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Unity Of The Spirit

Unity Of The Spirit

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Unity Of The Spirit

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  1. Unity Of The Spirit In The Bond Of Peace

  2. 1. Introduction To Unity

  3. Psalm 133 • Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! 2It is like the precious oil upon the head, That ran down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard; That came down upon the skirt of his garments; 3Like the dew of Hermon, That cometh down upon the mountains of Zion: For there Jehovah commanded the blessing, Even life for evermore.

  4. Figures Of Unity • Pleasant And Sweet as Aaron’s Perfumed Oil • High Priest Presented One Holy Nation • United In Worship To The One God • Refreshing And Invigorating As Morning Dew

  5. Unity Among Brethren Demands • Avoiding Two Basic Extremes • Everyone who disagrees with me is in error • I may like that one personally, but is divisive • God, not me, is the final arbiter of truth Rom. 14:11-12 • Acceptance is not based on those that agree with me • We accept others in open rebellion and sin • This is contrary to responsible behavior Eph. 5:9-13 • Accepting others in sin is equally divisive 2 John 9-11 • We must grow in grace and knowledge 2 Pet. 1:8

  6. Text For Our Study Ephesians 4:1-6 • I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, 2with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. • 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.

  7. Natural Division Of Text • Man’s Responsibility For Unity – Vs. 1-3 • God’s Platform For Unity – Vs. 4-6

  8. 2. Man’s Responsibility For Unity

  9. Is Unity Possible? • Paul tells us unity is possible • That God demands we have it • We must endeavor to maintain it • Common mistake to skip our part • Immediately Focus on God’s platform

  10. Five Step Walk For UnityEphesians 4:1-3 • Walk Worthy Of Our Calling • Walk With All Lowliness And Meekness • Walk With Longsuffering • Walk Forbearing One Another In Love • Walk Endeavoring To Keep The Unity Of The Spirit In The Bond Of Peace

  11. Man’s Part – Five Steps To Unity • Walk Worthy Of Our Calling • Walk • In Newness of life – Rom. 6:4 • Not after flesh but the spirit – Rom. 7:14-25 • Have the disposition to follow God – Rom. 8:4 • As children of light – Eph. 5:8 • By faith not by sight – 2 Cor. 5:7 • Let us walk by the same rule – Phil 3:16 • Worthy Of Our Calling • Called by the Gospel – 2 Thess 2:14-15 • Therefore we must stand fast in that Gospel • Hold Fast the traditions taught : word or epistle

  12. Unity Of The Spirit Is Not Unity In Diversity

  13. Unity In Diversity Defined • What I Mean By Unity In Diversity • Ecumenicalism (Limited in some churches of Christ) • Accepting others despite doctrinal differences • Al Maxey rejects the scriptures being a pattern to emulate • Rubel Shelly and Max Lucado accept sinners prayer • Ketcherside and Garrett accepts non-Christians • Brothers in prospect becomes brother in fact • Others accept same principle in a limited fashion • Accepting them in their sin • Doctrine takes backseat for sake of uniting • Brethren determine to agree to disagree • Doctrinal disagreement is accepted as the norm

  14. Leroy Garrett Restoration ReviewVol. 20, No. 10; Dec. 1978 • “It is love that unites, not doctrinal agreement. Love perfectly unites that which is divided. Even if people should reach perfect agreement on all the points of doctrine, this would not mean perfect unity. Only love made for perfect unity, and this when folk may be quite diverse in their interpretation of much of the Bible.”

  15. Al Maxey’s UnityEliminate Doctrine (Pattern) • Reflections – Al Maxey Issue #3 December 12, 2003 • “When God provided His people with guiding principles did He honestly expect all peoples everywhere until the end of time to implement those principles ONLY after the manner of the "approved examples" of a band of fallible disciples in one small corner of the globe? And if so, where has God ever declared this precept? Where has God declared specifically that unless we give or love or pray or sing JUST EXACTLY LIKE they did in Troas or Corinth or Ephesus or Jerusalem we will go straight to hell and be tortured for a zillion years?! Would someone please show me where God ever declared such a thing? What specific command of God makes the methodologies of these early disciples the universal standard for all peoples for all time?! I have yet to find that clear command in Scripture.”

