Friday, October 26, 2012

Unity Continued...

…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.   Ephesians  4:2-6

We are talking about unity in the body of Christ and how it can affect our ministry.  Yesterday we learned that unity may be determined by our walk. Today we will learn of other ways unity in the body of Christ may be determined. 

Unity is determined by our common goals  
What goals should we as a church have in common? Belief, Purpose, Plan of action, Method of execution? We may have differing views in the area of opinion, but must be united in areas of faith!

There are many churches - WHY? (More opinion differences than faith) We need to come together where we can, but we cannot, we must not sacrifice matters of faith to achieve unity. We are never going to be 100% correct on everything but we must strive to be as correct as possible.
In this part of the Passage above what is the Key Word? ONE
It has been, from the beginning, the desire of God that we be ONE!

  • Body - The one Church of the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Spirit – one spirit, from God to guide and direct the body
  • Hope
  • Lord - This is the one Christ crucified, buried, raised, and exalted, there is room for NONE OTHER
  • Faith - one life giving faith that purifies the heart and makes us fit to be the "Temple of God"
  • Baptism - one burial of him whose heart has been purified by faith, who has been crucified with Jesus to that sin, and one resurrection to rise in the newness of life
  • God - one who is in all, over all, and through all - this is Gods, personal, transcendent, sovereign, relationship with His creation

This is Paul's Seven-fold basis for unity.  Alone we are not as strong as we are united into one body.
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says, "When he ascended on high, he led captive a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." … And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ…   Ephesians 4:7; 11-12

These are the gifts that God gives to each of us for the edification of the body.  Paul explains that these gifts are the incarnate Savior and that it is from HIM ALONE that they come. Paul  list some gifts, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers, but all the  gifts aren't listed here, only those of a "Leadership" nature, and who's ministry is exercised for the sake of the "Entire" community. 
Just like the gifts of each individual in the community, this equipping of the saints is what unites the church for service. There are three things that can be said about the use of our gifts in the church:

  • The saints aren't equipped for service so they cannot properly serve
  • The saints are equipped for service but they never serve
  • The saints are equipped for service and they use their gifts for the advancement of the Kingdom

Service to others is the KEY.  We are not here to simply advance some program but for the people of God

Scripture to Claim
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.  2 Corinthians 13:11

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