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ONE!

 

EPHESIANS 4:1-16 (NIV)

 

UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST

4     AS A PRISONER FOR THE LORD, THEN,

I URGE YOU TO LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF THE CALLING YOU HAVE RECEIVED.

 

2 BE COMPLETELY HUMBLE AND GENTLE; BE PATIENT,

BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE.

 

3 MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH THE BOND OF PEACE.

 

4 THERE IS ONE BODY AND ONE SPIRIT—

JUST AS YOU WERE CALLED TO ONE HOPE WHEN YOU WERE CALLED—

5 ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM; 6 ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL, WHO IS OVER ALL AND THROUGH ALL AND IN ALL.

 

7 BUT TO EACH ONE OF US GRACE HAS BEEN GIVEN AS CHRIST APPORTIONED IT.

8 THIS IS WHY IT SAYS:

“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,

HE LED CAPTIVES IN HIS TRAIN

AND GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

9 (WHAT DOES “HE ASCENDED” MEAN EXCEPT THAT HE ALSO DESCENDED TO THE LOWER, EARTHLY REGIONS?

 

10 HE WHO DESCENDED IS THE VERY ONE WHO ASCENDED HIGHER THAN ALL THE HEAVENS, IN ORDER TO FILL THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.)

11 IT WAS HE WHO GAVE SOME TO BE APOSTLES, SOME TO BE PROPHETS, SOME TO BE EVANGELISTS, AND SOME TO BE PASTORS AND TEACHERS,

 

12 TO PREPARE GOD’S PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE, SO THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP

13 UNTIL WE ALL REACH UNITY IN THE FAITH AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD AND BECOME MATURE, ATTAINING TO THE WHOLE MEASURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST.

 

14 THEN WE WILL NO LONGER BE INFANTS, TOSSED BACK AND FORTH BY THE WAVES, AND BLOWN HERE AND THERE BY EVERY WIND OF TEACHING AND BY THE CUNNING AND CRAFTINESS OF MEN IN THEIR DECEITFUL SCHEMING.

 

15 INSTEAD, SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, WE WILL IN ALL THINGS GROW UP INTO HIM WHO IS THE HEAD, THAT IS, CHRIST.

 

16 FROM HIM THE WHOLE BODY, JOINED AND HELD TOGETHER BY EVERY SUPPORTING LIGAMENT, GROWS AND BUILDS ITSELF UP IN LOVE, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK.


 

EPHESIANS 4:1-16 (NIV)

Up until now the instructions have dealt with doctrine:

This chapter begins a discussion on the walk of the Christian believer.

The instructions are very practical.

 

1.  The way to walk worthy (v.1-2).

2.  The purpose for walking worthy: to keep the unity, the peace (v.3).

3.  The seven basic reasons (v.4-6).

 

UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST

 The way to walk worthy (v.1-2).

4     AS A PRISONER FOR THE LORD, THEN,

I URGE YOU TO LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF THE CALLING YOU HAVE RECEIVED.

 

PAUL IS A PRISONER.

 

LIVING A LIFE WORTHY OF OUR CALLING.

 

THIS IS HOW WE SHOULD LIVE.

2 BE COMPLETELY HUMBLE

 

AND GENTLE;

 

BE PATIENT,

 

BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE.

 

The purpose for walking worthy: to keep the unity, the peace (v.3).

3 MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT

 

THROUGH THE BOND OF PEACE.

 

The seven basic reasons (v.4-6).

ONENESS,  WHAT IS ONENESS REALLY?

4 THERE IS ONE BODY

AND ONE SPIRIT—

JUST AS YOU WERE CALLED TO ONE HOPE

WHEN YOU WERE CALLED—

5 ONE LORD,

ONE FAITH,

ONE BAPTISM;

6 ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL,

WHO IS OVER ALL AND THROUGH ALL AND IN ALL.

 

 

 

GOD HELPS US WITH HIS GRACE.

7 BUT TO EACH ONE OF US

GRACE HAS BEEN GIVEN AS CHRIST APPORTIONED IT.

8 THIS IS WHY IT SAYS:

“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,

HE LED CAPTIVES IN HIS TRAIN

AND GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

9 (WHAT DOES “HE ASCENDED” MEAN EXCEPT THAT HE ALSO DESCENDED TO THE LOWER, EARTHLY REGIONS?

