Rooted in Christ’s Unity Preached by: Matthew S. Black Text: Ephesians 4:1-6 Series: Rooted in Christ Date: April 22, 2012, 10:30am Living Hope Bible Church of Roselle, IL Introduction: Open your Bibles to Ephesians. We are continuing our series: “Rooted in Christ”. The title of the message is: “Rooted in the Christ’s Unity”. Ephesians 4:1–6 (ESV), “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. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Illustration: A Body with many different parts Illustration: The many sides of a diamond Illustration: Getting in tune for an orchestra The other night we had a bunch of people over and Ray was there with his guitar and Gretel with her violin. And before we sang there was “organized chaos”. We were all tuning our instruments to the piano. Have you ever been to an orchestra when they all tuned together, and you wondered what a strange cacophony of sound? But it was necessary! This morning we are going to tune our spiritual instruments so that we can be unified. How can we get in tune today? · The Request for Unity – walk worthy! (vs. 1) · The Rigor of Unity – eager or endeavoring! (vs. 3) · The Reflection of Unity – 5 graces: humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, love (vs. 2) · The Roots of Unity – sevenfold foundation of unity (vs. 4-6) Ephesians 1-3 tell us who we are in Christ. In fact, Eph. 1:3 sets the stage for the first three chapters… It says we’ve been called and elected by God. · Called by the Father (Eph. 1:3) · Redeemed by the Son (Eph. 1:7) · Sealed by the Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14) · Raised from death to life (Eph. 2:1-10) · Joined to the Body of Christ (Eph. 2:11-22) · Filled with the Strength of the Spirit, the Love of Christ, and the Fullness of God! (Eph. 3) · Based on this high calling, Paul says, “walk in a manner worthy of your calling”. Paul was a beggar. · Romans 12:1 (ESV), “I beg (urge, beseech) you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice…” · 2 Corinthians 5:20 (ESV), “We implore (beg) you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” · Ephesians 4:1–6 (ESV), “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge (beg) you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”. Ephesians 4:1–6 (ESV), “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. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” I. The Request for Unity – walk worthy! (vs. 1) Ephesians 4:1 (ESV), “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, Walk WORTHY! The word “worthy” has the root of “weight” or “balance”. Feel the weight of your position. Balance who you are in Christ with a life that equals your high calling! We are to equalize our behavior in accord with our identity. We are to live up to our position. We are to live in the reality of who we are in Christ. Paul was a prisoner. Here he was writing to the church at Ephesus, a very prosperous church. We might call it one of the mega churches of the ancient world. Jerusalem and Antioch were the first really large churches. But Ephesus was definitely one. Ephesus was prosperous. The Ephesian church was established by Paul on his third missionary journey. You could read about that, if you want to, in Acts 19. Paul actually lived in Ephesus for two years. He carried on his ministry there. This was a well-established church. This church knew Christian doctrine backwards and forwards. Ephesus was once a large, seaport city; and it's significant that it is not a seaport city today. In Ephesus there is acre after acre after acre of gorgeous Roman architecture. There are huge colonnaded streets; there are huge paved streets that lead throughout the city. It's the great megachurch of the New Testament. Ephesus Left Her First Love Ephesus is the church that left its first love. What happened physically to the city of Ephesus also happened to the church in Ephesus. During the days of the apostle Paul, Ephesus was a harbor city. Today it's almost a mile inland and the reason is the river that runs through it has been silting all these years – moving it farther and farther away from the coast. So Ephesus was inundated with the silt of the River Cayster and it filled in the Ephesian harbor. Spiritually in the church at Ephesus, the same thing happened: the silt of sin came into the church. And while the church was strong and the city was strong and things were good for it, it was being filled up little by little with the silt of sin. Revelation 2:1–5 (ESV), “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” Paul and John urged Ephesus to be unified together and in their love for Christ. II. The Reflection of Unity – 5 graces: humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, love (vs. 2) Essentially, this is Christlikeness. All these traits are used to describe Christ. Ephesians 4:2 (ESV), “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”. A. Humility – “all lowliness”, complete humility. Forgetting self and only focused