[By Pastor James Echon]
from his compiled lecture materials
and messages preached.
“By unity the smallest thrives and flourishes; by discord,
even the greatest are destroyed.”
Unity in diversity is a slogan celebrating cooperation
between different groups of people from different
societies that propagate a sense of oneness despite
physical, religious or psychological barriers.
In 1938, the leader of the Baha'i Faith said it was the
"watchword" of their religion.
"Unity in diversity" or some variation is also the
official slogan of the European Union.
"Unity in Diversity" is one of the nine Enduring
Principles of the Community of Christ, an
international Christian church. 
2Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
(RLDS); an American based international Christian church.
[WE WILL USE THIS PHRASE IN THIS LECTURE
WITH A THOUGHT IN MIND THAT WE ARE NOT
HERE TO PROMOTE SUCH KIND OF UNITY…
BUT THE UNITY THAT THE SCRIPTURE
“All true saints, the true believers in the Lord
Jesus Christ, are invisibly but vitally united to
Christ, and that union entails unity.”
C. BIBLE REFERENCES:
Rom 12:16; 15:5-6
“Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without
breaking.” [Mahatma Gandhi]
“The soul gives unity to what it looks at with love.”
“The multitude which is not brought to act as a unity, is
confusion.” [Blaise Pascal]
“Unity without verity [truth] is no better than conspiracy.”
I. DEFINITION AND CONCEPT OF UNITY
A. Dictionary [Wikipedia; Webster]
1. Unity is the state of being undivided or unbroken.
2. Unity is a single undivided thing, seen as complete
3. Unity is a thing undivided itself, but separate from
1. Coherence – the integration of diverse elements, relationships,
1. In Literature [writing]
2. In Mass Media – a program in video or movie production.
3. In Computers – a program in making games
4. It is also used in Math and in Science
B. Biblical Concepts about Unity
1. God [Trinity / tri-unity]
2. God’s creation [universe]
3. Two agreeing together
[Amos 3:3 cf. Ecc. 4:9-12]
4. Body concept
[Rom 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12-14]
ILLUSTRATION - Productive, not destructive use of
In a Peanuts cartoon Lucy demanded that Linus
change TV channels, threatening him with her fist if
"What makes you think you can walk right in here and
take over?" asks Linus.
"Individually they're nothing but when I curl them
together like this into a single unit, they form a
weapon that is terrible to behold."
"Which channel do you want?" asks Linus.
Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, "Why
can't you guys get organized like that?“
II. DEMONSTRATIONS AND ILLUSTRATIONS OF
Water [h2o] = 2 hydrogen + 1 oxygen
Broom stick and match stick
“Bayanihan” of Filipino Culture
10 lbs. man’s force
III. DEMANDS AND REQUIREMENTS OF UNITY
A. Unity requires the upholding of the foundation of
the New Testament church.
The CHURCH is of something planned in eternity past
in the heart of the one God in three persons, a tri-
In such plan, the church is called the body of Christ, a
demonstration of and call to unity.
1. The Body of Christ is composed of unity in diversity.
There is one body, but many members.
There is one vine, but many branches.
There is one army, but many soldiers.
There is one temple, but many living stones.
There is one family, but may children (sons).
There is one sheepfold, but many sheep.
2. The Body of Christ, being alive, is required to
uphold the same precious principles and activities the
early church maintained.
We can be united and identified with the early church
by upholding the same:
SAVED BY FAITH (Acts 2:38-41a)
SEPARATED BY BAPTISM (Acts 2:41b)
SOUND IN DOCTRINE (Acts 2:42a)
STRONG IN FELLOWSHIP (Acts 2:42b)
SIMPLE IN WORSHIP (Acts 2:42c)
STEADFAST IN PRAYER (Acts 2:42d)
SANCTIFIED IN LIFE (Acts 2:48)
SOLD ON THE GOSPEL (Acts 2:44-45)
SINGING FROM THE HEART (Acts 2:46-47a)
SUCCESSFUL IN WITNESS (Acts 2:47b)
B. Unity in the church require the upholding the New
Testament church leadership.
Throughout the scriptures we are reminded that
leadership is not an option but an essential principle
in the lives of God’s people.
When God wanted to accomplish some great purpose,
he inevitably called a leader to represent him and
provide vision, courage, motivation, and unity.
So the church must only elect and endorse as church
officers and leaders persons –
> who profess the experience of regeneration and
sanctification as their banner and public witness to the
grace of God that calls us to a holy life;
> who are in harmony with the doctrines, polity, and
practices of the New Testament Church; and
> who support the local church faithfully by their
attendance, service and in the giving of their tithes and
C. Unity requires the upholding faithful service.
1. Service founded on reliance upon God, in His
wisdom and power; not on human potentials.
2. Service focused on Evangelism and Church Planting.
3. Service focused on Edification and church growth.
1. It is foolishness when the believers don't work for,
work through, and support the institution Christ
redeemed and built, the church.
This leads churches become weak instead of becoming
strong and great.
In the Bible there were few really great churches.
2. The church at Jerusalem was, for a while, a great
But by observation, the greatest church in the Bible
was the church in Antioch.
a. In the first place, the church at Antioch was started
by Christians who were persecuted because of the
death of Stephen.
