Diligent to Preserve the Unity of the Spirit

Text: Ephesians 4:1-6

Unity among God’s people is important to the Lord. He prayed for it before His death (John 17:20-21). It ought to be important to us as well. How can we have unity? To answer this, we can look to what Paul wrote about the unity of the Spirit.

Unity of the Spirit

  • Not “unity in diversity” – this is promoted across the religious world today (1 Corinthians 4:17; Acts 20:27)
  • Not unity around a human creed – agreeing to something wrong does not make it right (Exodus 23:2)
  • Not unity by coercion – remaining together but constantly fighting is not the Lord’s will (Philippians 4:2)
  • Unity of the Spirit – unity that comes as a result of following the direction of the Spirit; the Spirit revealed the word of God (John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12); the word produces faith (Romans 10:17); as a result, we can “attain to the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13)
  • This is the unity that comes from all of us following after the word of God

Requires Diligence to Preserve It

  • Will require effort on our part (diligence) – will not happen by accident simply because we are all fallible human beings (Romans 3:23)
  • The word translated being diligentendeavoring (KJV) also means “to hasten, make haste” (Thayer) – this means that unity must be a priority; when it exists, maintain it; when it doesn’t, restore it
  • It is worth the effort (Psalm 133:1)

How to Preserve It

  • Walk worthy of your calling (Ephesians 4:1) – called to be like Christ (Acts 11:26); have His attitude (Philippians 2:3-8)
  • Be humble (Ephesians 4:2) – “An arrogant man stirs up strife” (Proverbs 28:25); have the humble attitude of Jesus
  • Be gentle (Ephesians 4:2) – meek (KJV); bear injuries patiently, without retaliating or seeking revenge (Barnes)
  • Be patient (Ephesians 4:2) – with those who are unruly, fainthearted, weak (1 Thessalonians 5:14); willing to help get to the end goal (the unruly corrected, the fainthearted encouraged, the weak strengthened)
  • Be tolerant (Ephesians 4:2) – forbearing (KJV); not tolerance of sin, but helping those who need it (Galatians 6:2)
  • Remember the basis for our unity (Ephesians 4:4-6) – one body, the church (Ephesians 1:22-23); one Spirit who revealed the will of God (John 16:13); one hope of eternal life in heaven (Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:5); one Lord, Jesus, the one with all authority (Matthew 28:18); one faith in Christ revealed in His word (John 8:24; Romans 10:17); one baptism for forgiveness and salvation (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21); one God and Father of all, our Creator whom we should seek (Romans 1:20; Acts 17:27)
  • By church “leaders” equipping the saints (Ephesians 4:11-13) – evangelists preaching (2 Timothy 4:2) and elders shepherding (Acts 20:28) to help us attain to unity; unity that requires preachers to not preach on a topic or elders to be forced to let someone get their way is NOT unity of the Spirit
  • By speaking and acting in love (Ephesians 4:2, 15-16) – love is the “perfect bond of unity” (Colossians 3:14); love means putting others first; must be done in deed, not just in word (1 John 3:18)

Conclusion

  • We are to work to maintain unity – we do that by being what the Lord has called us to be as His people
  • When there is not unity, at least one person is wrong; it could be that everyone is wrong – regardless, we all have a responsibility to act with humility, patience, and submission to the Lord to seek unity

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