READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l The book of Ephesians was written by Paul to the church in Ephesus, which was the third largest city in the Roman Empire. It was a culturally chaotic and vibrant city where pagan worshippers and philosophers mingled with the minority Christians. It was in such a setting that Paul wrote to his readers. In his book entitled “Sit, Walk, Stand”, Watchman Nee summarises Ephesians. Starting with our position in Christ, “Sit” reminds us that God has “seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3) as we are made alive through God’s grace (Eph.2:5). Hence, we have become “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph.2:19). “Walk” depicts our life in the world, which is the theme of the rest of the sermon. Our attitude to the enemy is captured in the word “Stand” – clad in the full armour of God, we are to take our stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph.6:11).
Walk in a worthy manner: Because of our new status in Christ, Paul tells us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Eph.4:1). “Walk” refers to the way we live, namely, our conduct and behaviour. “Calling” refers to instructions God has given us. We are thus to live in a way that reflects who we are – redeemed people of God.
Walk in love: we are to bear or show tolerance to each other. This may involve enduring or suffering or putting up with difficult people in our lives. This is tough love as exemplified by Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. Abigail was an intelligent and beautiful woman who was married to Nabal, a surly and mean man. She bore with love her wicked husband. She stopped a massacre by David and his men through her decisive and wise decision to placate David. Simply “bearing with someone” only leads to grudges and growing resentment, causing hatred and strife. On the other hand, “bearing with and in love” is an outcome of God’s love for undeserved sinners like us (Rom.5:8). When we encounter difficult people in our family or workplace, remember how we have received God’s love and that this love is to flow out from us. We are to walk in humility, gentleness and patience. We are to have our Master’s mindset (Phil. 2:5) – His humility in taking on the form of a slave in coming to save us. Gentleness is the taming of the “wild animal” in us which causes us to get angry and lash out. Patience or long-suffering is like a very long fuse attached to dynamite (anger) which fails to explode as the fuse fizzles out. These are all part of the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) which are the outcome of a close walk with Jesus.
Walk in unity: Paul told the Ephesians, who came from different nationalities, backgrounds and status to maintain unity. They were already united in Christ. They had to continue to preserve this unity. Like them, we too are made up of different personalities, whether in a biological family or church family. Jesus had prayed three times in John 17 for the oneness of His disciples. For only in unity will the world believe and know about Jesus. Our unity points others to Christ. We are called to be a city on a hill (Matt.5:14). If each group in the city thinks they know better and do not live in unity with others, the light in the city will grow faint.
Walk worthily, in love and in unity!
(Sermon notes by Angela Goh)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- How has the Holy Spirit spoken to you through the preaching of God’s word?
- How would you summarise the message of this section or story?
- What can we learn about God in this passage or story?
- What is God’s personal invitation to you through this message?