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Together We Grow

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller
The Truth Network Radio
April 21, 2024 1:00 am

Together We Grow

Moody Church Hour / Pastor Phillip Miller

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April 21, 2024 1:00 am

If we’re God’s children, how does God want us to live? Paul’s letter to the Ephesians addresses the whole church to answer this question. In this message from Ephesians 4, Pastor Philip Miller focuses on three indications of interdependency within the church: unity, diversity, and maturity. We all have different gifts, but we belong to one body.

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Unity, diversity, and maturity. These are the three ways we're to develop in our walk with Christ as members of His body. We'll learn about these ways in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, so stay with us. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly broadcast of worship and teaching with Pastor Phillip Miller. We invite you to join us for another message on being alive in Christ, a series of teachings from Ephesians.

Today our focus will be on how it is that together we grow. Here now is Pastor Phillip. Well, welcome once again here to The Moody Church. No matter where you came from, we're really glad you're here with us this morning.

We're continuing our series in Ephesians, the book of Ephesians, called Alive in Christ. And I'm so excited about our message today because this message is all about what God has done to make us alive. So let's pray and give this service to the Lord this morning. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the beauty you lavish on our world.

Sunshine and rain and beautiful days, flowers, trees. Your glory is all around us. And so we wake up in a miracle today. You woke us up with breath in our lungs. You've given us life and breath and everything else.

You deserve all of our praise, all that we could ever offer in return. And so Father, we lift high your name because of all that you are to us as our creator and Father. We lift up the name of Jesus who is our savior and our Lord. We lift up the name of the Holy Spirit who gives us life and transforms us on the inside. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we magnify your name to the praise of your glory.

We are your people and we sing for you. In Christ's name we pray. Amen. Isn't God good? Aren't you glad to be here today? We're going to praise the Lord together. Enter His gates with thanksgiving. I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. I will enter His court with praise.

I will say this is the day that the Lord has made me. I will rejoice for He has made me glad. Oh, He has made me glad. He has made me glad. I will rejoice for He has made me glad. He has made me glad. Oh, He has made me glad. I will rejoice for He has made me glad. Oh, I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. I will enter His court with praise.

I will say this is the day that the Lord has made me. I will rejoice for He has made me glad. Oh, He has made me glad. Oh, He has made me glad. I will rejoice for He has made me glad. He has made me glad. Oh, He has made me glad. I will rejoice for He has made me glad. He has made me glad.

He has made me glad. I will rejoice for thee has made me glad Thee has made me proud I will rejoice for thee has made me proud I will rejoice for thee has made me proud This is Jeremy Stark's family reading for us, and they're going to read scriptures about the path that God is leading us. This is God's holy word. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your path. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.

They do no wrong, but follow his ways. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Good and upright is the Lord, therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right, and teaches them his way. You make known to me the path of life. You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

God is good, isn't he? And the Lord doesn't just say, follow the path, he says, I am with you. I will lead you. I am walking with you. That's our Father, that's our God, amen.

We need his presence. I just want to speak the name of Jesus, over every heart and every mind. Because I know there is peace within your presence, I speak Jesus. I just want to speak the name of Jesus, till every dark addiction starts to break. Declaring there is hope and there is freedom, I speak Jesus. Your name is Father, your name is leading, your name is life.

Bravely, softly, shine through the shadows, her mighty fire. I just want to speak the name of Jesus, over fear and all anxiety, To every soul of God, do not oppress you, my sweet Jesus Your name is power, your name is healing, your name is life You make every smile shine through the shadows of my life Jesus from the mountains, Jesus in the streets Jesus in the darkness, all for every enemy Jesus for my family, I sing the holy name, Jesus Jesus from the mountains, Jesus in the streets Jesus in the darkness, all for every enemy Jesus for my family, I sing the holy name, Jesus Your name is power, your name is healing, your name is life You make every smile shine through the shadows of my life Jesus from the mountains, Jesus in the streets Jesus in the darkness, all for every enemy Jesus for my family, I sing the holy name, Jesus Your name is power, your name is life Jesus in the darkness, all for every enemy Jesus for my family, I sing the holy name, Jesus I, the Lord your God, am mighty to save I will take great delight, great delight, great delight in you I, the Lord your God, am mighty to save I, the Lord your God, am mighty to save I, the Lord your God, am mighty to save I, the Lord your God, am mighty to save I, the Lord your God, am mighty Well, we're turning the corner this morning into the second half of the book of Ephesians. And Ephesians, like a lot of Paul's letters, divides nicely into two halves. The first half is chapters one through three, where Paul expounds for us with theological grandeur, all that the Father has done for us through the saving work of Jesus Christ, applied now by the Holy Spirit to our lives.

