March 16, 2011

Spiritual Gifts

Unity in the Body of Christ,

and the Church Today

Ephesians 4:1-6

 “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” 

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     A friend of mine at the beach told me that all churches do “religion” in their own way.  He elaborated that the Roman Catholic Church did not follow the Bible on all matters, but instead followed tradition.  When we look around the world today, we see many different religions claiming to be Christian.  How do we know if a group really is Christian and why do we have such divisions even in the true church today?

       The Calling of Unity. The Epistle to the Ephesians in the New Testament tells us many things about the true Church of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 4:1-6,  we see that God requires us to walk worthy of His calling (verse 1). The Lord Jesus calls each one of us, and we only have one calling from one Lord.

     The Personal Qualities of Unity.  Because  we have only one Lord Jesus Christ, we must obey Him in all things.  He commands us to walk in humility and gentleness, showing patience with other believers, and tolerating other believers in love (verse 2). The right attitude among individual believers promotes unity in the church of Jesus Christ.  The personal qualities in each individual shape the overall unity of the Body of Christ.  Christian unity starts in your spiritual heart.

       The Diligence of Unity.  Each believer also has a personal duty to promote and preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (verse 3).  You must exercise the qualities described in verse 2 (humility, gentleness, patience and love) to reach the goal of verse 3 (unity in the bond of peace).  The bond of peace comes from the activity of the Holy Spirit working in individual lives committed to walking worthy of the call of Jesus Christ upon their lives.  Every day of your life you must be diligent to do everything necessary in your personal life to promote spiritual unity among believers.

       The Oneness of Unity.  Spiritual unity rests upon one body, one Spirit, one hope and one calling (verse 4). Our unity in Christ does not depend upon individual differences, and in these matters, God allows no diversity when it comes to His body of believers–He only has one body.  God allows no diversity when it comes to the Holy Spirit–He only has one Holy Spirit. God allows no diversity in hope–God is our only hope.  God allows no diversity in our calling–we have only one calling from God.  Notice here that all of these qualities of unity rest upon unity in the Holy Spirit.

       We only have one Lord, one faith and one baptism (verse 5).  Notice that we do not sacrifice truth on any level to gather believers together.  We are not unified mindlessly, but rather the Lord provides our unity as described above.  Our faith rests solely upon God, and we practice baptism as the Lord Jesus commanded it.  We do not have many forms of baptism in the New Testament.  He prescribed  one baptism, for all believers.  We do not change our faith, or modify our baptism.  We unite in one Lord Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit helps us walk worthy of our calling.

        We have only one God and Father of all.  God the Father provides essential unity in all things, for all times, among all people.  He unites us from within, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, as we walk worthy of the calling of God.  Both Jews and Gentiles alike will be united in one body and one  Spirit, with one hope of their calling (verse 4). The united believers will serve one Lord, have one faith, one baptism (verse 5).  As we walk united together as Christians, we serve one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all (verse 6). 

       Unity comes from being united in Christ, by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and results in the Father being over all and in all.  Unity means we live in God together, and follow Him.  It leaves no room for differences on these essential matters.  If you claim Christ as your Lord, then be unified in Him, and Him alone.

       So, you may ask what this study has to do with spiritual gifts?  The use of spiritual gifts rests upon and promotes the unity of the Body of Christ, the Church.  When any group fails to promote the spiritual gifts bestowed upon all believers, then unity will fail and suffer.  We will explore that subject in our next studies in the following verses. You may want to read ahead and figure out how the spiritual gifts relate to unity.

       So we learn more about unity in the Church of Jesus Christ today.

           ●  We learn that unity starts with God, and His calling upon our lives.  It continues with believers being diligent to promote unity.

          ●  We learn that unity also rests upon each believer living in one Lord, one faith and one baptism.  We serve only one God and Father.

           ●  We hinder unity when we compromise on any of God’s teachings, or ignore the unity He promotes constantly within His body.

Application for Today

        Today, I want to promote unity in the Body of Christ.  I want to be humble, gentle, patient, and tolerant today.  I will try to never sacrifice my faith and fidelity to God and His calling in my life.  Will you seek unity in one Holy Spirit, one calling of Jesus Christ, and one Father of all today?  Will you experience God leading you today?


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