The Key Is Unity
As I read through the letter of Paul to the Ephesians I am conscious that he is speaking to a church that he planted (See Acts 19:1-6) and a local body of believers who were filled with evangelistic zeal and who spread the Word of the Lord throughout then Asia Minor (Acts 19:10) in the space of two years. Meanwhile the local church grew to 50,000 members in a city then numbering 200,000.
Ephesians 4:1-6 NET states: “I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
In this passage on being one together – unity – Paul uses the word “one” to describe Christian unity in seven ways. Believers are called to be united in:
1> ONE BODY. This worldwide body of Christ is made up of all true born again believers no matter their race, ethnic origin, language, or culture.
Romans 12:2-5 NET “For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another.”
2> ONE SPIRIT. This is God’s Holy Spirit who indwells and also empowers each believer.
Romans 8:9 NET “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him.”
The second encounter – the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
Acts 1:8 NET “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.”
3> ONE HOPE. The hope is found in Christ and His promise to return to take His followers to heaven.
Colossians 1:27 NET “God wanted to make known to them the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Titus 2:13 NET “as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
4> ONE LORD. Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us by His blood.
Ephesians 1:17 NET “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him…”
1 Peter 1:18-19 NET “You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed – not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ.”
5> ONE FAITH. This faith was once for all delivered to the saints.
Jude 3 NET “Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”
6> ONE BAPTISM. This refers primarily to water baptism by immersion.
1 Corinthians 12:13 NET “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free, we were all made to drink of the one Spirit.”
Romans 6:3-5 NET “Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united in the likeness of his resurrection.”
7> ONE FATHER. He is the God of Abraham Isaac, and Jacob and the heavenly Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Malachi 2:10 “Do we not all have one father? Did not one God create us? Why do we betray one another, in this way making light of the covenant of our ancestors?”
We are called to walk in this unity in its fullness and when we do the world will know we are true disciples of the Lord Jesus.