And then the second half of the book is chapters four through six, where Paul then applies that grand theology, all those theological realities, and he applies them now to the practicalities of our everyday lives. The first half is about how God made us alive in Jesus Christ. The second half is now how we are to live now that we are in Christ. The first half is about how we became children of God. The second half is about how we live as children of God. Who we are shapes what we do.

Who we are shapes what we do. And the hinge connecting these two halves of the letter is found in Ephesians chapter four, verse one, which begins the section of verses we're going to be looking at this morning. So grab your Bibles, we're going to be in Ephesians chapter four, verses one down to sixteen. Ephesians four, verses one down to sixteen.

If you'll listen as I read, this is the word of the Lord. I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call.

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says when he ascended on high, he led a host of captives and he gave gifts to men. In saying he ascended, what does it mean but that he had also descended to the lower regions, the earth.

He who has descended is the one who has also ascended far above all the heavens that he might fill all things. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of 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. So that we might no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head into Christ from whom the whole body joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped when each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Thanks be to the Lord for the reading of his word. You know when I was a kid I used to wonder often about who I'd be when I grew up. And how on earth I'd ever get from here to there, from my little childhood life to full adulthood.

I didn't know how it could ever possibly work. Well this passage is all about growing up. It's all about growing up in Christ. It's about who we will be when we're all grown up in Jesus. And it's about how we're going to get from here to there.

And so let's focus in, this passage focuses in on three themes in particular. Unity, diversity, and maturity. Unity, diversity, and maturity. And in case you need to leave early or in case you are prone to fall asleep in the middle of my sermons, let me give you the bottom line up front, okay? And that is that God grows us by grace through one another. God grows us by grace through one another.

So now you can proceed with whatever it is that you need to do. Would you bow your heads and pray with me? Heavenly Father thank you for your word which shows us who we will one day be and how we're going to get there. Help us to follow you by the power of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit today. In Christ's name we pray, amen. Amen.

So first of all, unity. Chapter 4 verse 1. I therefore prisoner of the Lord urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.

Now this is, here it is, the hinge of the letter, the hinge of Ephesians. I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called. The first half of the book has been all about the calling to which we have been called. We have been called out of darkness into His glorious light. We've been called to salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. We've been called as children of the Most High God. We've been called together as a new humanity in Jesus. Jews and Gentiles reconciled with one another and reconciled to God.

One body, one people, one family. We've been called from far off to near. We've been called from sin to righteousness. We've been called from lost to found. We've been called into a living hope as God is now reconciling in Christ all things.

Things in heaven and on earth in order that Christ might be all in all. He says I urge you to walk in a manner that is worthy of that calling. You used to walk after the pattern of this world in your trespasses and sins. Chapter 2 verse 2. But now I urge you to walk in an entirely different manner. A different way.

I want you to live a life worthy of your calling. Now the word worthy here comes out of the ancient marketplace. If you imagine you would go to the agora, the marketplace and you would barter for various things. And they would have these scales and they would have a control weight on one side. And if whatever you were buying needed to be weighed out. You would put the grain or whatever on one side and you would have the control weight on the other. And they would add to the grain until the scales balanced and it was worthy. Equal weight.

It was worthy of the amount that you were to buy. And so Paul is saying look I want you to live a life worthy of your calling. So if you put your calling, all that God has called you to in saving you and making you his son and daughter and redeeming your life. You put all that calling in one side of the scale and you put your manner of living, your lifestyle on the other side of the scale. He goes I want you to live in such a way that it is worthy of equal weight with your calling.

It needs to balance out. You've been called into this salvation, into this family, your sons and daughters. Now I want you to live like it.

