Summary: To build a strong church, preserving the unity that is ours in Christ, don't underestimate or overestimate yourselves. Instead, be faithful to serve, focusing on those things we share in common.
A woman was sitting in the waiting room for her first appointment with a new dentist. She noticed his DDS diploma, which bore his full name. Suddenly, she remembered that a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in her high school class so many years ago. “Could this be the same guy I had a crush on way back then?” she wondered.
She quickly discarded any such thought when she met the balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face. “He's way too old to have been my classmate,” she thought to herself.
Still, after he examined her teeth, she asked, “Did you happen to attend Morgan Park High School?”
“Yes! I'm a Mustang,” he gleamed with pride.
“When did you graduate?” she asked.
“1959,” he replied. “Why do you ask?”
“You were in my class!” she exclaimed.
“Really?” he said, looking at her closely. “What did you teach?” (Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky)
Ooops! He thought she was older than he!
Sometimes, we don’t really have an accurate picture of ourselves, and that can get us into trouble. At the very least, it can lead to hard feelings and damaged relationships. And yet, God calls us to live in harmony with each other. He calls us to preserve the unity that is already ours in Jesus Christ.
Again, I ask the question: How? How can we learn to get along despite our differences? How can we work together for the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Ephesians 4, Ephesians 4, where we begin the practical section of this book, which tells us how to live out the unity that is ours in Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called… (ESV)
If we want to preserve the unity that is ours in Christ, then 1st of all...
WE MUST NOT UNDERESTIMATE OUR-SELVES.
We must not underrate ourselves. We must not think of ourselves as less worthy than other believers in Christ.
Walk, or live your life, in a manner “worthy” of your calling, the Bible says. We have been called citizens in the Kingdom of God. We belong to the greatest nation there is – And I’m not talking about the United States of America; I’m talking about the United Kingdom of Heaven. We have been called citizens in the Kingdom of God, and that carries with it some wonderful privileges.
But even better than that, we have also been called sons and daughters in the family of God. We are not just citizens in the Kingdom of God; we are part of the royal family in that Kingdom. We are princes and princesses, and we will rule and reign with Jesus Himself someday. Don’t underestimate yourself. You and I have a high calling as believers in Christ.
Marty Johnson, from Minnesota, was doing some genealogical research when he ran into a surprising discovery that changed his life. He knew he was the product of two young college students who had a brief affair. Neither parent was prepared to deal with raising a child, so they gave him up for adoption, and Johnson grew up in a loving home in Minnesota. Years later as an adult, he started digging through past records and got in contact with his birth-mother.
Then a letter arrived one day that said, “Welcome to the Ogike dynasty! You come from a noble and prestigious family.” The letter went on to explain that Johnson was next in line to inherit the position of village chief from his biological father, John Ogike, the current chief of the Aboh village in Nigeria.
Johnson flew to Nigeria to meet his new family. There, he was united with brothers and sisters, numerous aunts and uncles, cousins, and of course, his father. And he went from having no knowledge about his family to a noisy celebration in the village. It absolutely changed his life. (Adopted Minnesota Man Learns He Is a Prince, ABC News, 6-2-05)
So it is with believers in Jesus Christ. When we discover that we are God’s sons and heirs, when we discover that we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ, it absolutely changes our lives. We can give up our insecurities and petty arguments. We can give up trying to prove ourselves, because we know that we are already heirs to a throne. Now, we are free to serve one another as we celebrate together our new-found position in Christ.
If we want to live out the unity that is ours in Christ, then 1st of all, we must not underestimate ourselves. On the other hand…
WE MUST NOT OVERESTIMATE OUR-SELVES EITHER.