Ephesians 4:1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
Walk in Unity
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
I'm looking for a perfect church," the man replied.
--I had invited him to our church, so I said, "we're not perfect, but we are trying to be. You know it takes perfect people to make a perfect church."
--Whatever person, or church, Jesus makes us better!
Ephesians 4 shows us that truth, "Till we all come to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the structure of the fullness of Christ" (v 13). Our goal!
--"Till we all come," shows levels of our faith.
--Whatever level we are, Jesus makes us better.
--Jesus is Savior - not a church. But, church helps.
"Unity of the faith." What is faith?
--True, it is right believing or discerning trust.
--Let me illustrate - we can have faith in people.
--May be good, godly, faithful folk - but people.
--People sin, fail and fall. People are not God.
--I also have faith in Jesus, God who came as Man; a proven, sinless, miracle-worker, who can save us.
--I have studied His life. Jesus can be trusted.
--So I put my faith in His death for my sins on the Cross; His resurrection, so we may live with Him.
--You see how important is where we put our faith.
So we believe and follow Jesus, joining faith in Him with action, or works, for Him - to grow in Spirit.
--This is the way Christians and churches mature toward the likeness of Christ, and pleasing to God.
--As we do, we make living for Jesus attractive and appealing to others, so the churches may grow.
--The Gospel is wonderful in what it can do for us!
It is not that Christ lived and died - all do that.
--But that He died and lives! In Jesus we do that.
--We all want a perfect world, marriage, family, job or church. The place to find it is in Jesus.
--The Book of Ephesians helps. This is my outline.
--Chapter 1, OUR GOD. 2, OUR GOSPEL. 3, OUR GLORY.
--Chapter 4, OUR GOALS - "saved - to walk worth."
--Like Enoch, eagerly join this walk with the Lord.
Open your Bible to Ephesians 4 to a better life and world, that following Jesus makes possible for all.
I. BE HUMBLE. "with lowliness and gentleness" (v 2).
--None are born perfect. Nor "born again" perfect.
--We must grow into it. We must be well-taught.
--In the Word of God. By parents. Pastors, others.
--The better any people, the better is our world.
--Jesus was the epitome of humility - imagine, God, our Savior, coming to be born in a lowly manger!
--Jesus' whole life lived in humility - yet He is the paragon of power, influence, and blessing!
--Humility should mark His followers, such as we.
--As John the Baptist said, "He must increase...I must decrease" (John 3:30). John had humility.
Two easy things: To find fault. Have undue pride.
--To find fault unduly, can blind us to our faults.
--Let the crucified Savior judge others - and us.
--"To walk worthy..with all lowliness, gentleness."
--To beware of excess pride - of place, of race, of face, and even God's grace. Humbly avoid them.
On graduation, my parents came, and I took Dad to my Seminary to meet professors, friends; attend Chapel.
--Coming home, Dad gave me more great advice to remember, "Son be grateful for your seminary training, but keep your sermons simple, so all can learn all you have learned, in easy to understand words.
--I learned humility from my Dad, and the churches.
--I recall meetings of Philadelphia Pastors with the Ministers of some large, influential churches.
--I said to one next to me, "I pastor a small church."
--I remember his humble reply, "My dear brother, are not all churches small?" Humility. His was huge.
--They were small to what they could be. Be humble.
II. BE CHARITABLE. SHOW CHARITY OR LOVE, TO ALL.
--"Bearing with one another in love" (4:2), "speaking the truth in love (4:15), encourgages charity.
--Being Christ-like, charitable to others' faults.
--To show the love of Jesus, to make things better.
--Jesus said, "love one another, neighbor, enemies."
I see folks who are the most loveable, and loving.
--We've seen other types, who must have their way..or they become angry. Let the Lord Jesus lead.
--Let's pray, as He, "Father, forgive them..."
--Let's learn to be gracious in disappointments, or trials, ills, sorrows, or whatever comes our way.
Don't you think God is as concerned how an issue is discussed and decided, as with the decision we make?
Most of us today could use encouragement, and love.
--Not the Hollywood type, but the God-like type.
--To make us giving and forgiving, as caring ones.
--Loving sinners and unbelievers, so even when our heart breaks, we keep praying and loving them.
--For all the imprisoned by addictions - to be saved.
--Tell them God loves them..and you love them, not their sin; we can't win them, unless we love them.
III. BE UNITED. "Keep the unity of the Spirit."
--Circle verse 3, "the unity of the Spirit..in the bond of peace" and verse 13, "the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man..of the stature..of Christ." Unity!
--Right relationships of holy living in families or school, shop or office, and in churches.
--To answer Jesus' prayer, "that they all may be one as we are..." (John 17). We need each other!
--Jesus blesses all persons, families, churches.
We must work together "in unity..in the bond of peace," else we drift apart by division or neglect.
--To show our world our faith..our Lord Jesus.
--So "All speak the same thing..that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and same judgement" (I Cor. 1:10). Jesus changed Paul, He can us!
In the Ephesian church Jews and Gentiles, united in worship - though diverse in background, age, spirituality, or position in life. They were in Christ!
--That's the way revivals can come about, friend.
--So they know we are Christians, by our love.
--Disunity or division is not of God. Sin divides.
--Luther said, "In essentials unity, non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity, or love."
God must preside and guide, else we have confusion.
--Note this emphasis on oneness - "one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all" (Eph. 4:4-6). Oneness!
IV. BE SPIRITUAL. "Keep..the Spirit..in peace."
--Verse 3 emphasizes the Spirit, of holiness for us.
--Not just the Spirit's indwelling in us, but God's Spirit infilling us, day by day - for Jesus makes us better. That's His purpose, by His power.
--How do we do this? Obeying the Lord and His Word.
--By worship. Disciplined devotions, and prayer.
--Making sure that we are saved, "born again."
--Saved followers of Jesus do not abide in sin.
--Sure, evill is all around, let it not be in us.
--Jesus was in a wicked world but it was not in Him.
I will never forget Jack Greene and his dear wife.
--He was wonderously converted - Jesus made a marvelous change in him and that home.
--He was retired. We were in a new, spacious building on 20 acres, in Mount Clemens, Michigan.
--He came to me, "Pastor, would you let me come help around the church - without pay?" Gratefully!
--Jack came each morning, to pray with the Secretary and me, then inside and out, served the Lord.
--What a blessing was that dear brother, to us.
--But he was blessed, also, in the Spirit of God!
--In so many lives, Jesus makes us better, friend!
Look at Ephesians 4:14, "we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro..but may grow up..in all things into Him." Spiritually, how are we growing?
--To grow spiritually, as Jesus grew, "in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:52).
--We should grow in the Lord, in the things of God.
Minnie Morris was a missionary many years in China.
--On retiring she joined our Philadelphia church and what a power-house in prayer, and blessing.
--Our church was mission-minded, the famous missionary Adonirum Judson's son, had pastored there.
Imagine what God can do, when Jesus has His way!
Jesus makes us better.- Wilbert D. Gough, ThD 208