That's what he's saying. I want you to live like it. Let your identity become your lifestyle. I want your being to shape your behaving. I want who you are to determine what you do. I want you to act like the person you already are by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Now what on earth would that look like? If we were to live that out, verse 2, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Now there are four traits listed here. The first one is humility. Humility is thinking less of yourself, putting others first. Gentleness, gentleness is to be considerate, willing to waive your own rights for the good of others. Patience, patience is making allowances for the shortcomings of others. Loving forbearance, this is loving people even when they are unlovely. Forgiving, extending grace. Now whose traits are those?

If we had to identify one person in all of world history who incarnates those traits, who would it be? Jesus. This is church.

There's one answer. Jesus, right? I want you to walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling to which you have been called, which is to live out the very character of Christ with and toward one another. Just as our Jesus friends humbled himself with gentleness and patience and loving forbearance and called us to himself while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Now we, we are to walk in a manner that is worthy of that calling with humility and gentleness and patience and loving forbearance as we have been loved by Jesus, we are to love one another. So that, verse three, we will be eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Now remember the peace that Christ bought for us.

Remember? This is back to chapter two. That Jesus broke down in his own flesh the dividing wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles. He created in himself one new man in place of the two, thus making peace. Peace.

This is how Paul's used this word so far. So the peace here that he's talking about, this unity of the spirit, the bond of peace is this multi-ethnic family of Jews and Gentiles saved together by grace through faith in Christ who have been knit together into the new covenant family of God who are not just individually children of God but collectively, corporately have become the family of God. Together. That the father has called us together, all of us to himself, the spirit has united now this multi-ethnic family and Christ has bound us together with the peace that he bought with his own precious blood. This is the unity of the spirit.

This is the bond of peace. What God has joined together, let no one put asunder, right? This is the body of Christ.

He reinforces it here. Verse four, there is one body and one spirit just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who's over all and through all and in all. Seven fold unity is what's here. One body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all.

So this multi-ethnic family you see, people from every nation, tribe, tongue, language, people, right? Brought together, these people who would never have gotten along any other way have now been made family in Jesus Christ because God who is over all and through all and in all has become in Jesus Christ the father of all. Amen? So we are united in Christ's body.

That's the first part here. We're united in Christ's body. Now notice we're not to create that unity.

God already did that, right? But we are called to maintain that unity. Remember how Jesus prayed for us in John 17 21. He said, Father, I ask that they might be one just as you, Father, are in me and I in you that they may also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

This is amazing. But the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit who those three persons are one God, yes? The triune God who has unity and diversity in himself has now united in Christ's body, people from every nation, tribe, tongue, language and people into a multi-ethnic family, into a unity in diversity community so that our oneness is meant to reflect and reveal the oneness of the triune God.

It is our witness to the world. Is it any wonder then that Satan works so hard, so overtime to foster divisions within the body of Christ? Is it any wonder? Satan loves to sow discord and disunity within the body of Christ. He loves to stoke our pride and our anger and our short-temperedness and our unforgiveness which is the very opposite of Christ-like humility, gentleness, patience and loving forbearance, you see. He loves to thwart the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. And Satan's not that creative but he is effective.

He runs the same play over and over again. That's why church fights are a cliche, aren't they? Friends, maintaining the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace is a matter of spiritual warfare. We have to be hyper-vigilant as a people. We cannot allow Satan to gain a foothold in our family. But it can happen so very quickly, doesn't it? Hurt feelings turn to bitter resentment which leads to self-righteous list-keeping and gossip and slander and divisiveness and quarreling and biting and devouring of one another.

And it's sadly all too common, isn't it? So how do you get ahead of that? How do you get ahead of that?

Get upstream of it before it gets out of hand? Well, Paul tells us with humility, gentleness, patience, loving forbearance because we need humility when our pride gets wounded, don't we? We need gentleness when our anger is provoked. We need patience when irritations come.

We need loving forbearance whenever we get hurt. So what does it mean to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we've been called? Well, the first thing it means, it means to live out the very character of Christ with one another so that we are eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace.

So the first thing it means is unity, unity. Now, lest we be confused here and think unity means uniformity, Paul immediately chases this with diversity, diversity. The unity of the body of Christ is not uniformity.

Uniformity is where everybody is the same. But in the body of Christ, everyone is very different and those differences are not erased. In fact, to be united in Christ is to be united in diversity.

It's to have unity in diversity. Verse 7, but grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore, it says, when he ascended on high, he led a host of captives and he gave gifts to men. In saying he ascended, what does it mean that he had also descended into the lower regions of the earth?

He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens that he might fill all things. Now, the quotation here in verse 8 is from Psalm 68 verse 18. And if you go back and read the entire Psalm, you'll realize that that is a Psalm celebrating God's redeeming work of taking a people for himself, Israel, out of their bondage and slavery in Egypt, taking them through the wilderness to the promised land where God then ascends his holy mountain in Jerusalem where he is enthroned in the temple in majesty, receives sacrifices of praise from his people and bestows his covenant blessings as gifts of grace upon his people. So that's in the Old Testament, the Old Covenant. And now Paul says, he quotes it, and he says, look, something very similar is now happening in the New Covenant, the New Testament. God is once again redeeming for himself a people from bondage, this time from sin, death, and Satan, also through the blood of a lamb, right? And has led them now through the wilderness, as it were, into all the promises that are yes and amen in the resurrected Christ, who has ascended now to the heavens and is seated at the right hand of majesty on high. And he is receiving our praise and he is dispensing now, bestowing his new covenant blessings as gifts of grace upon his people.

This Jesus who descended all the way down to this earth is now ascended in the heavens, exalted above the heavens, and is giving grace to each one of us. Each one of us. Now, how many of us are included in that statement?

Verse seven, but grace was given to each one of us. How many people are included in that? Raise your hand. Raise your hand if you're included in that. Some of you need to raise your hand.

Yeah. Did you know that Jesus Christ has personally given grace to you in form of a gift? That he has uniquely gifted you.

He measured it out just for you, like a tailor measures you out to get you a custom fit. It suits you perfectly, this gift. And now in verse eleven, Paul's going to name a few of them. And they're in fact people. People are the gifts. The gifts Jesus gives are his people. He's giving his people to his people as grace for one another.

So Jesus is pouring out his grace to us in order that he might pour his grace through us into the lives of each other. These gifts are what the Bible refers to as spiritual gifts. Gifts that are empowered by the spirit of God. There are four passages where the Bible discusses these gifts. If you want to study them this week, you'll find them in Romans chapter twelve, first Corinthians twelve, right here in Ephesians chapter four, and in first Peter chapter four, Romans twelve, first Corinthians twelve, Ephesians four, first Peter four. Now between those four lists, if you look them up, there are twenty gifts that are mentioned in those lists. Lists like mercy and hospitality and wisdom and discernment and helping and administration and leading and teaching and so many more. And none of these lists of these four lists are identical. It's interesting. There are none of them identical. And what does that tell you? It tells you these lists are representative.

They're not exhaustive. Which means these are just some of the various kinds of gifts that Jesus gives to his people in order that we might be conduits of his grace in the lives of one another. The gifts of Jesus are limited only by the creativity of Jesus the gift giver. He's allowed to do whatever he wants to do.

Okay? And Jesus has given grace to each one of us. That's what it says. He's given us a spiritual gift through which he is dispensing his grace into the lives of others. Which means you are here on purpose.

You are here on purpose. We need you desperately. You are a means of grace from Jesus to us.

And without you, we miss him. You see how essential you are? Church isn't just about what you get. Church is also about what you give. Friends, we are an interdependent web of grace. We are mutually supported by the spiritual gifts of one another as Jesus pours his grace into us and through us for the sake of his body. Now in this passage, Paul's going to highlight four gifts in particular.

He does so in verse 11. And he, Jesus, gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry for the building up of the body of Christ. So there's four groups here.

It looks like five, but it's actually only four. There's the apostles. These are the ones chosen and sent out by Jesus himself. There's the prophets. These are those who receive direct revelation from God and speak on his behalf. There are the evangelists, people who are gifted proclaimers of the gospel. And there are the shepherd teachers, shepherd hyphen teachers.