 

10 HE WHO DESCENDED IS THE VERY ONE WHO ASCENDED HIGHER THAN ALL THE HEAVENS, IN ORDER TO FILL THE WHOLE UNIVERSE.)

11 IT WAS HE WHO GAVE SOME TO BE APOSTLES, SOME TO BE PROPHETS, SOME TO BE EVANGELISTS, AND SOME TO BE PASTORS AND TEACHERS,

 

12 TO PREPARE GOD’S PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE, SO THAT THE BODY OF CHRIST MAY BE BUILT UP

13 UNTIL WE ALL REACH UNITY IN THE FAITH AND IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD AND BECOME MATURE, ATTAINING TO THE WHOLE MEASURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST.

 

14 THEN WE WILL NO LONGER BE INFANTS, TOSSED BACK AND FORTH BY THE WAVES, AND BLOWN HERE AND THERE BY EVERY WIND OF TEACHING AND BY THE CUNNING AND CRAFTINESS OF MEN IN THEIR DECEITFUL SCHEMING.

 

15 INSTEAD, SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, WE WILL IN ALL THINGS GROW UP INTO HIM WHO IS THE HEAD, THAT IS, CHRIST.

 

16 FROM HIM THE WHOLE BODY, JOINED AND HELD TOGETHER BY EVERY SUPPORTING LIGAMENT, GROWS AND BUILDS ITSELF UP IN LOVE, AS EACH PART DOES ITS WORK.


 

1.  THE WAY TO WALK WORTHY (V.1-2).

2.  THE PURPOSE FOR WALKING WORTHY: TO KEEP THE UNITY, THE PEACE (V.3).

3.  THE SEVEN BASIC REASONS (V.4-6).

1. (4:1-2) BELIEVER, WALK: HOW CAN THE BELIEVER WALK WORTHY? WHAT MUST THE BELIEVER DO TO PLEASE GOD AS HE LIVES DAY BY DAY...

·  AT WORK?·  AT PLAY?·  AT SCHOOL?·  WITH FELLOW BELIEVERS? ·  AT CHURCH?·  AT HOME?·  WITH NEIGHBORS?·  WITH FAMILY?·  WITH FRIENDS?

ONCE A PERSON BELIEVES IN JESUS CHRIST AND BECOMES A MEMBER OF GOD'S PEOPLE AND OF GOD'S CHURCH, WHAT MUST HE DO TO WALK WORTHY OF GOD'S GREAT CALLING—TO BRING HONOR TO THE NAME OF CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH?

1.  THE BELIEVER MUST WALK WITH ALL LOWLINESS (SEE NOTE, HUMILITY—§PHIL. 2:3 FOR DISCUSSION).

2.  THE BELIEVER MUST WALK WITH ALL MEEKNESS (SEE NOTE, MEEKNESS—§GALATIANS 5:22-23 FOR DISCUSSION).

3.  THE BELIEVER MUST WALK WITH LONGSUFFERING (SEE NOTE, LONGSUFFERING—§GALATIANS 5:22-23 FOR DISCUSSION).

4.  THE BELIEVER MUST WALK FORBEARING OTHERS IN LOVE (SEE NOTE, LOVE—§GALATIANS 5:22-23. ALSO SEE NOTES, LOVE—§GALATIANS 5:13-15 FOR MORE DISCUSSION.)

2. (4:3) UNITY— BROTHERHOOD: THE PURPOSE FOR WALKING WORTHY IS ONEFOLD—UNITY. BELIEVERS ARE TO WORK AT KEEPING THE PEACE SO THAT THEY CAN STAY BOUND TOGETHER IN THE UNITY OF GOD'S SPIRIT. JESUS CHRIST HAS BROKEN DOWN ALL WALLS AND BARRIERS EXISTING BETWEEN MEN. EVERYONE CAN NOW BE SAVED:

