How to Pursue a Significant Life (Summary of the Ephesians series)

Good AM. At the gate of FEBIAS College of Bible, you would see these words: “This life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” It is my prayer for each one of us that we would live our lives in such a way that it would last for Christ.

This morning we will wrap up our verse-by-verse study on the book of Ephesians, which we started last January. Throughout our series we sought to establish how we can live a significant life.

Allow me to summarize our series with the acronym P-U-R-S-U-E.

“P” stands for PURSUE your calling. We saw that chapter 4 verse 1 is the key verse of Ephesians. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
[1] From chapters 1 to 3, Paul showed the calling we received from God. Make no mistake. He called all of us. Then from chapters 4 to 6, he showed how to live the life worthy of that calling. We are to pursue our call to live a life that matters. My role is to equip you to do just that. Your role is to be equipped “for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”[2] Where do we start? That brings us to our next point.

“U” stands for UNDERSTAND your position in Christ. Pursuing a significant life starts with knowing our position in Christ. How God sees us is far more important than how we see ourselves or how others see us. We can live significant lives because God made us significant.

In chapter 1, we saw that God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (1:3). The Father selected us from eternity, the Son saved us through His death on the cross and the Spirit sealed us when we accepted the Lord Jesus as Savior. That is why Paul prayed that we may understand the blessings we received in Christ, that “[our] eyes [would be] focused and clear, so that [we] can see exactly what it is he is calling [us] to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians”.
[3] Here we see that God meant for us to live a life that counts.

In chapter 2, Paul showed the way we were. We were spiritually dead in our sins. But the merciful and loving God “embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!”
[4] When we trusted Jesus, He assured us of heaven: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”[5] Yes, good works does not save us. It is faith in Christ that saves us. Yet the faith that saves is the faith that works. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”[6] We are to do good works now that God saved us. I like how The Message translated this verse: “No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”

The Word in Life Study Bible reminds us, “Is your significance tied too closely to achievements—building buildings, reaching business goals, acquiring material possessions, climbing career ladders? If your sense of worth depends on them, what happens when you reach the top of the ladder, only to discover that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall? The problem is that our world has a system of values that is upside down from the way God determines value. God calls us to a far more stable basis for significance. He wants us to establish our identity in the fact that we are His children, created by Him to carry out good works as responsible people in His kingdom. This is our calling from God.”
[7]

But we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we must RECOGNIZE the value of the church. Now, if you are regularly attending Makati Gospel Church, we challenge you to level up and commit as a member. We can grow spiritually on our own to a certain extent. But we can never achieve our full growth potential if we are not involved in a local church. Dr. Rick Warren wrote, “The difference between attenders and members can be summed up in one word: commitment! It’s like the difference between couples who just ‘live together’ and those who get married. While becoming a Christian means to commit yourself to Christ, becoming a church member means to commit yourself to other Christians.”
[8]

At the second half of Ephesians chapter 2, Paul showed that God united both the Jews and the Gentiles into one church body. They were enemies. But Paul declared, “On the cross Christ did away with our hatred for each other. He also made peace between us and God by uniting Jews and Gentiles in one body.”
[9] That’s why Ephesians gave emphasis on the unity of the church. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”[10] One sure way of dividing the church is through our words. We are commanded to “Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.”[11] When we hurt each other, we hurt the body of Christ. “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”[12] We are to preserve the unity of the church. And we must also protect the testimony of the church. “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”[13] We read in Ephesians 5:25 that “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. If we love Christ, we will love the church also.

But on our own we cannot do it. That’s why we need to SEEK the power of the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 commanded us to “be filled with the Spirit.” The filling of the Spirit means control. When we obey the word of God, we allow the Spirit to control us. To be controlled is to be empowered. But it requires cooperation on our part. So we must accept or yield to the control of the Spirit. We must also avail of it everyday. It’s not only for pastors but for everyone. It should be a common experience. In short, God sustains us so we can live life to the fullest.

As a result of the empowering of the Spirit, we are to UNCONDITIONALLY serve others. How do we know if we really submitted to the Spirit? It is when we “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
[14] How do we do that? First, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”[15] The Message goes like this: “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.” Second, “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.”[16] Third, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”[17] Fourth, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.[18] When Paul talked about the church, he talked not only about our relationship to each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord. But he also talked about the relationships of the families within the church, that is, the relationship between the husband and the wife and the relationship between the children and the parents. Let us always remember that the strength of the church depends upon the strength of the family.

Then, the church must reach out to the world. We are to impact or influence the marketplace. Paul discussed the relationship between the employer and the employee. He commanded the employees to “obey your earthly masters [or employers] with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”
[19] Then he commanded the employers to “treat your slaves [or employees] in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.”[20] Note that there are no conditions set for submission. We are to submit or serve even if the person does not deserve it. We are to unconditionally serve each other. For a truly significant person does not only think of himself but also of others. A significant life leads to significant relationships which lead to a significant church.

But don’t think it will be smooth-sailing when we pursue a significant life. We must EQUIP ourselves for battle. After explaining who we are in Christ and encouraging us on what to do for Christ, Ephesians teaches us to expect spiritual conflicts. That’s why we are to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power... [and] put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
[21] Don’t ever think that because we are finished with the Ephesians series we can now take it easy. Brothers and sisters, we are in for a fight of our lives... a fight for our lives. This is the reason why we must “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”[22]

Brethren, let us pursue a significant life.

P – Pursue your calling.

U – Understand your position in Christ.

R – Recognize the value of the church.

S – Seek the power of the Spirit.

U – Unconditionally serve others.

E – Equip yourself for battle.

Keep in mind: “This life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” I pray that all of us will experience a life that lasts... a life that matters... a life that counts... a significant life.

Let us pray.


[1]All Bible verses are from the New International Version, unless otherwise noted.
[2]4:12.
[3]1:18, The Message.
[4]2:5, Ibid.
[5]2:8, 9.
[6]2:10.
[7]From the illustration database of the Biblical Studies Foundation.
[8]“Getting Your Members to Commit to the Church” (From www.pastors.com)
[9]2:16, Contemporary English Version.
[10]4:2-3.
[11]4:31-32, The Message.
[12]4:25.
[13]5:3-4.
[14]5:21.
[15]5:22.
[16]5:25, The Message.
[17]6:1.
[18]6:4.
[19]6:5.
[20]6:9.
[21]6:10, 13.
[22]6:18.

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