Striving for Unity in Your Walk

Ross Reeder May 5, 2024 Ephesians 4:1-6

Romans 12:1-2 - Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

3 truths to embrace concerning your walk as a Christian

I. Walk in a Manner Worthy of Your Calling (4:1)

Ephesians 1:1 - Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 4:1- Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…

A. You must understand your calling

B. You have a choice in how you walk

2 Peter 1:10-11 - Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

II. Your Walk Should Display Godliness (4:2)

A. Character is the identifying trait

B. It is shown in your love for others

Proverbs 19:11 - A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

III. Your Walk Must be Defined by Unity (4:3-6)

A. Unity is a daily choice (v. 3)

B. Unity is rooted in God’s character (v. 4-6)

C. Unity is seen in God’s redemptive plan (v. 4-6)

This morning, we will be in the beginning of Ephesians chapter 4 which is on page 1171 of the Bible under the seat in front of you.

Here in America, especially during an election year, you hear over and over again of the results from surveys and polls that indicate the people in this country generally believe the nation is more divided than ever. The division can be seen publicly in the media, and it can also be witnessed on social media where people hurl verbal attacks at one another for the various political views that people support. The division is so obvious that you are unable to hide from it.

But the division in our country and in our world goes much deeper than politics. It can be seen in marriage statistics year after year. Marriage rates in America go down nearly every year. People are waiting much longer before they get married if they get married at all. It’s much more common in today’s world for people to view themselves as someone not wanting to make that sort of commitment. They do not want the responsibility and accountability that comes with the union of being married to another person.

And necessarily since marriages are becoming less of a thing, the entire family is suffering the consequences. A recent article by the Pew Research Center says this about the “Modern American Family”:

The American family has undergone significant change in recent decades. There is no longer one predominant family form, and Americans are experiencing family life in increasingly diverse ways. In 1970, 67% of Americans ages 25 to 49 were living with their spouse and one or more children younger than 18. Over the past five decades, that share has dropped to 37%. With the drop in the share of adults living with a spouse and children, there has been an increase in other types of family living arrangements, like unmarried adults raising children. What’s behind the change in family structure? There are several factors that have contributed to these changes. Americans are marrying later in life, and a rising share have never been married. The relationship between marriage and parenthood has also shifted, as more women are having children without being married. Taken together, these changes help explain why married couples raising children together is no longer the norm.

In the world that we live in, it seems like division is far more common than any form of lasting unity. Now that is a serious problem, but unfortunately it is not the only problem.

You see in our world, we also have a problem with truth. In other words, truth is often not what is proclaimed in the media.

The most obvious example of this is how the world talks about sex. The world teaches that your body is your own and you can do whatever you want with it. It says that you can do whatever you want to do in life with your body because it is yours. It is estimated that almost 65% of Americans have a favorable view of marriage that is outside of what the Bible teaches.

But more pervasive and generally accepted is the world’s view of money and possessions. The world teaches if you have money, if you have riches, or if you have treasures, those are for you to enjoy. You don’t need to give to anyone else if you don’t want to and you better use that cash for yourself because one of the most important things you can do in life is love yourself.

And so, we have this interesting dynamic. The world seems to be more divided than ever and it also seems to be pumping out lies more than ever.

And you have to ask yourself, are these two things related? Are these two patterns mutually exclusive from one another, meaning they have nothing to do with one another, or is there a causation between the two. Is one the contributing factor for the other.

Well, this morning we are going to be continuing this year’s theme of Building on our Heritage by continuing on in the second half of the book of Ephesians.

Last week we were effectively able to land the plane on the first three chapters of this six-chapter book.

The book of Ephesians has a nice clean break in the middle of it at the end of chapter three. Nice enough that Paul kindly added an “Amen” to the end of chapter 3 in case we didn’t notice it at first. These two different larger sections of this letter can be generally characterized in these two ways.

The first section is mostly concerned with doctrine. So, it’s about what we should believe, what is true about God, and what is true about ourselves now that we are in Christ. It’s talking about our position before God in Jesus.

