Summary: There is a difference between knowing about Christ, and knowing Him personally as your Lord and Savior.
Unity of the Spirit (Communion Service)
Text: Ephesians 4:1-6
By: Ken McKinley
How many of you remember the millennium celebration? When we moved from 1999 to the year 2000? I remember Samoans beating drums, Germans singing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Brandenburg Gate; I remember the French igniting the Eiffel Tower, and something like 2 million people watched the ball drop in Times Square. I remember that there was almost world unification for a brief moment in time; and I was amazed that for a second in world history, humanity universally and simultaneously acknowledged the birth of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. Granted, most of the people celebrating would’ve never said that, but in a sense that’s what was happening. We divide time in B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (the year of the Lord). Of course now days we have secularists who say BCE (before the Common Era) and CE (the Common Era), but they still use the same dates.
And so while many of the people who were celebrating on New Years Eve 1999 missed the reason for celebration, the unity of humanity was an amazing thing to see.
Unity is something we long for, we hope for it, we desire it, but unfortunately, unity is seriously lacking in our world. What’s worse is that it’s lacking where is should be most evident – in our churches. It’s kind of like the story I once heard about a pastor who was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
He saw a man standing on the edge about to jump so he ran over to him and said, “Don’t do it!” The man looked at him and said, “Why shouldn’t I?” So the pastor said, “Well there is so much to live for.” “Like what?” Said the man.
The pastor thought for a moment and said, “Are you religious or an atheist?”
“Me too,” said the pastor, “Christian or some other religion?”
“Me too,” said the pastor, “Protestant or Catholic?” “Protestant” the man answered.
“Me too,” said the pastor, “What denomination?”
“Baptist.” The man said, “Me too,” said the pastor, “Southern Baptist or Free Will?”
“Southern Baptist.” The man answered.
“Me too,” said the pastor, “Post trib or pre trib rapture?”
“Pre trib.” The man said.
So the pastor said, “Die you heretic scum!” And pushed him off the bridge.
Sometimes the divisions within the body of Christ are so ridiculous the world can’t help but scoff at us. Granted there may come divisions over critical issues of theology, but more often than not this isn’t the case. Usually it’s over a non-essential doctrine, and instead of coming together in the unity of the faith to search out what the Scriptures actually teach, people take it as an attack on them personally and we end up with 30,000 Protestant denominations in the world today.
In our text today we see that Paul is concerned that the Christians in Ephesus endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.
Now last time we talked about how Paul was shifting from doctrine to duty, from creed to conduct, from our wealth in Christ, to our walk with Christ.
Up to this point, Paul has highlighted God’s grace in our lives. He has told us that God has chosen us, redeemed us, and sealed us. By placing us together as the Body of Christ, with the Lord Jesus as our head, we are united to one another. All the old lines of division have been done away with, there is no longer Jew and Gentile, but we are all one in the Lord.
Now I’ve heard people refer to themselves as black Christians, Mexican Christians, Chinese Christians, European Christians, and that’s a real shame. Christianity should never be modified by ones culture. Christianity should modify culture. Yes we may happen to be black, white, Hispanic, or some other racial background. I may happen to be a Christian from Scottish ancestry (in-fact you all have probably heard me roll my R’s from time to time), and that’s fine, but Christianity dictates what is acceptable within my culture, not the other way around.
So Paul tells us here to walk worthy of our calling with which we were called. The Greek word “worthy” is the word axios and it’s actually a mathematical term and it had to do with weights and measures; trying to get a balance. In other words Paul is saying that we should live lives that equal the great blessings that we have in Christ. Let me put this in Oklahoma terms. Our lives should reflect what God has done in them. So what Paul is saying here is that we should be doers as well as hearers, specifically in terms of our unity to one another. So how do we go about this? Well look at verse 2 (Read).