Intro : Ephesians 2:11-22
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)--
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
I. Attitudes and Foundations of Unity
- Vs 11-12 Where we were before baptism -
Separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship (not a part of
God's people), without hope, without God.
- Vs 14-22 Now:
1. We are brought near - we have access to the Father
2. Fellow citizens with God's people - God's nation
3. Members of God's household - God's family
4. The dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit - God's temple
5. One nation - One family - One temple - One Church
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
8 This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men."
9 (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ?
10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
1. Humility - how do you respond when challenged?
2. Effort - in your prior experience, did you make every effort to promote unity - in your zone, your BT, etc.?
The seven standards of unity
1. One body - the church. There are not thousands, hundreds, or even tens. There is but one.
2. One Spirit - The Holy Spirit. He indwells true disciples, he creates faith in an unbelieving world, he convicts us and the world in regard to sin, righteousness, and judgment.
3. One Hope - that Jesus will one day return. All wrongs will be made right, there will be a final judgment, and those who have lived by God's truth will receive the inheritance prepared for us since the creation of the world.
4. One Lord - Jesus, king of kings and Lord of Lords. He is Lord of everything, or Lord of nothing at all.
5. One Faith - Faith that Jesus is the one and only Son of God, that he died for our sins, was buried and raised on the third day.
6. One baptism - baptism into Christ as a true disciple for the forgiveness of sins.
7. One God and Father of us all.
II. Causes of Disunity
A. False prophets. Jesus told us to watch out!
15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
B. False teachings
1 Timothy 4:1-3
1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
1. Abstinence from marriage - the priesthood (Catholic)
2. Abstinence from certain foods
3. Original Sin and Infant baptism
a. Became church doctrine in 542 a.d.
b. Practiced by Catholics, Episcopals, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, disqualifying them from the "One Church"
4. Praying Jesus into your heart (or accepting Christ)
a. became an official doctrine of the church until the mid- 1800s, almost 2000 years after the resurrection!
b. Practiced by Baptists, Methodists, some Pentecostals, Community Churches (Saddleback, Mariners, etc), and 'para-church' organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ. Again, if they reject the "one baptism" of Ephesians 4.4, they are not in the one Church.
III. How Can I Promote Unity In The Body?
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
a. Attitude - Offer your body as a living sacrifice
b. Attitude - Each member belongs to all the others
c. Action: Discover and exercise your gift
1. Prophecying (preaching)
2. Serving - many opportunities (Deacons in charge of Kid's Kingdom, Ushering, Parking, Building Maintenance, etc);
3. Teaching - becoming a Bible Talk Leader
4. Encouraging - everyone needs to encourage
5. Contributing - everyone gives at least the tithe; some are blessed more than others and can give much more.
6. Leadership - becoming a Zone Leader
7. Showing Mercy
Do you believe in the One Church? Do you have any misgivings about what we believe or teach on the subject?
1. Restudy the Church Study from 1st Principles
2. Read Revolution through Restoration, parts one and two
3. Write down any questions you have. Will be
discussed next session.