Summary: Unity is our call, it comes from the Diversity and yet unity of God, and it is our primary goal within the church
September 10, 2006
New Covenant EPC
“KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT”
Body Life - The Book of Ephesians
I. Unity is hard. Why?
A. Because we come from so many backgrounds, so many experiences and with so many needs and wants.
1. Unity is hard however because of sin and the Devil. Our sin nature is to want what we want more than what anyone else wants.
2. Unity is hard because in our sin natures we believe we know what is best for the church and others.
B. Even in our diversity - we need unity -
1. Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (NIV)
II. (Display vs 1-3) Live up to your calling - humble, gentle, bearing with one another, keep unity of spirit bond of peace
A. Verse 1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
1. As a prisoner for the Lord - Paul has sacrificed himself for the Lord.
a. He has given up his own safety, his own personal opportunities so that the church of Christ might advance.
2. Paul was not only a defender of the faith but a defender of the unity of the church
a. Paul openly chastised Peter for letting the Judaizers (Galatians 2:11) try to split the church in Antioch.
b. The Judaizers were quick to criticize and cause derision.
c. The Judaizers had an air of superiority believing they were living rightly and could tell others to live rightly.
d. They created a spirit of judgmentalism and grumbling.
3. It destroyed the unity of the spirit.
4. Live up to the calling you have received.
a. Divisiveness within the Church, causes the Church not to live up to its calling.
b. Satan is smiling and even laughing when the Church of Christ is factious.
c. Unity is an essential for the church.
B. Verse 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
1. be completely humble and gentle - completely means fully, always, at all times.
a. In all things be humble and gentle.
b. The word in the Greek of “Humble” comes from two other Greek words which mean “cast” and “lower”.
c. Humbleness, humility means willing to be lower than others
d. 2 Corinthians 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (NIV)
e. In this age of self esteem and self actualization this is a radical word.
f. But the standard for our view of ourselves is our measurement with God, with Christ and what they expect of your life and mine.
2. John Huffman, "The Fruit of the Spirit Is Patience," PreachingToday.com
a. A young father in a supermarket was pushing a shopping cart with his little son, who was strapped in the front.
b. The little boy was fussing, irritable, and crying.
c. The father seemed to be very calm; as he continued down each aisle, he murmured gently:
d. "Easy now, Donald. Keep calm, Donald. Steady, boy. It’s all right, Donald."
e. A mother who was passing by was greatly impressed by this young father’s solicitous attitude.
f. She said, "You certainly know how to talk to an upset child—quietly and gently."
g. And then bending down to the little boy, she said, "What seems to be the trouble, Donald?"
h. "Oh no," said the father. "He’s Henry. I’m Donald."
3. “Bearing with one another”
a. The King James literally translates this Greek word “Long Suffering.”
b. “Your killing me” Long suffering and patience.
c. Is the willingness and ability to endure another’s behavior or words which cause you suffering or an awful feeling.
4. In On This Day by Carl D. Windsor, the page for Valentine’s Day includes this anecdote:
a. A grandmother, celebrating her golden wedding anniversary, once told the secret of her long and happy marriage.
b. ’On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of ten of my husband’s faults which, for the sake of our marriage, I would overlook,’ she said.
c. "A guest asked the woman what some of the faults she had chosen to overlook were.
d. The grandmother replied, ’To tell you the truth, my dear, I never did get around to listing them.
e. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, Lucky for him that’s one of the ten!’ "
C. verse 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
1. Unity of the Spirit
a. The word in the Greek for “UNITY” can mean “oneness” and “unanimity”
b. Where does unity come from?