Summary: Unity built on something other than Bible truth will not stand.
The Grounds of Unity
The Graces of Unity are in v. 2. Now, the grounds.
vv. 4-6 Seven uniting forces for all believers. They are foundational...they provide the grounds of our unity. They are the 'bond of peace' written of in v. 3.
Unity is not uniformity. We don't all have to be exactly alike. But these 7 things are the fundamentals which we must agree on in order to have unity.
Unity built on something other than Bible truth will not stand.
"Fundamentalist" used to simply mean you stand for the fundamentals of the faith. Now it's a radical extremist of some sort, a fanatic, etc.
If you are talking about someone who is against education, then I am not a fundamentalist. [legalistic / negative / mean spirited / unkind / unloving ]
But if you use the dictionary definition of someone who holds dear the fundamentals of the faith, then I guess I am, and proudly so! Now, are there better labels we could wear today? Perhaps, due to the media.
1. One body.
This is not just the local church, but the universal body of believers everywhere. I don't believe that just the Baptists are saved. I don't believe that all of the Grace Baptists are saved...tho' I wish they all were. But you have to do something other than join this church to be saved. You must be born again! And people of varying churches do just that.
The fact that every believer is a part of the 'one body' does not excuse any from belonging to and ministering thru the one body. The 'invisible church' is real, but it ministers thru the local church. And yet some strive to remain invisible even on the local level! Some give invisible offerings and are invisible in s.s. and go out on invisible visits and assist with invisible children...perhaps even changing invisible doodies!
ill.--imagine if we applied this principle to our military. An enlisted man is walking on base when approached by an officer who asks him which unit he belongs to. He replies, "I just go where I feel led." He goes on to describe how he belongs to the one true army which unites all soldiers. How many wars would we win with that mindset?
And how will the army of God succeed un-united?
ill.--when I visit with prospective church members I tell them that there's no pressure. If it takes them a week, a month, or longer to find God's will, that's fine. But once you do find it, you need to join it, make the commitment, and keep the commitment by being faithful, not hopping around and shopping the town. Get involved, have a ministry, always moving forward, not backward. Give up a ministry that's not for you, fine, as long as God is leading you to take a step up to something bigger and more your style and that requires more of a commitment, not less.
2. One Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is to the 'one body' what breath is to the human body. As a church we can operate in the power of the flesh if we want to, but better in the Spirit. There's more than a dozen references to the Holy Spirit in Ephesians, and that's how the body is to operate.
He is a ground of unity because He leads us and guides us where we should go. We have multiple pastors, deacons, teachers and leaders. How will we get together in leadership? We have the same Holy Spirit leading us as we pray about the future. Everyone has a personal opinion on things, but the Spirit brings us together.
As a church we enjoy great unity. When we vote on something it is almost always unanimous, which is unheard of outside of the leading of the Spirit.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication...
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul...
We all have our opinions. But when we pray and are filled with the Holy Spirit, God's opinions become our opinions!
My ideas and opinions are just like yours...not worth a flip unless they come from God.
3. One hope.
The 'blessed hope' is the return of Christ which we look forward to. We believe in it literally! But why is this a unifying factor for us?
ill.--during the Civil War, rival armies camped on opposing sides of the Potomac River. The Union band struck up a patriotic tune of their liking. Then the Confederate band struck up one of a southern flavor. Back and forth they went in competition. But at a certain point one band started playing "Home Sweet Home", and rather than seek a competing tune, the other joined them in the same.