You may be wondering what this week’s picture has to do with my topic. The birds pictured here are called Skimmers, and if you ever see them you will be left in awe of the way they fly. You see when they fly they move in waves as if they were one entity. It’s a beautiful thing to see. This week I want to speak again about Church unity. When the Bible speaks about unity of the Body, it isn’t talking about one local church body, it isn’t talking about one denomination, in fact, there were no denominations when the Bible was written, so when scripture speaks of the unity of the Body it is talking about the Church as a whole. As I’ve said before, the only doctrine that should divide the Church is that of salvation by God’s grace and through our life-changing faith, absolutely nothing else matters.
As I’m putting the final touches on my book I’ve been praying about whether or not God wants me to write a follow-up book and I feel He wants me to write one on Church Unity. While I was praying about this, just yesterday, God gave me a specific passage of scripture. I couldn’t remember exactly where this passage was found but planned on looking it up. As you may have noticed, I have been going straight through the book of Ephesians for a while now. Well, this morning I sat down to write this week’s blog, and wouldn’t you know, the next passage in the book is Ephesians 4:4-6, the very passage that God has been laying on my heart. It never ceases to amaze me how He puts affirmations in front of us every day. So, here’s that Passage, it says, “4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.”
Paul starts out this part of his letter by saying, “there is one body and one Spirit.” Do you see how important unity is? He starts out with unity of the Church. He says that we are one body, and there is one spirit. We have unity because we share one Spirit in Christ. Now, let’s look at each of these.
One Body, as we have seen many times before, the Church is often referred to as the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12 describes it best where Paul compares the different gifts of the Holy Spirit to the different parts of the body. He starts out in verses 12-13 showing how even socioeconomic differences don’t separate us, “12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.” It doesn’t matter where we are from, if we are rich or poor, if we are slave or free, we are all part of the same body.
He goes on to talk about how, if the foot or ear says it doesn’t want to be part of the body, that doesn’t make it any less a part. So, we are all part of the same Body whether we want to admit it or not. Then he emphasizes how, since we are all different parts, we can’t all have the same gifts, look at verse 17, “If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?” So, if anyone tries to tell you that there is one Spiritual gift that we all should have, direct them to this passage.
Looking back at Ephesians 4, he goes on to say, One Spirit. There is only one Holy Spirit. According to the Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word is pneuma (pnyü’-mä) means “the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son. He is sometimes referred to in a way which emphasizes His personality and character (the “Holy” Spirit), He is sometimes referred to in a way which emphasizes his work and power (the Spirit of “Truth”), but He is never referred to as a depersonalized force.” So, there is no mistaking what Spirit Paul is talking about.
Next, he says there is One Hope of Our Calling. This is speaking to the unity or brotherhood, we have in the hope of our calling. The word “hope” here isn’t hope as in, “I hope this will happen,” this is an expectant hope, a sure thing. We have an expectant hope in our calling as believers; which draws us together and sets us apart from the world.
He then says, One Lord! Don’t let anyone ever tell you that it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe in something. In John 14:6 we read that “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’” Did He sound “iffy” in that statement? Did He say, I am a way? No, Jesus is the one and only Lord. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Great I Am, the one who was and is and is to come. Praise God!
One Faith. This goes right along with one Lord. There is only one faith that will save your soul. Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” And, remember what Hebrews 11:6 says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” We must have that one faith and it must be a life-changing faith. James tells us in James 2:14, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” Then he goes on to say in verse 17, “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” So, you see, it can’t just be lip-service, it must be life-changing.
One Baptism. This is not speaking about water baptism, it is speaking about Spiritual baptism. Just like water baptism, spiritual baptism is separate from the salvation experience, in fact, there are several instances in scripture where someone had been a Christian for some time and later was baptized in the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 3:11 John the Baptizer said, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Acts 1:5 says, “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” And in Acts 11:16 we read, “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”
One Father of All! Here Paul is showing the hierarchy of the Godhead. He is a triune God which means He is one God with three separate parts that have three separate jobs, but The Father is overall. He goes on to say, “who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
Unity of the Body is paramount to the health of the Church. Jesus Himself said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” Matthew 12:25. We must get this right if the Church is to survive and make a difference in our world today.