The fourth chapter of Ephesians begins with “I therefore,” which means we ought to first read what comes before the “therefore” if we are going to have a better understanding of what follows the word.
Paul said it was an act of God’s grace that he was called to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Unsearchable riches means there is wealth in Christ Jesus so vast it is beyond man’s ability to comprehend and yet, many people never open their hearts to a deep relationship with the Savior.
In the closing verses of the third chapter, Paul prayed that Christ Jesus would dwell, or permanently live, in believers’ hearts. He prayed that they would know through experience “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of Christ’s love, the unsearchable riches. Live, Paul was saying, so “ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Paul wanted this fullness of God for the church, and desired that believers would endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” To keep unity means we will have to live humbly and maintain an unselfish attitude toward other people. We are “forbearing one another in love” even when we do not always agree with other people. A Christian thinks more highly of God and other people than he thinks of himself.
Having “the bond of peace” begins with the relationship we have with God. There is no peace with people unless there is first peace with God.
The foundation on which this rests starts with “one body,” or the body of Christ to which we are joined when we are converted. The Holy Spirit indwells each believer, giving us one heart for the Lord. The one hope we have is in the coming of the Lord to take His church to heaven.
There is one Lord who suffered and died for us. We have one faith based on God’s Word, and one baptism, the baptism of the Holy Spirit when we are saved.
We have “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” God is our Creator, and we live in the constant knowledge that He is the sovereign God. Nothing is beyond His knowledge, ability and dominion.
Jesus provides gifts that promote unity in the church. There are people who fill a variety of roles in preaching, teaching and ministering for “the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
The purpose in these gifts is that believers will “be no more children, tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
The Lord wants His church to minister in unity in the way the parts of the human body work together. In unity, we glorify our Lord and Savior and we will know the fullness of God.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at email@example.com.