Summary: God created the church and God desires that there be unity in God's house. The common denominator for unity is Jesus Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct His church.
Lessons from Apostle Paul; Unity in the body of Christ
Ephesians chapter 4:1-4:6
This morning we are beginning a new series called lessons from Apostle Paul.
We will be looking at practical applications of God’s Word, discipleship, behaviors, basic Christianity, and how God can take situations in our life and work them for good.
Obviously not all happening today- This morning, we are looking at unity in the body of Christ.
One day after a rousing sermon on church unity, the pastor standing at the back door greeting people, a little girl came to the pastor and said, “Mr. Pastor”, why are there so many abominations, the pastor chuckled at her mispronunciation of denominations.
Perhaps that would be a better word to describe the division that exists between so many churches.
God instituted the church- it is called the church of Christ for a reason.
No one denomination has bragging rights on being the church. (repeat)
The church founder is Jesus Christ!
“And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”
It is obvious that Christ is the builder or founder of the New Testament Church and He calls it His church.
Any church not founded on Jesus Christ is not His Church.
David in the Old Testament said, “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain.”
Timothy goes on to tell us that the house of God is the church of the living God.
If the Lord didn’t build it, they labor in vain.
If the Lord did build it, the gates of Hell shall not prevail and tear it down.
The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ,
Apostle Paul says, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Any church built on a name or religion doctrine, or form of government that is built on a wrong foundation will not stand.
If it is not built on Jesus Christ- it is not Christ church.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter that the spiritual makeup of the church is to be lively or living stones. That is each one of us that makes up the body of Christ.
The church is founded on Christ and lived out in living stones(members) that are worshipping Christ.
So why would God bring a bunch of people from all walks of life together in what
He calls the church?
Why do you attend church? People or Christ?
Do you understand that the church is God ordained? It is a God thing!
Do you understand that the church was not established so that all of your needs are met?
So that you are entertained and made to feel good.
Don’t get me wrong- the church meets needs, the church works very hard at providing a worship experience that is enjoyable and beneficial. But that is not it’s priority.
The church functions for 4 reasons.
Glorify Jesus Christ (worship)
Evangelize the lost (fellowship)
Instruct and edify believers (discipleship)
Observe the ordinances (Baptism, Lords Supper)
How did we get so messed up?
Researchers indicate that the majority of protestant evangelical congregations in the USA shared at least 90 % of the same beliefs. That is good!
There is little disagreement over the basic elements of Christianity such as Jesus life, death, and resurrection. The foundation of the church.
Is it possible for the body of Christ to be in unity? Yes!
As long as the foundation that we share is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:10- (NKJ)
“Now I plead with you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same things, and that there be no division among you, but you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians made it clear that division and disharmony in the body of Christ was not acceptable- in fact, his expectation of the church was “that you speak the same thing, that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind.”
How does that happen?
(1) Making sure that the church you attend has Jesus Christ as the foundation of the church
(2) You hold to the fundamental truths of the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that as a believer one day you believe that you will be resurrected and live with Jesus for eternity.
The other issues are different expressions of the body of Christ.
Each denomination living out their own interpretation of worship, discipleship.
You have to go where you are comfortable.
The common denominator is Jesus Christ.
The cornerstone is Jesus Christ.
Our salvation is in Jesus Christ.