It's a bit technical in the Greek, but both of these nouns are governed by the same article, which is technical stuff, but it basically means these two descriptions are describing one essential gift. These are shepherd teachers. These are shepherding teachers, those who shepherd and teach in their role. We often call them pastors today. Now these are not all the gifts, remember.

There's a whole bunch more of them listed in other places. These are just four of the gifts. And these church leaders that he identifies here are gifts, Paul says, that are given by Christ to be conduits of his grace for his people.

And there's a progression here if you look at it. These church leaders are given by Jesus in order to equip the saints. So that's all of us, right? We're all the holy ones of God called by his name.

So we're the saints. We're to be equipped for the work of ministry, that is the using of our own individual gifts for the sake of the body for one another. For the building up of the body of Christ so that we might together become strong and mature. So while these church leaders that are given by Jesus have specialized roles in catalyzing and resourcing and equipping the believers, the real work of ministry, Paul says, belongs to every single one of us. We are all of us essential. We are all of us conduits of grace to one another.

We all need all of us, right? Because we are diverse in Christ's gifting. We are diverse in Christ's gifting. Friends, you are a uniquely gifted conduit of Christ's grace for those around you.

Did you know that? When you show up, grace pours out. We will never be all that God wants us to be until every single one of us is present.

Do you believe that? So what does it mean to walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling to which you've been called? Well, it means to eagerly maintain the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace.

We saw that. It also means eagerly contributing our diverse giftings for the building up of the body of Christ, doesn't it? So unity through diversity now unto maturity. This is our third point, maturity. All these gifts, all this grace, it's going somewhere. It's going somewhere. Verse 13, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature, the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness and deceitful schemes.

So much there. Look, the reason God gave all these gifts, all these gifted people to His church as pipelines of His grace is in order to grow us into full maturity, Paul says, that together we might become like Christ, which Paul describes with a set of positive and then negative descriptions. So the positive ones here first is the unity of the faith. The oneness that we have in Christ that we are learning to maintain as we follow the spirit will one day be true in reality. We will be one in Christ forever. We will be all that Jesus prayed when He prayed that we might be one.

Unity of the faith, knowledge of the Son of God, the second phrase, to know Jesus fully and to be fully known by Him. This is what maturity looks like. He says mature manhood. This is adulthood. It means to be all grown up. As my son likes to say, I'm a big boy now, right? When we're all mature adults, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ can form to His image and likeness.

When we see Him, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him face to face. That's the positive set. Now the negative. Then we will no longer be children. We won't be immature. We won't be incomplete. We won't be making all kinds of foolish mistakes. We will no longer be tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness and deceitful schemes. When we grow up into maturity, we will be built up by the gracious gifts that Jesus has given to us in one another.

Then we will be steady. We will know how to hold the course because we will have the north star of God's truth to guide us in every way. That's what these apostles and prophets and evangelists and pastor teachers, shepherd teachers are for.

They're there to point us to the truth of the gospel so that we won't get distracted and derailed by all the lies out there. There's lies out there and there's lies in your own head and none of them will keep you on course. Only the word of God will do that. So that's what we're going to be when we're all grown up.

That's what it'll look like. Now how do we get from here to there, right? Verse 15, rather speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.

From whom the whole body joints and held together by every joint with which it is equipped. When each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. There's the ticket. Speaking the truth in love. Speaking the truth in love.

There's the formula. That's how we grow. Friends, truth without love is unbearable.

Isn't it? It's just debilitating criticism and we wilt. Love without truth is sentimental. It's just blind affirmation.

It doesn't actually help us. But truth with love, that's transformational. Because, listen, love enables us to hear the truth, doesn't it? And the truth enables us to grow into people of love.

You see? Because we got to change. Friends, this is the grace we all need from one another.

Speaking the truth in love. That's how we grow. That's how we become like Christ.

That's how the body builds itself up in love. Friends, we are maturing in Christ's fullness. We're maturing in Christ's fullness.

God has the audacious aim to make you exactly like His Son. And if that's the case, there's a whole lot of transformation that needs to occur in your life, in my life. See, and we need the infinite love of Christ or we'll never be able to face up to the truth of how much change is needed in our lives, right? It's only in the safety of His love that we can face the hard realities of how much change is needed. And without the unflinching truth of Christ, we'll never be challenged to become the people of love that we were always meant to be. See, we need them both. We need love and we need truth.