·  ALL NATIONALITIES·  ALL PEOPLES·  ALL LANGUAGES·  THE WHITE·  THE RED ·  THE POOR·  THE RICH·  THE BLACK·  THE YELLOW

EVERY PERSON IS PRECIOUS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. WHEN A PERSON APPROACHES GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, HE COMES LIKE EVERYONE ELSE: ON THE SAME GROUND AND ON THE SAME LEVEL. HE IS NO BETTER AND NO WORSE THAN ANYONE ELSE: HE IS A MAN WHO STANDS IN NEED OF GOD'S FORGIVENESS; AND HE, ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE, IS BOWING BEFORE CHRIST AND ACCEPTING HIM AS HIS LORD AND MASTER. THE MAN, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, IS SUBJECTING HIMSELF TO BECOME THE SERVANT OF CHRIST. WEALTH, POSITION, SOCIAL STATUS—IT IS ALL FORGOTTEN. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS THE SALVATION AND LIFE WHICH CHRIST OFFERS.

THE POINT IS THIS: WHEN A PERSON COMES TO CHRIST IN SUCH A SPIRIT, THE SPIRIT OF GOD ENTERS HIS LIFE AND BINDS THE PERSON TO ALL OTHER BELIEVERS. THERE IS A GREAT SPIRITUAL BOND OF PEACE WROUGHT BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD BETWEEN ALL BELIEVERS. ALL DIVISIVENESS, DIFFERENCES, AND PREJUDICES ARE SET ASIDE; AND A SPIRIT OF LOVE, PEACE, AND UNITY EXIST.

WITHIN THE CHURCH THERE IS A PREVAILING SPIRIT OF PEACE WROUGHT BY GOD'S SPIRIT. HOWEVER, NOTE A TRAGIC FACT: NOT EVERY BELIEVER WALKS IN THE SPIRIT—NOT ALL THE TIME. TOO OFTEN, BELIEVERS ALLOW SELF AND THE OLD LIFE TO RE-ENTER THE PICTURE—THEIR OLD...

·  PREJUDICES·  DIFFERENCES·  HURTS·  JEALOUSIES·  PRIDE·  ARROGANCE ·  COMPLAINTS·  CRITICISMS·  GRUMBLINGS·  GRIPES·  COMPARISONS·  DISLIKES

THE RESULT IS CATASTROPHIC FOR THE CHURCH: DIVISIVENESS AND A DISTURBANCE OF THE PEACE AND SPIRIT OF UNITY. THIS IS THE REASON FOR THIS CHARGE. NOTE THE WORD "ENDEAVOR" (SPOUDAZONTES PWS: 1270). IT MEANS BEING DILIGENT, WORKING TO TAKE CARE AND TO DO ONE'S VERY BEST, AND TO MAKE HASTE TO DO IT. THE ONLY WAY TO WALK WORTHY OF GOD'S GREAT CALLING IS TO WORK AT KEEPING THE PEACE AND UNITY WHICH GOD HAS GIVEN US. NOTHING CUTS THE HEART OF GOD LIKE DIVISIVENESS BETWEEN HIS PEOPLE, DIVISIVENESS WHICH TEARS APART HIS CHURCH. THE VERY THING GOD IS DOING IS CREATING A NEW BODY OF PEOPLE TO LIVE TOGETHER IN THE LOVE AND UNITY OF HIS SON. HE IS GOING TO CREATE A NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH IN WHICH THERE WILL BE NO OTHER SPIRIT. THEREFORE, HE EXPECTS US TO LIVE IN THE LOVE AND UNITY OF HIS SPIRIT NOW.

"NOW I BESEECH YOU, BRETHREN, BY THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THAT YE ALL SPEAK THE SAME THING, AND THAT THERE BE NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU; BUT THAT YE BE PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER IN THE SAME MIND AND IN THE SAME JUDGMENT" (1 COR. 1:10).

"FINALLY, BRETHREN, FAREWELL. BE PERFECT, BE OF GOOD COMFORT, BE OF ONE MIND, LIVE IN PEACE; AND THE GOD OF LOVE AND PEACE SHALL BE WITH YOU" (2 COR. 13:11).

"ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE" (EPHES. 4:3).

"ONLY LET YOUR CONVERSATION [BEHAVIOR] BE AS IT BECOMETH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THAT WHETHER I COME AND SEE YOU, OR ELSE BE ABSENT, I MAY HEAR OF YOUR AFFAIRS, THAT YE STAND FAST IN ONE SPIRIT, WITH ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL" (PHIL. 1:27).

