Here is the sermon from Sunday morning at Immanuel Baptist Church by Pastor Jeff King.
The gospel is not a set of abstract beliefs, it affects everything about you. Every aspect of your life, whether it’s your money, or the way you talk, everything is governed by the gospel.
The gospel also governs relationships.
Eph. 4:1 – Paul moves from all of the theology in chapters 1-3, to application, from explaining the gospel to the difference it makes. (1:4-chosen in Christ, 1:5-predestined, 1:7-redeemed, 1:13-sealed by the Spirit, etc)
There are three things on unity in relationships from verses 1-16 of chapter 4.
Because of salvation,
1. We are called to Unity
2. Within Diversity
3. That produces maturity
1. We are called to Unity. v3.
The church is a people united around the gospel, around Jesus. Paul is urging us here, pleading with us to be unified. Unity is one of the characteristics of the body of Christ, and it demonstrates the power of God. The church is to be like a physical body (3:6, 4:4, 4:12-16, 5:23, 5:30). The human body is amazingly complex, yet it is unified. V15-16-Christ is the one holding this body together (“Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held togethor by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow”)
A big part of this unity, the undergirding reason is because God himself is a perfect unity. For all eternity God has been in perfect unity within himself (3 in 1). This is amazing, always and eternally perfectly unified. When you are saved, you are made like God. You have a new heart, etc. And you are to be unified with the body like Him.
4:22-24.-Here the new man is shown. Christians are recreated in the likeness of God. What character produces this kind of unity? 4:2-Humility, patience, bearing with one another in love. If we were all of these things, how could we help but be unified?
2. Within Diversity
4:7-”but grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. We are individuals.
4:11-12 Not everyone in the church has the same gifts, and we are to celebrate in this diversity. All of the parts of the body are different, and everyone in the church is different. TPeople have different personalities, different pasts, etc. We all have gifts to be given to the church, and we are all called to unity, not uniformity.
Does being a Christian mean you have to have short hair, drive a silver honda, and where preppy clothes? No, it does mean that you love holiness, other Christians, God’s word, and you want to be more like Jesus.
I mean just look around you (at Immanuel), there are white people, black people, asian people, poor people, rich people, pierced people, people with tattoo’s, old people and young people, people dressed in suits and people dressed in shorts and flip flops, people with long hair and people with short hair, and we all love each other.
The gospel makes different people love each other, it makes black people love white people, rich people love poor people, people who wear baggy pants and giant t-shirts love people wearing suits, etc. Not everyone is the “cookie cutter” mold of a “christian,” and they shouldn’t be.
In our context, we must be this way as a church. We are in a city. We want to see unity, within diversity, built around Jesus.
3. That produces maturity. v11-16
Paul wants us to grow up togethor and become mature. Unity in diversity produces maturity.
(Sidenote: Even if you are weak, you can serve people. 1. By letting others serve you. 2. If you are willing, by humbly admitting that you do not know the Bible very well and you want discipleship (Humility 4:2). 3. And do not put on a facade of a super Christian to unbelievers who come in.)
v11-12. God has given the more mature to help the weaker. God has not made you strond to show off, but to build up others and to serve others. If you are strong, do you seek out people to serve?
Practical: The reason we need this, is because we will sin against each other. When you are sinned against, or you sin against someone else….instead of it being a cause for division you have an opportunity to show the gospel by maintaining peace. We were Jesus’ enemies, and he reconciled us to himself. We were dead and he made us alive. We have offended him…BUT GOD (2:4ff). If God has forgiven us, can we not forgive each other?
We all have one love, Christ. And we are diverse, and must be seeking to grow into that head as a unity.