I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, (Ephesians 4:1 NKJV)
Paul has become a prisoner in Nero’s court for preaching the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. Paul is not a prisoner of Nero, but he is rather a prisoner in the Lord, in the cause of the Lord. Paul did nothing evil to become a prisoner so Paul does not consider himself a prisoner like those who break good laws made to punish evil, such as laws against murder, theft and the like. Paul has become a prisoner of good in an evil system, just like many believers who will preach the gospel of Jesus during the tribulation will become prisoners of good in an evil system.
Paul using the word “therefore” is him referring to Ephesians Chapters 1-3, where Paul preached the eternal and spiritual aspects of Redemption, which is the first part of this epistle, or letter, to the Ephesians. Chapter 4 begins the second part of this epistle. Here, Paul begins to explain how the eternal and spiritual aspects of Redemption manifest in a believer’s conduct and life.
Beseech means encourage, so, Paul is encouraging the Gentiles to walk worthy of the grace in which they were called to faith. The Gentiles were called by God through them hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ and believing it. Jesus reached the hearts of the Gentiles through the Holy Spirit.
These Gentiles were the first generation of Gentiles to be led by the Shepherd, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit by means of them first hearing the gospel through a preacher and believing it. These Gentiles were led by the Spirit to realize truths by whatever means each Gentile personally needed to spark faith in Jesus Christ. The same encounters with the Holy Spirit happen to people today.
In our present world, many people lack faith in Jesus for many different reasons. Those who are led by the Spirit and are already believers, like Paul was, have the ability to minister to anyone the believer comes in contact with throughout the day. Ministering is not always starting out immediately with telling someone about Jesus.
Ministering can be helping someone out with their troubles, showing kindness to someone in need, being there for someone or any other product of the believer walking in the Spirit. People notice those who act differently than those who are led by the world and a believer, who walks in the Spirit, is a light to the world and can be a great testimony that can eventually spark a person to seek faith in Jesus.
To walk worthy of the grace in which we are called is to live life and to conduct ourselves in a way that shows we are changed, living life as born again Christians should live life, thankful and repentant, faithful in our walk with God, bearing fruit of the Spirit.
with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, (Ephesians 4:2 NKJV)
Lowliness is humility, literally meanness of spirit in classic Greek, but, in Christianity, it is meanness of spirit toward our own self because we know the person we were before becoming a born again Christian. The evil which a person commits before true repentance should be a reminder that no one is worthy of the grace of God. In Jesus’ gift of salvation to us, we should realize we have no justification for pride within ourselves.
A Christian should regard others as more than ourself, even if the other person is full of pride and condescending. When a Christian is humble and regards others as more than ourself, the humility within a Christian can open the door for another person’s salvation.
In my lifetime, as I am sure in everyone’s lifetime, we come into contact with judgmental people who, for whatever reason, make assumptions and base their interactions with us on their own prideful image of their self. Many of us have thought too highly of ourselves at different points in our lives and have been guilty of the same condescending talk others have done to us also.
Many times it is easy to get into a battle of us versus them in a holier than thou throw down of words. Every person alive is guilty of something, and, when a Christian is always mindful of humility, the Christian is more likely to quickly think and ask Jesus to lead and to help through any situation or interaction. Pride can blind spirituality to what humility can help see.
Gentleness, or meekness, is how we react to others. As a Christian, sudden outbursts of wrath should not be our immediate reaction to those we come into contact with who say or do things that attempt to provoke us to anger. A Christian should always attempt to remain calm in every situation.
There may be other Christians we come into contact with who do or say things differently than we ourselves do or say, but, that does not mean that one person is right and the other person is wrong. A Christian should be gentle and maintain peace of mind, not getting caught up on differences in traditions but should instead focus on Jesus and His gospel, our common salvation.
A Christian will come into contact with many unbelievers who will attempt to provoke the Christian to anger. A Christian should not be easily provoked. It is very easy for a person to want revenge when someone has done wrong to the person. One of the most difficult parts of being a Christian is to bless our enemies and those who do us wrong.
