"I am the vine, you are the branches"
The Believer's Calling
"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called" (Ephesians 4:1).
We want to take a closer look at this verse and this chapter to understand what it is that Paul is telling the Ephesians about our calling in Yeshua. So to begin, we are going to take a look at a few key words in this verse. Paul tells us that we are to walk in a manner worthy of the calling which you have been called. The word "walk" in the Greek is "peripeiro" (per-ee-pat-eh) which literally means to tread all around, but figuratively it means to live, to deport oneself, follow (as a companion), be occupied with, and walk about.
The Greek word for "to call" is "kaleo" (kal- eh-o), the root word by which "calling" and "called" are from, and it has a very interesting meaning in reference to this verse and chapter. We are going to look at all of its meanings to get a broad idea of this word, "call," which will help us get a clear picture of what Paul was saying in this verse and chapter.
Kaleo: To call to someone in order that he may come or go somewhere.
A. Particularly with the actual voice--as a shepherd calls his flock as in Luke 19:13, Mark 1:20
B. Generally to call in some way, send for, direct to come as in Matthew 2:7, 15, Hebrews 11:8
C. To call authoritatively, to call forth, summon, e.g. before a judge as in Acts 4:18. Figuratively: God calling forth and disposing of things that are not, even though they were, calling them into existence as in Romans 4:17.
D. In a sense of to invite, particularly to a banquet. Metaphorically, to call or to invite to anything, e.g. of Yeshua, to call to repentance as in Matthew 9:13, of God in Romans 9:24.
E. In the sense of to call to any position i.e. to appoint, choose.
So "calling" (klesis, klay–sis) is an invitation to a banquet, metaphorically: a call or invitation to the Kingdom of God and its privileges, i.e. divine call by which Christians are introduced into the privileges of the gospel as in Romans 11:29, 1 Corinthians 1:26, Ephesians 1:18.
So then, what we can safely say is that Paul was telling his readers that we are to walk out our lives in a manner being occupied with Yeshua and as proof of our ability (all that He has provided for us), following our Shepherd as we have been summoned to the banquet (the Marriage Supper of the Lamb) in the Kingdom of God. Paul goes on in verse 2, "With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love."
So here Paul tells us how we are to walk: in the manner worthy of our calling. He uses the word patience. Patience in the Greek is "makrothimia" (mak-roth-oo-mee-ah). This means longanimity, fortitude, to have endurance when others attack or make our lives difficult, showing forbearance (anechomai, an-ekh-om-ahee), to hold oneself up against; figuratively it means to put up with, bear with (have patience with regard to the errors or weakness of anyone as a permanent attitude), endure (as afflictions), and suffer, to hold up or back from falling, restrain. Love (agape, ag-ah-pay) is defined as affection or benevolence, charity, goodwill (especially goodwill toward others), the love of our neighbor, brotherly affection.
So we see that Paul is telling us that the manner worthy of this invitation to the banquet in the Kingdom of God is going to require us to live a life of having patience toward others even when they cause us to suffer and that we are actually holding one up from falling. Our calling requires us to serve even when it hurts. When we suffer, we must endure for the sake of our calling. We must serve with love, laying down our lives in the example of the One we serve.
Paul goes on in verses 3-6, "Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." God is in perfect harmony or peace with Himself and we also must live in this same harmony and peace with each other. Paul tells us that we must be diligent in preserving this peace. This passage of Scripture speaks of the same unity that Yeshua prayed for when He prayed: "Father make them one as We are one." The discourse during the Feast of Hanukkah, recorded in John 10:22-30, is where Yeshua again says that He and the Father are one. We tend to focus our attention on denominations. Though we have different beliefs and ways of worship, we still must understand that there is just one God and Father.
Now I'm speaking, of course, to those religions that are Scripture based and believe in the one true God. But Yeshua does only have one body and there is only one Holy Spirit. We must also understand that Yeshua spoke of His body being one when He said, "I am the Good Shepherd and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd" (John 10:14-16). Now many preachers think that this other flock is the Jews, but they have it backwards because Yeshua was speaking to the Jews, and He was referring to the Gentiles who would one day come into the fold. So the belief that the church has become the new Israel or has replaced the Jews is just not true.
We must consider the fact that God would never renege on a covenant promise and so He tells us in Romans 11:26-36 that all of Israel shall be saved because this is His covenant with them. Romans 11:15-25 explains that God had to harden the Jewish hearts so that we could be grafted in. But He clearly says in this passage that we do not support the roots but the roots support us. So Paul tells us in our original verses that we also were called in one hope of our calling. In Romans 11:29 Paul says, referring to the Jews, that the call of God is irrevocable. That hope, being Jew or Gentile, is the hope of everlasting life, heaven. We must remember that the Jews do believe in a Messianic Era, just like we do. They may believe that the Messiah has not come yet, but they do believe that He is coming and when Yeshua comes again, they will believe in Him and be saved.
Paul continues in verse 7-10, "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says when He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men." This verse is taken from Psalm 68 which speaks of God coming down on Mount Sinai when He gave the Torah to His people. Verse 18 of this Psalm says, "Thou has ascended on high, Thou hast led captive Thy captives; Thou has received gifts among men, even among the rebellious also, that the Lord God may dwell there." The Aramaic of the Targum says that this is referring to Moses, that when he came down from Mount Sinai he took captives captive and taught the words of the Torah and gave them as gifts to the children of men. Now, as we look to the following verses, we will see that this is exactly what these gifts are. We know that Yeshua is the Prophet who was to come that was like Moses and Yeshua is the Torah, the Word of God. Paul writes of these gifts in verses 11-16: "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors, and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Messiah; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Messiah. As a result, we are no longer to be children tossed here and there by waves, carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Messiah, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."
We see that all these gifts have to do with the teaching and preaching of the Word of God. In some way, shape, or form we all have this calling. We are to be the light to the world. We are to be that lighthouse so that those who are tossed here or there by the waves can come and find a safe haven in the Word of God, which is truth; and that truth is the Word which will be their anchor.
So to go back to the beginning, we must walk out our calling which is to be, as Paul puts it, "Living Epistles," being totally occupied with Yeshua, and our gifts are our proof of our ability to walk in such a manner as we go about bringing in those whom God has called to be with Him at His banqueting table. We are to be in unity with all those who God has called with us to do this work. Yeshua gives the parable of the master who sends out his servants to tell the people that the banquet is ready and that they should all come. We are those servants and we are to proclaim to the world that the banquet is ready and all are invited to come. We all have to serve in the unity of the faith which comes from hearing the Word of God and living it out following our Messiah who is the head of the body and who is the Word of God. So we must see to it that we grow up in Yeshua and that we grow in the gifts that God has given to us, so that we may be fitted together along with the rest of those who have been called, doing our part in the unity so that the body can grow.
So if there is only one body and one Spirit, one Lord and faith, one God and Father, then we must work alongside our brothers and sisters in unity as we work together in proclaiming the Kingdom of God. The Bible tells us not to judge our brother, not to judge our fellow workers in the kingdom, but together we are to pray for one another and, in love, work for the common good. Paul says some preach out of wrong motives but at least the gospel is being preached. We must look to Yeshua who is the head of the body and trust Him to bring His body together into unity of the faith.
It is my job and yours to just walk out our own calling and use the gifts that He has given us; being Jew or Gentile, Catholic or Protestant matters not as long as we are all walking in love and in the hope of our calling.