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Graces of Unity

Walking in Unity

Ephesians 4:1-3



I want to know how rich you are.  Do you know why?  Is it for tithing purposes?  No.  It's for your sake.  I mean true riches.  Add up everything you have that money can't buy and death can't take away, and that's how rich you really are!


The first half of Ephesians was doctrinal...all about the riches we have in Christ Jesus.  Now it moves from doctrine to duty.  We move from our riches in Christ to our responsibility to Christ.  We will focus more on our Walk than our Wealth now.  It all translates into shoe leather now...will we practice what we preach?

        I like to read my sermons out loud several times during the week so I can hear what it will be like when I stand in the pulpit.  Often I make changes and improvements as the Lord leads.  I do this in my office as well as at home.  Yes, my family is made to endure hearing the same sermon multiple times.  So, if you stop by the church and hear shouting coming from my office, please don't think there's a big brouhaha in progress.  And if you drive by my house and there's a silhouette of my arms flailing about, don't call the police for a domestic call.  I'm simply practicing what I preach!


That's not what the Bible means when it says to practice our preaching.  It's the practical outworking of the doctrinal in-working.  God wants us to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  Your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.  What we do is more important than what we say.  Even more than reading our tracts, the world is watching our tracks.


So let's look at our marching orders.  Here's 4 walks to live by in the last half of this book:

1.     Walk in Unity.  4:1-16

2.     Walk in Purity.  4:17-5:17

3.     Walk in Harmony.  5:18-6:9

4.     Walk in Victory.  6:10-24


And these challenges from the last half of the book will perfectly parallel the doctrines we learned from the first half.


In chapter 1 we were placed into the body of Grace...THEREFORE, we are to walk in unity.

In chapter 2 we were raised from being dead, dominated, and doomed, THEREFORE, we are to walk in purity.

In chapter 2 we were reconciled to God, and the wall of partition was broken down, THEREFORE, we are to walk in harmony.

In chapter 3 we see Christ's victory over Satan, THEREFORE, we are to walk in victory!


Doctrine parallels duty.  That tells me that what we believe determines how we behave.


It's easy to say the words, "Jesus may come today!"  But if we really believe that, it should translate into living differently.  


I'll just give you the beginning of the walking in unity series today, and continue the next couple of weeks.


vv. 1-3    

Unity is not the same as uniformity.  Unity comes from within.  Uniformity comes from pressure from without.  Unity brings us together.  Uniformity brings us to compromise.  It comes at the expense of conviction, doctrine, and beliefs.


Unity is not the same as union.  Today's ecumenical movement [one church] says we must tear down walls of doctrine which divide us.  I say, tear down walls of prejudice and jealousy, but don't touch a wall which God built, like the wall of doctrine!

        Tie 2 cats tails together and throw them over a clothesline.  You will have union.  You will not have unity.


Unity in the body of Christ says the arms and legs can work together, and don't have to look like each other.  You don't have to shift flesh from one area to another to have unity.  [I have that furniture problem where your chest falls into your drawers!]


Unity allows us to work together, but not at the expense of our core principles.  With that said, we don't have to be exactly alike to work together, or that would be uniformity.  2 Pastors can work together without completely agreeing on every minor detail.  Now it would be a problem if they disagreed on major things, but otherwise we can agree to disagree, formulate a plan, and go with it in unity.  You and your spouse can compromise on little details, but it gets ugly if you can't get together on something big like your philosophy of raising children.  But when a man and woman have a tiff over something like what TV show to watch next, it can usually be worked out easily by the man just deciding if he wants to eat or not!


There are 4 graces of unity:  [you need all 4 to have unity]

v. 2          Lowliness=humility. 

This quality of humility is strange because once you find that you have just lost it!

        A guy won a button in s.s. that said 'most humble'.  Then they took it away the next week because he wore it.


The way to know you truly have a servant's heart is by the way you act when you are treated like one.  It's easy to say the words, I have a servant's heart, until someone asks you to take a lower place and asks you do something that is beneath your dignity.


Humility is not thinking low of yourself, but not thinking of yourself at all.  The opposite of lowliness is pride, which destroys unity.


v. 2          Meekness=not weakness.

It's power under control.  It's a horse that has been broken and will obey the reins. 

Jesus was meek, but certainly not weak. 

Moses was meek.  Think about the day he came down off the mountain and found his assistant pastor had led the people to fashion the golden calf.  God threatened to wipe them out and start over with just Moses.  Many prideful, self serving men would go for that plan, but Moses pleaded with God to spare them, for restoration, not to throw the clay away!


Sometimes pastors can find some success and feel some sense of power and authority and respect, and want to show it off, throw their weight around, and remind everybody who's boss.  That isn't meekness.  That destroys unity.


v. 2          Longsuffering=not defensive. [not patience]

It's the ability to be mistreated without fighting back.

"I'll be your friend, unless you cross me...and then, watch out!"
ill.--a Quaker had a mule that would not plow.  He'd say giddy up, and the mule wouldn't budge.  He walked around and looked the mule in the eye and said, Thou knowest I am a Quaker, and canst not hit thee.  What thou dost not know is that my brother in law is a Baptist, and if thou dost not plow, I will sell thee to him, and he shall kill thee.

        Baptists have the reputation sometimes of defending ourselves more than we defend the faith!


When you are longsuffering you let God be your defender, and He does a much better job of defending you than you ever could.


v. 2          Love

1 Corinthians 13:7
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

"Beareth" means umbrella of protection.  This is forbearance in love.  The sky can drop all it wants on you, if you have the umbrella of forbearance you remain mostly untouched by it all.

ill.--did you ever notice that you could do just about any cruel thing to your sibling growing up, but if somebody else tried something, they'd better watch out?!  You'd stand up for them.  You open up the umbrella of protection.

        YOU can call your parents the old man or old lady, but not somebody else.  You'll defend their honor.  You open up the umbrella of protection.

        WE can criticize our children, but nobody else.  You open up the umbrella of protection.


Love beareth all things...imagine the unity in the church if we all had forbearance in love, and protected each other's reputations, feelings, integrity, etc.


"Believeth all things" doesn't mean love is gullible, but it gives the benefit of the doubt.  It's time we put to bed our suspicions and just give people the benefit of the doubt and get back to working on our own problems anyway!


"Hopeth all things" is the optimism of love.  Don't look for the worst in people, but for the best.


"Endureth all things" means love stands strong thru a trial or test.


Lowliness / Meekness / Longsuffering / Love

These 4 graces must be present to have good unity in the church.

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