Summary: A sermon on the basis for unity from Ephesians 4:4-6
Sermon for 8/2/2009
Ephesians 4:1-6 (vs. 4-6)
From that great philosopher Charlie Brown “In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if he didn’t. “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” asks Linus. “These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.” “Which channel do you want?” asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?” Source unknown
A. One day I was talking with a man about the Church of Christ and some of the beliefs we hold. When I told him that really the desire of everyone should be unity based upon the Bible, he just laughed and said, “That’s not possible.” Why isn’t that possible?
C. In the early church, it was reality. Not that they were perfectly united but all who claimed the name of Jesus Christ were part of one church. Part of the church or not.
D. In the United States we have many different churches with many different names. Some view this as good. Some even make jokes about it. Do we think that the Lord makes light of this? No, in one of his last prayers, he prayed for his followers to be one.
F. What is the basis for unity? What are the things that we have to believe in to be unified? Do we have to throw out some things to be unified with others? Do we have to add some beliefs and practices to be unified with others?
Thesis: Paul gives us 7 things that we must hold fast if we are ever going to have unity. These are things that all Christians should have in common.
1. One Body
A. (1 Cor 12:12 NIV) The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
B. I have one body. I cannot duplicate it. I cannot take my spirit to a different body.
C. Of course, Paul speaks here of the church in the "universal" sense. The "body" of saved believers throughout the world of which Christ is the "head.”
D. My friend Allen Byers said that he was part of a church of Christ that believed that they were the only true church in that area. Allen found out there were other churches of Christ there and they said, “The Lord is only coming back for one church.”
E. My friend Aaron Saufley has gone to Greenville, NC to start a group of churches in restaurants and coffee houses. Probably closer to the book of Acts than anything.
F. This is like saying that the only true Christians in Monterey meet here.
G. In the early church we find that for the most part they met in homes. Each city had several places where the church would meet. Rarely did they all meet together.
H. (Rom 12:5 NIV) so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
I. Even though we are not all together because of distance or language, or interest, or circumstances, or race, we are members of this one body. This body is not entirely visible because of time and space and circumstances, but we are all part of one body.
2. One Spirit
A. The way the Spirit works is sometimes hard to see and sometimes hard to define. Much controversy over the Holy Spirit.
C. (1 Cor 12:13 NIV) For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
D. At baptism we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit.
E. Now some say that we need to have more of the Spirit. Like the Holy Spirit is given in bits and pieces. I agree that we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit- give control of ourselves to the Spirit.
F. Some people treat me like a second class Christian because I have not experienced the additional helping of the Holy Spirit. Think we are talking about a different spirit.
G. Need to be enthusiastic and on fire for God, but we don’t need more of the Holy Spirit.
H. (Rom 8:9 NIV) You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
H. (Eph 4:30 NIV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.