Ephesians 4:1 walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called
"Remember it, brethren and sisters, and try to live worthy of the vocation of your high calling. You are called to be Saints-just think of and realize it, for the greatest honor and privilege that can be conferred upon a human being is to have the privilege of being a Saint. The honor of the kings and queens of the earth fades into insignificance when compared with the title of Saints. You may possess earthly power, and rule with an iron hand, but that power is nothing, it will soon be broken and pass away; but the power of those who live and honor the Priesthood will increase forever and ever." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 17: 120.)
Ephesians 4:3 keep the unity of the Spirit
James E. Faust
"As we move into more and more countries in the world, we find a rich cultural diversity in the Church. Yet everywhere there can be a 'unity of the faith.'...We do not lose our identity in becoming members of this church. We become heirs to the kingdom of God, having joined the body of Christ and spiritually set aside some of our personal differences to unite in a greater spiritual cause. We say to all who have joined the Church, keep all that is noble, good, and uplifting in your culture and personal identity. However, under the authority and power of the keys of the priesthood, all differences yield as we seek to become heirs to the kingdom of God, unite in following those who have the keys of the priesthood, and seek the divinity within us. All are welcomed and appreciated. But there is only one celestial kingdom of God." ("Heirs to the Kingdom of God," Ensign, May 1995, 62)
Chieko N. Okazaki
"Yes, unity is important in the Church. But sometimes we misread these strong messages for unity as instructions to look alike, talk alike, dress alike, think alike, have the same number of children, keep house a certain way, have prayers at certain times, serve green Jell-O for certain meals, or have plastic grapes in the living room. You get the point. Complete conformity in our personalities and styles of living is not the same thing as unity of spirit, unity of testimony, and unity of faith in the Savior." (Aloha! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 96.)
Ephesians 4: 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism
"Joseph Smith's criticisms of Christianity in the nineteenth century are remarkably like Christian self-criticisms of the twentieth. [Joseph Smith as a] youth was confused by multiplying churches and conflicting claims. Christian leaders in recent decades have also repeated their frustration at 'the scandal of the divided church.' After long inquiry young Joseph found no answers among quarreling leaders, so he turned to God alone. In past decades world councils and international committees have also sought the 'renewal of the spirit.' But the results are less than convincing. Creeds have softened, inter-faith negotiations continue, but competitive Christianity remains. Its tragedy is the confusion of human systems that inadequately direct the faith of innumerable men and women of great commitment. Early Christians were 'of one heart and of one soul' (Acts 4:32), but Christianity now better resembles the early world confounded after Babylonian pride 'that they may not understand one another's speech.' (Gen. 11:7.) Religious leaders can quote past prophets, but who can divinely lead God's people out of the bondage of confusion today?" (Richard L. Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 1.)
Sterling W. Sill
"...out of over two billion people who presently occupy the earth, only one-third even bear the name of Christian. And this one-third is divided into some 250 contending sects, all claiming to accept the Bible as the inspired word of God and the only authoritative rule of faith and doctrine. Their confusion on even the most simple points of doctrine is indicated by the report that some seventy-eight of these baptize by immersion, many sprinkle, sixty-eight have optional forms, sixty-seven practice infant baptism, many have no baptism. Thirty-nine require no adherent to creed or doctrine of any kind.
"Almost every Protestant church came into existence because of 'a protest' or an 'argument.' The division of opinion caused by the Civil War was responsible for the formation of many new churches. The Church of England was organized because the Pope refused to give Henry VIII a divorce. There are many 'state churches.' It was Emperor Constantine, not the servants of the Lord, that made Christianity the church of the Roman Empire.
"And as this famine has run its long, destructive course, many of the truths that Jesus came to give to the world have been lost." (Conference Report, April 1956, First Day-Morning Meeting 16.)
"I just completed reading the New Testament, and I have been impressed with the words of the Savior and the apostle Paul and others of the brethren as I read the teachings of their day. The apostle Paul said there is 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism.' (Eph. 4:5.) Then I thought, I wonder what Paul would say if he were here today and knew how many churches there are.
"My secretary checked for me the other day and she learned that last year in May a census was taken and it was found that there were 697 different churches here in the United States alone. If Paul were here, to which church would he go, for he said there is 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism.' And so we have to look for divine guidance to know where to go to find that true church if there is only to be one church, and that is our testimony.
"Our message to the world today is the restoration of the gospel...I bear witness to you today that we have the only true, living church upon the face of the earth that the Lord recognizes that has divine authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel." ("One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism," Ensign, May 1975, 95)
Boyd K. Packer
"Now, others may insist that this is not the true church. That is their privilege. But to claim that it does not exist anywhere, that it does not even need to exist, is to deny the scriptures.
