The Bond of Peace
TEXT: Ephesians 4:1-4
A. Eph. 4 IS A CHAPTER ON UNITY.
1. vs. 1-16 Paul deals with unity on 3 levels: Personal, doctrinal, and functional or practical.
2. All three areas important to the survival of congregations.
B. We need to be aware of what God says about personal unity and practice it.
I.UNITY IS EXPECTED OF US.
A. JESUS PRAYED FOR IT( John 17:20-21 ).
B. PAUL DEMANDED IT( 1 Cor. 1:10 ).
C. MORE THAN JUST DOCTRINAL SAMENESS.
IT DESCRIBES OUR RELATIONSHIP TO ONE ANOTHER.
1. 1 Cor. 1:10. no division!
2. Division is a result of a carnal mind( 1 Cor. 3:1-3 ).
II.WE ARE CALLED TO UNITY( Eph. 4:1 ).
A. We are to walk worthily of the calling.
1. Walk involves our manner of life or conduct. Used through the Bible.
2. By what are we called that we might walk worthily?( 2 Thes. 2:14 ).
B.Walking worthily means walking together( Col. 3:15 ).
III.THE KEY TO MAINTAINING PERSONAL UNITY IS LOVE( vs. 2 ).
A. Love is the command of Jesus( John 13:34-35 ).
B. We must love one another for god to accept our love( 1 John4:20-21 ).
C. It isn't enough to boast about our love( 1 John 3:16-18 ).
D. As much a part of obedience as anything else( 1 Pet. 1:22 ).
IV.HOW WILL LOVE MANIFEST ITSELF? ( vs. 2 ).
A. "Lowliness" - Having a humble opinion of oneself; a deep sense of one's littleness, modesty, lowliness of mind. – Thayer.
1. Humility is necessary( Mat. 18:1-4; 1 Pet. 5:5-6 ).
2. Comes with seeing oneself as he really is.
a. with regard to others( Rom. 12:3 ).
b. with regard to sin( Luke 18:13 ).
c. with regard to God( Psalm 144:3-4 ).
3. Contrasted with Pride and Faction( Phil. 2:3 ).
4. It will effect our conduct with one another.
a. We will be concerned( Phil. 2:3-4 ).
b. We will not "show-off"( Mat. 6:1; 23:5-7 ).
c. We will not be overbearing; asserting our own will ( Mat. 20:26 ).
d. We will not try to "run things"( 3 John 9-12 ).
5. We will not merely boast of our humility.
B. "Meekness" - prautes, - "Power restrained, gentle."
1. Gentle giants.
2. Jesus is the supreme example( Mat. 26:51-54; Luke 23:34; 1 Pet. 2:21-23; 3:8-9 ).
C. "Longsuffering," Forbearance, long temper, doesn't hastily strike back to punish, opposite of anger, associated with mercy...patient, ability to suffer long...bearing insults, injuries, ignorance a long time.
1. 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Tim. 1:16. Are we as longsuffering as God?
2. Forbearing one another in Love.
D. Once again, Love is the key( 1 Cor. 13:1-8 ).
V.NOT EASY - MUST STRIVE, GIVE DILIGENCE( vs. 3 ).
A. Does not involve compromise of truth(Prov. 23:23 ).
B. Does not allow for ignoring sin(1 Cor. 5:6-7 ).
C. Does demand gentleness in the most trying situation(Gal. 6:1 ).
D. Does involve taking care of our own sin first(Gal. 6:1 ).
A. Are we all we can be?
B. Do we need to make changes?
C. Is there division in the body?