Friday, February 10, 2012

Living Lavish in the Community

Last fall, I looked forward to FirstB's study of the important discipleship issues within the book of Ephesians. I am always blessed when reminded of God's delight and pleasure in choosing to love us lavishly (vs. 1:8, NIV) through the hope (1:18) to which He has called us, our rich inheritance in the saints (1:18), and His incomparable power (1:19) for us who believe.

The first four chapters remind us of our life in Christ and the unity of the body. FirstB focuses on our response to the 4B's (Belong, Believe, Become, Beyond) and Paul concludes Chapter Four with, in my opinion, several foundational discipleship principles necessary to maintain the community:

Ephesians 4:25-32: "put off falsehood and speak truthfully"...Persons belonging to a community cultivate complete honesty. We don't lie to ourselves.

4:26: "In your anger do not sin." A community can withstand appropriate expressions of anger that maintain community and do not allow Satan a "foothold" (4:27).

4:28: "Work...with own hands,...share with those in need." A community survives by going beyond itself and cultivating equal commitment though our gifts are not equal.

4:29: No unwholesome talk, "but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs." A community edifies and grows each other. This takes us from belonging through believing to becoming.

And, finally, perhaps the linchpin:

4:31-32: "Get rid of all bitterness", etc., "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave you." Just be nice, demonstrate grace and continual forgiveness.

I am called to prayer to thank God for these reminders and for my response and application.

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