Summary: Unity is planned in eternity but lived out in community
“Body Building - 101”
OPEN: So we’ve gone through the first opening verses of Eph 4 which has given to us the very basics of learning how to walk like a believer. We’ve begun to discover how different the church is supposed to be in comparison to the rest of the world. We act different because we think different. What we trying to do is throw off all the old vestiges of the old life. The old worldly way of thinking. This is difficult to do for a good many people. They want to hang on to their old way – but when we become a Christian we learn how to walk a new way – a worthy way in light of what has come our way through Jesus Christ. Ill – of a child learning how to walk – stiff arms and legs – look like Frankenstein as they take their first steps. We’d think there was a major problem with a person if they spent their entire life walking like that. An infant walks like and infant. A mature adult walks like a mature adult. A baby Christian walks like a baby Christian. But a mature Christian should walk like a mature Christian – right?
5 non-negotiable defining characteristics attitudes of a Worthy Walk – all internal attitudes. Without these kinds of Christ-like qualities there is no way that unity can be maintained. Humility, Gentleness, Patience, Forbearing Love, Unity
7 non-negotiable Defining Characteristics of Christ’s Church Ill. - Of large church – has this massive beautiful building. As you approach the building you notice there are seven massive white columns supporting the portico of the building. Engraved on those columns are the statements: 1) One body, 2) One Spirit; 3) One hope; 4) One Lord; 5) One Faith; 6) One Baptism; 7) One God and Father. That comes right from this section of book of Ephesians.
In Eph. 4:1-6 the issue is all about unity. Paul’s first pressing concern is the establishment of unity in the Church. Romans 12:5, “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” What church we are talking about? Which church is it? Is it the Baptist church? Is it the Methodist Church? Is it the Catholic Church? Is it Presbyterian Church? Is it the Pentecostal Church? What is the “one church”? Salvation is not in a denomination. Salvation is in Jesus Christ and Christ alone so, there is one body the body of Christ. There of course won’t be lines for Baptists, or Presbyterians or Methodists or Congregationalists in heaven. But there is a membership roster. It’s called the Lamb’s Book of Life. And you can read about it in the book of Rev. All kinds of believers are listed in that book. So – here’s the issue: People will say “hey as long as my name is listed in that membership roster in heaven, why do I need to concern myself with a local church down here?” It’s a fair question. Look at the verse. The first part of this verse underlines the fact that if you are saved, you belong to the Church universal. But what about the second part of this verse? It says we belong to one another. There are two realities for the believer revealed in this verse. One reality has to do with the Church Universal. The other reality has to do with the church local.
Unity is planned in eternity but lived out in community. Notice the word connecting the two concepts – It’s “AND” We not supposed to pick one or the other. We belong to One body - The Church universal. And we belong to one another – The Church local. We recognize that it echoes the exact same thing that Paul says back in Eph. “One body” That’s what it says right? “Many form one body”
How do we respond to the teaching of this verse? Do we have to do anything to live the first part of this verse out in our lives? Yes. We recognize that our church, our little group – our denomination, is not the only expression of the Body of Christ on earth. When you hear people saying things like, “We are the only true church.” Be afraid. Be very afraid. Scripture declares “many form one body” The “many” can at times be very diverse, very different, they may go about worship in a very different way – but we are all part of one body. If you are saved, you are a part of the “One body” How about the second part of the verse? Do we have to do anything in response to that part of the verse? It says “each member belongs to all the others.” How is that supposed to be expressed in our lives? You can’t really choose whether or not you belong to others, can you? The diversity we have is to be lived out in the context of oneness. How does the individual live out oneness? How is unity expressed? – by being united with one another. Is there is a flaw in what I’m saying here?