  16. Al Maxey’s UnityRemove Us From The Primitive Model • Reflections –Al Maxey Issue #3 December 12, 2003 • “I personally doubt ANY of the early disciples would recognize much of anything we do today, especially in our worship assemblies on Sunday morning. In external FORM we are so far removed from anything found among first century disciples that they would likely disfellowship the whole bunch of us (assuming, of course, that they were equally into this whole patternistic, exclusivistic, isolationist nonsense ... which I do not for an instant believe they were).”

  17. Al Maxey’s Conclusion Unity In Diversity Realized • Reflections –Al Maxey Issue #3 December 12, 2003 • “In short, this notion of preserving the methodologies and customs and traditions of first century disciples, and binding them upon all disciples the world over until the end of time, is ludicrous. It is nowhere in Scripture commanded, much less recommended. The principles of Christianity can be applied in any culture at any time in the history of this planet. Christianity is not frozen in 1st century practice or perception; it transcends such a local limitation.”

  18. Rubel Shelly’s Limited EcumenicismUnity In Diversity Realized • A Call to Action - Rubel Shelly Restoration Forum XII – ACU, Abilene, TX (November 1-3, 1995) transcribed by Tom Roberts • “Third, we can engage in joint ministry with each other. We've been speaking at each other's conferences and lectureships on a limited scale and that practice seems not only to have been generally well received but to be growing. Frankly, more of us have been invited out of the acappella churches to be a part of lectureships and teaching settings at Christian Church schools and congregations than the reverse.”

  19. Rubel Shelly’s Limited EcumenicismUnity In Diversity Realized • A Call to Action - Rubel Shelly Restoration Forum XII – ACU, Abilene, TX (November 1-3, 1995) transcribed by Tom Roberts • “The Woodmont Hills Church of Christ, the church were I preach in Nashville, and First Christian Church of Nashville are sharing a worship facility. Some of you already know that. Others of you, perhaps, would be shocked to learn that about three and a half months ago, the acappellaWoodmont Hills Church of Christ sold its building. …As it turned out, the most practical option that was received warmly by both churches was a shared use of the facility of an independent Christian Church on Franklin Road. They'd accommodated us by moving their Sunday evening service a bit later and we have use of that building on Sunday from 1 to 6 and we have a 1:30 and 4:15 repeat of the same worship hour and Sunday school in between at 3. We do our mid-week assemblies in there on Thursday.”

  20. Rubel Shelly’s Limited Ecumenicism • A Call to Action - Rubel Shelly Restoration Forum XII – ACU, Abilene, TX (November 1-3, 1995) transcribed by Tom Roberts • “But not only that, we're sharing and exchanging the uses of personnel. We co-hosted a seminar by Lyle Shower (spell ?). We will do some things together in the immediate future with regard to hosting other events of spiritual significance for our two churches that will allow us to affirm our relationship to be a positive one. We intend for these 18 to 24 months not simply to be a time of landlord and tenant relationship, but a time of healing between these two congregations, so that we can henceforth work together in productive ways and not be obstacles to each other. We believe that's against the will of God.”

  21. Max Lucado’s Sinner’s Prayer • Recorded In a Lubbock radio sermon • “God is ready to be your Father. Maybe you never understood that the invitation was for everyone. Maybe you thought that you weren't worthy. Maybe now you do understand God will make you worthy and the invitation is for you, and all you have to do is call him Father. Just call him Father. Just turn your heart to him even right now as I am speaking. Call him your Father, and your Father will respond. Why don't you do that? Father, I give my heart to you. I give you my sins. I give you my tears. I give you my fears. I give you my whole life. I accept the gift of your Son on the cross for my sins. And I ask you, Father, to receive me as your child. Through Jesus Christ I pray.”