on others Philippians 2 – He humbled Himself. He became of “NO reputation”. B. Gentleness – meekness, strength under control. Examples of Moses and Christ Big Dog, Rascally Pup Big ugly dog, and the little rascally puppy. The puppy’s growling! But we all know the big ugly dog could destroy the rascally pup in about half a second. So it is with gentleness. Translated meekness. Strength under control C. Patience – Joyful perseverance. Not just endurance, but joyful endurance. Makrothumia – great endurance. The ability to joyfully wait on God in awful circumstances. Looooooooong suffering (with joy). Patiently waiting – knowing what the outcome is. Patient Baby Carrying Like having a baby. You put up with it because of what is being formed in you. You are patient and endure with each other that Christ might be formed in you. D. Forbearance – Bearing with one another – putting up with one another. We are all porcupines. We all have quirks and idiosyncrasies. It means to put up with each other! Forgive! Cover with love. 70 X 7 Always have godly conflict resolution. E. Love – total self-sacrifice 1. Eros – I get 2. Pileo – I get and I give 3. Agape – I give III. The Rigor of Unity – eager or endeavoring! (vs. 3) Ephesians 4:3 (ESV), “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. The word “eager” could also be translated endeavor and it means to spare no effort. It's a very, very strong exhortation. Labor!! It means to labor to the point of exhaustion! Unity takes work. Endeavor! We are told to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The Christian life is hard work. Look What God Has Done! The word “keep” means to maintain. God gave us this unity. We are called to guard it. Christ put you in the Body. He gave you the Spirit. Now work hard to keep close fellowship with Him, and through that, you will have close fellowship with other believers. But this takes work. The word is translated in other places in our English Bible as “to be forward”, “give diligence” or “to labour”, —it has the idea in 2 Timothy 2:15, to “labor to the point of utter exhaustion”: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” · Matthew 18 – go to your brother privately. · Proverbs 18:13, 18 Any one who begins to judge before he has all the facts is foolish. · Matthew 5 – leave your gift at the altar – speak to your brother quickly. IV. The Roots of Unity – sevenfold foundation of unity (vs. 4-6) Ephesians 4:4–6 (ESV), “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Believers are one. They always have been one, and they always will be one. They are not divided. Why? How is that? Our unity as believers in the Body of Christ is based on the unity of the Godhead. Here in this passage we have seven ones. We can all get that. We all understand that. · One Body · One Spirit · One Hope of your calling · One Lord · One Faith · One Baptism · One God and Father of all o Sovereign – over all o Omnipotent – through all o Omnipresent – in you all A. One Body The Body is organic. It isn’t put together piece by piece. It isn’t that you add two more fingers—add another arm. Now put an ear on that head. The Body all grows organically together. The systems in the Body are connected. They are mutually dependant. You really cannot separate them. How are you going to separate your respiratory system from your nervous system? God says just like the physical Body cannot be separated because it is organically one, so every believer is part of one Body. · 1 Corinthians 12:12-25, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” The Body not united on earthly similarities. The basis of our unity in the Body is not racial. There are diversity of cultures. Revelation 5:9 tells us that God has redeemed a people out of every “kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation”. The basis of our unity is not circumstancial either. In the twin epistle to Ephesians (Colossians), Paul writes virtually the same truths. Colossians 3:11 (ESV), “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” The unity that we have is not based upon the fact that we are free or not free. It is not based upon whether we are rich or poor. It’s not based on your gifts or skills or abilities. It has nothing to do with your circumstances. If you are a believer and have no money, you are on the same level as a millionaire in our congregation. With God there is no respect of persons. What is money compared to the precious and priceless blood of Christ? And you were all bought with that precious blood and placed into One Body. The world has superficial unity based on human abilities or circumstances. A sports team can have a pep rally. When I worked for MCI phone services we had pep rallies for the biggest sellers. That’s earthly. That’s natural. This is something SUPERnatural. B. One Spirit Not many… There is not one Holy Spirit for the independent churches and one for the Southern Baptists and one for the Free Presbyterians. No one can call Jesus Lord except