"FINALLY, BE YE ALL OF ONE MIND, HAVING COMPASSION ONE OF ANOTHER; LOVE AS BRETHREN, BE PITIFUL, BE COURTEOUS" (1 PETER 3:8).

3. (4:4-6) BELIEVERS, WALK: THERE ARE SEVEN BASIC REASONS WHY WE SHOULD WALK WORTHY AND STRIVE TO KEEP THE PEACE AND UNITY OF GOD'S SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH. NOTE WHAT HAS JUST BEEN SAID, FOR THE POINT NEEDS TO BE STRESSED: THERE IS GREAT NEED TO KEEP THE PEACE AND UNITY WITHIN THE CHURCH. FAR TOO OFTEN THE CHURCH IS THE PLACE WHERE THE PEACE AND UNITY OF BELIEVERS FLY APART. AGAIN, THERE ARE SEVEN REASONS WHY THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN—SEVEN REASONS WHY BELIEVERS SHOULD ALWAYS WALK IN THE PEACE AND UNITY OF THE SPIRIT.

1.  THERE IS ONLY "ONE BODY." THERE ARE NOT TWO BODIES NOR SEVERAL BODIES OF BELIEVERS. HOWEVER, IN THIS IMPERFECT WORLD, THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONS AND CHURCHES. BUT NOTE WHAT GOD IS DOING: GOD IS CREATING ONLY ONE BODY OF PEOPLE WHO TRUST AND FOLLOW HIS DEAR SON. WHEN A PERSON PLACES HIS TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST, GOD DOES SIX THINGS TO THE BELIEVER THAT PLACE HIM INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST:

Þ  GOD GIVES A NEW BIRTH TO THE BELIEVER—QUICKENS HIM SPIRITUALLY—CAUSES HIM TO BE BORN AGAIN (JOHN 1:12-13; JOHN 3:3-6; TITUS 3:5; 1 PETER 1:23; 1 JOHN 5:1).

Þ  GOD MAKES A NEW CREATURE, A NEW MAN OUT OF THE BELIEVER (2 COR. 5:17; EPHES. 4:24; COL. 3:10).

Þ  GOD PLACES HIS DIVINE NATURE INTO THE BELIEVER (2 PETER 1:4).

Þ  GOD PUTS HIS HOLY SPIRIT INTO THE BELIEVER, ACTUALLY HAS HIS SPIRIT ENTER THE BELIEVER'S BODY. THE BELIEVER'S BODY BECOMES A TEMPLE FOR THE PRESENCE OF GOD'S SPIRIT (JOHN 14:16-17; 1 COR. 3:16; 1 COR. 6:19-20).

Þ  GOD CAUSES THE BELIEVER TO BEAR THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WHICH IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, CONTROL (GALATIANS 5:22-23).

Þ  GOD PLACES THE BELIEVER INTO THE NEW BODY OF PEOPLE HE IS CREATING, THAT IS, INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST, HIS CHURCH.

"FOR BY ONE SPIRIT ARE WE ALL BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, WHETHER WE BE JEWS OR GENTILES, WHETHER WE BE BOND OR FREE; AND HAVE BEEN ALL MADE TO DRINK INTO ONE SPIRIT" (1 COR. 12:13).

NOTE THE LAST TWO EXPERIENCES IN PARTICULAR. THERE IS NO WAY A BELIEVER CAN BE IN CONFLICT WITH ANOTHER BELIEVER UNLESS HE IS WALKING AFTER THE FLESH AND IS IN A BACKSLIDDEN CONDITION. THERE ARE JUST SOME THINGS THAT ARE CONTRARY TO LOVE AND JOY AND PEACE THAT HURT AND DAMAGE THE BODY...

·  AN ILL SPIRIT·  STRUGGLING FOR POSITION·  SELF-CENTERED DIFFERENCES·  REACTIONS·  FEELING SUPERIOR ·  SEEKING OUR OWN WAY·  FORMING CLIQUES·  SELFISHNESS·  ENVY·  ANGER

SUCH THINGS HAVE NO PLACE IN THE CHURCH, NOT IN THE NEW BODY WHICH GOD IS CREATING. THERE IS ONLY ONE BODY OF TRUE BELIEVERS, NOT TWO—NOT ONE BODY OVER HERE AND ANOTHER BODY OVER THERE. THIS IS THE REASON WE ARE TO STRIVE TO KEEP THE PEACE AND THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT. THERE IS ONLY ONE BODY, AND ONLY AS WE KEEP THE PEACE AND UNITY OF THE BODY CAN WE WALK WORTHY OF GOD'S GREAT CALLING.

