In Paul’s letters, we find a pattern that he liked to use. For the first few chapters, he teaches us good biblical theology. He tells us what we need to know about God. Then in the remainder of the book, he tells us how we need to live, based on the theology he has taught and the specific needs within each church.
Ephesians is one good example. In the first three chapters, he teaches us the marvelous truths about our salvation. We learn that He has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. We were chosen by Him before the creation of the world. He has redeemed us through the death of Jesus. And He has sealed us with His Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our inheritance in heaven.
We also learned that we used to be dead in our sins and transgressions and separated from God…but because of His immense love for us He has saved us by His Grace, and we have become His children and are already spiritually seated with Christ in heaven.
Having taught us all this very important theology and spiritual truths it is time to apply it. Notice with me carefully the words he chooses to write in Ephesians 4. First, he says…
“I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
His first admonition is telling us to live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called. In other words…we need to be striving to live up to that purpose that God has for us… or simply said we need to walk and live in the way Jesus would walk.
He then describes what that will look like. We should be displaying humility, gentleness, with patience, and bearing with one another in love. These are to be the attributes that we find in one another and in the church we attend. However, very rarely will you find these things being demonstrated in the local churches of today.
The emphasis is on being an acceptable place that can pull in new members who are most likely sheep being wooed away from another flock instead of lost people finding Christ and entering a fellowship demonstrating humility, gentleness, and patience. Where the members are bearing with one another in love and carefully guarding the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Saturday evening and Sunday morning church have become a show…a production having a good enough band and an entertaining speaker. Someone with a good knowledge of the Bible and skilled as a standup comic. These churches might show a good increase in attendance…but have they lost their purpose of unity…for the outward appearance of seeming successful by the numbers through becoming an entertaining show.
Paul’s focus is not on being a place for good entertainment where people come in, are seated, participate in a worship service, hear an entertaining sermon, and leave feeling good only to return home to remove their “everything is just fine” mask and feel alone.
Church is to be a place where the many become one. A place where those who have been separated from one another for 6+ days come together to not find a show with everyone pretending to be good. Truth be told 60+% of the men are addicted to porn and living isolated lives deep in their shame and a growing percentage of women are becoming addicted as well.
We are many…but we are not united. We are the body of Christ…but that body has been dissected where many groups have separated from one another because they cannot get along or argue about theological positions. Each group thinking, they are the ones in the right. It is very hard to find humility, gentleness, and patience in the churches…at least in America.
Paul’s next focus is on the reality that spiritually we are all part of the same body…we are all one. He writes…
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
Seven times Paul uses the word “ONE.” To be ONE there needs to be togetherness with each one helping one another. We all have the same ONE Lord. We all share the ONE saving faith. We all have received the ONE baptism of the Spirit baptizing us all into the body of Christ. We all have ONE Father, who is the Father of all. And our ONE Father is…
“…one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.”
Why do you think this is God’s will for his people who are in His churches? Two reasons…the first being for us to demonstrate to the world that we are the disciples of Jesus because we LOVE one another. I think that image has been shot through and through for 2020 years.
The second is that whether we like it or not…we need each other. Our ability to isolate, cocoon in our homes, and become easy prey for our enemy to stab us with the knife of our lusts…and is able to keep stabbing it deeper and deeper into us…because we remain isolated.
And because we have moved away from this idea of the unity of the Spirit and being a body of believers helping one another that I believe is one of the reasons sexual brokenness is so common among believers today.
We are many…but we also need to be one.