In today’s world, we are connected at lightning speed to everyone through the internet. There are many people out there who hide behind online avatars just for the purpose of trying to get Christians to exhibit an outburst of wrath. These are called trolls.
Trolls will personally attack the person, and a lot of the time will attempt to get a Christian on the defensive, while going off track of the original subject matter. Do not be fooled. Trolls have no interest in hearing the gospel. Many times these trolls will have preplanned Bible verses they will throw out there with a preplanned path in mind that is designed to take the unsuspecting Christian on a path the troll knows will lead to frustration.
A troll will never seek truth and will attack at every possible chance. When in a dialogue with anyone whose beliefs differ from yours, and you are being verbally or textually attacked, simply be kind, gentle and bless the person. Tell the person you will pray for him or her and stop the discourse. A Christian can never truly minister to a troll, but, there are most likely other people watching or listening to the dialogue that can be ministered to through how the Christian reacts to what is happening.
A person the Holy Spirit sends to a Christian to minister to will be interested in what the Christian has to say. If the person is only interested in arguing or causing trouble, then the Christian is dealing with a troll. Do not waste time with a troll, move on.
Long-suffering is having patience for those who do things differently. Some people repent and never turn back to the person’s old ways and, for other people, breaking old habits is difficult and takes more time than it takes others to walk in the Spirit. Daily, or even hourly, battling the flesh and seeking Jesus through the Holy Spirit for guidance is how Christians are led by the Spirit, to walk in the Spirit.
Some people may have different ways they worship Jesus than others do, but everyone who believes in Jesus is part of His Church and everyone who believes in Jesus needs support from other Christians. Some Christians may have idiosyncrasies that annoy other Christians, but we should all love each other. No matter what differences exist between Christians, we have a common faith.
Some unbelievers may attack Christians for whatever reason, even causing physical, mental or emotional harm, but, revenge is not how Christians are to walk worthy of our salvation because salvation comes by the grace of God, and, Jesus said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV)
So, in all interactions, have patience and be kind because somewhere there is someone who is having patience with the person reading this, somewhere there is someone forgiving the person reading this, somewhere there is someone who thinks the person reading this is not doing something right and that someone is practicing long-suffering with the person reading this teaching.
Somewhere there is someone who is frustrated with someone else, seeking revenge, getting more and more angry all the time, not forgiving, wanting to do harm. A Christian may come into contact with any type of person at any time, but, what is done to the Christian matters less than how the Christian reacts to what is done to the Christian.
Bearing with one another in love is looking past all the faults of fellow Christians as we all love Jesus and should find Him as our bond to each other. Christians should also love unbelievers as we do Christians because many Christians were once unbelievers and any person can begin a walk with God at any time. Love is the top fruit of the Spirit and is evidence a believer walks in the Spirit.
endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3 NKJV)
This is unity of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is who brought Christians to faith in Jesus in the first place and is who Jesus leads us by on our walk with Him. The Ephesians were made up of Gentiles and Jews both, giving opportunity for division amongst Christians on many different levels, so, Paul is saying for Christians to strive to keep the unity of the Holy Spirit amongst the diversity of customs and traditions.
Paul is saying the Holy Spirit is the peaceful bond Christians need to always be mindful of as our unity. Christians who argue amongst each other about their different customs are not walking worthy of the grace Jesus gave us. Any Christian who has been on social networking has most likely seen the arguments that take place because of diversity amongst customs.
Denominations are bred from different customs and, many times, the Holy Spirit is ignored along the way as denominations are built on customs. We as Christians, as His Church, need to get back to our common bond of peace, the Holy Spirit, who is the power by which Jesus, as a man on earth, exercised the power He used as God during His Ministry.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (Matthew 3:16 NKJV)
It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. (Mark 1:9-10 NKJV)
When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit resting and staying on Jesus was foretold by the prophet Isaiah.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. (Isaiah 11:1 NKJV)
Jesse is the father of king David. A Rod is a Shoot, or New Growth, that grows out of a stump, specifically the stump of the Davidic monarchy.
The Assyrian power that once was is likened to a cedar tree in Isaiah 10:1-10:16. Once a cedar tree is cut down, it puts forth no new shoots as it rots slowly.
The Davidic monarchy is likened to an oak tree. The stem of Jesse is the trunk of that line of people. An oak tree puts forth new growth from its stump, usually more than one new growth, however; Isaiah sees only One Shoot growing out of this specific tree.
The Branch Isaiah saw shall grow out of Jesse’s roots, meaning the Branch shall be fruitful.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2 NKJV)
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, aka the Branch grown out of Jesse’s roots, aka Jesus Christ, aka Jesus the Anointed One, aka Jesus the Messiah.
And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ (John 1:32-33 NKJV)
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1 NKJV)
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Isaiah 61:1 NKJV)
Many scholars have said verse 61:1 is Isaiah talking about himself and his ministry, but, Jesus Himself said about Himself and His Ministry, in Luke 4:21, after reading this verse in the synagogue, “Today the Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
In verse 61:1, Isaiah prophesies about the Messiah, repeating at first what Jehovah said to Isaiah in verse 42:1 concerning His Servant, His Chosen One, speaking from the first person point of view of Messiah instead of the first person point of view of Jehovah, as in Isaiah 42:1.
Has anointed, or hath anointed, is the word from which the word Messiah is derived.
Here, to preach good tidings is the root use of the word gospel, in the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, even more so than in Isaiah 40:9, where it is written,
You who bring good tidings,
Get up into the high mountain;
You who bring good tidings,
Lift up your voice with strength,
Lift it up, be not afraid;
Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” (NKJV)
He has sent Me to heal, or bind up, the brokenhearted is Messiah saying He has been sent to heal any person who may feel brokenhearted for their sins, or any other sort of oppression or captivity a person is dealing with externally or internally, as in Psalm 147:3, where it is written, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” or sorrows.
To proclaim liberty to the captives is Messiah coming to set the inhabitants of the earth free from their bonds to this world; freedom for Gentiles, who many were led by the world, and freedom for Jews who were under the curse of the Law, as in Isaiah 42:5-7, where Messiah is prophesied to come to earth and be given as a covenant to the people, giving Gentiles the ability to be led by the Spirit and giving Jews freedom from the law.
Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
7 To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house. (Isaiah 42:5-7 NKJV)
“A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:32 NKJV)
34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.
Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. (Acts 10:34-48 NKJV)
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3: 10-14 NKJV)
21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” 23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, (Luke 3:21-23 NKJV)
the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, (Luke 3:32 NKJV)
Luke 3:23-38 shows the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Adam, including Jesse in verse 32, as was written in Isaiah 11:1. Luke 4 begins the account of the Ministry of Jesus, following Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit at His baptism.
Old Testament prophets had the Holy Spirit at times, being led by Him, the Spirit telling them what to say and moving them to say it, but, Jesus Christ, the Anointed One, had the Holy Spirit all the time. We Christians also have the Holy Spirit all the time.
We are led by Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit does not speak on His own authority, but only knows what He hears from Jesus. Some Christians are content with just knowing about Jesus and keeping Him at a distance, but, if a Christian wants to have a personal relationship with Jesus and wants to become a true believer, with all the benefits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, able to do things Jesus did and more, the Christian needs to embrace the Holy Spirit, or the Anointing, as Jesus did, and, become Spirit filled. Jesus baptizes believers in the Holy Spirit.
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, (Luke 4:1 NKJV)
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is possessing gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some believers have many gifts, or a specific gift, of the Holy Spirit, but Jesus had all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was led by the Spirit through the Father, as believers are led by the Spirit through Jesus. To truly be a follower of Christ, or the Anointing, is to be led by the Anointing.