TEXT: Ephesians 4:1-8
READING: Ephesians 3:1-21
SUBJ: The spiritual basis for Christian unity and Fellowship
AIM: That we should understand and cultivate these things.
1. The objective for Christian unity is derived from the unity of the Godhead. John 17:21-22 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
2. There is a need that we be aware of the divine design in unity as reflecting the nature of Christ in us. What makes us alike? Why is there so much dissent and disagreement? Perhaps a clear understanding of what true unity is will help us understand the problem.
3. The last several verses of chapter three comprise a prayer for strength, indwelling, comprehension, and knowledge of the Love of Christ. The “therefore” that begins chapter 4 suggests that Paul would direct in the answer to that prayer.
THESIS: The source of a worthy walk is found in the essential basis for unity. That unity is part and parcel with the working out of the Gospel objective in our lives.
I. A word of exhortation
1. Walking in accordance with the calling you already have in salvation. This is not learning something new. Neither is it walking in order to be saved.
2. The demeanor of one in such a way reflects the knowledge of his having been saved.
3. To earnestly seek to display the unity that exists by reason of a work of Grace.
II. The Spiritual Nature of True unity and fellowship. (v 4)
1. The spiritual reality of a Body that exists apart from the Spirit.
2. The singular Holy Spirit distinguished from the body yet, that forms, molds, guides, empowers, conforms and is the indwelling Holy Spirit.
3. Modern thought pursues unity based on outward things and seeks to be popular and competitive. Such things as compromise on the one hand or an impossible and unscriptural standard of legalism both seek to destroy the scriptural model.
4. There is one hope that is common to all – called together in that hope of union and communion with Christ our Lord.
1) Deliverance from sin – the hope that I shall not perish.
2) Possession of eternal life – the hope that I shall live forever with Christ and His redeemed.
III. The united claim that is in Christ alone – Salvation
1. One Lord – Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: AND ALSO: 1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
2. One faith (that is one common way of “believing” on Christ). It is at the name of Jesus that all bow – we, in true belief, bow our hearts together and submit to the work of Grace in Him.
3. One baptism – which is the outward testimony to the means of salvation in Christ. It cannot mean regeneration and it is not sacramental.
1) The outward ordinance is shared by all who would be obedient to Christ.
2) Herein is a true depiction that all have been “buried with Him in Baptism” and we will walk together in the newness of life.
IV. The Sovereignty of God
1. The distinction of God and God as our Father. – Here He is seen as separate from the Son and the Holy Spirit that we might understand why they did what they did and why they did it.
2. In particular we are to see the nature of His claim as “Our Father.” Old and New declarations of the Fatherhood o f God are brought to mind.
3. He is our “All and in all.”
1) Who is above all to rule, to protect, to direct that we all may be one in Him.
2) He is through all in that He uses us as instruments to accomplish His will.
3) He is in you all -- Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. He is there to bring us to maturity and that we might be filled – again, we understand that having these things in common there is unity.
V. There is individual participation.
1. Seven times in three verses the word “one” is used. Indeed, we are one body. Yet, our own identity is not lost in this thought.
2. It is our individual captivity that was led captive and gifts were given to be used in His service – yet we are one in Christ
3. We as individuals think the same things and follow the same way and have the same Law written in our hearts. Such are the participants in true unity and fellowship.