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The Unity of the Body

4 1I am in prison because I belong to the Lord. And God chose you to be his people. I tell you now to live the way God's people should live. 2Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. 3You are joined together with peace through the Spirit.* Do all you can to continue together in this way. Let peace hold you together. 4There is one body and one Spirit. And God called you to have one hope. 5There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.* 6There is one God and Father of everything. He rules everything. He is everywhere and in everything. 7Christ gave each one of us a special gift. Each person received what Christ wanted to give that person. 8That is why it says [in the Scriptures*], "He went up high into the sky; he took prisoners with him, and he gave gifts to people." Psalm 68:18

9When it says, "He went up," what does it mean? It means that he first came down low to earth. 10So Jesus came down, and he is the same One who went up. He went up above all the sky. Christ did that to fill everything with himself. 11And that same Christ gave gifts to people--he made some people to be apostles,* some people to be prophets,* some people to go and tell the Good News,* and some people to have the work of caring for and teaching God's people. 12Christ gave those gifts to prepare God's holy people* for the work of serving. He gave those gifts to make the body of Christ stronger. 13[This work must continue] until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge about the Son of God. We must become like a mature (perfect) person--we must grow until we become like Christ and have all his perfection. 14Then we will not still be babies. We will not be people who change like a ship that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced (changed) by every new teaching we hear from people who try to fool us. Those people make plans and try any kind of trick to fool people into following the wrong way. 15No! We will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. Christ is the head [and we are the body]. 16The whole body depends on Christ. And all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part of the body does its own work. And this makes the whole body grow and be strong with love.

The Way You Should Live

17For the Lord I tell you this. I warn you: Don't continue living like those people who don't believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. 18Those people don't understand. They know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives. 19They have lost their feeling of shame. And they use their lives for doing evil. More and more they want to do all kinds of bad things. 20But the things you learned in Christ were not like those bad things. 21I know that you heard about him. And you are in him, so you were taught the truth. Yes, the truth is in Jesus. 22You were taught to leave your old self. This means that you must stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse and worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. 23You must be made new in your hearts and in your thinking. 24You must become a new person, made to be like God--made to be truly good and holy.* 25So you must stop telling lies. You must always speak the truth to each other, because we all belong to each other in the same body. 26When you become angry, don't let that anger make you sin. And don't continue to be angry all day. 27Don't give the devil a way to defeat you. 28If a person is stealing, he must stop stealing. That person must start working. He must use his hands for doing something good. Then he will have something to share with those people who are poor. 29When you talk, don't say any bad things. But say things that people need--things that will help other people become stronger. Then the things you say will help the people who listen to you. 30And don't make the Holy Spirit* sad. The Spirit is God's proof that you belong to God. God gave you that Spirit to show that God will make you free at the right time. 31Never be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt other people. Never do anything evil. 32Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you in Christ.

Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. baptism A Greek word meaning to be immersed, dipped, or buried briefly under water. Scriptures Holy Writings--the Old Testament. apostles The men Jesus chose to represent him in a special way. prophets People that spoke for God. Good News The news that God has made a way for people to have their sins forgiven and live with him forever. holy people God's people are called holy because they are made pure through Christ and belong only to God. holy A holy person is pure and belongs only to God.

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