  22. Max Lucado’s View Of Baptism • Recorded In the same Lubbock radio sermon • “If today is the first day you've ever prayed a prayer like that, could you do me a favor? Could you write me a letter? I don't have anything I am going to ask from you. I do have a letter I would like to send to you. I'd like to give you a word about the next step or two. I want to encourage you to find a church. I want to encourage you to be baptized. I want to encourage you to read your Bible. But I don't want you to do any of that so you will be saved. I want you to do all of that because you are saved.”

  23. Unity In Diversity The Only Unity • The Twisted Scripture by Carl Ketcherside • Some of those who mistake conformity for unity appear to be startled when they first learn that we suggest there may be unity in diversity. Actually we go much farther than that. We assert that if there is any unity at all it must be unity in diversity, if it is to be enjoyed by free men. There is no other kind of unity except for slaves. Our opponents themselves are proof of this. Not one of them is a member of a congregation where every person understands each scripture alike. Each party agrees upon the factional test which it has singled out and made the supreme issue. Upon every other matter the greatest latitude is permitted. Conformity does not make for better Christians, but for greater hypocrites.

  24. Unity In Diversity Not By Conformity • The Twisted Scripture by Carl Ketcherside •  ”Every group which contends for conformity of every member is inconsistent. Those who quote scriptures urging the saints to live in harmony under the delusion that unity and harmony are identical, misunderstand both human nature and the scriptures.” • “Of even greater significance is the fact that if unity came by intellectual agreement rather than as a grace-gift from God, it could never produce a peace that passes understanding.” • “Conformity as a basis of unity is a fantasy, whether in the realm of politics, economics, philosophy or religion.”

  25. Unity In Diversity – Limited Ecumenicism • • Noun1.ecumenicism - (Christianity) the doctrine of the ecumenical movement that promotes cooperation and better understanding among different religious denominations: aimed at universal Christian unity

  26. Unity In Diversity – Limited Ecumenicism • • Ecumenism – Synonym of Ecumenicalism • noun  Definition:   Church unity: a movement promoting unity between different Christian churches and groups

  27. Unity In Diversity – Limited Ecumenicism • • Main Entry: ec·u·men·i·cal Pronunciation: \ˌe-kyə-ˈme-ni-kəl, -kyü-\ Function: adjective Etymology: Late Latin oecumenicus, from Late Greek oikoumenikos, from Greek oikoumenē the inhabited world, from feminine of oikoumenos, present passive participle of oikein to inhabit, from oikos house — more at vicinity Date: circa 1587 1: worldwide or general in extent, influence, or application 2 a: of, relating to, or representing the whole of a body of churches b: promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation

  28. Unity In Diversity – Limited Ecumenicism • Ecumenicism • Attempt To Unit Denominations of the World • By Minimizing Doctrinal Differences • Accepting each other in their differences • Has not united denominations of the world • Accepting divergent doctrines of others • No denouncing error of others doctrines only disagreements • Limited Ecumenicism Of Unity In Diversity • Attempt To Unit All Believers in Christ • By Minimizing Doctrinal Differences • Accepting each other in their differences • Will not unit the splintered factions of a divided body • Acceptance of those in error only leads to further error • No denouncing error of others doctrines only disagreement

  29. Unity In Diversity Is Not • Diversity of Nationality • Diversity of Culture • Diversity of Race • Diversity of Education • Diversity of Regional Background • Diversity of Physical Characteristics • Diversity of Talent • Diversity of Spiritual Knowledge • Diversity of Spiritual Maturity • Diversity of Politics These Don’t Divide us

  30. Some Promoting Unity In Diversity • See the Corinthian church as the model • They had unity in diversity in action • They didn’t even remove an immoral member • See the seven churches of Asia as models • Ephesus lost their earlier love – Rev 2:4 • Smyrna had no stated problems – Rev 2:8-11 • Pergamos had diverse doctrinal issues Rev 2:12-15 • Thyatira had the woman Jezebel – Rev 2:18-20 • Sardis had a name but was dead – Rev 3:1 • Philadelphia had no stated problems Rev 3:7-12 • Laodicea was luke warm Rev 3:14-15

  31. What Did God Say Of These Models Of Unity In Diversity? No Division • 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 • Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?

