Faithlife Sermons

Eph 4:1-16 = Health & Wellness

Ephesians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:49
0 ratings

Unity In The Church

Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


By Helene Schumacher 5th April 2018 []
Maybe you diligently read an instruction manual from cover to cover before you even turn on a new product. Or perhaps you ‘file’ the information in the kitchen drawer never to be found again – preferring to rely on instinct (and perhaps a degree of stubbornness) in assembling a new piece of furniture. Either way, and even if it’s only months after your purchase, there is almost always a time and a place when instruction manuals come in handy.
While we may think of them as the dense paper booklets that fall out in a tumble of bubblewrap and polystyrene when we are unpacking our new bedside cabinet, instruction manuals are much more. They exist for a multitude of purposes and take many different forms. What’s more, they are not an especially modern invention: they have, in fact, been around for at least two centuries.
Paul Ballard, Managing Director of 3di, a company that specialises in technical writing says:
“Wherever you are in life, there's always a manual somewhere, hidden behind the scenes,”
Some user manuals are a frustration, some are a pleasure – and all reveal more about us than we might think.
Psalm 133 ESV
A Song of Ascents. Of David. 1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
God in Heaven


We are...

Made For Unity

Ephesians 4:1–3 ESV
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul an apostle to the gentiles and in prison in Rome
Walk = life of practice
Worthy = scales / equivalence
What type of calling are you called to?
Humility = lowliness - NT = bad meaning… slavish / menial
In Christ this became a virtue
Philippians 2:6–7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Isaiah 66:2 ESV
2 All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Gentleness = meekness - domesticated animal
power under control
Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary a. Maintaining the Unity (4:1–6)

as Mitton (NCB) puts it, meekness ‘is the spirit of one who is so absorbed in seeking some worthy goal for the common good that he refuses to be deflected from it by slights, injuries or insults directed at himself personally, or indeed by personal considerations of any kind’.

Patience - godly trait = steadfastness in the enduring of suffering = long suffering...
never pray for patience...

A rather pious individual once came to a preacher and asked him to pray for him that he might have patience. “I do so lack patience,” he said, trying to be humble as he said it. “I wish you would pray for me.”

“I’ll pray for you right now,” the preacher replied. So he began to pray: “Lord, please send great tribulation into this brother’s life.”

The man who had asked for prayer put a hand out and touched the preacher on the arm, trying to stop his prayer. “You must not have heard me rightly,” he said. “I didn’t ask you to pray for tribulation. I asked you to pray that I might have patience.”

“Oh, I heard what you said,” the preacher answered. “But haven’t you read Romans 5:3, ‘And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience’? It means we acquire patience through the things that we suffer. I prayed that God would send tribulations so that you would have patience.”

Bearing with one another in love = forbearance
literally to “hold him up”… patience finds loving expression here!!
Ephesians: An Introduction and Commentary a. Maintaining the Unity (4:1–6)

‘It involves bearing with one another’s weaknesses, not ceasing to love one’s neighbours or friends because of those faults in them which perhaps offend or displease us’ (Abbott). It is ‘that mutual tolerance without which no group of human beings can live together in peace’ (Stott).

Colossians 3:13 ESV
13 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.
How and why are we do live this way?
Eager = zealous effort to see it done… this is not passive!
Matthew 5 = blessed are the peace-makers for they are called sons of God…
Maintain unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

Indeed, since Christ is himself their peace (Eph. 2:14), it would be unnatural for them to live otherwise than at peace with one another.

We are MADE for unity.
Unity to the Body of Christ is what you are called to. (1-3)
if you have been called (at all) this is what you are called to.
This is a heavy charge the we dare not neglect.
He is the…

Means Of Unity

Ephesians 4:4–6 ESV
4 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.
Original Christian Creed
Repetition of ONE = unity is intrinsic to Christianity, GOD

Comparing the church to a body is particularly appropriate in this passage, however, for a body is something that works together, even though it is composed of many diverse parts. Moreover, its unity is organic. That is, it is achieved not by joining a number of diverse parts or pieces in the way one would make a machine, but by growth. The church is not a diesel engine or a watch or an airplane. It is a body. It grows by the multiplication of cells.


We have many differences in the small particulars of our conversions. But when we begin to talk about what the Holy Spirit did in our hearts to bring us to faith in Christ, our experiences are identical.

This is not a blind mindless Disney magic wishful desire…

Jesus is going to come back. We are going to be with him. There is a home for us in heaven.


There are not many Lords. There is only one Lord, and that Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are following him, if we are open to what he is doing, that must be a force for drawing us together.


“Faith” can be used objectively or subjectively. Subjectively it means our experience of faith; there is no salvation apart from faith. Objectively it means the content of faith or what we believe, the gospel.

Luke 3:16 ESV
16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV
13 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.
Galatians 3:27 ESV
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Have you been publicly identified with Christ?
of all
over all
through all
in all

Is there only one God? Then he has only one church. Is the unity of God inviolable? Then so is the unity of the church.… It is no more possible to split the church than it is possible to split the Godhead.

