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The Grounds of Unity

Ephesians 4:4-6



The Graces of Unity are in v. 2.  Now, the grounds.


vv. 4-6     Seven uniting forces for all believers.  They are foundational...they provide the grounds of our unity.  They are the 'bond of peace' written of in v. 3.


Unity is not uniformity.  We don't all have to be exactly alike.  But these 7 things are the fundamentals which we must agree on in order to have unity.


Unity built on something other than Bible truth will not stand. 


"Fundamentalist" used to simply mean you stand for the fundamentals of the faith.  Now it's a radical extremist of some sort, a fanatic, etc.


If you are talking about someone who is against education, then I am not a fundamentalist.  [legalistic / negative / mean spirited / unkind / unloving ]


But if you use the dictionary definition of someone who holds dear the fundamentals of the faith, then I guess I am, and proudly so!  Now, are there better labels we could wear today?  Perhaps, due to the media, who considers Christians to be basically Catholics and conservatives to be people who storm the capitol.  I like ‘Biblicist.’


1.     One body.

This is not just the local church, but the universal body of believers everywhere.  I don't believe that just the Baptists are saved.  I don't believe that all of the First Baptists are saved...tho' I wish they all were.  But you have to do something other than join this church to be saved.  You must be born again!  And people of varying churches do just that.


The fact that every believer is a part of the 'one body' does not excuse any from belonging to and ministering thru the one body.  The 'invisible church' is real, but it ministers thru the local church.  And yet some strive to remain invisible even on the local level!  Some give invisible offerings and are invisible in s.s. and go out on invisible visits and assist with invisible children...perhaps even changing invisible doodies!


ill.--imagine if we applied this principle to our military.  An enlisted man is walking on base when approached by an officer who asks him which unit he belongs to.  He replies, "I just go where I feel led."  He goes on to describe how he belongs to the one true army which unites all soldiers.  How many wars would we win with that mindset?

        And how will the army of God succeed un-united? 


ill.--when I visit with prospective church members I tell them that there's no pressure.  If it takes them a week, a month, or longer to find God's will, that's fine.  But once you do find it, you need to join it, make the commitment, and keep the commitment by being faithful, not hopping around and shopping the town.  Get involved, have a ministry, always moving forward, not backward.  Give up a ministry that's not for you, fine, as long as God is leading you to take a step up to something bigger and more your style and that requires more of a commitment, not less.


2.     One Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is to the 'one body' what breath is to the human body.  As a church we can operate in the power of the flesh if we want to, but better in the Spirit.  There's more than a dozen references to the Holy Spirit in Ephesians, and that's how the body is to operate. 


He is a ground of unity because He leads us and guides us where we should go.  We have multiple pastors, deacons, teachers and leaders.  How will we get together in leadership?  We have the same Holy Spirit leading us as we pray about the future.  Everyone has a personal opinion on things, but the Spirit brings us together.


As a church we enjoy great unity.  When we vote on something it is almost always unanimous, which is unheard of outside of the leading of the Spirit. 

Acts 1:14
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication...

Acts 4:31-32
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul...

We all have our opinions.  But when we pray and are filled with the Holy Spirit, God's opinions become our opinions!


My ideas and opinions are just like yours...not worth a flip unless they come from God. 


3.     One hope.

The 'blessed hope' is the return of Christ which we look forward to.  We believe in it literally!  But why is this a unifying factor for us?

ill.--during the Civil War, rival armies camped on opposing sides of the Potomac River.  The Union band struck up a patriotic tune of their liking.  Then the Confederate band struck up one of a southern flavor.  Back and forth they went in competition.  But at a certain point one band started playing "Home Sweet Home", and rather than seek a competing tune, the other joined them in the same. 

        The thought of going home was unifying...all wanted the same thing!


4.     One Lord.

Before you hook up with a group of quote 'Christians''d better make sure which Jesus they follow, because there are many today.


ill.--ask about the virgin birth, because many 'educated' people no longer believe in that kind of thing.  [sinless Jesus? / God in flesh or just great man? / simple salvation or second blessing? / creation account or evolution? / miracles of the Bible? / homosexuality? Male and female? / all the Bible inspired or just parts?


5.     One faith.

This is the body of truth which the Bible calls 'the apostle's doctrine.'

Jude 3
... ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

"Faith comes by hearing...the Word of God."


You take it all or leave it all.  If you can't believe the Bible about creation how can you believe what it says about salvation?  If the Red Sea didn't part, then maybe the greatest of all miracles didn't happen in your heart!


6.     One baptism.

Spirit baptism is what we are talking about, not water baptism.  This is what places us in the body of Christ. 

1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

This is not some extra sensation to seek after salvation.  This happens AT salvation.  This is why we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit but never commanded to be baptized of the Spirit...because that happens automatically at salvation!


Water baptism is a visible symbol of the Spirit baptism which has already taken place in a believer. 


7.     One God and Father.

The universalist believes that we are all children of God, and all going to heaven.  But Jesus told a group of people, you are of your father, the devil!  You are a child of God or Satan.  


Notice the 3 prepositions:  above, through, in

Above all is the greatness of God.

Through all is the goodness of God.

In you all in the nearness of God. 


My God is great, He is good, and very near!


These are the grounds of our unity.

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