1-16 prayer?
Almighty Father, we acknowledge your mighty hand and your mighty work in the work of the ministry. Help us to seize every anger, bitterness, strife, and carnality in our midst but to embrace love, which is the perfect bond of unity until we all attain the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of your Son Jesus Christ. AMEN
Spiritual maturity is a good antidote for disunity in churches. When leaders and people in authority in the church are spiritually mature, they cannot be caught unaware by the tricks of the devil.
They will be sensitive to his devices and quickly put him where he belongs. We must all guide the church of Christ jealously. It must be One fold, one Shepherd. A mature body of Christ will always stand.
Paul admonishes us in Philippians 2 :1 – 5,
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
A natural man cannot receive anything from the dictates of the Spirit of God but a spiritually minded man, for they are spiritually discerned. Our Christian life must portray good works and a good ambassador of Christ so we can enjoy the spiritual blessing from God.