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Captivated Signposts

Ephesians 4:8-10

The imperial conquerors of the great ancient empires like Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome made it quite clear who had won the battle.  They would parade the captured soldiers in a chained procession so that everybody could see the scale of the victory.  Then, in order to show the newly subdued city or country that his rule would be of great benefit to them, the victor would give away a part of the booty to the townsfolk, as well as to his own soldiers.

Living Gifts

Ephesians 4:11-13

God is no mean investor.  In order for His church to grow and multiply, to achieve everything He has planned, He invests heavily in people.  Every business manager knows that without the right people in the critical places, failure is inevitable.  That is like Jesus Christ.  He takes some of the people He has saved and gives them the core competences upon which the rest of the church will be constructed.

Disaster without the Word at Work!

Ephesians 4:14

The idea of babies being thrown to boiling seas in a gale seems a rather cruel illustration.  But the reality of believers being torn from their security in Christ and churches (the people who belong to Jesus) disintegrating through insecure doctrinal foundations, is observed all too often.  Variants, or more accurately deviants, from apostolic doctrine are found everywhere as people are led by their fleshly desires, encouraged by self-seeking leaders.  

Joined up Working

Ephesians 4:15-16

These verses are a stark contrast to Ephesians 4:14 where the 'flexible doctrines' of the false prophets result in dishonest scheming or double-minded instability producing confusion and leading to disaster.  Their motivation is greed, self-advancement or power over people.  It happens in every sphere of life and every style of workplace.  However, that is very different to God's purpose for the church.  The motivation which God implants is love, and the agent of productivity is truth.  Unlike the spin of politics or clever sales talk, the church is designed to grow as people relate with in

Mirror Behaviour

Ephesians 4:17-19

One of the problems of being with people for long periods of time is that you start to grow like them.  It is said that dog owners can end up looking like their pets, and certainly students take on the characteristics of their tutors.  Children can adopt the behaviour of the heroes of their video games.  Adults can act out the roles of film or soap idols.  Employees too are unwitting shadows of their bosses or other workmates.    

Authentic Teaching

Ephesians 4:20-21

The Apostle Paul had just described people who do not worship the Lord as hard-hearted, and insensitive to His love (Ephesians 4:17-19).  In their own lives they replaced love by sensuality, holiness by impurity and gratitude by greed.  The Christian should be completely different because Jesus is so different!  He is the complete opposite of the corruption and sleaze of the world, the broken promises and sharp trading.  He is righteous and pure, faithful and true.  That is why it is not possible to get to know Jesus through the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:20-21) which, at best, is

No Small Change

Ephesians 4:22-24

Some mentors fix themselves in our memory.  Most people remember the name of their reception class teacher.  After that the kind or the cruel are impressed somewhere on our brain, but especially those people who helped our learning leap forward.  We recall them, partly by their ability to convey information, but more by their character, their enthusiasm for their subject and their personal interest that we should do extremely well in the subject - because they have personally put everything into it.  Paul was that kind of teacher.  His life was devoted to pleasing Jesus well, and so it matt

Truth - the Gold Standard Currency for Relationship

Ephesians 4:25

Long journeys start with little steps, and big companies usually have humble beginnings.  The lifestyle change that is needed for new Christians to start following Jesus may seem to be huge (and it is!) but it starts with simple decisions; one by one.  In putting off our corrupted old nature, one of the first things to go is lying.  Jesus said that lies are the hall-mark of Satan (John 8:44); most of His evil work is done by inserting untruth into our minds (Acts 5:3-4).  If we believe the lie then we will take all sorts of actions that will defame God, damage us and others ...

The Unexploded Bomb

Ephesians 4:26-27

After lies (Ephesians 4:25), anger should be next on the Christian's hit list of 'old ways to be dealt with'.  Anger is sometimes a difficult issue to think about.  It is not always wrong, because we know that God is angry against sin and rebellion (Nahum 1:2).  That is why Jesus came to suffer the punishment of the cross, so that we might be uncoupled from God's wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9).  Righteous anger is God's anger against sin and rebellion (Romans 1:18).  There are times when Christians can properly be angry against injustice.  But our old sinful nature rarely gets anger on target.

Well Honestly!

Ephesians 4:28

After lies and anger (Ephesians 4:25-27), theft is the next no-go area for Christians.  The implication of this verse is that theft might even appear to have a genuine motive - no employment, no money, no food or shelter; and so theft is legitimised.  But God sees it differently.  The solution is to find work or do something so that you can honestly and morally trade for a fair reward.  Despite the millions choosing only white-collar jobs, there is no shame in manual work ... and the Apostle commends it.