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The Unity of the Spirit

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 Reading: Ephesians 4:1-16
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)

I.   Live Worthy of our calling

     A.  Be Humble and Gentle (2a)

           1.  We’re talking about the Church here

                 a.  You (pl) (1,4); us (7); we (13,14)

                 b.  Body of Christ (4, 15-16)

                 c.  Church is not optional

                 d.  Not a matter of personal choice/taste

                 e.  A matter of Divine appointment/purpose

           2.  Humility connected to living worthily

                 a.  Humility in relation to fellow believers

                 b.  Humility: humble-mindedness/attitude

           3.  In fact completely humble and gentle

                 a.  Get all the humility/gentleness you can

                 b.  Gentleness is learned

     B.  Be Patient and Forbearing (2b)

           1.  Be patient w/ ea. other

                 a.  Patient=opp. of “short-tempered”

                 b.  How patient? As patient as Christ

           2.  Forbear: graciously put up w/ ea. other

                 a.  Patiently forbear w/ ea. other lovingly

                 b.  ~ begrudging, sarcasm, patronizing

                 c.  Be very gracious each other

II.  Maintain the Spirit’s unity

     A.  Our unity is from the Spirit

           1.  We don’t achieve it, we receive it

                 a.  It is a gift of grace

                 b.  Therefore it is holy, good & beautiful

                 c.  We ignore it or belittle it to our peril

           2.  Our responsibility is to be good stewards

                 a.  As w/ all the gifts of the Spirit

                 b.  Unity is for God’s glory, nor our comfort

                 c.  Make every effort (3) implies tenacity

           3.  Unity as a gift, not a burden

                 a.  Difficulty in unity is just grace in disguise

                 b.  We are never better-off w/o a believer

                 c.  Change of cong. for mission, not misery

     B.  We are Essentially one (v.4)

           1.  One body, one Spirit, one hope

                 a.  One “catholic” body of Christ

                 b.  Not a diff. H.S. in another fellowship

                 c.  1 hope: we’re all headed the same place

           2.  One Lord, faith, baptism

                 a.  One ruler/king of the universe

                 b.  One common trust in Jesus

                 c.  One washing of sins/empowering

           3.  One God & Father of all

                 a.  He is over, thru & in everything

                 b.  We all have the same H.S., Lord, Father

     C.  Diversity within unity (7)

           1.  W/in our unity is diversity (not vice versa!)

                 a.  Not e pluribus unum / e unum pluribus

                 b.  Our diversity explained in terms of unity

                 c.  B/c we are 1; we have diff. functions

           2.  Grace to minister is given to ea. uniquely

                 a.  as Jesus decides

                 b.  The grace is for use as part of the body

           3.  Leaders given to help everyone minister

                 a.  Some given a gift of leading

                 b.  Purpose of leaders: help others serve

                 c.  Lit.: “for the work of ministry”

III. Mature into Greater unity

     A.  Unity in the Faith (13a)

           1.  That is unity of faith in Jesus

                 a.  Not unity in doctrine

                 b.  Unity in our personal trust in Jesus

                 c.  reach unity=unity develops, matures

           2.  Faith in action grows

                 a.  As faith is put into practice, it grows

                 b.  As we do this together, our unity grows

                 c.  As we minister together, our faith grows

     B.  Unity in Knowledge (13b)

           1.  Knowledge=empirical knowledge

                 a.  Not doctrinal agreement

                 b.  Shared experience of faith in action

                 c.  Exp. in seeing Jesus minister thru us!

           2.  As we minister w/ Christ we K. Him more!

                 a.  Yes! He still loves His people

                 b.  He’s the same yesterday, today, forever!

                 c.  He still forgives the worst sinners!

           3.  As we minister together we K. Him more!

                 a.  Others know Him in ways I/you don’t

                 b.  We learn about Him serving together

     C.  Grow Up into Jesus (13c-16)

           1.  Mature: lit. a mature man–a grown up

                 a.  Maturity individual / cong. maturity

                 b.  A mature church is fully full of Jesus

           2.  Speak the truth: be truthful (speech & life)

                 a.  As opposed to deceived/deceitful

                 b.  Allegiance to the truth of Jesus=the key

           3.  Christ, our head, holds us together.

                 a.  As we all grow into ea. other & into Him

                 b.  Connective tissue=loving relationships

The Bottom Line:

We’ll do All it Takes to Hold On to our Oneness in the Spirit.


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