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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Ephesians 4 (and a smidgen of 5)

It is so key, as we begin to look at the "walk it out" part of Ephesians that we remember the tremendous effort Paul gave to lay out very clearly our identity in the Messiah.  Only when we know the height, width, depth, breadth of His love for us can we proceed from that place of ultimate rest and trust to walking out love.
Paul assumed the communities that he was writing to would be living in close fellowship, rubbing up against each other daily which would require humility and patience and a putting up with each other.  Maintaining unity in the one Body in each locality was the high calling that he expected of them, verses 4-6.  There is no expectation in the Bible for separate groups meeting in separate buildings that I can see, repentance is needed.  This one body in each locality would be gifted with apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers and evangelists.  This close knit community with functioning gifts of the Spirit is the soil in which true followers of the Messiah are grown.  They are not blown about by every wind of teaching.  The speak into each others life and the growth process of the believer continues.  The laying aside of corruption that is called for is really only possible in this soil, on our own, falling and drifting away is almost guaranteed. 
Be angry and yet do not sin.  The anger is directed toward sin and the spiritual powers that bring death and destruction.  Anger directed towards people almost always has its root in self-centered thinking that is disappointed that other people are not centering their thoughts and actions on my happiness.  Since self and pride are the favorite area's Satan moves in, wallowing in anger directed at people opens the door for him to come in.  From there like a snowball rolling down hill he will encourage bitterness then outbursts of rage, then a consistent anger, then open quarreling, then intentionally speaking to hurt someone (slander) then actually working in tandem with the one who has come to steal, kill and destroy by acting with malice toward another person or group. 
The solution that is meant to bring us back to our Messiah is to remember His tenderhearted, quickly forgiving, sacrificial love for us who he calls in 5:1 dearly loved children.  Our prayer for each other is to spend time in the arms of our Father, as much time as it takes, to come to the revelation that we are right now, dearly loved children, with a tenderhearted Father and a Holy Spirit who we can grieve if we forget our high calling and instead of being a touch point for people to see the love of God we begin to bring harm to the people He loves.

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