Walking Together in UnityEphesians 4:1-6 • Turning point in the book of Ephesians: • Chapter 1-3: Theological Truth • Rich blessings: • Our identity in Christ: • Our salvation in Christ: • Our power in Christ: • Chapter 4-6: Practical Truth
Ephesians 3:20-21 [ESV] – “…who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” • Ephesians 4:1 [NIV] - As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. • Urgency and earnestness in Paul’s request • We are called to live a life worthy of our new identity in Christ.
Move from knowledge to ACTION! • A move from knowing to living out what we now know! • God always looks for an obedient response to His revelation of grace in our lives. • Ethics should be motivated by our theology about who God is – His character • Main focus of Ephesians 4:1-6 Unity • The Description of Christian Unity • The Derivation of Christian Unity • The Directive for Christian Unity
1. The Description of Christian Unity • Ephesians 4:2 [NIV] - Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. • The first obstacle to unity is our own ego. • a. Humility • Humility is a necessary component of Christian living. • No Humility NO UNITY
Romans 12: 3-5 [ESV] – “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” • …For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. • Humility and unity go hand in hand in the Christian life.
b. Gentleness • Gentleness - also translated meekness • Jesus: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) • Meekness does not mean weakness. • Meekness “strength under control” • Jesus: “I am gentle [meek] and humble in heart.” (Matthew 11:29)
c. Patience • “Patience is a virtue” • Impatience is a byproduct of selfishness • Patience makes us wait, letting the other person’s interests take priority over our own • Patience is a characteristic of God Himself • 2 Peter 3:9 [ESV] - The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
c. Forbearing Love • “bearing one another in love” • better translated “putting up with each other in love” • This love is not a feeling or emotional love • It is an act of our will. • It is the same sacrificial love that Christ demonstrated in giving His life for us • It has its origin in God, Himself
To live with humility we need to get rid of self-centeredness • To be gentle we need to give up harshness and violence. • To exercise patience we need to be willing to give up our own agendas • To demonstrate forbearing love we need to be willing to give up our rights – to our opinions; our preferences • (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, Ephesians)
2. The Derivation of Christian Unity • Ephesians 4:4-6 [NIV] - There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. • The concept of unity is intrinsic with the very nature of the Triune God we serve! • Father, Son, Spirit – One God – Unity and Diversity together
The Holy Spirit • v.4 – “there is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called.” • The Holy Spirit: • created the body of Christ • fills, empowers, sustains, teaches the body of Christ • unites us together.
Ephesians 1:13-14 [ESV] – “we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” • This common hope we share as believers also unites us together. • The Person of Christ • v.5 –one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” • Christ is the object and focus of our one common faith.
Hebrews 12:2 [ESV] – “…looking to Jesus, the founder [author] and perfecter of our faith.” • Our Father God • v.6 - “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” • Deuteronomy 6:4 – Hear of Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is One! • God’s Oneness is foundational to all of Christianity. • Through Christ – God is also our Father.
3. The Directive for Christian Unity • Ephesians 4:3 [NIV] - Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. • “Make every effort” to do something with intense effort and motivation • Why is it so difficult then to maintain unity? • Because we forget to live out the qualities Paul gives us in v.2. • Romans 12:18 [NIV] - If it is possible, asfar as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Ephesians is the unity letter, but we do not value unity. Rather than making every effort to maintain unity (v.3), we sacrifice it at the first airing of differences. We value differences more than unity or people. Disunity originates in pride, as the Corinthian letters [sadly] show. Denominations and movements are as guilty of egotism and arrogance as individuals. We do not have unity between groups, within groups, or in local congregations.
How can unity be established? It does not need to be established, for it already exists, given by God. It needs to be valued and maintained. Christ is not divided (1 Cor. 1:13). The community is not the source of its own existence; Christ is. He is the unity of the church, for the church only exists in him. • The mission of the church is at stake. • (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, Ephesians)
Do you value unity in the body of Christ? • Are you willing to make every effort to uphold it? • We have been given incredible blessings as followers of Christ • Now let’s respond by LIVING WORTHY of these blessings. • Let us commit ourselves • to this call to unity…