Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Unity of the Spirit

Bobservations' Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Paul’s Letter to the Church at Ephesus continues and introduces us to yet another of the “Mysteries of Our Faith” in chapter 4. Jews and Gentiles saved brought both groups together in a new understanding of leaving old beliefs behind, and becoming something new: The Church.

Yes, the Jews are still God’s Chosen People, chosen to bring forth the Savior and Redeemer. Well, Jesus had come and dwelt among them, His salvation and redemptive works were complete. Now it was time to fulfill those prophetic passages with Jews and Gentiles together as “The Church,” a peculiar and unique combination of peoples, where there is neither Jew, nor Gentile; bond nor free, no more wall separating even pagans from Believers; all were and are welcome to fellowship and worship together as His Church.

We jump in at Psalm 68:17-19 today and find that the prophecy has been fulfilled, sort of. The Church is made up of people with multiple backgrounds, backgrounds of sin washed clean, and people redeemed. But there are many in The Church who still hang on to those old things that should have been left behind. The old ways have crept in, and Believers are reluctant to leave their old comfort zones behind.

Today we find The Church divided again. Division is among the traits of the natural man, lacking an understanding of the scriptures and God’s plan for all mankind. Denominations have sprung up putting emphasis on one sacred passage or another. Even the Jews who have accepted Christ have self-identified as Messianic Jews, which separates them from the Jews, AND the Christians!

Division as a trait does not allow for unity. So when God has called for unity in The Church, who do we think has been at work in the hearts of those that have divided it up into denominations and sects? The Deceiver has been at work. My wife and I were brought up in a faith system that taught us it was a sin to worship in any other church but THAT one. Yet all of the churches find their basis for existing in God’s Sacred Word. It is past the time that we should just call ourselves “Christians” regardless of the building where we worship.

Acts 11 is a parallel for our passage for today.
“….And the Disciples were called ‘Christian’ first in Antioch.” ~ Acts 11:26

Today's Audio Message:
Ephesians 4:1-17 - "The Unity of the Spirit"


Christian unity comes with Christian maturity, and it is always something that we strive to attain. Paul instructs us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Helping us toward that unity are the gifts of the Spirit. God has given each Christian different gifts, and their exercise in the edification of the church leads to more and more unity. One purpose of the gifts is that “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” (Ephesians 4:13).

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