"SO WE, BEING MANY, ARE ONE BODY IN CHRIST, AND EVERY ONE MEMBERS ONE OF ANOTHER" (ROMANS 12:5).

"NOW YE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST [CHURCH], AND MEMBERS IN PARTICULAR" (1 COR. 12:27).

"[THE CHURCH] WHICH IS HIS BODY, THE FULNESS OF HIM THAT FILLETH ALL IN ALL" (EPHES. 1:23).

"FOR THE PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS, FOR THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY, FOR THE EDIFYING OF THE BODY OF CHRIST" (EPHES. 4:12).

"...HIS BODY'S SAKE, WHICH IS THE CHURCH" (COL. 1:24).

"AND NOT HOLDING THE HEAD, FROM WHICH ALL THE BODY BY JOINTS AND BANDS HAVING NOURISHMENT MINISTERED, AND KNIT TOGETHER, INCREASETH WITH THE INCREASE OF GOD" (COL. 2:19).

2.  THERE IS ONLY "ONE SPIRIT." THE SAME SPIRIT THAT DWELLS WITHIN ONE MEMBER OF THE BODY DWELLS IN ALL MEMBERS OF THE BODY.

Þ  IT IS GOD'S SPIRIT THAT CAUSES A MAN TO BE BORN AGAIN.

"JESUS ANSWERED, VERILY, VERILY, I SAY UNTO THEE, EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT, HE CANNOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. THAT WHICH IS BORN OF THE FLESH IS FLESH; AND THAT WHICH IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT IS SPIRIT" (JOHN 3:5-6).

"IT IS THE SPIRIT THAT QUICKENETH; THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING: THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE" (JOHN 6:63).

"BUT IF THE SPIRIT OF HIM THAT RAISED UP JESUS FROM THE DEAD DWELL IN YOU, HE THAT RAISED UP CHRIST FROM THE DEAD SHALL ALSO QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES BY HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU" (ROMANS 8:11).

Þ  IT IS GOD'S SPIRIT THAT CALLS AND GIFTS AND DIRECTS EACH MEMBER TO FIT IN AND WORK WITHIN THE BODY.

"AS THEY MINISTERED TO THE LORD, AND FASTED, THE HOLY GHOST SAID, SEPARATE ME BARNABAS SND SAUL FOR THE WORK WHEREUNTO I HAVE CALLED THEM" (ACTS 13:2).

"FOR AS MANY AS ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD" (ROMANS 8:14).

"BUT THE MANIFESTATION [GIFTS] OF THE SPIRIT IS GIVEN TO EVERY MAN TO PROFIT WITHAL" (1 COR. 12:7; CP. 1 COR. 12:8F).

THE POINT IS THIS: EACH MEMBER IS TO DO HIS PART IN CARRYING OUT THE MISSION OF THE BODY—FOR CHRIST. ACTING INDEPENDENT OF THE BODY IS OF ANOTHER SPIRIT, FOR THERE IS ONLY ONE SPIRIT CREATING THE BODY OF CHRIST.

3.  THERE IS ONLY "ONE HOPE." EVERY GENUINE BELIEVER HAS THE SAME HOPE: THE GREAT DAY OF REDEMPTION. IT IS TO BE A NEW WORLD CREATED PERFECTLY FOR CHRIST JESUS AND HIS PEOPLE. LIFE IN THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH WILL BE A LIFE OF LOVE AND JOY AND PEACE—A LIFE OF ONENESS AND UNITY AND BROTHERHOOD—ALL PERFECTED. WHAT GOD IS AFTER IS FOR US TO LIVE AS WE SHALL LIVE IN THE FUTURE. OUR FUTURE LIVES IN THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH ARE TO BE THE PATTERN FOR THE WAY WE LIVE TOGETHER NOW. WE SHALL BE REDEEMED AND RECONCILED TO GOD AND TO EACH OTHER—ALL LIVING TOGETHER IN A PERFECT WORLD OF LOVE AND JOY AND PEACE FOR EVER AND EVER. THE HOPE FOR ETERNITY—THE HOPE THAT FILLS OUR HEARTS FOR SUCH A WORLD—IS TO BE THE DRIVING FORCE THAT STIRS US TO LIVE TOGETHER IN PEACE AND UNITY.

