THE WALK OF UNITY
INTRODUCTION: Unity has been sadly illusive in
the body of Christ, and among all those who profess faith in Christ Jesus.
Never have those who acknowledge faith in Christ been so divided as today.
Many have gone to wild extremes
concerning the quest for unity. Some will simply declare that what we believe
doesnít matter and simply "throw a lasso around everyone who professes
to believe in Christ. This ignores the fact that the New Testament demands
doctrinal purity. On the other hand, many will demand that we "tow the
line" on every matter of opinion, thus making it impossible for two individuals
to agree, much less all who seek to follow Jesus.
Paul give a formula for unity in
Ephesians chapter 4. The seven "ones" of this chapter, when correctly understood,
will allow us to unite "in Christ." Paul begins the great chapter with
three verses that describe his desire that they maintain unity in the body.
I. A WORTHY WALK (A NEED
TO MAINTAIN PERSONAL PURITY)
"I, therefore, the prisoner
of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were
called," (verse 1)
A. This walk is a continual,
II. A HUMBLE WALK
ATTITUDE TO MAINTAIN UNITY)
1. 1 John 1:7 - "If we
in the light..." - from the Greek tense which mean continual action in
the present tense. Would literally mean, "If we continually walk in the
B. What is the calling that we are
called to walk in?
2. 1 Corinthians 15:31- "I affirm,
by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."
1. It is the calling of
the Gospel that each Christian has yielded to in becoming Christians.
C. How do we walk worthy of our Christian
2. 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14- "But
we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by
the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through
sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called
you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
3. 1 Corinthians 1:9- "God is faithful,
by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our
1. Paul is not saying
that we can somehow walk so as to deserve the blessings that God has given
us in Christ. The Bible clearly states that we are saved by the grace of
God and not due to our righteousness. See 2:7-9.
2. We are to live in such a way
as to have our lives consistent with the teachings of the Gospel, as much
as is humanly possible.
a. Philippians 1:27 -
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether
I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand
fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the
3. There must be a difference in conduct
between our previous life and our life in Christ.
a. Ephesians 2:1-3
"with all lowliness and gentleness,
with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love," (verse 2)
A. Notice the three adjectives
used by Paul.
III. A DILIGENT WALK (A
NEED TO WORK AT MAINTAINING UNITY)
1. Lowliness - Literally,
"humiliation of mind, i.e. modesty:--humbleness of mind, humility (of mind)."
B. We are to "bear with one another
a. This seems to denote
our attitude toward ourselves in relation to God.
2. Gentleness - It is synonymous with
meekness (strength under control). This is the attitude we have toward
God. We submit our lives in obedience to the precepts of God, even though
we might desire to elevate ourselves.
4. Longsuffering - This carries
with it the idea of patience, tolerance, and forgiveness.
5. These are Divine characteristics.
a. Matthew 11:28 - "Come
to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 - "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly
in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
b. 2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not
slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering
toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come
1. Carries with it the
idea of patience with each other frailties and faults. Not winking at sin,
but also not apply and haughty and vindictive attitude toward others either.
2. 1 Peter 4:8 - And above all
things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude
3. This kind of attitude of longsuffering
is behind what our Lord had to say concerning judging. While he did not
condemn judging by the standard of Godís word (See John 7:24), he did warn
against judging by our own standards, just the opposite of longsuffering.
a. Matthew 7:1-5
4. Colossians 3:13 - bearing with
one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against
another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
"endeavoring to keep the unity
of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (verse 3)
A. Unity is something
that we must work at. It doesnít come about by accident.
CONCLUSION: Paul will proceed to give
the great "Seven Ones" of unity beginning in verse 4. But as with every
great building he begins with a foundation. Let us all maintain a worthy
personal life, conduct ourselves humbly before both God and our brethren,
and let us seek to work at maintaining the unity that the Holy Spirit has
given to the people of God through the Inspired Word.
1. Endeavoring means,
"to use speed, i.e. to make effort, be prompt or earnest:--do (give) diligence,
be diligent (forward), endeavor, labor, study."
B. How do we keep the "unity of the
2. Romans 14:19 - Therefore let
us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may
1. It is not being in
lock step with every opinion. We are not mindless zombie whose every action
is controlled down to the tiniest detail. The New Testament recognizes
a group of personal beliefs that are to be held personally.
a. Romans 14
2. The fact is that God has already
given the means of unity. That is the force behind "keeping the unity of
the Spirit." What is that basis?
a. John 17:17 - "Sanctify
("set apart")them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
3. God has given us a means of unity,
His inspired Word.
b. John 12:48 - "He who rejects
Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him; the word
that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
c. 1 Corinthians 1:10 - Now I plead
with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all
speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that
you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
a. 1 Peter 4:11 - If anyone
speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him
do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may
be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion
forever and ever. Amen.
Copyright 1999 by Grady
Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.