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Sunday, August 16, 2015 pm                                                Ephesians Index

STUDIES IN EPHESIANS (20)
THE BASIS OF OUR UNITY (2)
Ephesians 4:4-6

 

 We are continuing to examine the basis our unity.  Having described the attitude that will promote unity among brethren, Paul describes just how united they are to be.  In a list of 7 ones Paul show how absolute unity is agreement on many things.  As we noted in our last lesson, some of these things are easily understood as their exclusivity, but others are not.  In our last lesson we addressed how there is one body.  Tonight we want to notice some more elements of unity as they are described here.

For the sake of flow, we will examine these qualities out of order.

 I.                    There is One Spirit (4:4)

a.        Reference to Holy Spirit – He has already been addressed throughout this epistle –
Eph. 1:13-14 – we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise
Eph. 2:18, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
Eph. 2:21-22, “in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Eph. 3:5, “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

Eph. 16, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

Eph. 4:3, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

b.       There is one Spirit – 1 Cor. 12:4, we are baptized into the body “by one Spirit.”

c.        As Christians, He dwells within us – Romans 8:9-11 speaks of the Spirit of God dwelling in us.

d.       How does the One Spirit promote unity? 

                                                   i.      We have the word of God (His word) revealed.   Again consider Eph. 3:3-5 where Paul reveals through the Spirit his message. 

                                                  ii.      Jesus taught His apostles that when He left them, the Holy Spirit would come.  In John 14:16-17 He described Him as “the Helper” and “the Spirit of truth”.
John 14:25–26, ““These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (NKJV)
John 16:13,  “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

                                                iii.      Paul 1 Cor. 2:9-16 speaks of how God has revealed Himself to us through His Spirit, that “which the Holy Spirit teaches.”

                                                iv.      His word is understandable and does not contradict itself (Eph. 5:17).   When it is followed, it will promote unity.   We will address this more in our next lesson as we speak about the “one faith”, Etc.

                                                  v.      Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 

 II.                    There is One Lord (4:5)

a.        This is a reference to Jesus Christ.  The idea of “Lord” is that He is our king or master. He is our ruler and we are subject to Him.

                                                   i.      Matt. 28:18 – He has been given “all authority”.  Eph. 1:22-23, He is the head of the church, His body.  He is LORD of us!

                                                  ii.      Acts 2:36, ““Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

                                                iii.      Acts 10:36, as Peter preached to Cornelius after declaring that God shows no partiality, he said, “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—”

b.       There is ONE Lord - 1 Cor. 8:6, “yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
Romans 10:12, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

c.        Luke 6:46, Why do You call me Lord and do not the things that I say? Matt. 7:21-23 – in declaring Jesus as Lord, we must do what He says.

d.       Colossians 3:17 tells us to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus… (by His authority) – not only must we obey Him, but where He specifies, we follow His instructions.

e.       Philippians 2:9-11 we find that because of what Jesus did (He left heaven and died for our sins -5-8), “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

f.         Colossians 2:6, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

g.        Romans 10:9-10, to become a child of God we need to confess Him as Lord.

h.       How does this promote unity?  We all submit to His will and instructions we will be united.  We will set aside our differences (nationality, gender, race, etc.) and become one body in Him.

 III.                  There is One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (4:6)

a.        This is reference to our Heavenly Father.  He is the supreme and sovereign ruler. 
He created this world and all that is in it (with Jesus and the Spirit – Genesis 1:1)

b.       There is ONE God - 1 Cor. 8:4-6.  He is the heavenly Father.  Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

c.        As Father – He is to be honored and reverenced!   We subject ourselves to Him in the same manner we would submit to our earthly father.  And in this term we find the quality of family – where we are ALL His children (and thus we need to act like it).

Even Jesus acknowledged Him by that term (John 17:1-5, Matt. 6:9, 7:21, 10:32-33, etc.).  As such, in some fashion He is even over the Godhead.

d.       He is also described here with His sovereignty as being

                                                   i.      These declarations point to the oneness of God (as opposed to the idolatrous concept of the Roman world).  We also can learn from this with many in our world following after other gods (i.e. Allah is NOT the God of the Bible, gods of Eastern religions, etc.)

                                                  ii.      He is above all -  a declaration of His sovereignty and rule (cf. 1 Cor. 11:3)

                                                iii.      He is through all – He has influence in this world.  His will can and will be accomplished.  We find His influence in history, through His word today, etc.  He is also everywhere – Psalm 139:7-12)

                                                iv.      He is within us – He influences us (see other recent lessons) – 1 John 1:7

e.       How does this promote unity?  As with Jesus, when we acknowledge Him as supreme and the ONE true God it brings unity.  Bear in mind that Paul is writing this in times of polytheism – a major source of conflict between Jews and Gentiles.  Now that the body of Christ is ONE, there must be agreement that there is but ONE God!  We call this “monotheism”. 

 IV.                  “These three are one” – the godhead or triune God.

a.        Time will not permit a detailed discourse on God in three persons.  In summary we are reminded:

                                                   i.      Each Person is a distinct being and has a distinct purpose (as we have seen) – Many passages (such as our text) identify all three.  Consider also Matthew 28:19 – we baptize in “the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
All were involved with creation – Gen. 1:26, 1:1-2, John 1:1-3
2 Cor. 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  Amen.”
Matthew 3:16-17 – all present at the baptism of Jesus

                                                  ii.      They are distinct – The Father is NOT the Son or the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit is not the Son, etc. (See chart below),

b.       Together they comprise what is described as “the Godhead” or “triune” God – (Acts 17:29 – divine nature; Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:9

c.        How are three one?  While they are three distinct persons, they are one in purpose and work.  Together they are God (deity) – in the same way that water can be liquid, solid or gas.

d.       How does this promote unity – John 17:20-21 – we learn from the example of the triune God how united we are to be.  All three have done their part to bring salvation to man.  We can learn from them.  The very thing Paul admonishes us to do – 1 Cor. 11:1

 

And thus we continue to emphasize the unity we are to possess.   Not only are we one body, we also learn about our unity by seeing how the Godhead is united.  Working together we can accomplish His will.  In our next lesson we will examine the other qualities in this list.  Until, let us strive for unity both in attitude and action.   Think about it.