Summary: The call to unity extends to relationships within a Church fellowship, between Church fellowships, between different expressions of Church. Jesus prayed for unity. Will we cooperate with him to work for that unity? Since he prayed it what will we do about
What is the difference between a spotlight and a laser beam? Why is it that a medium-powered laser can burn through steel in a matter of seconds, while the most powerful spotlight can only make it warm? Both may have the same electrical power requirements. The difference is unity! Now forgive me I am now expert at all, but here goes. A laser can be simply described as a medium of excited molecules with mirrors at each end. In the processes that occur some of these excited molecules release a photon, a particle of light; and it is here that the unique process of the laser begins. The photon moves along and “tickles” another molecule, inviting another photon to join him on his journey. Then these two photons “tickle” two more molecules and invite two more photons to join the parade. Soon there is a huge army of photons marching in step with each other; and it is this unity that gives the laser its power.
A spotlight may have just as many photons, but each one is going its own independent way, occasionally interfering with other photons. As a result, much of its power is wasted and cannot be focused to do any useful work. However, the laser, because of its unity, is like an army marching in tight formation and is able to focus all its power on its objective.
Is the Church more like the laser or the spotlight? Someone (Vesta Kelly) once said, “Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together.”
In his letter to the Church in Ephesus, modern day Turkey, Paul has reminded the believers that when they heard the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation, they were included in Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the saviour (Ephesians 1:13). They – like us - were once dead in their sins; but now they are alive with Christ (2:5).
There is life eternal for all who trust in Jesus! Sins forgiven and forgotten and the promise of life in all its fullness; but it’s not something that is just for when we die. Far from it! Eternal life in all its fullness begins the moment we entrust ourselves to Jesus. Here. Now!
Paul has also reminded his readers that Jesus has broken the barriers erected between Jew and non-Jew. Chapter 2 verse 14: “He himself is our peace; [He] has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility”; and he then describes believers as a building with Jesus as the chief-cornerstone (2:20). “In him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (2:22).
Paul has also expressed his prayer for believers that Christ will dwell in their hearts, that they will be rooted and established in love (3:17) and that they will “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (3:19).
And having written, explained, and prayed for the believers, St. Paul now urges them and urges us “to live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received” (4:1) by making “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (4:3). He lists practical qualities, character traits that disciples of Jesus are called to. They are not pie in the sky, and they are not even qualities to be aimed for. They are the way of life to which Christian believers are called.
Richard Dunagin is a Methodist Church Minister. He tells of the time when at their school fete his children won 4 goldfish, and he went to buy an aquarium. The first few he saw were expensive, but then he spotted it, a discarded ex-display tank, complete with gravel and filter for only £5. It was nasty and dirty, but after a 2 hour clean-up the 4 goldfish looked great in their new home, at least for the first day. But by Sunday one had died. Monday morning revealed a 2nd casualty. By Monday night a 3rd had gone belly up.
So Richard called in an expert, and it didn’t take him long to discover the problem: Richard had washed the tank with soap - an absolute no-no! His uninformed efforts had destroyed the lives he was trying to protect …Sometimes in our zeal to clean up our own lives or the lives of others, we unfortunately use "killer soaps" such as condemnation, criticism, nagging, or fits of temper. We think we’re doing right, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear.
Exhorting believers to unity, because Jesus has broken down the barriers to unity, Paul writes this: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (4:2).