Summary: A continuing look at Ephesians. Today we focus on unity in the church through our shared faith.
UNITY IN THE CHURCH
November 24, 2019
I love this week! I get to cook and eat turkey! I get to allow tryptophan to work and make me sleepy. Turkey contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which produces sleep-promoting serotonin and melatonin. But here’s the thing, turkey has about the same amount of tryptophan as other meats. So, why do you get sleepy? It’s from eating all those extra carbs - stuffing / rolls / sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and pecan pies. OK! Let’s break for lunch!
But this week isn’t just about gorging ourselves, it’s about shopping. Lots of you have Black Friday plans, and some of you may skip the turkey and gorge yourself on shopping. That’s a whole different sermon.
This week is about Thanksgiving! It’s about celebrating what we’re thankful for. Even in the midst of sadness, sickness, and struggles, there’s reason to give thanks
We’ve been looking at the book of Ephesians since September, and today, we’ll end this portion of it, by looking at Ephesians 4:4-6. But before we do that, I want to share something Paul wrote in Romans 12. It’s really tied into what the church is supposed to be about. It’s one of my favorite passage about who we are supposed to be in Christ. It applies to everything we do, and most especially applies to the church, but is applicable everywhere we go. Paul tells us - -
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
OH MY GOODNESS!!! Isn’t that great? We should say these words every week! This should be the creed of every church, every Christ follower should live by. This is SO vital! God’s plan for sustaining and growing His church, His kingdom, involves teamwork. It involves everyone working, caring for one another. It involves acting in very specific ways to make sure the body is healthy.
Think about what Paul’s telling us about the way we are to live our lives with one another. And that’s the key, living our lives with one another - -
• Love should be genuine, never phony.
• Love one another as brothers and sisters.
• Lead the way in showing love and honor.
• Don’t wait for others . . . you go first.
• Be passionate / excited about Christ! Don’t be lazy about your faith!
• Even in bad times, have hope, be joyful, be patient, be prayerful.
• Contribute to those who have needs.
• Contribute to the church. Be hospitable and welcome others.
• Bless those who persecute, pray for them, don’t curse them.
• Live in unity with one another. Don’t think too much of yourself.
• Do what is honorable.
• And as much as you can, live peaceably with everyone.
That’s a great prescription for community in the church! Even for community at home and work. That’s how we’re to live with one another and the world!!
A Lutheran theologian from the 16th century wrote ~ “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” - Rupertus Meldenius
That’s a great reminder for us. Yet what is essential? Where is our starting point for a church to seek unity and to hold onto unity? Meldenius reminds us it’s in the essentials. And Paul gives us some help. Today, we’re going to look at Ephesians 4:4-6. I don’t want you to lose sight of what we spoke about a few weeks ago, the first 3 verses, those are the foundation. Paul wrote --
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
2 with ALL humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Paul gave us 5 virtues — 5 ways we are to live our lives to show we are worthy. He urges us to live with complete / total —