The second section is mostly about duty or practice. Meaning, chapters 4-6 are mostly about what we should do in light of chapters 1-3. We still learn things about God and about man in these chapters, but the emphasis is much more on how we should be living out life.

Follow along with me as I read Ephesians 4:1-6.

Paul helped the Ephesians understand their new identity and now he is going to help them understand what it looks like to live out that identity.

That is because what you believe most certainly affects how you live. Should it be a shock to Christians to see the world struggling with division when it also struggles to believe what is true? That shouldn’t be shocking at all.

In fact, Paul teaches in the book of Romans that in order to not be conformed to the course of this world, our minds need to be renewed with the word of God so that we will live lives that are holy and are acceptable to God.

Romans 12:1–2

1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

And so, Paul, at the beginning of chapter 4 of the book of Ephesians makes a similar call to what he does here in Romans.

If God’s people are going to walk in unity together, they must do it according to the identity they have already been given.

So, this morning let’s take time to understand how we should be…

Striving for Unity in Your Walk

3 truths to embrace concerning your walk as a Christian

Walk in a manner worthy of your calling (4:1)

And the first thing that jumps out to us is how Paul refers to himself. He calls himself the prisoner of the Lord. Now he called himself a prisoner back in chapter 3 when he talked about the tribulations he was going through while being imprisoned. Paul has been thrown in jail because he was guilty of preaching the gospel.

Now I believe this phrase prisoner is not pointing back just to chapter 3. Paul is using this term in contrast to another. How does Paul start his letter in chapter 1?

Ephesians 1:1

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 4:1

1Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,

Now why would Paul refer to his status of a prisoner when he begins talking about application?

Paul is imploring the Ephesians to live out their Christian walk in a way that honors God and he wants to make it clear that he is doing that exact thing in his own life. Paul was willing to walk in a manner worthy of his calling to the point that he was willing to go to prison and would eventually die because of how committed he was to that walk.

And when Paul calls this a walk, he’s just using the term walk as a metaphor for the Chirstian life. It’s what you do with your life each day.

Your walk or your life should correspond with what God has called you to and to do that…

You must understand your calling

The book of Ephesians is not the only book that is fronted with a large portion on the gospel and then followed but by a sizable portion on application. This is intentional in many of the epistles because that structure portrays what it looks like to follow Christ.

In salvation, grace comes before works. No one can earn their way or work their way to God. The only option for living a righteous life is by being given a righteous life in Jesus Christ. If salvation was by works, this book would be flipped you see?

The first verses of the entire book would be, “You must walk worthy of this calling to which you are to attain.” And then once you got to the end of chapter 3 it would probably something like, “If you are faithful to do all these things according to what I have written, then you will receive all the spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ…”

But that’s not how it is at all. What is the message of the first have of Ephesians? You’re rich!

You hit the spiritual lottery and you didn’t even pay for a ticket.

Everything that you need in life, every blessing in heaven, and riches beyond what you could imagine are freely yours in Christ!

And what’s Paul’s point? -Now act like it.

You have a choice in how you walk

As a Christian, you have a choice each day as to whether or not you are going to walk this way. Now all Christians walk this way in general over the course of their Christian life but you have a choice each day on if you are going to live like you are redeemed, like you are forgiven, like you are a child of God, like you are indwelt by the Spirit…

So many of us have spiritual amnesia every now and then where we completely forget who we are according to what God says. That’s why reminding ourselves of these truths in the first 3 chapters of Ephesians are so important.

If we just walk according to how we feel or according to what the world tells us, we are going to be doing all sorts of things that are counter to walking the way God wants us to walk.

And if you go through life and you find out you cannot walk, then maybe something is fundamentally wrong in your spiritual life.

If you go to the doctor’s office and look at the posters on the wall, they typically are telling you things to watch out for.

