Summary: Encourage the church to unite together and fulfill it’s purpose.
Just What the Doctor Ordered: Unity in the Spirit
August 17, 2003
A severe rash prompted a man from a rural area to come to town to be examined by one of my colleagues. After the usual history-taking followed by a series of test, the physician advised the patient that he would have to get rid of the dog that was evidently causing the allergic reaction. As the man was preparing to leave the office, my colleague asked him out of curiosity if he planned to sell the animal or give it away. "Neither one," the patient replied. "I’m going to get me one of them second opinions I been reading about. It’s a lot easier to find a doctor than a good bird dog."
George Hawkins, M.D. in Medical Economics, in Reader’s Digest, January, 1982.
Doctors can give prescriptions and treatment plans but it is up to the patient to take the prescription and carry out the treatment plan. There was strife and division in the New Testament church over sharing the gospel with Gentiles and having both Jews and Gentiles in the same church. In the Book of Ephesians 4:1-16 God, through Paul, provides a prescription and treatment plan for handling strife and division in the church, then and now, and paints a portrait of what the church will look like if we follow the Father’s prescription and treatment plan. “Playing Church”, Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations, p95 (bottom)
Please stand with me as we read Ephesians 4:1-16.
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make 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 when you were called- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men."
9 (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.