"The New Testament teaches of 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism' and speaks of ' [all coming] in the unity of the faith' (Eph. 4:5, 13) and of a 'restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began' (Acts 3:21.)
"We did not invent the doctrine of the only true church. It came from the Lord. Whatever perception others have of us, however presumptuous we appear to be, whatever criticism is directed to us, we must teach it to all who will listen." ("The Only True Church," Ensign, Nov. 1985, 82)
Ephesians 4:8-10 Paul Paraphrased
"Wherefore the psalmist said (Ps. 68:18), When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
"(Now that Christ is ascended to heaven, we understand that he first came to earth, descending below all things in suffering the pains of every creature which belongeth to the family of Adam.
"He is the same being that has now ascended to his rightful place at the right hand of the Father, who through the atonement, has taken the captivity of sin and death captive and given his gifts unto men, that he might fulfill all things which the Father hath given him)"
Ephesians 4:11 he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers
'We believe in the same organization which existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.' (5th Article of Faith)
While we would love to have an organizational chart from the 'Primitive Church,' Paul did not leave us with one. Rather, we have a list of essential offices and gifts. Two of these offices require clarification. A pastor is a shepherd or bishop, and Joseph Smith taught us that evangelists are patriarchs (Teachings, 151). The presence of these offices, among others, is one of the key signs of the Lord's true church.
"We now ask, all Christendom who profess to be Saints, whether they are perfect or imperfect? The general answer is, 'we are imperfect.' How do you expect to become perfect, if you do away out of your churches inspired apostles, prophets, and other officers? These are the only gifts and officers by which the Saints can be perfected. Have you got them in your midst? Millions answer 'no: we do not believe in prophets in our day.' But do you believe in 'pastors and teachers?' O yes, they are necessary. Who told you to reject the most important gifts of the church and to retain the rest? 'No one has told us to do this but our ministers, and they must be good men, and they say that apostles and prophets are no longer necessary, but that evangelists, pastors and teachers are'...Know assuredly that there never was any other plan adopted in the gospel to perfect the Saints than through apostles, prophets and other gifts." (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 163 - 165.)
Parley P. Pratt
"Now, I boldly declare that the cause of all the division, confusion, jars, discord, and animosities; and the fruitful source of so many faiths, lords, baptisms, and spirits; and of the understanding being darkened; and of men being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts, is, because they have neither apostles, prophets, nor gifts, inspired from on high, to whom they give heed; for if they had such gifts, and would give heed unto them, they would be built up in one body, in the pure doctrine of Christ, having one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one hope of their calling; yet, they would be edified, built up into Christ in all things, in whom the whole body fitly joined together, would grow into an holy temple in the Lord.
"But so long as the cunning craftiness of men can persuade them that they have no need of these things, so long they can toss them about with every wind of doctrine, just as they please." (A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 62.)
Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints
Mark E. Petersen
"Is there ever a time when the members can stop working toward perfection, when they no longer are benefited by activity in the Church, or when they do not require teaching and edifying?
"Paul said that these officers who teach and edify are needed in the Church until we become perfect, until we reach the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ. Heaven knows that none of us has achieved that distinction.
"But what was another reason these officers should remain in the Church? Paul says they were given to us as a protection 'that we henceforth be no more [as] children tossed to and fro ... with every wind of doctrine.' (Eph. 4:14.)
"They will protect you from the false teachings of cultists and splinter groups and from the misleading philosophies of men.
"The Church of Jesus Christ, then, should always be led by living apostles and prophets who would receive the constant guidance of heaven. They would continue always in the Church as seers and revelators for the people." ("Evidence of Things Not Seen," Ensign, May 1978, 61-62)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Quickly forgotten by those who are offended is the fact that the Church is 'for the perfecting of the saints' (Eph. 4:12); it is not a well-provisioned rest home for the already perfected." ("A Brother Offended," Ensign, May 1982, 38)
Ephesians 4:14 be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine
Joseph B. Wirthlin
"We should follow Paul's counsel to the Ephesians: 'Be no more ... tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.' The winds of false doctrine that are blowing today both outside and a few within the Church are far more dangerous to the ultimate salvation of mankind than are earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters. These winds can uproot people if their roots are not firmly anchored to the Rock of our salvation, which is the teachings and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"We, as a people, are to live our religion and its principles and follow the leadership of our prophet, seer, and revelator regardless of what the world does." ("Deep Roots," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 77)
Spencer W. Kimball
"The authorities which the Lord has placed in his Church constitute for the people of the Church a harbor, a place of refuge, a hitching post, as it were. No one in this Church will ever go far astray who ties himself securely to the Church Authorities whom the Lord has placed in his Church. This Church will never go astray; the Quorum of the Twelve will never lead you into bypaths: it never has and never will. There could be individuals who would falter; there will never be a majority of the Council of the Twelve on the wrong side at any time The Lord has chosen them; he has given them specific responsibilities. And those people who stand close to them will be safe." (Conference Report, April 1951, Morning Session 104.)
