Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This sermon helps us to understand the nature of God’s commitment to an imperfect church and how we fit in the picture.

One Is The “Only-est” Number

Scriptures: Ephesians 4:1-16

I believe that God is at work in our midst faithfully building his church. There are many who absolutely hunger to see Him break through in an unprecedented manner in our midst and in their individual lives. This message will be continued on October 15th and I would encourage you to pray over these scriptures between now and then and ask God to speak to you through them.

The primary cause of the [denominational] divisions is the institutionalism and organisationalism of the churches, which, without vivifying the life of the believers in them, smothers or drives it out of the ekklesia, and makes [the churches] merely dead institutions. Christians who really have life in Christ cannot exist within such a corpse and will at last have to come out of it. But in almost all cases, those who have come out of dead institutions want to have in their place another institution or other rituals and ceremonies, only repeating the same error. Instead of turning to Christ Himself as their center, they again seek to find fellowship and spiritual security on the very same basis that failed, not realizing that it is the institution that is killing, instead of producing, life in Christ. Even the Bible itself is interpreted and understood in various ways, and so always becomes the center of sectarianism. Just in the same way, dogmas and creeds cannot bring Christian unity, because human minds are not so uniformly created that they can unite in a single dogma or creed. Even our understanding of Christ Himself cannot be the basis of unity, because He is too big to be understood by any one person or group, and therefore our limited understandings do not always coincide. One emphasizes this point about Christ, another that; and this again becomes the cause of divisions. If we will only take our fellowship with Christ as the center of Christian faith, all Christians will realize their oneness... All our fellowship, however varied, is with the same Lord, and the same Saviour is our one Head.

... Kokichi Kurosaki, One Body in Christ [1954]

1) There is only one church. (v. 4-6). It is built upon the personal confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and it is built as God adds to the church.

a) It is carnality not spirituality which seeks to divide the church. We recognize this to be true in cases where churches split. We can clearly see the wrong. Carnal seems to be a term that we use to describe the bad things that Christians do – really what we call sin after we come to Christ. I think that we do ourselves an injustice to call it anything more or less than sin.

Sarkikos – from the word “sarx” meaning the flesh. It signifies having the nature of flesh, controlled by animal appetites, governed by human nature instead of the Spirit of God.

There are times when we point to our theology as the justification to divide on Christian from another. We may have good theology and we may not. We have what we need to find our way to heaven. I believe that God guarantees that. On the minors however – we may not have it all down perfectly – chances are we don’t. Even in our theology – that realm which we would term “spiritual” – the church can never be divided. It is the “human” part of us which seeks perfect agreement as necessary for fellowship and love.

b) Spiritual people see their carnal tendencies and deal with them as such. For the spiritual person, it is not difficult to see the fact that we don’t always perform perfectly. As a matter of fact there are times when we really mess up. The security of our relationship with God allows us to take a good honest look at the things in our lives that are unlike Christ and to address them.

c) Carnal people see their carnal tendencies as spiritual issues and deal with them as such. The issue then takes precedence over people. One of the oddities of carnality in the spiritual life is that we cannot seem to bring ourselves to the place where we humble ourselves, admit our shortcomings for what they are. We want to create spiritual issues and mask the real problem.

Your Problem...My Situation

When you get angry it’s because you’re ill-tempered... It just happens that my nerves are bothering me.

When you don’t like someone it’s because you’re prejudiced... I just happen to be a good judge of human nature.

When you compliment people it’s because you use flattery to get your way... I only encourage people.

When you take a long time to do a job it’s because you’re unbearable slow and pokey... I take a long time because I believe in quality workmanship.

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