Date written: July 10th, 2004
Scripture ref: Ephesians 4:1-6
Things that Unite—One Body
TITLE: Things that Unite—One Body
PROPOSITION: Knowing that God only acknowledges one body drives us to be that one body. We can be that one body provided: 1) We acknowledge our Lord's standard for unity of the body, 2) We do not divide the one body based upon human philosophy, 3) We endeavor for unity in the one body through service to others.
Objectives: Each hearer will have a better knowledge of unity as it relates to the one body.
Aim: To discuss the seven ones of Ephesians 4:1-6 and the uniting truths associated therewith.
1. Read: Ephesians 4:1-6
2. About the Text:
1) We find within this text the standard of unity.
2) Christian unity has as its foundation, Christian doctrine/teaching.
3) Without the doctrine/teaching, there would be no unity.
4) But Christian unity also depends upon the desire in each and every Christian to be united.
5) Without that desire, there can be no unity.
6) This is why Paul says that we must "endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
7) Desire and doctrine are necessary for Christians to have unity.
8) As a gospel preacher, I can teach the doctrine, but I cannot teach the desire.
9) I can teach regarding desire, but I cannot teach the desire itself. That is something that each must want on their own.
10) I can, however, teach the doctrine, and that is what we will begin to do in this lesson.
3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: We can have the united body that God desires us to have, provided . . .
I. We acknowledge our Lord's standard for unity of the body.
1. Read John 17:20-22.
2. This is the Lord's prayer.
1) Many think of the model prayer as "the Lord's prayer."
2) This prayer was truly the Lord's prayer.
3) It was uttered for his then current disciples, as well as for disciples of all time.
4) In this prayer, Jesus prays for true unity.
5) This is unity based upon the highest standard for unity.
6) This is not mere union – (cat illustration.)
3. The standard of unity that Jesus sets forth here can be the only standard of unity.
1) There are many in the church today saying just the opposite.
2) They are saying that unity does not mean conformity.
3) But how could such a standard for unity exist and not demand conformity to something?
4. Jesus is the head of the one body (Col.1:18).
1) Will we acknowledge his headship and desire unity as he desired unity?
2) If we truly love Jesus, then this will be our desire.
II. We do not divide the body based upon human wisdom.
1. Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-13
2. There was division at Corinth.
1) This division was man-centered.
2) They were becoming sectarian in their thinking.
3) I am of Paul, Apollos, Cephas, Christ.
3. Why were they doing this?
1) They were basing their thinking upon the wisdom of men.
2) Paul so much as says so in verses 18-21 (read).
3) The philosophers of the day were divided into schools.
4) The members of the church thought they should do this too.
4. This is what denominationalism does today.
1) We see, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, and many others.
2) These denominations were all started by men.
5. The same can happen to us if we allow the philosophies of men to prevail and not the power of God.
1) There are many today who say, "I agree with Shelley, Lucado, Anderson, etc."
2) These divide the body based upon the wisdom of men, and do not respect the power of God.
6. As Christians, we cannot afford to be men pleasers.
1) Paul writes, "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
2) I want you to notice the last part of this statement.
3) The NKJV reads, "For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."
4) Notice that word "bondservant." It means, "slave."
5) "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24.
6) We only have ONE master.
7) To seek to please men, instead of God, divides the body of Christ.
III. We endeavor for unity in the body with our fellow Christians.
1. Perhaps this is the hardest for us to do.
1) Our society is constantly saying, "Do what feels good to self."
2) Burger King's motto has become our national motto, "Have it your way."
3) The Christian is bombarded by this mentality every day.
4) It is tempting to seek our own instead of our fellow Christian.
5) But as members of the body, we cannot afford to serve self.
2. There are several principles that help us to seek others instead of self.
1) There is the principle of "Everyone can do something." (1 Cor.12:4-27)
2) There is the principle of "Esteeming others higher than self." (Philippians 2:1-11)
3) There is the principle of loving our brethren (Romans 12:9-21).
3. If we strive to put these principles into practice in our lives, they will help us resolve differences in the areas that are not governed by doctrine.
1. Do we desire unity in the one body?
1) I can teach the doctrine.
2) But I can't teach the desire.
2. We can have unity in the one body if we will…
1) Acknowledge our Lord's standard for unity.
2) Not divide based upon human wisdom.
3) Honestly and sincerely endeavor/desire to have unity in the body with our fellow Christians.
1) If you are a Christian,
a. Have you been seeking unity in the body?
b. It is our Lord's desire.
c. Will you make it your desire too?
2) If you are not a Christian this morning . . .
a. Unite with us upon the word of God and the word alone.
b. Hear the word; Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing . . .”
c. Believe with all your heart; Hebrews 11:6 “For without faith it is impossible . . . .”
d. Repent of your sins (Acts 17:30).
e. Confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matt.16:16).
f. Be Baptized for the remission of your sins (Mark 16:15,16).