ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 233

E p hesia n s
“When he ascended to the heights,
he led a crowd of captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. And the same one who descended is the one
who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire
universe with himself.
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the
prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church,
the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in
our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord,
measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed
and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced
when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and
more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the
whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work,
it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do,
for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they
­wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds
and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They
live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard
about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off
your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by
lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous
and holy.
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all
parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t
let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to
the devil.
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard
work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive
language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words
will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

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