Ephesians 4: 1-16 (GNT)
1 I urge you, then—I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2 Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3 Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.
7 Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8 As the scripture says,
“When he went up to the very heights,
he took many captives with him;
he gave gifts to people.”
9 Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth. 10 So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11 It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12 He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13 And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature. 14 Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16 Under his control all the different parts of the body fit together, and the whole body is held together by every joint with which it is provided. So when each separate part works as it should, the whole body grows and builds itself up through love.
The unity of the body – a theme Paul returns to often.
Many parts, one body.
Many sheep, one flock.
More unites us than divides us, when we love one another; when we are held together by strong ties of love, of care, of concern; when we follow the same Good Shepherd in right paths; when we pause to help the stragglers; when we remember those who must walk more slowly; when we see clearly that we are all God’s saints, on a common pilgrimage together.
bind us together in love,
as one people,
one flock of many different kinds of sheep,
welcoming others who are from other folds,
encouraging each other
as we follow our Good Shepherd.