"FOR WHATSOEVER THINGS WERE WRITTEN AFORETIME WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING, THAT WE THROUGH PATIENCE AND COMFORT OF THE SCRIPTURES MIGHT HAVE HOPE" (ROMANS 15:4).

"SINCE WE HEARD OF YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS, AND OF THE LOVE WHICH YE HAVE TO ALL THE SAINTS, FOR THE HOPE WHICH IS LAID UP FOR YOU IN HEAVEN, WHEREOF YE HEARD BEFORE IN THE WORD OF THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL" (COL. 1:4-5).

"TEACHING US THAT, DENYING UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY LUSTS, WE SHOULD LIVE SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, AND GODLY, IN THIS PRESENT WORLD; LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED HOPE, AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST" (TITUS 2:12-13).

"BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHICH ACCORDING TO HIS ABUNDANT MERCY HATH BEGOTTEN US AGAIN UNTO A LIVELY HOPE BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD, TO AN INHERITANCE INCORRUPTIBLE, AND UNDEFILED, AND THAT FADETH NOT AWAY, RESERVED IN HEAVEN FOR YOU" (1 PETER 1:3-4).

"BUT AS HE WHICH HATH CALLED YOU IS HOLY, SO BE YE HOLY IN ALL MANNER OF CONVERSATION" (1 PETER 1:15).

"AND HE IS THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS: AND NOT FOR OURS ONLY, BUT ALSO FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD. AND HEREBY WE DO KNOW THAT WE KNOW HIM, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS" (1 JOHN 2:2-3).

4.  THERE IS ONLY "ONE LORD." THERE IS ONLY ONE MASTER AND KING. EVERY BELIEVER HAS BOWED BEFORE THE SAME LORD TO BECOME HIS SUBJECT AND TO RECEIVE HIS ORDERS. AS HIS SUBJECTS, BELIEVERS ARE UNEQUIVOCALLY INSTRUCTED...

·  TO LIVE AS HE SAID: HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS AND PURE, BEARING THE FRUIT OF HIS SPIRIT (GALATIANS 5:19-21).

·  TO CARRY OUT HIS ORDERS AS ONE BODY (MATTHEW 7:21-23; 1 COR. 12:5; PHIL. 2:9-11).

"NOT EVERY ONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME, LORD, LORD, SHALL ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN. MANY WILL SAY TO ME IN THAT DAY, LORD, LORD, HAVE WE NOT PROPHESIED IN THY NAME? AND IN THY NAME HAVE CAST OUT DEVILS? AND IN THY NAME DONE MANY WONDERFUL WORKS? AND THEN WILL I PROFESS UNTO THEM, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY" (MATTHEW 7:21-23).

"AND THERE ARE DIFFERENCES OF ADMINISTRATIONS, BUT THE SAME LORD" (1 COR. 12:5).

"WHEREFORE GOD ALSO HATH HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, AND GIVEN HIM A NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME: THAT AT THE NAME OF JESUS EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, OF THINGS IN HEAVEN, AND THINGS IN EARTH, AND THINGS UNDER THE EARTH; AND THAT EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER" (PHIL. 2:9-11).

5.  THERE IS ONLY "ONE FAITH." THERE ARE NOT TWO FAITHS NOR SEVERAL FAITHS. THERE IS ONLY ONE FAITH THAT LEADS INTO GOD'S PRESENCE AND THAT IS THE FAITH FOUNDED BY THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. THERE IS NO OTHER APPROACH TO GOD. IF A PERSON WISHES TO LIVE WITH GOD—TO BE APPROVED AND ACCEPTED BY HIM—THAT PERSON HAS TO APPROACH GOD THROUGH THE FAITH OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

THE POINT IS THIS: EVERY BELIEVER HAS COME TO GOD IN THE VERY SAME WAY—BY BELIEVING IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. FAITH IN HIM IS THE ONLY WAY, THE ONLY TRUE FAITH. THEREFORE, STANDING BEFORE GOD AND HAVING COME TO HIM THROUGH THE SAME FAITH, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR ANY DIFFERENCES. WE ALL STAND ON THE SAME GROUND, ON THE SAME LEVEL: THE GROUND AND LEVEL OF FAITH.