Mark E. Petersen
"So if you really desire to avoid deceptions, if you really desire to do that which is right and proper, then you take advantage of the safeguard that the Lord has given you in the organization of this Church. And you remember that if you will follow the teachings of your inspired prophets, seers, and revelators, of your apostles, of your pastors and teachers, your bishops and your stake presidents, you won't need to wonder whether or not such and such a doctrine is a deception, whether it is false or whether it is true, because those authorized servants of the Lord will lead you into paths of righteousness, and they will keep you on the right track.
"Salvation comes not by being tossed about by every wind of doctrine but by learning the truth as it is taught by the inspired, authorized leaders of the Church, and then having learned that truth, by living up to it and enduring in faithfulness unto the very end." (Conference Report, October 1945, Afternoon Meeting 92.)
Ephesians 4:15 speaking the truth in love
Neal A. Maxwell
"Most individuals-even though at first it is painful-would rather have honest relationships with other individuals. Most followers ultimately like a leader who makes reasonable demands of them, who expects performance and who praises and reproves accordingly. Of course, all of this must be done in the spirit of real love. Paul prescribed ours as the task of 'speaking the truth in love.' Jesus praised and reproved specifically as well as regularly.
"...How people feel about us now is important, but it is also important how they will feel about us in a year or even in a million years. In other words, failure to reprove and failure to commend when we are dealing with eternal life has a special seriousness, for these are failures that have consequences far beyond the time and place of their occurrence." (A More Excellent Way: Essays on Leadership for Latter-day Saints, 92)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Correction when it comes often has a cutting edge, and normally there is no anesthetic. Hearts which are so set upon wrong or worldly ways must first be broken, and this cannot be done without pain. And so it is that speaking the truth in love matters so very much!" (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, p. 86.)
Ephesians 4:17-18 walk not as other Gentiles walk...being alienated from the life of God
Neal A. Maxwell
"...as the Church comes forth out of obscurity, as its light can no longer be hidden, and as the Lord bares His arm and the events foreseen by Him begin to roll forth in the final days, those whose concerns for the Church consist mostly of wishing to be well liked will have a hard time. There is no way that the Church and its prophets can help the bad people of the world to feel good. There is no way that the gospel's behavioral standards can be fudged. Natural as our desire for rapport, friendship, and affection is, we must be more concerned with 'being alienated from the life of God.' (Ephesians 4:18.) Being accepted by God is more important than being accepted by the world, as these eloquent words of Malcolm Muggeridge witness:
"When I look back on my life nowadays, which I sometimes do, what strikes me most forcibly about it is that what seemed at the time most significant and seductive, seems now most futile and absurd. For instance, success in all of its various guises; being known and being praised; ostensible pleasures, like acquiring money or seducing women, or traveling, going to and fro in the world and up and down in it like Satan, exploring and experiencing whatever Vanity Fair has to offer.
"In retrospect all these exercises in self-gratification seem pure fantasy, what Pascal called `licking the earth.` They are diversions designed to distract our attention from the true purpose of our existence in this world, which is, quite simply, to look for God, and, in looking, to find Him, and, having found Him, to love Him, thereby establishing a harmonious relationship with His purposes for His creation.' (A Twentieth Century Testimony, Thomas Nelson Inc., 1978.)" (Notwithstanding My Weakness [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 37.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The prophet Moroni said, 'Despair cometh because of iniquity.' (Moroni 10:22.) When iniquity increases, so do despair and alienation. Paul also said the ignorance of the everlasting truths would cause unbelievers to be 'alienated from the life of God.' (Ephesians 4:18.) No wonder we despair when we sin, because we act against our own interests and against who we really are. When we are imprisoned by iniquity, we turn the cell lock ourselves." (Things As They Really Are [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 8.)
Ephesians 4:18 Who being past feeling...work all uncleanness with greediness
Neal A. Maxwell
"For some, their god 'is their belly,' as are other forms of anatomical allegiance! (Philip. 3:19.) A few hedonists actually glory in their shame, and there is even a 'greediness' in their 'uncleanness' (Eph. 4:18-19). Sadly, too, a few envy the wicked. Still others complain that the wicked seem to get away with it! (See Prov. 23:17; Mal. 3:14-15.)
