Summary: The church is made of completely different people and if we don’t embrace our diversity we will not survive. We must focus on living worthy of the Gospel instead of living for ourselves.
Unity in Diversity
Pastor Ryan Akers
Good morning Sand Lake! Happy Father’s Day! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here this morning to have the opportunity to share God’s Word with you. It’s been a really fun weekend getting to meet and know a bunch of you and then this morning trying to shake a lot of hands and say hi to everyone. My only hope is that you won’t quiz me on your name later. And now that I have just said that I am sure some of you will. 200+ names is a lot to remember in a day.
A couple weeks ago my wife and I were up here and had dinner with the search committee. It was the first time we have been to Wisconsin and of course you hear the name of a state like Wisconsin and you immediately, for some reason, expect to see arctic weather. But when we were here it was sunny and hot. My wife and I were just blown away by how beautiful this area of the country is. I grew up in western Oklahoma where there is absolutely nothing but wheat fields with 100 degree heat and 100 % humidity and coulee to us is just a funny way of describing a box that holds ice and cold drinks. No scenery whatsoever. My wife had it a little bit better than me. She grew up in Colorado Springs, CO and had a beautiful view of Pike’s Peak right out her living room window.
Even though I have never been to Wisconsin I actually have family here. My grandfather, who past away 5 years ago, grew up in West Bend which is on the east side of the state north of Milwaukee. So if any of you are my family that I have never met I just want to say it’s nice to meet you and I’d like to talk to you after the service about the 29 years of Christmas gifts you owe me. ☺
The message this morning is very simply titled Unity in Diversity. Ephesians 4:1(READ). The apostle Paul is the author of this letter. He is speaking to the believers of the church at Ephesus and it’s incredibly important to grasp what he is setting up in this first verse. Paul is suffering for Jesus. He wrote this letter while chained in prison for Jesus. No human suffered more than Paul for the faith. Many have died yes, but most have never endured his constant torture of imprisonment, loneliness, stonings, shipwrecks, whippings, conflict, hunger on and on the list goes. He has endured all of this pain for the cause of Christ. To advance the Gospel. He has led a life worthy of his calling because through all of his suffering and persecution he has remained faithful to Jesus by continuing to preach the Gospel wherever he goes and to encourage the church. Now, in his letter to his fellow believers in Ephesus he is not asking them he is begging them to live a life worthy of their calling just as he has.
What is that calling that Paul is begging us to follow? Jesus said it. Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. It is also to go and preach the Gospel to all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This plea from Paul to the believers brings up the BIG QUESTION I have for you this morning. Is your life worthy of the Gospel? Is how you are living your life, how you treat people, love people or don’t, how you talk, act, react worthy of the Gospel? If you have been called by God meaning you are a Christian who has repented and believes in Jesus for salvation and forgiveness of sin then you have a calling to follow and Paul is begging you this morning to make your life worthy of the Gospel by living out that calling.