by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit reveals Christ, He regenerates us; He convinces us of sin. Nobody has ever been convinced of sin and seen the cross of Christ lifted up without the Holy Spirit. Jesus said about the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, “He shall glorify me”. The Holy Spirit always points to Christ as the answer for our sins. Ephesians 1:13 tells us we were “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”. Where were we sealed? Into the Body of Christ. The Spirit is the “the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (verse 14). And every believer that comes to that knowledge, no matter what local church he happens to be a part of has come to faith by only One Holy Spirit. This One Holy Spirit fills the One Body. What is the Body? We just said that as Ephesians 1:22 that God the Father has “put all things under his [Jesus’] feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body….” So there is one Holy Spirit for all who have Christ Jesus as their head in local churches scattered throughout the world! He’s our Comforter, Counselor, Keeper… He expresses the love poured out from the Father. He unites us to each other. He regnerates us (Eze. 36:25-27). C. One Hope of Your Calling The Second Coming, final redemption, glorification. I want you to see the hope of our calling in a few passages. · Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” · 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” D. One Lord To say “Jesus Christ is Lord”, as Philippians 2:10–11 (ESV), “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” To say Jesus is KURIOS – was radical. Polycarp Polycarp, the 86-year-old bishop of Smyrna and a disciple of John the Apostle, was martyred in 156 A.D. Ironically, Polycarp was charged with atheism because he denied the false gods of Rome and he refused to call Caesar LORD. He was commanded to recant the Christians who were called atheists. The phrase “away with the atheist” was meant to be directed at the Christians. The proconsul did not want to sentence Polycarp to death. He was well liked. All he had to do was say the words “Away with the atheists” and “Caesar is Lord” and he would be free. Polycarp responded: “Eighty and six years have I served Him and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” The proconsul said: “I have respect for your age. Simply say, ‘Away with the Atheists’ and be set free.” Polycarp solemnly said, “Away with the Atheists”—pointing to the pagan crowd.” The proconsul continued..."I have wild beasts; I will throw you to them, unless you change your mind.” But Polycarp said: “Call for them!".... “I will have you consumed by fire, since you despise the wild beasts, unless you change your mind.” ..."You threaten with a fire that burns only briefly and after just a little while is extinguished, for you are ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and eternal punishment, which is reserved for the ungodly. But, why do you delay? Come, do what you wish.” Dear brothers and sisters, the very foundation and controller and Master of the life of every Christian is Jesus Christ. We bow our knees to Him as God, King, Substitute, and Savior! E. One Faith Jude talks about earnestly contending for the faith (Jude 3). Now sometimes there is controversies in the churches over issues. I think of this historically in the life of George Whitefield and John Wesley. Illustration: Whitefield preached an emphasis of sovereign grace and election as to how a person is converted. Of course, Wesley had the mindset and emphasis of free will. But God was using them in sweeping two continents with revival –in Great Britain and in the American Colonies. During this time Wesley would right very critical articles in the public papers about these differences in emphasis. Even though Whitefield was a younger man, he died 20 years before John Wesley. And somebody asked Wesley “You know, I’d really like to know, do you think you’re gonna see Whitefield in heaven?” And in that moment, when we are really talking about what the Christian faith is, we see something in Wesley’s reply. Wesley said, “No I don’t think I’ll see him in heaven. Because when I get there, I’ll be so far back from the throne, and he’ll be so close, I won’t be able to see him!” You see Wesley knew that the one faith that we hold is not his version of Wesleyan Methodism. Did Whitefield and Wesley believe the Gospel that Christ died for their sins? That he was buried and rose again? Amen! That’s the one faith that all believers everywhere have! F. One Baptism · Romans 6:3-5, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” There is controversy over the interpretation of this “one baptism”. Generally it is referring to Spirit baptism, but it almost was always confessed in a public way. G. One God and Father of All o Sovereign – over all o Omnipotent – through all o Omnipresent – in you all Conclusion: Paul Potts and the Mack Truck society!!