Sermon Titled “One” (Ephesians 4:4-6) – Sunday March 16th, 2014
Last weekend’s sermon, by Pastor John Truax, moved us on to verses 4-6 of Ephesians 4. These verses focus on Paul’s appeal to the church to be a united body, one in Christ. Let’s look at what he says:
- 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.
As it’s clear to see, Paul places emphasis on the need for oneness, with unity that comes from knowing, loving, and following Christ. The problem we see in the church however, is that doctrine can easily divide when individuals want to enforce their own ideas about it. There will always be differences in opinions, and disagreements will ensue, and these things will continue to occur as long as Christians pursue their own agendas.
Pastor Truax addressed this problem by asking three questions:
- Why is there disunity in the church; where does it stem from?
- Why should we be united as one body?
- How do we make this happen?
In answer to the first question, Pastor Truax believes that we must first ask ourselves who we are! If we cannot boldly claim that our identities are found in Christ, then disunity and discord will occur. When you have a body of believers, most of whom are self-focused, agreements on even the smallest of issues will be difficult to reach.
Francis Chan, in his book Forgotten God, shared this convicting quote by Karl Barth:
- “When we are at our wits’ end for an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us an answer. But how can He give us an answer when we are well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own?”
When the Jews and Gentiles converted to Christianity, many of them surely asked themselves if they were “Jewish” Christians, or “Gentile” Christians. Yet Galatians 3:26 implies that they were neither, because Paul highlighted the fact that the cross unites believers by declaring them all sons and daughters of Christ.
It doesn’t matter therefore where you or I came from, whether we are of Jewish or Gentile descent, or how different we are; it only matters that we are now joined together by Christ and ideally living our lives with a common goal of pursuing His plans and will, not our own. Hostility and division in the church is not part of God’s plan.
The second question, regarding the reason for uniting as one body, can best be explained by the trinity:
The way the trinity is united, says Pastor Truax, is how the church is also to be united. Each member of the Godhead (God the Father, Jesus Christ the son, and the Holy Spirit), each has their own function, yet they all work together to achieve one united goal – to save the lost.
We all have unique sets of skills and talents, but since we all belong to one body (the body of Christ), we are called to serve together (not alone), that our combined efforts would produce the most effective results. The human body for example, will still function with a missing limb, but it will function most excellently and as intended, if all of it’s parts are present and working together.
Finally, we’re asked to consider how we can put aside our own agendas and opinions, for the sake of our Lord, and pull together as one united church. The answer, says Pastor Truax, is to find our identity in Christ! If we all understand that when we chose to follow Christ, that we left behind all other traces of our identities in favor of being adopted into His family, then we should also understand that we are now governed by His rules and expectations.
As such, we should ideally act in ways that reflect the “values of the household,” and when arguments break out they will hopefully be contained because ultimately, we all desire to please our Heavenly Father. That is how, and when we become one!