  32. What Did God Say Of These Models Of Unity In Diversity? • 5 of the 7 were told to do something to repent • Ephesus remember, repent, do first works – Rev 2:5 • Or I will remove thy candlestick from its place • No longer have Christ walking among it • Pergamos repent Rev 2:16 • Or I will come quickly • Fight against thee with the sword of my mouth • Thyatira given time to repent but she did not – Rev 2:21 • I will cast her in a bed of tribulation and kill her children • That all church will know I search the hearts • Sardis remember, hold fast, repent – Rev 3:2-3 • Be watchful and strengthen what remains • I will come like a thief • Laodicea be zealous and repent Rev 3:16-19 • Spiritually Wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked • Buy gold and white garments and eye salve Diversity Condemned

  33. Unity In Diversity These Divide us • Accepts division of doctrine • Accepts division of clear bible teaching • Accepts division within the body as normal • Accepts division of major biblical conformity • Accepts and promotes division • Overlooks significant doctrinal differences

  34. Unity Is Not Promotion Of Error • Common Salvation – Jude 3 • One Flock – John 10:16 • Unity of the Spirit – Eph. 4:3 • Stand Fast In One Spirit • Striving together For One Faith – Phil. 1:27 • Unite All Children Of God – John 11:52 • Worship In Spirit and Truth – John 4:24 • Truth Will Set You Free – John 8:32

  35. Unity Promotes Doctrinal Conformity • Faith Once Delivered – Jude 6 • Abide in the Doctrine of Christ – 2 John 9-11 • Steadfast in Apostles Doctrine – Acts 2:42 • All Speak The Same Thing – 1 Cor. 1:10 • No Division But be perfectly joined together • In The Same Mind And IN The Same Judgment

  36. Is Unity In Diversity Worthy Of Our Calling? • Stand Firm In Gospel • Unity in reality desired • Follow God who calls • Hold apostolic tradition • Teachings/writings • Treading same path • Minding same things • Led by the spirit of God • Unity In Diversity • Unity in name only • Depart from God’s call • Depart apostolic teach. • Distort teachings • Not walking same path • Not mind same things • Led by diversity

  37. Five Steps To Unity • 2. Walk With All Lowliness And Meekness • Lowliness (compound word) • Not raising far from the ground, low • Having the mindset of ones low standing • Humility of mind understands own low worth before God • Not advance teachings contrary to God’s direction • Then expect others to follow their lead over God’s

  38. Five Steps To Unity • 2. Walk With All Lowliness And Meekness • Meekness • Equestrian term combining strength with gentleness • Might, Strength, Power brought under control • To retain strength of poise under provocation • Not lend itself to promoting of self interest • Not rebellious against God’s instruction • Disposition of gentleness not divisive or confrontational • Jesus was epitome of meekness – Mt. 11:29 • Matthew 15 demonstrate the dichotomy of meekness • Jesus stood strong against error – Mt. 15:1-8 • Jesus was gentle with Canaanite woman – Mt. 15:21-28

  39. Five Steps To Unity • 2. Walk With All Lowliness And Meekness • Jesus demonstrated meekness and lowliness • Being strong in opposition against error • While possessing a meek and gentle spirit • Minor differences will not be pushed to division • Departures must be met with strong resolve

  40. Five Steps To Unity • 3. Walk With Longsuffering • To suffer long, not lose patience, • Slowness to avenge a wrong done against us • Makros – long & Thoomos – heat, quickly boiling • All Christians must have as fruit – Gal 5:22 • God’s longsuffering antediluvian world – 1 Pet 3:20 • God was angry with man’s wickedness – Gen 6:5 • But kept anger in check while Noah built the ark

