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Rooted in Christ The Seven Marks of All Christians, Part 2 Preached by: Matthew S. Black Text: Ephesians 4:4-6 Series: Rooted in Christ Date: May 6, 2012, 10:30am Living Hope Bible Church of Roselle, IL Introduction: Open your Bibles to Ephesians. We are continuing our series: “Rooted in Christ”. The title of the message is: “The Seven Unifying Marks of All Christians”. Cardone: Different Labels – Same Part When I was just out of college I lived and worked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I worked for Cordone Industries packing car parts in the dock for $8.50 an hour. We made and refurbished car parts – brake calipers, drive trains, steering mechanisms, and even entire engines. I can remember seeing entire shipments and labels with NAPA Auto parts and Carquest, and Auto Zone. They all claimed to have the best refurbished or new parts. They were competitors. But the funny thing was. The parts were all coming from the same manufacturer. Cardone industries manufactured or refurbished them, but simply put different auto part company labels on the boxes. They all had different labels but the same part! And so it is with Christians. True Christians may have various different labels, but they all have the same seven identifying marks. There are seven distinguishing characteristics of a Christians supernatural origin. Who wrought the change in us? Who’s hand touched us to transform our lives. You remember the day or the period in your life when God radically and fantastically gave you a new agenda and a new destiny for your life. You were born again. Being born again means you are inhabited by the Triune God. Every single Christian has God inhabiting them. Not just any god, but the one true, living Triune God!! False Advertising I just hate false advertising. Have you ever saw a great deal and you get to the cash register and it’s marked wrongly? Many people pay for it any way. Not me! I’ll show them where the price is and how the item was misplaced and mismarked. And most stores are so afraid of false advertising that they will give you the item for the mismarked price. Jesus said something to all the false teachers who were false advertisers. They had Christ in their theology but not in their hearts and lives. It’s found in Matthew 7:21–23 (ESV), “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Yet many say they are born again. In fact, the latest census date reveals that 78% in America profess to be Christian. Something is not right here. Our divorce rates are going up and or morality is going down! Children are growing up with out fathers. The decline of morals in America is breathtaking! Ignatius, follower of John: a Christian always bears fruit Ignatius (35-117AD), born in 35AD, friend of the Apostle Peter, disciple of the Apostle John, and the third pastor of the church at Antioch summed it up this way: “The tree is known by its fruit. Luke 6:44 Similarly, those who profess to be Christ’s will be recognized by their actions. For what matters is not a momentary act of professing, but being persistently motivated by faith.” Cyril C. Richardson, ed. Early Christian Fathers (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), 92. He says again: “Carnal people cannot act spiritually, or [and] spiritual people carnally, just as faith cannot act like unbelief, or unbelief like faith.” Ibid., 90. God gave us seven unifying marks of our supernatural origins - “one body, one Spirit, one hope, on Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all believers”. Work to the Point of Exhaustion to Maintain Unity! But he says to be eager to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3 – ESV), Eager: · To do one’s best, make every effort · Spare no effort. It's a very, very strong exhortation.  · Labor to the point of exhaustion! o Work hard in biblical conflict resolution…immediately (Mt. 5), privately (Mt. 18), and with due process of all the facts and all sides (Prov. 18:13, 18). o Work hard at all the “one anothers” of the Bible: love, exhort, support, encourage Maintain: “to watch, observe attentively, keep the eyes fixed upon.” Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers. Unity takes work. Endeavor! We are told to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The Christian life is hard work. Marks of Unity – sevenfold foundation of unity (vs. 4-6) Ephesians 4:4–6 (ESV), “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Many New Testament scholars believe verses 4-6 was an early hymn of confession in the Christian church. These seven unities are fixed realities. There is nothing we can do to change them. They are the work of a sovereign God. The Spirit is the Agent of Salvation: Regeneration I. One Body – the Spirit’s community – community of the regenerate, a called out congregation! Ephesians 4:4 (ESV), “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—” Church is not an event – it’s a community, a forever family! Church is not an event – it is a community of people doing life together. Never forget that. This is a non-negotiable of Christianity. · The Psalmist of Psalm 119:63 (likely David) says (ESV), “I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.” This is our “forever family” that God planned before the foundation of the world. The Spirit places people into the Body of Christ. II. One Spirit – transformation - Regeneration Ephesians 4:4 (ESV), “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—” Remember we are Sealed by the Spirit: Regeneration We are sealed by the Spirit at the very moment of regeneration. Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV), “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” He’s our Comforter, Counselor, Keeper… He expresses the love poured out from the Father. He unites us to each other. He regnerates us (Eze. 36:25-27). III. One Hope of Your Calling: conformity to Christ…Glorification & Sanctification, i.e., Conformity to Christ’s Image Ephesians 4:4 (ESV), “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call”. Our hope of glory is Jesus Christ in us, transforming us – Christ being formed in us. Our blessed hope is when He returns and eradicates our sinful nature. He transforms us. In the twinkling of an eye, He changes us, and our mortal bodies put on immortality. Our corrupted bodies put on incorruption! The Spirit is constantly calling and moving us to this great hope of conformity to Jesus Christ. Salvation: Past, Present, Future Salvation can be spoken of in three ways: · Past – conversion – date I was saved, line of demarcation in my life · Present – sanctification – daily being conformed into the character of Christ · Future – glorification – this occurs at the Second Coming! Final Redemption Transition: So we now leave the Spirit’s verse and we come into the verse of the Son of God! We go from the Agent of regeneration to the Obtainer of our salvation. IV. One Lord – our conviction = Absolute surrender to our Master Ephesians 4:5 (ESV), “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”. “One Lord!” “Jesus is Lord!” was the motto of the early church! Reprise of Eph 1-3 Remember I said Paul is reprising Ephesians 1-3 in these seven unities. So Paul moves to our Lord, and His Person and Work. “One Lord!” Ephesians 1:20–21 (ESV) tells us Christ was seated at God’s “right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” To say this was to say, Jesus is my Lord, my God, and my King! A. KURIOS: WHAT IT MEANS To say Jesus is KURIOS – was radical. · Radical to the Jews – calling Jesus Christ Jehovah and Adonai! · Radical to the Gentiles – saying there is only ONE Lord! This is the HeartCry of every Christian! He is the Head of the Church. He is supreme. He is over all! KURIOS speaks of DIETY and AUTHORITY and MONARCHY and EXCLUSIVITY When we say Jesus is LORD, we mean He is our KING. He is our Supreme Monarch. He is Adonai of the OT. 1. MONARCHY / AUTHORITY: Yahweh · Diana – My wife loves the British monarchy. When Diana died, we stayed holed up in our apartment in Chicago Ridge for 2 days watching all the coverage. · Kate and William – When Kate and William got married, you may not have watched it, but WE watched it!! Pageantry vs. Authority But monarchies today are all about pageantry but they have very little if any authority! In the ancient world really until the Renaissance and the revolutions that came out of it – in the ancient world the monarch had absolute authority. Whatever the Monarch said was LAW. High and Lifted up: not GEOGRAPHY, but AUTHORITY Isaiah says “I saw the Lord high and lifted up” in Isaiah 6. Isaiah says in Isaiah 6:1–3 (ESV), “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Isaiah responds… Isaiah 6:5 (ESV), “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” What is Isaiah saying? Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords! Every knee bows before our great monarch! McDonalds Story / Coffee Let’s imagine we were in Bill Kroll’s Corvette – the fastest car at Living Hope Bible Church and maybe even in all the world!! Let’s imagine you were to order a coffee at McDonald’s. And you know on the window of the drive thru it says: “Caution, Coffee is extremely hot.” Now let’s just say you put the proverbial petal to the proverbial metal and your hot coffee spilled all over you! Now let’s imagine you take McDonald’s to court, and of course they demand they pay you a million dollars for emotional and physical pain and suffering. And of course the lower courts throw it out, but you keep appealing and appealing, and in our country you can take it all the way to the Supreme Court. In our country there is no one higher than the Supreme Court, and whatever they say goes. What they say is law. Let me say that Jesus is the Supreme Court of the universe! There is no one higher than Him!! 2. DIETY: Yahweh / GOD!! When we say Jesus is LORD, we mean that He is GOD, He is YAWEH of the Old Testament. It’s is a title. · The Scriptures testify that He is “God manifested in the flesh” · The Father says to His Son in Hebrews 1: “Thy throne O God is forever and ever.” · His followers confess, “My Lord and my God!!” · John says, “The Word was God… and the Word became flesh” · To say “Jesus Christ is Lord”, as “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10–11, (ESV) 3. EXCLUSIVITY: Jesus is the One and ONLY LORD The Exclusivity of the Lordship of Jesus Christ John 14:6 (ESV), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” No one compares with Jesus and no one competes with Jesus. Acts 4:12 (KJV), “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” B. Errors Inclusivism All who sincerely respond to the light around them whether atheist, Muslim, Hindu, or cultist, if they sincerely respond they will have a second chance at the judgement. This is a false teaching and an error. Syncretism Reaching Islam – saying Jesus’ Father is Allah! That’s blasphemy. Catholicism mixes Roman polytheism with Christianity. In Haiti, many of the voodoo gods are renamed as saints in the Roman Catholic church. Antinomianism Each believer says to Him: “Command me!” He is our King and our Lord! Objection: Can Jesus be Savior but not Lord? This is what A W Tozer called “heresy”. The idea that you can divide the offices of Christ. He said if Jesus is not your Lord, then He is not your Savior! · Now “many” say to him “Lord, Lord” in the day of judgment, but they are accursed! He says, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” I don’t recognize you. You shall know them by their fruits. · There is a heart conversion here. There is an absolute surrender to Christ at conversion. The ONE Lord Jesus Demands ALL Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” One Dying Breath!!! Jesus is Lord!! If I had one dying breath to give, I would use it to lift up the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is our Lord and our God! There is none like Him! There is not that competes or compares with Him! V. One Faith – our conversion Ephesians 4:5 (ESV), “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”. · Not “faith in faith” · Faith must always have an object · When did you have repentant faith in Christ? How does Scripture speak of Conversion? · When was the line of demarcation when you “turned from idols and turned to the living God?” · When were you transferred from the Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of Christ? One Faith: Jesus, the object of our Faith Jude talks about earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3). It is the battle for the Gospel. The