Summary: In order to live a life worthy of our spiritual calling, we need to understand what unites us and what we must base our faith on.
Live Out Loud – Our FOUNDATION May 27, 2007
Video: The Power of Unity – www.sermonspice.com
Note: Last Sunday we spoke about Paul’s plea for unity by charging all of us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling as followers of Christ. If you remember, we concluded our time by focusing on the AMBITION of a worthy walk – to have unity of purpose w/in the family of God.
Verse: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Note: God’s ambition for His people is simple – allow God’s Spirit that unites us to have precedence in our lives. God wants us to live together in a partnership w/ Him and w/ one another.
Note: If you remember, we talked about how unity is not uniformity. Unity is one together, uniformity is one alike. We are an orchestra of people unity together around the score of God’s Word, tuning our lives to the same pitch of God’s love, to play in unison the commission of God’s will.
Trans: So as we continue our study in Ephesians today, we’re going to look at the foundation or score of our unity – the Seven Pillars of Grace.
Insert: When Bellevue Baptist in Memphis built their sanctuary a few years ago, they did something a little different than the average Baptist church. They didn’t place the visual focus on a steeple, but upon (7) massive, white columns of that adorned the entrance and supported the portico. What you might not know is that engraved on those (7) columns are these statements: one body, one Spirit; one hope; one Lord; one Faith; one Baptism; one God and Father. They got this idea from our text in Ephesians 4:4-6.
Text: 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.
Note: We find in this passage the basis for our unity as a church. We’re not bound by our programs or polity, but by our convictions and commission. If our unity is based on anything other than this Biblical truth, then our foundation is established on sinking sand.
Trans: To focus and unify our lives and mission, Paul reminds us that our unity must be established seven core pillars of God’s grace.
I One BODY – the CHURCH
Note: The first block in the foundation of our faith is the call to be one body in Christ – His beloved bride – the church.
Note: Now we’ve discussed this over the past few weeks. The church Paul is referring to isn’t the local church like we’re in today, but the universal church consisting solely of people who have placed their faith in Christ.
Word: church (ekklesia) is used in two ways – plural and singular. The plural form refers to every local gathering of believers called to love one another and share God’s love w/ the world. The singular form, as in this text, refers to all true believers. Thus, we’re not talking about whether someone is a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, or Pentecostal, but if they’ve surrendered their lives to the love/grace of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross unto salvation.
Verse: So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Rm. 12:5
Insert: People often ask me, “Are you a Baptist?” I’ll say, “Yes, I am; but I’m a Christian who happens to attend a Baptist church.” They’ll ask, “Are you one of those narrow-minded Baptists who believes only Baptists are going to heaven?” I’ll say, “I’m more narrow-minded than that. I believe there are some Baptists who aren’t going to make it to heaven; but I’m also a lot more broad-minded too, b/c I believe there are some Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Pentecostals who are going to get into heaven. I believe the Bible that the cross and not your denomination are what determines your eternal destination. Salvation isn’t found in a denomination, but on a cross and in an empty tomb.
Note: This is an important truth to grasp b/c you can join a local church and you should, but when your name is only written down on the church roll, please, don’t assume that is going somehow go to heaven when you die.
Note: Jesus said, “There will be many religious people who think they’re going to heaven, but unless they’re born again, they’re mistaken.” When you stand before God and He says, “Why should I let you into heaven?” Don’t you dare say, “B/c my name is on the roll at FBCWH.” Heaven isn’t reserved for the chosen frozen who have their names listed on a church roll, but only for those who have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.