A Healthy Church Is A Unified Church

God's Grace in the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

A Healthy Church Is A Unified Church

Today we continue in our series in Ephesians.
Would you agree that we are a divided bunch of people in our nation?
Dems vs Repubs
Mask vs not Mask
Vax or Non Vaxers
“Woke” vs. Not Woke.
Trump vs. No Trump
It seems that it is easy to get into a pocket of people with like sentiments, but that just make the divide greater.
It also shows that as we do, we just get more divided and farther apart.
Even in our churches we find differences
So we too huddle with our handful of people in the church “Just like us.”
It may been easy for the Christians in Ephesus and Asia Minor to focus on their differences.
You had the Jewish-Gentile distinction
There were also Social, economic, educational, generational, and even language divides.
Still today we find those kind of issues in urban areas, and even in some rural areas.
Like today, those divides threatened the early church.
So now Paul issues a call for unity in Chapter 4.
He uses the word “unity” twice in verses 1 - 16
In doing so he emphasizes the concept that we are all one in Christ.
He begins that practical part of the letter.
He explained the good news of our salvation in chapters 1-3
Now he turns to show us how that news out to play out in our lives as God’s people
It starts with unity
By God’s design, Christians come out of many different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.
Paul thus makes his case for unity both on practical and doctrinal grounds.
Lets read Ephesians 4:1-6
Ephesians 4:1–6 CSB
1 Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

United by Divine Calling Verse 1

Paul begins with the words “Therefore I...”
This connects this sentence with the ones in the previous chapter where he spoke about the great mystery of God has revealed to us in His church.
Again he reminds us that he is a prisoner, not because of any Roman sentence, but because of his faithfulness in preaching the gospel.
Even while in chains in a prison cell, he is still ministering through his letters.
Paul urges, begs, pleads with his readers to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
The word walk is important as we see in the coming weeks.
It essentially means “to conduct one’s life.”
Paul has given the readers truth, now he wants them, and us, to conduct our lives in a way keeping with that teaching or gospel.
Our whole lives are to be lived in the light of the gospel.
Not one way for church and another for when you are away.
Jesus is Lord of all and we are to walk in step with Him under His lordship.
The idea of “calling” goes back to the beginning of the book.
God has called us to Himself by His grace.
He has blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.
Now we are to live according to that great privilege we have.
We are to be “Little Christs” meaning of Christians.
To live worthy, means you have to balance your life like a set of scales.
Our actions should match what we believe.
Remembering Christ’s sacrifice should cause us to live for his glory in every area of life.

United by Christlike Conduct Verses 2-3

Look at verse 2 again.
Paul has a high expectation for us and how we are to live.
These virtues are best modeled or exemplified in Jesus
He was the supreme example of humility - Phil. 2:5-11 “5 Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. 7 Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, 8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” “5 Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,”
We see Him saying “Come to me all who .... because I am gentle.” In Matthew.
His patience can’t be matched
His love was demonstrated on the Cross.
He is the ultimate peacemaker.
So to see how we are to live, we just need to look at Jesus.
Both the Greek and Roman cultures considered humility and gentleness to be weak character traits showing a lack of self-respect.
In Paul’s letters, he holds up humility as an essential characteristic of a believer.
He also speaks of it as necessary for unity.
Pride is the fault of much discord among people, but the secret of peace and unity is humility.
Jesus set the example of humility by washing the apostle’s feet at the last supper and he wants to do the same.
We must put people first to accomplish this.
Instead of maneuvering for the respect of others (which is pride) we give them our respect by recognizing their intrinsic God-given worth (which is humility), we shall be promoting harmony in God’s new society.
This is a fruit of the Spirit, it comes by yielding yourself to the Holy Spirit.
This does not mean timidity.
It involves self control or a mild spirit.
Numbers 12 tells us that Moses was a very humble man.
A dynamic leader who challenged the throne of Egypt, had the power of God behind him, and yet he remained meek.
Gentleness is derived from humility.
It’s asserting your authority or being a bully.
You are considerate of others.
Both humility and gentleness go together in balance.
This is a tough isn’t it.
Paul tells us that love is patience in 1 Corinthians.
Another term is “longsuffering”.
One commentator wrote, “patience is longsuffering towards aggravating people.”
It’s hard to be patient in our day - microwaves, fast computers, info by just Googling it.
To be patient we can start by reflecting on God’s patience toward us and then letting that same grace flow towards others.
Bearing with one another in love.
This means to put up with each other in love.
Peter says, “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
This is how a marriage works,
If I had to put up with myself every day, one of us would have to die; and yet, she puts up with me.
That’s how relationships in the body of Christ are to work.
Diligently keeping peace.
Unity is active, not passive.
We should be zealous to maintain unity.
Notice we do not work to create unity but to keep unity! God unites us, and we are to seek to maintain unity by the Spirit’s help.
“We cannot expect the world to believe that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus’ claims are true and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians.” Francis Schaeffer
To live according to these qualities takes hard work.
Putting yourself last,
Being patient, loving, and gentle while being peaceful.
In doing so, the church is unified and God is glorified as we live out these qualities in our lives.

