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Bible Pathways - Dec. 4, 2010

Read Ephesians 4


As children of God, we need to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3) to grow up into Him (4:15). We need the whole Armour of God (6:10-18).

When we let the love of Christ flow through us, we manifest His loving-kindness to everyone without discrimination. We overcome all thoughts of resentment, He forgives us without exception, and we can enjoy His bountiful blessings. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (Eph. 4:31). Rather, be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (4:32).

Wrath and anger are often demonstrated in an outburst of abusive language as a reaction against someone who disagrees with our views and actions. Sadly, when some people are offended they are also unwilling to forgive. Even more serious is the sin of slander (malicious report) which is one of the seven sins that God hates the most (Prov. 6:16-19).

The presence of any of these evils destroys our peace of mind, grieves the Holy Spirit, and affects our relationship with God. However, as we allow the Holy Spirit to rule our hearts and lives, the fruit of the Holy Spirit — love, patience, gentleness, and kindness — will be manifest and feelings of anger will vanish.

Instead of having thoughts of bitterness, revenge, and anger, we need to see difficult situations as opportunities to pray for those who wrong us. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matt. 5:44). Consider Stephen, who prayed while he was being stoned to death. He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge (Acts 7:60).

Every Christian is a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each is responsible to respond with the love of Jesus toward all who — by their words, attitudes, or actions — may be unlovely. It is of utmost importance that we recognize how serious this is, as explained by Jesus in His parable when He states the consequences of an unforgiving person: Delivered him to his tormentors (Matt: 18:21-35). Christ is the Head of His Body the Church and we are that Body. It is under His direction that the whole Body is fitted together perfectly to work in harmony: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (mature) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Eph. 4:12-13).

Thought for Today:

We must appropriate the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead (Eph. 1:19-20).

Cross References:

For Eph. 4:8: See Ps. 68:18. Eph. 4:25: See Zech. 8:16. Eph. 4:26: See Ps. 4:4. Eph. 5:31: See Gen. 2:24. Eph. 6:2-3: See Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16.

Word Studies:

4:13 perfect (does not mean perfection) sincerely desiring to be obedient to His Word; 4:14 carried about . . . by the sleight led astray by false doctrine; 4:16 compacted knit together in true unity; 4:18 blindness hardening of their heart with no regard to repent of their sins or see the need to be saved; 4:22 former conversation old sinful way of living; 5:18 filled with controlled by; 5:26 sanctify set apart to serve the Lord; 6:5 in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ with no ulterior motive but sincere desire to please Christ; 6:11 wiles deception; 6:14 having your loins girt about with truth continuing to read through all the Bible in order to be familiar with the will of God.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Iva Ann McElroy • Government Official: Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA) • Country: Lesotho (2 million) within the east-central part of the Republic of South Africa • Major languages: Sesotho and English • Limited religious freedom • 43% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 6% ancestor worship, divination, and spirit-possession cults • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God that the answers to your prayers are granted through the grace of God (Is. 30:19).

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:28

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