Proverbs 11 & Ephesians 4

Proverbs 11

    A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
        but a just weight is his delight.
    When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
        but with the humble is wisdom.
    The integrity of the upright guides them,
        but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
    Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
        but righteousness delivers from death.
    The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
        but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.
    The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
        but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.
    When the wicked dies, his hope will perish,
        and the expectation of wealth perishes too.
    The righteous is delivered from trouble,
        and the wicked walks into it instead.
    With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
        but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
    When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
        and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
    By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
        but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.
    Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
        but a man of understanding remains silent.
    Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
        but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
    Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
        but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
    Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm,
        but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.
    A gracious woman gets honor,
        and violent men get riches.
    A man who is kind benefits himself,
        but a cruel man hurts himself.
    The wicked earns deceptive wages,
        but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
    Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
        but he who pursues evil will die.
    Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD,
        but those of blameless ways are his delight.
    Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
        but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.
    Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
        is a beautiful woman without discretion.
    The desire of the righteous ends only in good;
        the expectation of the wicked in wrath.
    One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
        another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
    Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
        and one who waters will himself be watered.
    The people curse him who holds back grain,
        but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.
    Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,
        but evil comes to him who searches for it.
    Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
        but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
    Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,
        and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
    The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
        and whoever captures souls is wise.
    If the righteous is repaid on earth,
        how much more the wicked and the sinner!
    

(Proverbs 11 ESV)

Ephesians 4

    I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says,

    “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
        and he gave gifts to men.”
    
    
        (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

    Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

    Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

(Ephesians 4 ESV)

Ephesians 4: The apostle Paul’s vision for the church is that we might all attain such a unity in the faith and of the knowledge of Christ that we would grow into mature Christians experiencing the fullness of Christ and no longer being tossed around by the false doctrines and philosophies of this world. Growing up in our faith empowers us with a supernatural unity. A unity that would lead the rest of the world to find the church curiously irresistible or completely intolerable but would leave the world no room for casual indifference. 

The hope is to have a level of maturity among those in the church that leads us to be unified in how serious we take our faith and how well we comprehend and apply the gospel. 

To explain the implications of this unity we might consider the dynamic of a Major League clubhouse as an example. If you were to observe some teams around the league, you would find little unity, little desire to come together as a team, most everybody playing for themselves and little desire or even expectation to win.

Who actually benefits from this type of clubhouse? Who really respects a team with no unity or team chemistry?

Now if you were to observe some of the more successful clubhouses around the league, you would find that everyone seems to be on the same page, players on the team embrace their roles while encouraging others and everyone seems focused primarily on the higher goal and helping the team win.

It almost goes without saying that most everybody seems to benefit from this type of clubhouse atmosphere. These are the teams that fans appreciate and cheer for the most, and even the media seems to show a higher level of respect for teams with this kind of chemistry and concern for one another. 

The same can be said about us as the church. If we would grow up in a way that brings us together in what we believe and how we behave, how much more respect might the world around us have for the God that we claim to serve? 

How are we contributing to the chemistry of the Christian church? What might happen if the church was increasingly unified in their beliefs and behavior? 

A unified church devoted to magnifying who God is and honoring what God says is a supernatural entity that literally possesses the power to transform the world. The early church was actually accused by others “as men who have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17). Growing up in our faith empowers us with a unity that can transform our lives and the livelihood of the world around us.