faith is this: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him. One trust, we could say it. One thing I put my trust in. Again, this reprises Ephesians 1 Our one faith is in the object of our faith: the Lord Jesus Christ! Ephesians 1:1–13 (ESV), “In him [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit”. One Faith means we Major on Conversion not Controversies Now sometimes there is controversies in the churches over issues. I think of this historically in the life of George Whitefield and John Wesley. Whitefield vs. Wesley Illustration: Whitefield preached an emphasis of sovereign grace and election as to how a person is converted. Of course, Wesley had the mindset and emphasis of free will. But God was using them in sweeping two continents with revival –in Great Britain and in the American Colonies. During this time Wesley would right very critical articles in the public papers about these differences in emphasis. Even though Whitefield was a younger man, he died 20 years before John Wesley. And somebody asked Wesley “You know, I’d really like to know, do you think you’re gonna see Whitefield in heaven?” And in that moment, when we are really talking about what the Christian faith is, we see something in Wesley’s reply. Wesley said, “No I don’t think I’ll see him in heaven…. Because when I get there, I’ll be so far back from the throne, and he’ll be so close, I won’t be able to see him!” You see Wesley knew that the one faith that we hold is not his version of Wesleyan Methodism. Did Whitefield and Wesley believe the Gospel that Christ died for their sins? That he was buried and rose again? Amen! That’s the one faith that all believers everywhere have! Do you have a testimony of conversion? VI. One Baptism – our confession Ephesians 4:5 (ESV), “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”. We could say there are many baptisms. · Jesus refers in Mark 10 to His death as a baptism. · Paul refers to Spirit-baptism. – when we are baptized into the Body of Christ (regeneration) but this was spoken of earlier, one Body, one Spirit, one Hope. · But the one baptism referred to here seems to be connected not to the Spirit, but the Lord Jesus Christ, and our confession of faith in Him. Universal Testimony The almost universal testimony of scholars in this passage as that this refers to water baptism. Sproul & Matthew Henry This baptism is an outward confession of an inward work. RC Sproul defines this as “one initiatory rite into the Body of Christ”. MacArthur John MacArthur says: “The one baptism of verse 5 is best taken as water baptism, the common New Testament means of a believer publicly confessing Jesus as Savior and Lord. This is preferred because of the way Paul has spoken specifically of each member of the Trinity in succession… Water baptism was extremely important in the early church, not as a means of salvation or special blessing, but as a testimony of identity with and unity in Jesus Christ. Those who confess Jesus Christ as the one Lord (“No man can serve two masters”) and come to Him by the one faith – repentant faith and trust in Him alone are to confess that faith through water baptism. · Do you have a testimony? Have you confessed your faith in Christ publically since you have been converted? May 27th is our next baptism and communion Sunday. Come and confess your faith in our Lord!! Vincent translates it thus: I exhort you to unity, for you stand related to the Church, which is one body in Christ; to the one Spirit who informs it; to the one hope which your calling inspires; to the one Lord, Christ, in whom you believe with one common faith, and receive one common sign of that faith, baptism. Above all, to the one God and Father. Vincent, M. R. (2002). Word studies in the New Testament (Eph 4:4). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. Baptism of Saul of Tarsus We read of the baptism of Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9. Jesus appeared to the future Apostle Paul and called him out to be an apostle to the Gentiles. And Saul was in the house of Ananias, and remember what the Lord told Ananias? “the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.” Then what does verse 18b say? “Then he [Saul] rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.” Saul of Tarsus made a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ! At this point, he put his own life in the hands of the Lord, because though it was not a capital offence with the Romans at this early date, it was a capital offence for the Jews! The Great Commission includes Baptism Jesus’ Commission – make Disciples [the command] and then three participles surrounding the command – going (evangelizing), baptizing, teaching… Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV), “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Romans 6 Tells us What Baptism Pictures Romans 6:3-5, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” There is controversy over the interpretation of this “one baptism”. Generally it is referring to Spirit baptism, but it almost was always confessed in a public way. VII. One God and Father of All – God actively at work in us! When we speak of the Father, we must speak of His infinite LOVE. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love”. The Psalmist says, “As a Father pities His children, so the LORD pities all those who fear Him”. Oh, the LOVE that the Father had in planning our salvation. That He would give His only Son for you! Ephesians 4:6 (ESV), “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and He is your Father. I don’t know what your earthly father was like, but our Heavenly father is everything a father should be and infinitely more. Jesus died that you might have access to Him. And see what He is to you. o He is Sovereign – over all – He guides the universe o He is Omnipotent – through all – He guides your circumstances o He is Omnipresent – in you all – He guides you personally How He loves you! Conclusion: Do you have these 7 authenticating marks of every Christian? · One church - regeneration · One Spirit · One hope – salvation past, present, future · One Lord – conviction · One faith – conversion · One baptism – confession · One God and Father – relationship
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