"Ironically, in all their eagerness to experience certain things, hedonists, become desensitized. People who wrongly celebrate their capacity to feel finally reach a point where they lose much of their capacity to feel! In the words of three different prophets, such individuals become 'past feeling' (see 1 Ne. 17:45; Eph. 4:19; Moro. 9:20)." ("Deny Yourselves of All Ungodliness," Ensign, May 1995, 67-68)
Ephesians 4:22-24 put off...the old man...put on the new man
Neal A. Maxwell
"Behold the natural man! Selfish, impatient, short-tempered, easily offended, unforgiving, proud, envious, covetous, carnal, and drenched in ego! No wonder he is to be 'put off.' (Mosiah 3:19; Colossians 3:8; Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22.) Nevertheless, he is very difficult to put off. The old ways, so pleasing to the carnal man, are really hard to set aside. Actually, these ways are not really fulfilling and not really satisfying. But they are preoccupying, for pleasing the natural man is a full-time business. He sees to that!
"Paul and King Benjamin agree that we are to put off the old man, or the natural man (Mosiah 3:19; Colossians 3:9-10). Whereas Paul would have us put on the new man, King Benjamin describes the process as that of becoming a saint. Elsewhere the process is described as becoming the 'man of Christ' (Helaman 3:29). In any case, we seek to have the 'mind of Christ' and to strive to become 'even as [He] is' (1 Corinthians 2:16; 3 Nephi 27:27).
"Of course, what is really to be jettisoned, put off, is anger, selfishness, malice, injustice, impatience, filthy communication, and so forth, while we put on kindness, meekness, long-suffering, and so on (see Colossians 3:9-10)." (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 18.)
JST Ephesians 4:26 Can ye be angry, and not sin?
Lynn G. Robbins
"Anger is a yielding to Satan's influence by surrendering our self-control. It is the thought-sin that leads to hostile feelings or behavior. It is the detonator of road rage on the freeway, flare-ups in the sports arena, and domestic violence in homes.
"Unchecked, anger can quickly trigger an explosion of cruel words and other forms of emotional abuse that can scar a tender heart. It is 'that which cometh out of the mouth,' the Savior said; 'this defileth a man' (Matt. 15:11). David O. McKay said, 'Let husband and wife never speak in loud tones to each other, unless the house is on fire' (Stepping Stones to an Abundant Life, comp. Llewelyn R. McKay , 294)." ("Agency and Anger," Ensign, May 1998, 80-81)
Ezra Taft Benson
"A priesthood holder who would curse his wife, abuse her with words or actions, or do the same to one of his own children is guilty of grievous sin. 'Can ye be angry, and not sin?' asked the Apostle Paul (JST Eph. 4:26).
"If a man does not control his temper, it is a sad admission that he is not in control of his thoughts. He then becomes a victim of his own passions and emotions, which lead him to actions that are totally unfit for civilized behavior, let alone behavior for a priesthood holder.
"President David O. McKay once said, 'A man who cannot control his temper is not very likely to control his passion, and no matter what his pretensions in religion, he moves in daily life very close to the animal plane' (Improvement Era, June 1958, p. 407)." ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 47)
Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil
James E. Faust
"...we need not become paralyzed with fear of Satan's power. He can have no power over us unless we permit it. He is really a coward, and if we stand firm, he will retreat. The Apostle James counseled: 'Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.' (James 4:7.) He cannot know our thoughts unless we speak them.
"We have heard comedians and others justify or explain their misdeeds by saying, 'The devil made me do it.' I do not really think the devil can make us do anything. Certainly he can tempt and he can deceive, but he has no authority over us that we do not give him.
"The power to resist Satan may be stronger than we realize. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: 'All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power.' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181.)" (Reach Up for the Light [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 107.)
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth
L. Lionel Kendrick
"Much counsel has been given concerning our communications with others. The counsel given by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesian Saints seems to be most appropriate for the Latter-day Saints. He cautioned, 'Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good.' (Eph. 4:29.) He further counseled to be 'kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.' (Eph. 4:32.)
"May we be found communicating with each other in a manner in which the Savior would communicate. Christlike communications are expressed in tones of love rather than loudness. They are intended to be helpful rather than hurtful. They tend to bind us together rather than to drive us apart. They tend to build rather than to belittle.
"Christlike communications are expressions of affection and not anger, truth and not fabrication, compassion and not contention, respect and not ridicule, counsel and not criticism, correction and not condemnation. They are spoken with clarity and not with confusion. They may be tender or they may be tough, but they must always be tempered." ("Christlike Communications," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 24)
Ephesians 4:32 be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another
Spencer W. Kimball
"In such homes, where we are 'kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another' (Eph. 4:32), where we are holding our family meetings, discussions, and councils, where we are praying, working, and playing with love as our chief motive, where we are trying to share the gospel with others and fulfill the other purposes of the Lord-in those homes there will dwell a powerful spirituality and unity that will be a lifelong strength to all family members." ("Therefore I Was Taught," Ensign, Jan. 1982, 5)