Without that, we cannot grow. To grow in maturity into the fullness of Christ, we must learn to speak the truth in love with one another. So what does that mean? What does it mean to walk worthy of the calling to what we've been called? Well, it means to eagerly maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. It means to eagerly contribute our diverse giftings for the building up of the body of Christ. And it means speaking the truth in love with one another that we might become mature in the fullness of all that Christ wants us to be. Unity through diversity unto maturity. Unity through diversity unto maturity. Because God grows us by grace through one another. God grows us by grace through one another. Now there are all kinds of implications for this.

And I don't have a lot of time, but I'm going to give you six quickly, okay? First, first implication, transformation is not a solo sport. Transformation is not a solo sport. You cannot become all that God wants you to be.

By yourself, with yourself, in your closet. You need the body of Christ if you're ever to become who you were meant to be. This is huge. Devotions are great, but they're not enough. We need one another if we're ever to become like Christ. Secondly, content will never be enough. Content will never be enough.

Now I'm a content guy, right? I preach sermons, I listen to podcasts, I read books. I'm a man of the word. That's who we are.

But it's not enough. We need the love of the body of Christ to form us into the image of Christ. We learn to love and be loved with one another.

That's how we actually change. Third, we need thick relationships if we are to speak truth in love. We need thick relationships if we are to speak truth in love. Friends, do you realize how close you need to be before you have the right to speak hard truths in someone's life? Do you know how secure the love bond must be between people before we can tolerate critique? It's really hard, isn't it? It's so hard to receive and not bristle and not respond with knee-jerk defensiveness and denial and all the things. We need thick relationships of loving bonds if we're ever going to be able to speak truth to one another.

So we've got to build those. Fourth, grace must be given and received. Grace must be given and received. Some of us find it easy to give grace to others and struggle to receive grace from others. You've got to learn to let other people love you. Grace must be received.

It's part of the equation, right? We need grace to give and to be received. Fifth, distance is dangerous, proximity is powerful. Distance is dangerous, proximity is powerful. Friends, the only way you build relationships is you get up close and over time with people, right? It's the only way you build those relationships.

You can only do it up close. Relational distance is dangerous, proximity is powerful. Lastly, we need each other more than we realize.

We need each other more than we realize. There is grace that Jesus intends to give to you through people sitting right next to you if you will open up and let them in. We need each other more than we realize because God grows us by grace through one another. This is the body of Christ.

Unity, diversity, and maturity. Would you bow your heads and let's pray together. Father, would you teach us what it means to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace? Father, would you teach us what it means to contribute our giftedness as grace in the lives of others? Father, would you teach us to pour ourselves out, to grow in maturity as we speak the truth and love to one another?

Father, there's so much that needs to change in our hearts. Would you make us a people who look like Jesus? Would you make us worthy of the calling to which we have been called? Would you let our doings match up with our being that who we are might shape what we do? We want to live an integrated life so that all of our doings are proceeding from our being and that being has been defined by the grace of Jesus Christ. Help us to act like the people we already are by grace through faith in Christ. In whose name we pray. Amen. Our benediction today, I just want to read the last couple verses of Ephesians.

We'll get to them eventually, but it's a fitting conclusion for our time today. This is Ephesians 6 verses 23 to 24. Peace be to the brothers and sisters and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Amen. On today's Moody Church Hour, we heard Pastor Philip Miller continue a long series of teachings from the book of Ephesians. We learned how it is that together we grow, taken from Ephesians chapter 4. When we come to Christ in faith, it's inevitable that we change. We say farewell to our old lives and take on the new life that belief in Christ makes possible.

Next time, part 9 of our series in Ephesians. Join us then for a message on new life. The Moody Church Hour is a listener supported ministry.

We count on the ongoing financial support of listeners like you. Together we share solid biblical teaching that transforms lives across America and around the world. You can call us at 1-800-215-5001.

That's 1-800-215-5001. Online, you'll find us at moodychurchhour.com. That's moodychurchhour.com. Or write to us at Moody Church Media, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60614. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-21 02:08:47 / 2024-04-21 02:26:10 / 17

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