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Walking Together in Unity (Bible Study)

Ephesians Chapter 4  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Walking Together in Unity (Bible Study)

Ephesians 4:1–6 ESV
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.

I. THE ATTITUDE FOR MAINTAINING UNITY (vv.1‑3)

Ephesians 4:1–3 ESV
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.
ephesians

A. HUMILITY

1. This word means: to have a lowliness of MIND.
2. This virtue is necessary in order to PROPERLY VALUE others around you ‑
Philippians 2:3–4 ESV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
3. Without this virtue, members in the body begin trying to be the "head" of the body, a role reserved only for CHRIST

B. GENTLENESS

1. This is not a quality of weakness, but of POWER UNDER CONTROL
a. Moses was a meek man (), but capable of great strength & boldness
Numbers 12:3 ESV
Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.
b. Jesus was "gentle & humble in heart" (), but we see where He drove the money changers out of the temple & confronted the religious leaders with strong language.
Matthew 11:29 ESV
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
2. It is being gentle, even when there is the POTENTIAL for being harsh, but gentleness is more conducive for maintaining unity

C. PATIENCE

1. Literally, this means to have a LONG TEMPER in contrast to a short-fused temper.
2. The same divine quality that allows God to be patient with sinners ( ) enables the Christian to ENDURE the exasperating behavior of others.
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.

D. BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE

1. This phrase is similar to our phrase “PUT UP WITH
2. What makes such "bearing with” possible is another virtue: "love"
3. Indeed, the virtue of love is the tie that BINDS all these virtues together ‑
Colossians 3:12–14 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

E. MAKING EVERY EFFORT

1. Displaying these virtues does not come NATURALLY, nor EASILY, nor does maintaining unity.
2. Thus the need for much effort, as Paul uses a word which means "to exert one's self, endeavor, give diligence"
3. Notice that the unity of the Spirit is to be MAINTAINED not attained. The oneness of the body of Christ is created by the Spirit; it is kept & preserved by the members of that body. This unity began when “we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body” ().
1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
Note: These steps must be taken before real unity is possible in the body of Christ. Whenever there are quarrels & disunity, one or more of these virtues can be identified as conspicuously absent. The attitude necessary for unity is summarized in the following chart:
Humility --------------------------“I may be wrong.”
Gentleness -----------------------“I’m willing to listen, & change”
Patience ---------------------------“I’ll give you time to think it through”
Bearing with-------------------- “I’ll put up with you even when we disagree”
Making every effort----------- “I really want this to work”

II. THE BASIS OF UNITY (vv.4‑6)

A. ONE BODY

1. This refers to the body of Christ, the CHURCH
2. Of course, Paul speaks here of the church in the UNIVERSAL sense.
3. While there may be many LOCAL churches (congregations), there is only ONE universal church, with ONE head ‑ Jesus Christ!

B. ONE SPIRIT

1. This is the HOLY SPIRIT
2. Who has already been described in this epistle...
a. As "the Holy Spirit of promise" ‑
Ephesians 1:13 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,
b. As "the guarantee of our inheritance" ‑
Ephesians 1:14 ESV
who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
c. By Whom both Jew & Gentile have access to the Father ‑
Ephesians 2:18 ESV
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
d. In Whom God habitats those who are being built a "holy temple" ‑
Ephesians 2:21–22 ESV
in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
e. By Whom the "mystery of Christ" was revealed to the apostles & prophets ‑
Ephesians 3:5 ESV
which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
f. Through Whom God strengthens with might the inner man ‑
Ephesians 3:16 ESV
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
g. As the One whose "unity" is to be maintained in the bond of peace ‑
Ephesians 4:3 ESV
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

C. ONE HOPE OF YOUR CALLING

1. For Paul, this pertains primarily to THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD; ; ; cf. ; ,
Acts 23:6 ESV
Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”
Acts 24:15 ESV
having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
Romans 8:23–24 ESV
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
1 Corinthians 15:19–23 ESV
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
Acts 24:15 ESV
having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
Philippians 3:10–11 ESV
that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:20–21 ESV
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Acts 23:6 ESV
Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”
2. Which necessarily includes such concepts as "salvation" () & "eternal life" (; )
1 Thessalonians 5:8 ESV
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
Titus 1:2 ESV
in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

D. ONE LORD

1. This refers to Jesus ‑
1 Corinthians 8:5–6 ESV
For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
2. Whom God has made "both Lord & Christ" ‑
Acts 2:36 ESV
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

E. ONE FAITH

1. Sometimes the word “faith” refers to the BODY OF TRUTH AND DOCTRINE revealed by God, as in .
Jude 3 ESV
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
2. However, in all uses of “faith” in Ephesians Paul has reference to SAVING faith, the personal trust & commitment to Jesus which is the basis of our salvation

F. ONE BAPTISM

1. Faith & baptism form a natural LINKAGE
Acts 8:12 ESV
But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
2. This is the baptism...
a. COMMANDED by Jesus ‑
Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
b. PREACHED & commanded by His apostles ‑ ;
Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:48 ESV
And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
3. On the human side, the “one baptism” in which every Christian shared was WATER BAPTISM, the public rite of confessions of the one faith in the one Lord.
4. On the divine side, this water baptism was conjoined with the participation of the SPIRIT;
Matthew 3:11 ESV
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

G. ONE GOD AND FATHER

— The Father, Who together with the Son & Holy Spirit, makes up the GODHEAD.
NOTE: These "seven ones" constitute "the unity of the Spirit" that as Christians we must be so diligent to keep "in the bond of peace". Not one of these is "non‑essential"!
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