Summary: It should be the desire of every Christian to work towards unity.
Unity In Christ
Text: Eph. 4:1-10
1. Illustration: A farmer noticed a highway department truck pulling over on to the shoulder of the road. A man got out and dug a hole, then got back into the truck. Then the other occupant got out, filled up the hole and got back in the truck. Every fifty yards this amazing process was repeated. ’What are you doing?’ the farmer asked. The driver replied, ’We’re on a highway beautification project, and the guy who plants the trees is home sick today.’ What’s the bottom line (morale)? No Unity, no Productivity! God blesses those who work together in unity.
2. Henry Webb in his book In Search of Christian Unity, had this to say about the early Church: "Although they possessed neither formal organization nor institutional resources, their unity expressed itself powerfully in table fellowship, in the fellowship of prayer, and in the very tangible fellowship of shared possessions" (Webb, In Search of Christian Unity, 18).
3. The second half of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus is all about unity in the church. In this passage, he talks about:
a. The call of Unity
b. The challenge of Unity
c. The Catalyst of Unity
4. Read Eph. 4:1-10
Proposition: It should be the desire of every Christian to work towards unity.
Transition: First, let us consider...
I. The Call of Unity (1-2)
A. Worthy of Your Calling
1. Paul begins this chapter with what seems like a familiar phrase. He says "Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord..."
a. As you might recall, he began chapter 3 in a similar way referring to himself as "the prisoner of the Lord."
b. However, there is a subtle difference here. There he is the "prisoner of the Lord," here is a "prisoner for serving the Lord."
c. Literally in Greek it is "prisoner in the Lord."
d. The NLT rightly interprets that he is in prison because he serves the Lord.
e. By mentioning his imprisonment he gently reminds his readers that he knows the worthy Christian walk can be costly and that he has paid considerable cost himself because of his obedience to the Lord (The - MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Ephesians).
f. He is saying that serving Jesus is not always easy, but always worth the price.
2. He goes on to says I "beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God."
a. The word translated beg carries the idea "to ask for something earnestly, to plead for, to appeal to, earnest request...(Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).
b. There is a passion and force to what Paul is asking.
c. He begs them to live a life that is worthy of the name Christian.
d. Colossians 1:10 (NLT)
Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
e. You will run across a lot of people who will claim "yes, I’m a Christian," but they are not living lives that are worthy of that name.
f. The name Christian means "little Christ," and if we are going to claim that name we need to live like He did.
3. By referring to our life in Christ as a "calling," Paul is referring to our salvation.
a. Acts 2:39 (NLT)
This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”
b. We would not be Christians if God did not call us.
c. Jesus said that "no one can come to me unless the Father draws him."
d. "Calling" is used of the salvation and responsibility of every Christian, not of the "professional ministry" or an elite group.
e. This one call is for all Christians to live in accord with what God has done (Snodgrass, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Ephesians, 196).
f. We are all called to live worthy of the name of Christ Jesus.
4. Paul then shows us how we can live a life worthy of the name. First, he tells us to be humble.
a. John Wesley observed that "neither the Romans nor the Greeks had a word for humility." The very concept was so foreign to their way of thinking that they had no term to describe it.
b. It has to do with lowliness of mind. In other words, to see yourself in a relaistic way.
c. Philippians 2:3 (NLT)
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
d. While humility is necessary characteristic, it is also a dangerous one. Once you realize that you have it, you’ve just lost it.