OceanSide church of Christ
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THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT (2)
Doctrinal Elements of Unity (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. In Ephesians 4, Paul begins with an exhortation for unity. Paul refers to this unity as “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
B. This unity involves two key components.
1. Personal traits on the part of the Ephesians (Eph. 4:1-3)
2. Doctrinal elements that must be put in place (Eph. 4:4-6)
C. In a previous lesson, we looked at the personal traits that are needed among members for unity to exist in a local congregation (Eph. 4:1-3).
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
D. In this lesson, we will begin examining the doctrinal elements of unity.
1. They are found in Ephesians 4:4-6.
2. Some have referred to these as “The Seven Ones.”
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in your all.
I. THERE IS ONE BODY
A. Here we see “the unity of organization.”
1. God calls men out of the world of darkness by means of the gospel of Jesus Christ (II Thess. 2:14).
2. Those who answer the call through an obedient faith become His children (Gal. 3:26-27).
3. God has not left this group of people without any organizational structure. He has organized them into “the body of Christ.”
B. Let’s consider four points about this body.
1. The body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23).
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.
2. Jesus is the head of the body (Col. 1:18a).
And he is the head of the body, the church…
a. There is only one head of the body. That one head is Jesus Christ.
b. The head is that part of the body that is responsible for directing all of the actions of the body.
3. There is only one body.
a. The body is not composed of many churches.
b. The body is not a conglomeration of all the denominations that exist today. Those denominations did not exist in the first century, but the one church did.
4. All Christians are members of the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:27).
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
a. Everyone has a role to play in the body.
b. Everyone is essential to the success of the body.
II. THERE IS ONE SPIRIT
A. In this we find “the unity of revelation.”
B. When we refer to revelation, we are referring to the revealing of the Word of God. In the Christian dispensation, the Holy Spirit was responsible for revealing God’s Word to mankind.
1. The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Godhead.
a. Acts 5:3, 4
1) Ananias lied to the Holy Ghost.
2) Ananias lied to God.
b. The Holy Spirit is a being, a person. He is not just a force or an energy source like electricity.
1) He is referred to in the Bible by the personal pronoun, “he” (John 16:13).
2) He has abilities that can only be accomplished by a being (Ex., He speaks, I Tim. 4:1).
3) He has qualities that only a person can have (Ex., He can grieve showing He has feelings, Eph. 4:30).
2. The Holy Spirit revealed the Word of God to men in words that are now recorded for us in our New Testaments (I Cor. 2:9-10).
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things the deep things of God.
C. The Holy Spirit by means of the Word of God brings life to the body of Christ.
1. I Corinthians 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
2. Note that Paul says that the Spirit of God dwells within the church.
a. Spirit is needed in order for there to be life (See James 2:26).
b. The question that has been asked is: “How does the Spirit dwell within the church?”
3. It is by means of the Word of God revealed by the Spirit of God that life is put into the body of Christ.
a. John 6:63
It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life.
b. What did the Holy Spirit reveal? He revealed the words of Christ (John 14:26).
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
c. When the church follows the Word of God, it is alive and animated. Since the Spirit was the agent who revealed this Word, and His power is found in the Word (Heb. 4:12), both can be said to dwell within the church.
III. THERE IS ONE HOPE
A. The one hope provides “unity of expectation.”
B. Living the Christian life is not easy.
1. In His “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus promised persecution (Matt. 5:10-12).
2. He also revealed that the gate through which we must pass is a “strait” gate, that is, a gate entered into with much difficulty.
3. In Matthew 10:22, He warned that we will be hated of all men for His name’s sake.
4. Also, there are numerous passages of Scripture that remind us that we are in a war and that we are fighting the fight of our lives (I Tim. 6:12; Jude 3).
C. Why would any person put up with such things? The answer: “There is hope.”
1. Hope is defined as deep desire coupled with earnest expectation.
2. Hope is something that lies beyond this world in another world that is unseen (Rom. 8:24-25).
3. Our hope involves such words as resurrection, approval, reward, heaven, joy, and eternal life.
a. Matthew 5:10-12
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
1) Jesus promises suffering.
2) He tells us to rejoice.
3) Why? Hope! “…for great is your reward in heaven.”
b. Hebrews 11:24-26
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
1) Moses had a choice: son of Pharaoh’s daughter vs. the people of God – the treasures of Egypt vs. the reproach of Christ.
2) Moses chose to suffer.
3) Why? Hope! “…for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.”
D. Christians have hope. There is only one hope.
1. This hope does not involve
a. Merely dying
b. Being reincarnated
c. Being placed upon a renovated earth
d. Being in another realm with 72 virgins
2. The one hope that we have is heaven, a place of reward that God has prepared for His faithful (Col. 1:5; John 14:1-3).
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye have heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.
A. This morning, we have studied three of the doctrinal pillars that must exist for unity to prevail.
1. One body: unity of organization
2. One Spirit: unity of revelation
3. One hope: unity of expectation
1. Are you a member of the one body?
2. Are you living in harmony with the revelation given by the one Spirit?
3. Do you possess that one hope that is laid up for God’s people in heaven?