It is truly my belief that as politicians, government, and social perspectives would tend to divide, we all have more in common than they would admit. In our lesson, we will discover that for the church, there is one lord, one faith, and one baptism. It is here in our lesson that Paul sets forth guidelines concerning Christian conduct and behavior. It is his desire that the church matures that they are prepared to exercise their gifts, taking on the nature of Christ.
1 THE CHURCH’S CALLING TO UNITY (Ephesians 4: 1-6)
It is here that Paul makes a plea to the church to walk worthy of the vocation and to live in consistency with their calling. Our calling is our life achievement; it’s our job. The word walk here means our conduct; the word worthy connects us to God’s plan as we accept the plan by the way we live our daily lives; however, we are not to boast but to demonstrate humility. We are to exercise patience towards the faults and those of different personalities. Patient with love, lowliness, longsuffering, forbearing. There is but one spirit in the church, one body of believers sharing a common faith in that one Lord.
2 THE CHURCH’S GIFT (vv. 7-12)
Paul now speaks of unity without uniformity. Each member has been given their own gift. We are not to imitate each other’s gifts, having our own specific roles in the body. Paul breaks down the nature of gifts. Apostles are to preach and plant, prophets are the mouth piece of God who have received revelations from the Lord. Evangelist are to preach good news going out into the world, leading people to Christ. Pastors serve as God’s undershepherds caring for the sheep of his flock, teachers explaining the bible and what it means, connecting God’s word into everyday living. All gifts are for the perfecting of the saints that they be prepared for the work, edifying the body of Christ.
3 THE ROAD TO MATURITY (vv.13-16)
Paul here states that the maturity process will go on until we all come in the unity of faith, preparing for the afterlife. There will always be differences; there will always be room for growth until we obtain full knowledge, entering the state of perfection or completeness. The journey is done at this perfection or completeness. As we mature, we will no longer be like children, tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind and doctrine. As we grow, we will be more like him. Our understanding will be solid and sure. We are not easily persuaded. There will always be new understandings, new enlightenments, and challenges will be there; we will learn to lean more on Jesus, trusting the process and the promise. We will speak the truth in love as we grow in Christ.
I will conclude this lesson as I started, the human race, despite differences, has more in common than not. This is ever more true in the body of Christ, the church. There is but one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.
“UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST”
Rev. J. H. Eskridge