United By Gospel Confession Verse 4-6

These verses are probably an early Christian Creed.
Paul move exhorting us to diligently maintain our unity.
Why? is answered now.
He gives us seven “one” statements to emphasize the oneness we share in the gospel.
We must maintain this unity because Christ desires it.
One body.
We share a common existence in Christ’s church.
Our differences in racial background, social status, gender, just name a few can’t divide us.
We are united as one through the Holy Spirit.
One Spirit.
We share a common link with each other in the Holy Spirit’s work.
The Spirit is the One who creates unity and empowers us to maintain it.
One hope.
We share a common hope in Christ.
Formerly, we were “without hope” (2:12) until we were called to Christ.
Now we have hope, and we must live in a manner worthy of our calling to eternal life in God’s kingdom.
Unlike the modern use of the word “hope” (“I sure hope this happens, but I don’t know if it will”), Christian hope is an expectation of full salvation (“I expect the Lord’s return”).
One Lord.
Believers confess and proclaim, “Jesus Christ as Lord” (2 Cor 4:5).
When the early Christians said, “Jesus is Lord,” they were saying, “Caesar is not lord.”
When Jewish Christians said this, they were boldly identifying Jesus with the God of the Hebrew Scriptures (cf. Deut 6:4).
So this was not merely an empty creedal affirmation for early believers.
This confession could cause you to lose your head.
One faith.
The creed reminds us that we embrace the essential truths together, for “faith” here seems to refer to the body of truth we believe.
That being, wherever people believe in Jesus Christ alone and trust in his death and resurrection for their salvation, they are joined with all other believers because of this one faith.
One baptism.
Paul’s inclusion of this one baptism reveals the great importance that baptism held for the early church.
Baptism replaced circumcision as the initiation rite of the new order, the new covenant.
Christians need only “one baptism” by which they publicly acknowledge their one faith in one Lord.
It could also show that we share a common experience of being spiritually baptized into Christ.
We are united with Him.
The act of baptism into water pictures this reality.
One God and Father.
As His adopted children, we share the same Father (cf. Eph 1:5).
He is the God over all and the Father of all His children—regardless of their ethnicities.
We are one big, adopted family.
Notice also the Trinity here in this creed.
The triune God not only creates the unity we have as believers but also serves as the ultimate picture of unity.
Jesus prayed for unity, reflecting on His relationship with the Father: “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21).
A healthy church is characterized by such unity, and it is a marvelous testimony to the watching world.

Let’s Unite As One

Think about this for a minute.
The sounds of Gregorian chants echoing in a European monastery chapel …
Shouts of “Aleluya!” and “Sí, Señor Jesucristo!” in a house church in Mexico …
The rich, layered harmonies of gospel music from an African chorus …
Quiet, fervent prayers uttered in a stained-glass worship center in America …
What do these strikingly different kinds of worship expression have in common?
“There is one body and one Spirit, … one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.”
We, the body of Christ, come in all the colors and with as many different ways to worship him.
Rather than let those things act as barriers between us, why not celebrate our diversity, our different-ness?
We are different, but we are one body in Christ.
Salvation and prayer
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more