"BUT THEY HAD HEARD ONLY, THAT HE WHICH PERSECUTED US IN TIMES PAST NOW PREACHETH THE FAITH WHICH ONCE HE DESTROYED" (GALATIANS 1:23).

"BELOVED, WHEN I GAVE ALL DILIGENCE TO WRITE UNTO YOU OF THE COMMON SALVATION, IT WAS NEEDFUL FOR ME TO WRITE UNTO YOU, AND EXHORT YOU THAT YE SHOULD EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH WHICH WAS ONCE DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS" (JUDE 3).

6.  THERE IS ONLY "ONE BAPTISM." ALL BELIEVERS HAVE GIVEN PUBLIC WITNESS TO THEIR FAITH BY SUBMITTING TO THE ORDINANCE OF WATER BAPTISM. EACH HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS BEING MEMBERS OF THE SAME BODY BECAUSE EACH HAS BEEN INITIATED THROUGH THE SAME RITUAL. THEREFORE, HAVING ENTERED THE CHURCH THROUGH THE SAME ORDINANCE, WE SHOULD NOT BECOME DIVISIVE. DIVISIVENESS DENIES AND BRINGS SHAME TO THE MEANING OF THE ORDINANCE. DIVISIVENESS IS A REFLECTION OF THE DEPTH OF OUR COMMITMENT. IT SHOWS THAT OUR SINCERITY IN BEING BAPTIZED WAS LACKING, GREATLY LACKING. IT SHOWS THAT WE CARE LITTLE FOR CHRIST AND FOR OUR BAPTISM EXPERIENCE, FOR THE GREAT ORDINANCE WHICH INITIATED US INTO THE CHURCH.

"KNOW YE NOT, THAT SO MANY OF US AS WERE BAPTIZED INTO JESUS CHRIST WERE BAPTIZED INTO HIS DEATH?" (ROMANS 6:3).

"FOR BY ONE SPIRIT ARE WE ALL BAPTIZED INTO ONE BODY, WHETHER WE BE JEWS OR GENTILES, WHETHER WE BE BOND OR FREE; AND HAVE BEEN ALL MADE TO DRINK INTO ONE SPIRIT" (1 COR. 12:13).

"FOR AS MANY OF YOU AS HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST HAVE PUT ON CHRIST" (GALATIANS 3:27).

7.  THERE IS ONLY "ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL." THIS IS PROBABLY A PRIMITIVE CONFESSION OF FAITH.

Þ  "ONE GOD": GOD IS CREATOR OF ALL AND AS SUCH IS SUPREME OVER ALL.

Þ  "ONE FATHER OF ALL": AS FATHER, GOD LOVES ALL. THE CHRISTIAN BELIEF BEGINS WITH GOD AS LOVE.

Þ  "ABOVE ALL": GOD CONTROLS ALL.

THE POINT IS STRIKING: IF THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL BELIEVERS, HOW THEN COULD HE BE LEADING TWO BELIEVERS TO STAND TOE TO TOE AGAINST EACH OTHER? THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS: HE COULD NOT. ONE OR BOTH BELIEVERS ARE FOLLOWING THEIR OWN FLESHLY CARNAL WAYS. SOMEONE IS NOT FOLLOWING THE ONLY GOD AND FATHER.

"AND JESUS ANSWERED HIM, THE FIRST OF ALL THE COMMANDMENTS IS, HEAR, O ISRAEL; THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD" (MARK 12:29).

"FOR THERE IS ONE GOD, AND ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN, THE MAN CHRIST JESUS; WHO GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, TO BE TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME" (1 TIM. 2:5-6).

"FOR THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN, THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY GHOST: AND THESE THREE AGREE IN ONE" (1 JOHN 5:7).

— PREACHER'S OUTLINE AND SERMON BIBLE - COMMENTARY

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