John T. MacNeil, a great Scottish preacher and evangelist, was a pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for two years in the 1920s. He used to imagine a conversation that might have taken place between the man who had been born blind, whose story is told in John 9, and the other blind man who was healed by Jesus, whose story is told in Mark 8.

MacNeil imagined these two getting together to discuss how Jesus healed them. The man who had been healed without the spittle would tell his story, and the man who had been healed with the spittle would tell his. He would say to the other, “But you left out the part about Jesus spitting in the dust and making clay and placing the clay upon your eyes.”

“I don’t know anything about that,” the first would reply.

The man from John would answer, “It has to be that way, because that’s the way Jesus gives sight to people. You must have forgotten it. He spit on the ground; he made clay; he put it on your eyes, and he sent you to wash in the pool of Siloam.”

“Oh, no,” the man from Mark says, “he didn’t do that with me. He just spoke and I received my sight.”

The first man digs in his heels. “That isn’t right,” he says. “Jesus heals with clay! If you haven’t had that experience, I am beginning to doubt whether you can really see!” Thus originated in the early church the denomination of the “Mudites” and the “Anti-Mudites,” two divisions. That is what happens when we get our eyes on the modes of God’s working rather than upon the Lord who works.

He is the MEANS of unity.
Unity to the Body of Christ is attainable because of the unity of God (4-6)
Let us rejoice in the oneness of God.
Remember who it is we serve.
We must…

Minister In Unity

Ephesians 4:7–12 ESV
7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
False Ministry Patterns
Clericalism = all the work of the church is to be done by those paid to do it...
Ani-Clericalism = the church as a body has no need for human leadership…
Dualism = each has their own sphere not to tress-pass upon the other…
One gift giver… multitude of gifts
So there are five lists in all (1 Cor. 12:8–10, 28–30; Rom. 12:6–8; Eph. 4:11; and 1 Peter 4:11)
Gifts given = = gifts to be used !! ----- > EACH ONE !!
How do we find / use our gifts?
Study what the Bible says about spiritual gifts.
Pray… we do not know our own hearts we dare not trust our own judgement
Make a sober assessment of spiritual strengths and abilities
what do i like to do?
what am i good at?
what is bearing fruit?
seek wisdom from other christians… objective others… spiritual insight

Christ does not squander his gifts; each one is essential. He does not withhold his gifts; they are poured out in full measure. He is not indifferent as to how his gifts are used; he has his own wise and lofty purposes in view. He does not give his gifts at cross-purposes; all are to serve and edify the church. He does not abandon those to whom the gifts are given; rather he continues to work through them and in them for the church’s well-being. Where the gifts are received in this spirit and are so used, there the unity of the Spirit is maintained, and the body of Christ is built up “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature.”

We must MINISTER in unity.
Unity to the Body of Christ requires we use our gifts for one another (7-12)
These are not your gifts that are Christ’s gifts to you.
These gifts must be used or the Church is abused.
We can only obtain…

Maturity Through Unity

Ephesians 4:13–16 ESV
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
What is the purpose of the Church?
mighty army engaged in a great world wide invasion
an international social services agency
a hospital to nurse wounds and recharge for personal battles
Unity of the faith and knowledge of Christ.
Maturity in your inner man as you grow in Christ.
Hebrews 5:13–14 ESV
13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
1 Peter 2:2 ESV
2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—
Individualism is the mark of immaturity
Why is this the purpose of the church?
our protection
Colossians 2:8 ESV
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
our sanctification
Christ’s glory
How are you to fulfill the purpose of the church?
Speak truth… in love
stick together
work diligently
build up… in love
John 14:15 ESV
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Love for the Word of God leads to truth; if we love the Bible, we will read it and grow in a knowledge of what the Word contains. Love for the world leads to mission. Love for other believers leads to unity.

We can only obtain MATURITY through unity.
Unity to the Body of Christ is how we grow in maturity of Christ (13-16)
This is God’s purpose for Christ’s Church.
Your protection and growth, His glory are at stake.


“If we want to be considered members of Christ, let no man be anything for himself, but let us all be whatever we are for the benefit of each other” (Calvin, in loc.).

Our dearest Lord Jesus
Group Questions
What was the last user manual you read for and did you find it helpful or not?
how would you have made it better?
What are your spiritual gifts? If you don’t know how do you plan to find out?
(1 Cor. 12:8–10, 28–30; Rom. 12:6–8; Eph. 4:11; and 1 Peter 4:11)
Are you using your spiritual gifts right now? If not how will you start?
Can you think of any areas that the body is currently being neglected by the absence of body members using their gifts? Please share.
Pastor did not go into great detail with verses 8-10. What do you think this section means? Why? What other biblical texts are you using?
Discuss with the group what stood out to you most from this message. What was your take away about the unity of the church?
Related Media
Related Sermons