Summary: Ever since the early church, there have been schemes and promotions to produce unity in the church. But, divisions continue. The only medicine to heal the wounds of disunity and discord is found in this text of Scripture.
UNITY OF THE SPIRIT
TEXT: Eph 4:1-3
1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.(KJV)
A. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE UNITY?
In one of the Peanuts cartoons, Lucy demands that Linus change TV channels and then threatens him with her fist if he doesn’t. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus. "These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they’re nothing but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold." "Which channel do you want?" asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why can’t you guys get organized like that?"
B. THE EFFECTS OF SIN
1. SIN has not only made man hostile to God, but has made men hostile to each other.
2. Not long after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, their first-born murdered his own brother.
3. From then on, hatred, bloodshed, strife, war, and revenge have cast a deep shadow over the history of mankind.
C. SIN IS DISCORD
1. Sin is discord with God.
2. Sin is rebellion against the almighty.
3. Sin separates us from God.
4. It also separates from our fellow man.
5. It divides, separates, confuses, and distresses.
D. EVEN CHRISTIANS SIN
1. Just because you are a Christian, it doesn’t mean you are free from a carnal mind.
2. There are roots of bitterness which distract even the most sincere Christians.
3. Even Paul and Barnabus had their weak moments.
4. These men were filled with the Holy Ghost, and they still had a problem.
E. EFFORTS TO PREVENT DIVISION
1. Ever since the early church, there have been schemes and promotions to produce unity in the church.
2. In Acts 6, the first deacons were elected to maintain unity in the early church.
3. But, divisions continue.
4. The only medicine to heal these wounds is found in our text.
5. "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace."
6. Our text refers to the true basis of unity, and to the proper method of maintaining it.
I. THE BASIS OF UNITY
A. UNITY OF THE SPIRIT
1. It is NOT denominational unity.
2. It is NOT unity of the name over the door.
3. It is NOT unity of the form of worship (hymns -vs- choruses)
4. It is NOT one sect swallowing up the hundreds of other sects.
a. I once heard someone preach that a certain denomination was like Aaron’s rod, and it was going to swallow up all the other rods (denominations).
b. This is not the unity of the Spirit which is referred to in the Scriptures.
c. It’s not going to happen.
B. IF EVERYONE WAS ALIKE, IT WOULD BE A PECULIARITY
1. It would be a deviation from the norm in the universe.
2. There is difference and divergence throughout the universe.
3. If everyone dressed the same, spoke the same, thought the same, acted exactly the same, SOMETHING WOULD BE WRONG.
4. Can you imagine everyone thinking the same thing concerning when to get a drink of water and when to go to the bathroom? (Imagine the lines)
5. Thank God we are not all exactly alike and thinking exactly alike.
6. That is not the unity which is referred to here.
C. UNITY IS NOT ACCOMPLISHED BY LIBERAL CONCESSIONS
1. Some are willing to sacrifice the truth for the sake of visible harmony.
2. Unity, even of the right kind, is too dearly paid for if purchased by forsaking even one grain of truth.
3. UNITY BY CONCESSION IS LIKE TWO ON A BIKE
Two men were riding a bicycle built for two when they came to a big steep hill. It took a great deal of struggle for the men to complete what proved to be a very stiff climb. When they got to the top the man in front turned to the other and said, "Boy, that sure was a hard climb." The fellow in back replied, "Yes, and if I hadn’t kept the brakes on all the way we would certainly have rolled down backwards."
4. Attempting to obtain unity by concession is like trying to climb a hill with someone who is holding the brakes on.
5. They are fighting against you and must be lugged along.
6. It is not true unity.
D. IN OUR TEXT, THE BASIS FOR UNITY IS: UNITY OF SPIRIT
1. And this spirit is the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ.