Summary: The purpose of unity in the Body of Christ is for the sake of bearing fruit or building something that glorifies God. This message aims to identify the steps of becoming a church that produces kingdom fruit by examining the stages of Forming, Storming, No
Let’s Build Something Together
Text: Ephesians 4:1-16
According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there are over 33,830 Christian denominations around the world.
• In South Korea alone, there are over 300 different types of Presbyterians – just Presbyterians! Although diversity has some benefits, these figures speak of a different reality: instead of remaining united in Christ, millions of us Christians have chosen to separate and segment ourselves in our own little enclaves with our own style of worship, our own interpretation of the Bible, and our own take on who God is and what he expects of us.
• And the result is over 33,000 denominations around the world. What has happened to us? Why do we choose to separate rather than remain united? What does this say about us? What does this say to the rest of the world?
In John 17, Jesus prays for his disciples and his larger church. He specifically asks that they may be united...
My prayer is not for them (the disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in my through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.
Jesus prays for our unity. Paul exhorts us to be united in Christ Jesus. We’re going to look at the reason WHY we’re to be united, HOW we can grow in unity, and WHAT RESULTS from our unity in Christ.
• If you’re familiar with the book of Ephesians, you know that the first 3 chapters of the letter talk about all that God has done in Christ to take us from where we once were to where we are now. And so Paul says that based on ALL that Christ has done for you (ch.1-3), NOW live a life worthy of your calling. Respond to God based on what he has done for you. And so chapters 4-6 are a fleshing out in practical ways how we respond to what God has done for us.
• AND THE FIRST THING THAT PAUL CALLS US TO DO IN RESPONSE TO WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US IS TO BE UNITED. Look at verse 2:
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient (with one another), bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
CHRIST BROKE DOWN THE DIVIDING WALLS OF HOSTILITY BETWEEN US, BUT NOW YOU AND I MUST WORK TO MAINTAIN THE UNITY THAT JESUS MADE POSSIBLE.
o Be humble with one another because pride and arrogance will tear a church apart. Last week, you’ll recall that this was the problem with the eyes and the hands – they thought they were better than the feet and the elbows...they thought they were special.
o Be Gentle with one another because nothing tears a community apart like legalism and rigid control and offensive harshness.
o Be patient with one another because other people will test our patience and not do things or behave like we want them to.
o Bear with one another in love because it’s so easy to throw in the towel and quit people and quit relationships and quit the church.
o Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit because without focused and committed effort, we will find ways to rip each other apart.
PAUL ASSUMES THAT THEIR LIFE TOGETHER AS THE CHURCH WILL NOT BE EASY. BUT DESPITE THEIR DIFFERENCES, HE HOLDS UP ANOTHER WAY – THE WAY OF CHRIST.
• Look down at verse 11... Paul gives us a partial list of the gifts or specific offices in the church. These are like the eyes and the hands or the brains of the church. Last week we talked about the variety of gifts that God has given to his people.
BUT HERE WE NOW SEE THE PURPOSE OR INTENT OF THESE GIFTS:
o TO PREPARE GOD’S PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE...
o SO THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP...
o UNTIL WE ALL REACH UNITY IN THE FAITH AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD...
o AND BECOME MATURE, ATTAINING TO THE WHOLE MEASURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST.
• AND SO THE PURPOSE OF APOSTLES AND PASTORS AND TEACHERS IS TO EQUIP AND UNLEASH THE PEOPLE OF GOD FOR MINISTRY AND FULFILLING THEIR GOD-GIVEN CALLING... AND AS THIS HAPPENS THE PEOPLE OF GOD WILL BE BUILT UP TO A PLACE OF UNITY IN THE FAITH AND BECOME MATURE JUST LIKE JESUS.