Summary: For the church, the Body of Christ, to fulfill its purpose and mission it must be united. Paul emphasizes this in Ephesians 4. As the Body of Christ, we need to realize the necessity of caring to maintain unity within the church.
“Critical Care of the Body of Christ”
Ephesians 4:1-6, 25-32
A Christian church is a local body of regenerate (born-again) persons, baptized on a profession of their faith in Christ; who have united in covenant for worship, instruction, the observance of Christian ordinances, and for such service as the gospel requires; recognizing and accepting Christ as their supreme Lord and Lawgiver, and taking His Word as their only and sufficient rule of faith and practice in all matters of conscience and religion. One of the key words in this definition is “united”. For the church, the Body of Christ, to fulfill its purpose and mission it must be united. Paul emphasizes this in Ephesians 4. As a child one of my favorite books was Alexander Dumas’s “The Three Musketeers”. The book tells the story of a group of French musketeers named Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d'Artagnan who stayed loyal to each other through thick and thin though each was quite different from their fellow musketeers. The Musketeers had as their motto “All for one and one for all”. They vowed to let nothing destroy their unity. They would care for each other, come what may. As the Body of Christ, we need to realize the necessity of caring to maintain unity within the church.
I. There is a Oneness and Unity to the Body of Christ
A. Our oneness as the Body of Christ is based solely on God.
B. Verses 4-6 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
C. There is only one way into the Body of Christ and the Family of God. That is through the new birth through the person of Jesus Christ.
D. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
E. We have a common salvation that is based on a common grace whereby God called us not out of anything we are or that we have done but by His mercy.
F. Titus 3:5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
G. All we are as individual believers and as a church is based on God.
H. In looking at the basis of our unity and the focus being placed on Christ, Alan Carr, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Lenoir, N.C. says that “When our lives, our desires, our will, our interests, etc, stop being about Him and start to focus on us, we are headed for trouble!”
I. Christ prayed that the church would stand united.
J. John 17:20-22 ““I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who wills believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one.”
II. There is Diversity within the Body of Christ
A. Verses 7-16 “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." (Now this, "He ascended"--what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
B. All believers are one in Christ, all one in respect to our salvation and relationship to God as His children. But even though we are all of one family, we are not identical. There are differences within the Body of Christ.