-If you have this, this, and this, tell your doctor because you may have this disease

-Or if you have had these symptoms for so many days, ask your doctor about this test

Well if you are trying to live out the Christian walk but realize you just can’t do it, meaning no matter what happens you can’t repent of your sin, or you can’t love your neighbor, or you can’t love your wife, or just can’t seem to do what God commands, then maybe you should evaluate yourself to see where your identity really lies.

I’m sure there are some people here today that would affirm they are not a Christian, and if you are in that camp we would sure love to talk more with you. We would be willing to take you out for coffee or lunch and share with you more about the good news of Jesus Christ. That if you turn from your sins and trust in Him for your salvation, you can have eternal life.

But there are others here that probably just don’t know if they are in Christ. I talk to people all the time in the counseling room who are not sure if they are a child of God.

And that’s why it is so important as the Apostle Peter wrote that we are to…

2 Peter 1:10–11

10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;

11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Whatever camp you are in, if you are not certain of your position before God, we would love to talk with you after the service.

Whether you are not a Christian examining what this walk looks like and especially if you are a Christian wanting to grow in obedience, all of us need to understand that…

Your walk should display godliness (4:2)

That is because…

Character is the identifying trait

of what this looks like.

We all have tried to grit our teeth in obedience and we’ve all tried to

This kind of life that Paul wants his reader to live doesn’t come by just trying to do good. People try to do good everyday according to their flesh but it doesn’t work. Their actions might seem like something good, but their works don’t actually please God.

Paul writes about this in Romans where he says…

Romans 8:5–8

5For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

6For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,

8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

To be able to please God with your life, it must be energized and fueled from the heart. Godliness is something that God works in you according to His power. You cannot just put godliness on like you would a different piece of clothing. Godliness come by the power of the Holy Spirit.


It is shown in your love for others

The characteristics found here in verse 2 can be seen as a progression of love for others and at the foundation of this progression is humility.

Humility is the direct opposite of pride. Pride is the absorption of oneself. It is self-serving, self-justifying, and self-worshipping at its core. It’s not concerned with others around them, and it’s most definitely not concerned with what God thinks.

Humility is pride’s contrast in that humility is concentrated on others far more than it is on self. It sees the needs of others over the needs of self, and it goes out of its way to always do what is right in God’s eyes. It’s not trying to take from other people but rather trying to give in every way.

Humility is at the center of this kind of life because it realizes that it has everything it needs in God and because of that it can afford to give everything it has for the sake of others. The humble person can freely give sacrificially because they know they will never run out of God’s riches. He or she has no need to exalt themselves because they know that God has given them an inheritance far beyond their comprehension.

And this humility in one’s walk produces gentleness. Gentleness is not an attribute that is typically applauded in our day and age because it is a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that someone doesn’t have strength or that they can’t do anything on their own. But that’s not what this word means. This doesn’t mean that we should be wimpy or cowards. No, this word means that we should be self-controlled people with a mild spirit. It’s to not be quick to be angry but rather quick to be compassionate. People that are gentle can most certainly be people that are strong and courageous.

Have you ever played with or interacted with someone’s pet German Shepherd? They can be the most playful, furry, and family friendly dogs, gentle toward the children in the home. But although they are dogs that are gentle and compassionate toward their own, they can also be a very strong dog. Just go on the internet and type in police dog videos if you don’t believe me.

So, we should be gentle, not prone to fighting or getting angry but prone to self-control.

And this attribute of gentleness goes on to become patience.

Patience is probably easier for us all to at least comprehend. It’s doing what is right and choosing to love other people even when we are wronged. It’s doing what is right when everything wrong is coming at you and never giving in.

This is exactly what Paul did while he was in prison. Paul didn’t revile or scorn those who had put him in jail. He didn’t call them names and return injustice for injustice. No, he suffered patiently. Waiting for the Lord’s timing for him to be released and to continue spreading the gospel as he had been called to do.

This kind of patience that comes from the Spirit then progresses to be tolerance.

