How’s church going for you? Is it too cool or would you prefer it warmer? Did you get a parking spot close to the building? What about the worship music? Was it too contemporary or too traditional? Grace Life, I lead with this to show you how church can so easily become about us and our preferences, which left unchecked become seeds of disunity. In contrast, Christian unity is cultivated by love, developed by God-given gifts and multiplied by loving church members.
Unity is cultivated by Christians walking in love (Ephesians 4:1-6)
Paul begins by teaching the Ephesian church to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. He does not specify do’s and don’ts, but is most concerned with the Christian’s inner disposition. Saints, the Spirit is instructing us to give attention to humility, gentleness and patience, each one a fruit of the spirit. Humility is a lowliness of mind, a recognition of people’s worth and value as being image bearers of God. Gentleness is the absence to assert one’s personal rights and Patience is longsuffering toward aggravating people. In Colossians 3:14, Paul ties this together when he writes “above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Unity is developed by God’s gifts equipping the saints. (Ephesians 4:7-14)
There are four gifts listed here: Two of these, Apostles and Prophets, are foundational for the church and no longer in existence. The other two, Evangelists and Shepherd-Teachers, remain. These gifts are to be consistently exercised so that the church can be equipped and edified (built up spiritually).
Unity is multiplied by members serving the body. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
The body is a metaphor for the church. When we serve with our time, talent and treasures, we aren’t just using our spiritual gifts and resources; we are being wise stewards and contributing to the unity of the church. This is a very good thing because the church is God’s wisdom on display. Christian, we must see that our involvement in a local church and active service within it is not optional. It is God’s plan for our spiritual growth and His glory. We are each an essential individual joint that collectively makes the body function as it should. As we each serve with a spirit of unity, our ministry contributes to the body building itself up in love.
I conclude by referencing a quote by A.W. Tozer, In his book The Pursuit of God, Tozer writes: “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So 100 worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.” My admonition, Grace Life, pursue unity by pursuing Christ.
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