For an introduction to this series, click here.
This chapter opens with a call from Paul to unity:
"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." (4:1-6)
Unity is probably the most underrated element of the church today. Christians spend most of their time comparing their differences. Now of course doctrinal orthodoxy has to come first, but as a Baptist I know lots of people who won't have anything to do with people who are a different brand of Baptist. That is foolish. I am not saying that it is wrong that we have denominational differences. The Lord allowed these differences after the church became comfortable and allowed doctrinal error. It would have been ideal if the Lord had allowed one brand of church to survive for 2,000 years, but the church is made up of people, and people tend to corrupt things. Just because we are scattered does not mean we have to hate each other or deny one another's faith.
"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the shepherds evangelists, the 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." (4:11-16)
I really don't like the translation "shepherds" here. I know that the word "pastor" derives from the Latin word for shepherd, and I would be willing to guess that the actual Greek word is the word for shepherd. But you have the other words that are theologically charged, you should include pastor there as well.
Anyway, this passage outlines the purpose of the church. The church is supposed to teach doctrine and build up one another in the Lord.
I'm skipping a big section here. I don't really have a lot of time here, unfortunately.
"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." (4:25-32, ESV)
This is an incredible passage of scripture. So much practical teaching. If one could live a lifetime and learn to practice verse 29, which talks about all of our speech giving "grace to those who hear," that would be a life well spent.