Now when you hear the word tolerance in 2024 you might just be taken aback at first. Wait a second, isn’t that what the world teaches? That we should “tolerate” everyone else meaning we should accept and affirm what everyone under the sun is doing?

That’s obviously not what Paul means here. Paul is in no way saying we need to compromise on what is righteous, in fact this kind of tolerance toward one another is righteous.

This word tolerance can also be translated to bear with or to put up with. When all God’s people come together to worship we are reaffirming the truth of the gospel and what God has called us to. We firmly believe together that God is calling us to live holy lives and we firmly agree together that none of us has arrived at that perfect holiness.

Tolerance or putting up with one another is essential to this walk otherwise we would be nit picking at each other every day. We should all be regularly repenting, reconciling to one another, asking for forgiveness, granting forgiveness, and even sometimes overlooking sin we see in our brothers and sisters.

Now where else do we see this in Scripture?

Proverbs 19:11

11A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

It is easy to see others sin and to be ready to confront them. But it takes the Spirit of God in us to help us to overlook sin on occasion. We have to be wise in how we overlook sin. Some sins are too serious to be overlooked and in other times there is such a pattern that confrontation needs to happen. But one way for Christians to show love to other believers is by having grace be the first reaction and by tolerating a degree of sin knowing that none of us have fully arrived yet.

So, this walk is defined by humility that produces gentleness and then moves on to patience which allows us to tolerate one another which then culminates in what?

In unity.

Your walk must be defined by unity (4:3-6)

All of these four preceding traits are essential to have unity.

  • To have unity, you must be tolerating of one another. Otherwise, you will never get anything done.
  • To have unity, you must have patience with one another when one of you fails.
  • To have unity, you must have a reaction of gentleness, not one of anger or harshness.
  • And to have unity, you must have a foundation of humility. If you don’t have humility you can just forget the whole thing!

And Paul says that we should be diligent to preserve the unity we have in the Spirit.

That means that…

Unity is a daily choice (v. 3)

Paul’s encouragement to be diligent in pursuing unity reminds us that unity is a daily choice. We all have the choice each day to choose to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. That is we have the choice to be humble, gentle, patient, and tolerant.

Even Christians are known to be divisive over some of the silliest things. Here are some examples of reasons why churches have split.

  1. The Color of the Carpet: In some churches, disputes have arisen over the color of the carpet in the sanctuary. Members have strong opinions about whether the carpet should be red, blue, green, or any other color, leading to divisions within the congregation.
  2. The Battle of the Hymnals: Differences in musical preferences can lead to church splits, especially when it comes to the choice of hymnals. Traditionalists may resist switching to a more contemporary hymnal, while others may feel alienated by outdated or unfamiliar songs.
  3. The Mystery of the Coffee Pot: In one church, a disagreement over the placement and use of a coffee pot in the fellowship hall escalated into a major conflict. Some members felt that serving coffee during church events was inappropriate, while others saw it as a welcoming gesture.
  4. The Case of the Church Cat: Believe it or not, a church split once occurred over the presence of a stray cat that had taken up residence in the church building. Some members wanted to adopt the cat as a church pet, while others objected to having animals in the church.

Unity is rooted in God’s character (v. 4-6)

Even in the character of God is we can see unity. Paul lists the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in these verses. Although God is three distinct persons, He is also very much One God.

Unity is seen in God’s redemptive plan (v. 4-6)

Christ walked in a manner that was worthy and so should we. Our steps should be in sync with His steps. Because of the truth of the new identity we have in Christ, we can walk in unity with Him and with one another.


Ross Reeder


Pastor of Community Development - Faith Church


B.S. – Accounting, Finance, and Management, Purdue University
M.Div – Faith Bible Seminary

Ross became a Christian in 2015 while attending Purdue Bible Fellowship at Faith Church. Years later, he and his wife Elisabeth met while serving together in the college ministry. Ross began the pastoral internship program at Faith Church in 2019 and joined the pastoral staff in 2022. He serves as the Executive Director for the Faith Community Development Corporation and oversees the student ministry at Faith West.