Ephesians 4:1–3 (NASB95)
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
In his sermon on Ephesians 4:1-3, entitled, “Therefore”, Dr. Lloyd-Jones explains the importance of the word “Therefore” this point in Paul’s letter. Ephesians breaks down rather nicely into two sections: chapters 1-3 primarily concern doctrine. Chapters 4-6 primarily concern application, living out that doctrine. The word “therefore” ties the sections of the letter together.
MLJ first lays out three conclusions to draw from this conjunction at this point. First, “Therefore is a word which in a very practical way tells us how to read Scripture. The main principle is … that we must never pick and choose in our reading of Scripture.”
“Therefore” demands a context: the second half of the letter hinges upon the first. And just like this particular letter hangs together, so the entire Scripture hangs together. We cannot select portions of the Bible which make us comfortable and ignore those things which do not fit with our pat positions. “Our invariable rule with the Bible should be to read it from Genesis to Revelation, to read it constantly right through, not leaving out anything,, but following through it and being led by it.” A failure to do so creats “unbalanced and lop-sided Christians.”
Second, the movement from doctrine to application protects us from the fault of thinking that Christianity is only a set of propositions of ideas – and not a manner of life. “Doctrine comes first, but we must never stop at doctrine.”
There is a related fault of those who seek “experiences” – they want a sort of apprehension of the idea – and nothing more.
To know carries within it an implied application, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:17 (NASB95)
Third, the word therefore, “reminds us that the life which are to live is a life which always results from application of doctrine….the character and nature of that life which I am to live is one that is determined by the doctrine and results from the doctrine.”
He has an interesting illustration of how this works. He refers to a seed planted in the ground – which does not sprout for some length of time. Perhaps it is too cold or too wet. But then the day comes when the conditions are met and the seed sprouts. The life was not in the conditions about the seed, but in the seed. The application flows out of the life which is in the doctrine. The seedling is the application of the seed, so to speak.