Summary: God has given us a wonderful gift. He has called us to be his own, and he has given us unity in the Spirit. This oneness, this unity, is a GIFT, something we have from Christ.

Ephesians 4:1-6

Grace, mercy and peace are yours from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Eph 4:1-6 NIV) "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."

Dear Friends:

Introduction: A few years ago I walked into a church for a pastors’ meeting and my eyes were immediately drawn to a large banner hanging in the fellowship hall. It read, “Christianity! A Whole New Way Of Looking At Things!” That is the truth of the Scriptures I hope to share with you today.

When you, by God’s grace, became a Christian your view on the world changed too. Before you became a Christian you may have cared about the general welfare of others. Now that you look at the world from the viewpoint of Christianity, you see that everyone has a soul in need of salvation through faith in Christ. There are only two kinds of people when it comes right down to it – believers and unbelievers. By the peace of God, which the Holy Spirit has worked in your hearts, you are united to all believers in this world. This unity is what Paul is talking to the Ephesians about in our lesson for today. Let’s learn about this unity as we look at this theme:

Keep the Unity of the Spirit

1. Live In Peace

2. Share God’s Peace

Where the unity/peace comes from:

God has given us a wonderful gift. He has called us to be his own, and he has given us unity in the Spirit. This unity, this oneness, is not ours by birth, as though we were all from the same family, nor is it by friendship, nor even is it simply by membership in our church or Synod. No- we could all be friends, even family members, and members of the same church, and still not share in the oneness of faith in Christ.

This oneness, this unity, is a GIFT, something we have from Christ. The possession of this gift is ours already, not something we need to try to get, but it is something we are told to use and build on.

That is your starting point - whether you are the newest member here, or the one who has been here the longest - we are all united in Christ. So, let us look on each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, and not as strangers, or worse yet, opponents of each other.

What does God expect of us?

1. Live In Peace

View yourself humbly (Php 2:3) What is humility? Paul calls on us to be completely humble. What is he talking about? Attitude: Philippians 2:3, “In humility consider others better than yourselves.” We understand humility before God. He is all powerful, we are powerless before Him. We know that by nature we were enemies of God, subject to his wrath and punishment. We were without personal worthiness. There was nothing in us worth saving, yet, God in his LOVE saved us. God in his mercy had pity on us and redeemed us by the blood of Jesus. This amazing love fills us with humility in the presence of God.

But we are not only humble before God, we are also to be humble before each other. We know personally very little about each other’s sins but we know a lot about our own sins. This leaves no room in our hearts for a self-righteous pharisaical attitude. We will not look down on others for we are sinners too. We can take an example from the Scripture. Consider the very important Roman official, the Centurion, who came to Jesus and said, "I am not worthy to have you come into my house…." Others considered him to be important, but he did not. When we look at others, let’s look at them as important, and not ourselves.

Instead, Paul says, bear with each other patiently – Be a model of Repentance and Forgiveness. Patiently dealing with one another, with a fellow sinner redeemed by Christ, we seek repentance and forgiveness. That is what Christ preached. Repent and be saved. Forgive those who have sinned against you.

Application: Do not for an instant think this is going to be easy. It’s against what the devil, the world and our own flesh wants to do. The devil seeks the opposite of peace: discord, anger, jealousy, mistrust, dissension, self-righteousness. The world regards some people as much more important than others, and wants you to do the same. Repent and turn from these divisive ways. And your own flesh will tell you to compare yourself with others, with you always coming out looking better. Live as brothers and sisters in Christ – not as enemies Forgive one another as Christ has forgiven you.

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