TEXT: Eph. 4:1-6
Big Idea: “Unity among Christians is one of the main evidences that prove we actually are Christians.”
1. The Marks of our Unity (Eph. 4:2-3)
Humility – (Having a right understanding of who we are in light of who God is.) Remembering God’s goodness to us is the rich soil where humility grows. When we realize all that God has done for us, when we didn’t deserve any of it – that humbles us. And when we realize that together, it unites us.
Gentleness – (Approaching one another with grace.) When we are proud and arrogant, thinking only of ourselves, we don’t care how we come across to others. But if you are humble, knowing what you have you did not earn, then that will cause you to communicate with gentleness and grace.
Patience – (Surrendering to God’s timing.) If my sanctification takes time, and God is patient with me, I need to be patient with others, whether that’s in fellowship, discipleship, marriage or parenting. Trusting that God is at work in each of us brings unity, especially in daily relationships.
Loving Forbearance – (Preemptive grace.) To forbear means to give forgiveness before it is asked, to trust that God is at work in others even when you can’t see it. Forbearance is patience over the long-term. It’s seeing sin patterns in others, and yet not giving up hope. It’s being hurt by others but not hurting in return. Forbearance is faith in God’s justice, without demanding my own. And that brings unity in the body.
2. The Foundation of our Unity (Eph. 4:4-6)
Here is the motive and the power behind our Spirit-led unity, the grace and strength to live lives worthy of our call: It’s looking again at the person of God.
We all look different and have different stories, but those in Christ bear the common marks of our Creator. That means the foundation of our unity is God Himself. God the Father, God our Father, we are unified in Him because He made us, He rules over us, and in love He decided to save us, to send His Son to die for us, to fill us with the Holy Spirit, and to adopt us as His own. Our lives should bear His resemblance, His identity, so that others will know we belong to Him.
And the unity we reflect with one another should reflect the unity enjoyed by the Trinity. The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Father, Son, Holy Spirit – distinct in person, yet perfectly unified as One. May that be the mark of our lives. As we depend on the Holy Spirit at work in us, may we guard and defend and keep this unity in the Spirit we have been graciously given.
And when the world looks into our lives, in our homes, in our relationships with one another, may they see the unifying resemblance of our Lord.