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Summary: Part one looks at the commonalities among believers; part two looks at the distinctions.

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United, Divided, One In Christ

Part 1

August 11, 2002

Ephesians 4:2-6

2 Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace.

4 We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. 5 There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all. (NLT)

Introduction: We desire unity, a common bond

Forever our world is changing

Our church is a global church

Variety of backgrounds, races, cultures, behaviors, ideologies

America is changing, and with it so too is our church

Not just with a mix of people, but the way we do church

Denominational ties are not as strong as they once were

Independent churches are on the rise

In the midst of shifting trends we look this morning at the instructions of Paul and the elements that he describes as uniting us in Christ.

In the midst of change, what are the things that really matter?

[Issue the early church faced as it moved beyond Jerusalem and Gentiles entered in]

Text:

1. One God, One Lord

1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ" (RSV)

1 Corinthians 8:6 "for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." (RSV)

2 Fold

1. Prevents us from going off into the tangents of God’s nature, and thus creating our own God.

"Hear O Israel the Lord our God is One God" Deuteronomy 6:4

-spoken in the midst of polytheistic tendencies

-today, to make God in our image or according to our desire

"My God wouldn’t . . ." "I couldn’t serve a God that . . ." "That’s not my understanding of God"

2. Draws us under the umbrella of His "Fatherness"

-not an illegitimate father, the devil. (cf. John 8:34-47)

2. One Faith

Strength of Protestantism is also our weakness. Sola Scriptura. Every person with their own bible ready to read it for themselves and also to interpret.

1. Creates liberty

2. Opens door for greater heresy

Ephesians 4:13 We are to "attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (RSV)

Christ is our redeemer and we will be rewarded for our faithfulness

3. Prayer

Acts 1:14 "All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." (RSV)

One accord-breathing deep in unison

passions were to be one, one desire

"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit." ( RSV)


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