  41. Five Steps To Unity • 4. Walk Forbearing One Another In Love • To suffer, to bear with, endure, to hold up • Quality that holds up and bears under differences • It puts up with others when problems surface • Puts up with others in a spirit of love • Paul tells how to hold up another in love – 1 Cor 13:4-8a

  42. Paul Tells How To Hold Up Another In Love – 1 Cor 13:4-8a • What Love Is • Suffers long • Kind • Rejoices in the truth • Bears all things • Believes all things • Hopes all things • Endures all things • What Love Is Not • Envious • Boastful • Arrogant • Rude • Insist on his own way • Irritable • Resentful • Rejoice in iniquity

  43. Requirements Of Love • Brethren Not overlook error or sinful behavior • Corinth overlooked error of fornication 1 Cor. 5:1 • They did not mourn the division but accepted it • They were to judge him that wrought this Vs. 3 • Walk in Lord’s commandments – 2 Jo 5-6 • Shared responsibility to correct one another • Correct Brothers we see in error – Jas 5:19-20

  44. Forbearing In Love • Love enough to save from sin • Love enough to save a soul from death • Does not overlook sin • But holds up another • By correcting brethren in error • By opposing sin wherever we find it • Forbearing spirit go a long way for unity • Better marriages • Better employer and employee relationships • Better relationships with brethren

  45. Five Steps To Unity • 5. Walk Forbearing One Another In Love • To suffer, to bear with, endure, to hold up • Quality that holds up and bears under differences • Not accepting doctrinal differences – 1 Cor 1; 5 • Puts up with others when differences arise • It puts up with others when problems surface • Puts up with others in a spirit of love • Paul tells how to hold up another in love – 1 Cor 13:4-8a

  46. Five Steps To Unity • 5. Walk Endeavoring To Keep The Unity Of The Spirit In The Bond Of Peace • Endeavoring as used by Paul • To Timothy after being forsaken by others – 2 Tim 4:9-13 • Do diligence to come shortly unto me • To Timothy to come before winter – 2 Tim 4:21 • Do thy diligence to come before winter with his coat and books • Paul wanted Timothy to hurry up, make sure to come • To Titus come to Nicopolis – Titus 3:12 • Be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis • For I have determined to winter there

  47. Five Steps To Unity • 5. Walk Endeavoring To Keep The Unity Of The Spirit In The Bond Of Peace • Endeavoring as used by N.T. writers • The apostles to Paul remember the poor – Gal 2:10 • Which I also was forward (zealous ASV) to do • To Timothy work as an evangelist– 2 Tim 2:15 • Give diligence to show thyself approved unto God • A workman not ashamed rightly dividing the word • Encouragement to enter our rest– Heb 4:11 • Let us labor therefore to enter that rest • Paul’s use in our text – Eph 4:3

  48. EndeavoringTo Keep The Unity Of The Spirit • Hurry up to do it • Make every effort to get the job done • To exert oneself in the task • It takes work and great effort • Not just something we would like to do • Something we must do and be quick to do it • Seems to be a foreign concept to many

  49. Every Disagreement Now Becomes A Test Of Fellowship • Biblical instruction when disagreements come • Hasten to keep the unity of the spirit in peace • Exert one’s self to be united • Working quickly toward uniting brethren • Divisive Spirit • Hastening to find something over which to divide • Very little effort exerted to maintain unity • Every effort is exerted to force conflict and discord • Every disagreement becomes a test of fellowship

  50. In The Bond Of Peace • Translated as band, bond, string, or chain • That which binds together, a bond • Used of ligaments that bind together the body • Of things that are tied together in a bundle • The bonds of peace • Unite brethren together who might disagree • As the human body is united by the ligaments • We must endeavor, work, make ever effort • To maintain the unity of the spirit • In the bond or bands of peace that tie us together