by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Ephesians 4:1-6
I. Our Lord’s desire was that his followers would be united - John 17:20-23
A. In the intervening years, the world has accepted lies.
B. They believe that as long as we agree on something, then there is unity
II. The attitude of unity - Ephesians 4:1-3
A. Lowliness - humbleness of mind
1. All Christians are to be clothed with humility - I Peter 5:5-7
2. It is the opposite of pride
3. In unity, it means we will truly consider the other person - Philippians 2:2-4
a. We don’t put our personal interests first
B. Gentleness - meekness
1. Unity is not achieved through forcefulness of character - James 3:13-18
2. Meekness is needed to accept God’s teachings - James 1:21
3. Meekness is needed to persuade others of the truth - II Corinthians 10:1-6
C. Longsuffering - forbearance, patience
1. Some people are hard to get along with and some do not easily give up their own notions of what is right.
2. It is patience that leads people to the truth and salvation
a. God’s patience with us - Romans 2:4
b. Paul demonstrated it for others to follow - I Timothy 1:16; II Peter 3:14-18
3. Patience also means endurance.
a. Satan is trying to wear us down.
b. It takes longsuffering to hang on to the truth - II Timothy 4:1-5
D. Love - devotion, duty
1. Jesus commanded that we love one another - John 13:34-35
2. Love is detailed - I Corinthians 13:4-8
3. It is tied closely with our obedience - I Peter 1:22
4. It eases difficult relationships - I Peter 3:8-11
E. Endeavoring - best effort and speed
1. Unity doesn’t come from inaction
a. When Paul wanted Titus to come, he told him to make effort without delay - Titus 3:12
b. Or Timothy - II Timothy 4:9, 21
2. It is how we approach our studies - II Timothy 2:15
3. Making sure we are faithful - II Peter 1:10
4. Diligent to be found in peace - II Peter 3:14
F. Without these attitudes, unity cannot be achieved
III. There is no mention of a spirit of compromise
A. Each revolves around the anchor of God’s word
B. I Corinthians 1:9-10 - Same mind and same judgment
1. Same attitude and same method of coming to a conclusion
C. Compromise doesn’t achieve unity because each remains persuaded that they are right
1. Instead of unity, the difference are tolerated
2. Notice that Paul didn’t emphasize the commonality of the Corinthians - I Corinthians 1:11-13
3. Division is of the world - I Corinthians 3:1-4
IV. Seven unique things
A. One body - the church - one organization
1. Jesus built only one church - Matthew 16:18
2. Being many, we are one - Romans 12:5; I Corinthians 12:12
3. Salvation for Jews and Gentiles came through only one organization - Ephesians 2:14-22
4. Peace is found in being one - Colossians 3:15
5. There is no joining the church of your choice.
B. One Spirit - the Holy Spirit - one revelation from one source
1. It is the Spirit who revealed the mind of God to the apostles, who gave them to us - I Corinthians 2:9-13
a. The Spirit took the teachings of Christ and give them to the apostles - John 16:14-15
2. We enter the body by one Spirit - I Corinthians 12:13
3. Paul feared they would accept a different spirit and gospel - II Corinthians 11:2-4
4. Hence, we must search the spirit - I John 4:1-3
5. There are many claiming that God has given them new revelations (Mormons, Muslims). There is not a multitude of revelations for different people.
C. One Hope - Heaven - one goal
1. Knowing the hope of our calling - our inheritance - Ephesians 1:17-19
2. A hope laid up in heaven - Colossians 1:3-6
3. A hope of eternal life - Titus 1:1-3
4. Jews and Gentiles are saved in the same manner - Acts 15:11
5. Some have the idea that there will be different destinations for different groups - a heaven for Muslims, and another for Baptists, and another Mormons. God is not offering different rewards for different people.
D. One Lord - Jesus - one authority
1. Jesus holds all authority - Matthew 28:18
2. It is why Paul here refers to Jesus as Lord. He is emphasizing his right to rule.
3. Peace comes through Jesus - Acts 10:36
4. The church is made up of all who call on Lord’s name, who accept his authority - I Corinthians 1:2
5. We are gathered as one in Christ - Ephesians 1:10
E. One Faith - the Gospel - one doctrine
1. There is only one system of belief, which cannot be changed - Galatians 1:6-10
2. Unity comes in that one system - Ephesians 4:11-13
3. A common salvation delivered once - Jude 3
4. Hence, we have a common faith - Titus 1:4; II Peter 1:1
5. I have been told, “Well, that is what you believe, but I’ve come to a different conclusion.”
a. The attitude of “It doesn’t matter what you believe, so long as you believe” is a lie.
F. One Baptism - immersion - one entrance
1. We enter the one body through baptism - I Corinthians 12:13
2. We put on Christ and become one - Galatians 3:26-28
3. Paul points out that all Christians were baptized - Romans 6:3-4
4. Odd thing is that we have some arguing that there is no baptism at all, that somehow they became Christians without going through the door.
5. Or that any baptism will do – even if it done for a different purpose or in a different manner.
G. One God - The Father - one object of worship
1. To Christians there is but one God - I Corinthians 8:6
2. To this one God we become adopted children - I John 3:1-3
3. One God who justifies Jew and Gentile alike - Romans 3:30
4. There is no Jewish god, Muslim god, or the like. There is but one God whom we worship.
H. Seven is the number representing perfection
V. There is an opportunity to join the fellowship of believes, uniting with them in a common cause. That opportunity is now.