Summary: The Holy Spirit has created unity in the body of Christ. It’s up to us to keep that unity!
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THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
“I [John the Baptist] baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one [Jesus] who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11; cf. Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33).
On one occasion, while [Jesus] was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5; cf. 11:16).
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. For we are 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 (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
Some Christians make a distinction between being baptized “with” the Spirit and “by” the Spirit. But in all of these verses the Greek word is the same: en, which can be translated “with,” “in,” or “by.”
What is the baptism of the Spirit?
· It is something that happens at CONVERSION.
“We are all baptized by one Spirit into one body.” The believers on the Day of Pentecost received the baptism of the Spirit after their conversion because this was a transition period.
· It IMMERSES us into the body of Christ.
There is a difference between the visible, local church and the invisible, universal church.
· It makes believers ONE in Christ.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:27-28).
Unity transcends ethnic, social, and gender distinctions.
In the body we find, not uniformity, but unity with diversity.
We are connected not only to the Head, but also to one another.
ONE BODY, ONE SPIRIT
1. Unity can be EASILY broken.
As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:1-6).
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2. Unity is a great WITNESS to the world.
“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23).
3. Unity is PRECIOUS to God.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1).
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).
4. Unity requires the attitude of CHRIST.
There was disunity in the church at Philippi (Philippians 4:2).
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8).