Summary: Message 7 in a series exploring the three essential directives for every believer. This message continues exploring the specifics of direct 2 - Persistently pursue meaningful relationships.
“CPR for a Healthy Walk" Part Seven
I. Continually cultivate a dynamic relationship with God.
Dedicate your members
Renews your perception
Live by the power of the Holy Spirit
II. Persistently pursue, develop and maintain meaningful connection with the community of saints.
A. Fervently pray for one another
Intercessory prayer is essential
Intercessory prayer is effective
B. Preserve the unity of the body.
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. Ephes. 4:1-6
Paul encourages these believers to demonstrate continual diligence.
This is the same word used several other places in the New Testament. Word used to communicate a desire to make every effort, give diligence, make haste. Walk worthy of the Lord by demonstrating a diligence to preserve or keep the unity of the spirit. We are one in the spirit. God instructs us to exercise great effort to live that unity. The word “preserve” is also in a continual tense. It most often was used in reference to guarding, to keep in custody, watch diligently, keep the commandments in the sense of diligently doing them. Here, the Paul calls the church to walk worthy of our calling into the body by diligently guarding the unity of the body. The early church lived such a unity. Many places in the Bible talk about their oneness of mind and heart followed by great impact for the kingdom and the establishment of the church. The Spirit already unifies us because of our mutual baptism into the body of Christ. Christ is the head. We are the body, spiritually connected to the head.
Paul calls for us to be diligent to demonstrate that essential unity by an experiential unity.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. Ephes. 4:11-13
How do we guard the unity? There are a number of admonitions from Scripture regarding attitudes and actions that serve to demonstrate and preserve unity in the body. These are tangible observable instructions that preserve the unity of the body. You have heard these things repeatedly. I remind you of them today that perhaps God may highlight some area that can be ignited in your own life.
1. Love one another
The love called for in regard to one another is a spirit-generated decision to selflessly and freely give of one’s self to pursue meaningful relationship with another. I used to think that love involved a simple decision of the will to meet someone’s need. 1 Corinthians 13 makes it clear that I can meet needs by an angelic language, by sacrificing my goods to the poor and even personal sacrifice of my body and still not be love. These things ARE involved in demonstrating love but when pursuit of meaningful relationship is missing, it is not love. The missing element is pursuit of meaningful relationship. A marriage that does everything right and yet fails to pursue a deeper connection is a marriage without this kind of love. Out of the strength of His own character, God so firmly decided to pursue restored relationship with the world that he sacrificed for a time His own relationship with Christ. This pursuit of relationship flows from the determination of the one loving and has little to do with the worthiness or willingness of the one being loved.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God (meaningful connection to the Father); and such we are. 1 John 3:1
God is love. Love is God. God commands us to love one another. In fact love for God and man summarizes the whole law. John pointedly insists that if we cannot love our brother who we can see, how can we love God who we do not see? This one command summarizes all the other commands regarding unity of the body. So much can be said about the specifics of this love. 1 Corinthians 13 and the unhypocritical love described in Rom 12 provide a firm foundation for understanding what such a love looks like.