It says that there was a persecution of those because of
the death of Stephen, and the persecution arose and
the Christians left Jerusalem and migrated north and
went as far as Phoenicia and on to Antioch.
They started a church on people who were persecuted
because they witnessed for Christ.
b. It was a church where the people were first called
The Christians never named themselves Christians.
They didn't get together and say, "Let's call ourselves
something," and they voted to call themselves
The people of Antioch saw these people and said, "You
folks are so much like this man called Christ." They
called them Christians.
c. It was a church that helped the needy.
When the church at Jerusalem had some problems, or
folks needed help, food-wise and so forth, they took an
offering at Antioch and sent help to the church at
d. The church at Antioch was the church that sent out
the first church missionaries.
e. It was a church of great pastors.
Paul, Silas, Peter, Barnabas and others preached or
pastored the church.
f. It was a great soul-winning church.
3. There are other churches in the Bible that were good
a. Philippi was not a great church, but it was a good
church because it is a loving church.
b. Smyrna was a church that was not a great church,
but a good church because it stood strong amidst
c. The church at Thessalonica was not a great church,
but it was a good church because it was watchful for
the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
With careful considerations, there were only two or
three, at the most, great churches in the Bible.
One, the church at Antioch, two the church at
Jerusalem; and maybe, in the early days, the church at
Ephesus, were the great churches in the Bible.
4. Now, there are many weak churches. In fact, there
are more weak churches in the Bible than there are
A great church can become a weak church like the
church, for example –
a. Church at Ephesus
* Because they left their first love.
* They refused to do their first works.
* They went from the soul-winning business, lost their
heartbeat and their their zeal.
b. Church at Sardis
* It was a church that the Bible says, "Thou hast a
name that thou livest, and art dead."
* They have activities going all the time, their
fellowship hall was busy every night, but they bear no
fruit. They were dead."
c. The church at Pergamos
* Because they dwelt where Satan's throne was.
* Now Satan is the god of this world; Sardis was a
d. The church at Thyatira
* Because they suffered a lady whose name was Jezebel
to run the church.
e. The church at Laodicea
* The Bible says that they were neither hot nor cold
and because they were neither hot nor cold, God said,
"I will spew thee out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:16)
* The word "Laodicea" means to please the people; it
was a people-pleasing church.
f. The churches at Galatia
* They sewed back the veil in the temple. They
* They didn't preach that salvation was by grace
through faith. They preached a work salvation and
went back to legalism.
g. The church at Colosse
* It is a weak church because they were guilty of angel
5. Practical observations in the ministry – “When we
use people to build the church, rather than using the
church to build people."
Churches must start working to make the right kind of
people, then, even all the demons in hell can't keep
you from having a great church.
When the church does this, it will reproduce the same
kind of people who will plant a church that will build
people, who will also plant a church that will build
people, and on, and on and on. And so the cycle goes.
6. Unity in the church is seen by its action!
A living church has activities. It does not just have a
name that it is alive, but dead.
The unity of the Church, in profession, worship, and
holy walking, was strikingly exemplified in the early
age of Christianity.
Those who "gladly received the word were baptized
and added to the church," consisting of the Apostles
and other disciples; and "continued steadfastly in the
Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of
bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:41-42, 47).
And, after their number was still farther augmented by
the addition of many thousands, "The multitude of
them that believed were of one heart and of one
soul" (Acts 4:32).
7. Unity is being of one heart and one soul
This union was not only confined to those who lived
together, but all of them in every place formed one
sacred "brotherhood" (cf. 1 Pet. 2:17).
a. This unity consists in having one Head and Lord,
the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the "one God and Father
of all" has appointed over his house (Eph. 4:6).
To admit a temporal head of the Church, whether
pope or king, to call any man master in religion, or to
enlist ourselves under the banners of any human
leader, is to sin against the first precept of Christian
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all
tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each
other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to
each other, but to another standard to which each one
must individually bow.
So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each
one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each
other than they could possibly be, were they to become
'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to
strive for closer fellowship.
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.
b. This is the unity of the faith.
> "There is one body," because there is "one faith"
(Eph. 4:4-5). A system of faith or of revealed truth, as
well as of duties, has in every age formed an essential
and important part of true religion.
> "There is one baptism" (Eph. 4:5), and fellowship in
the same acts of worship. Baptism is a solemn badge of
c. This unity recognizes respect of external
government and discipline.
Christ, the head of the Church, "gave pastors and
teachers - helps, governments, for the work of the
ministry, for the gathering together of the saints, for
the edifying of the body, till they all come in the unity
of the faith, and knowledge of the Son of God, to a
perfect man" (cf. Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Cor. 12:28).
d. This unity walks in the bind of mutual charity and
This is the silken cord which ought to be thrown over
all others, and which makes Christian union complete.
Hence, charity, or love, is called by an Apostle a perfect
bond: "Above all these things put on charity, which is
the bond of perfectness" (Col. 3:14).
IV. ENEMY OF UNITY
ILLUSTRATION – “Know your enemy”
A couple of navy stories may help illustrate the sad
result of internal strife and the positive result of unity.
Two battleships met in the night and began to attack
each other. In the conflict, a number of crewmen were
severely wounded, and both vessels were damaged.
As daylight broke, the sailors on the ships discovered
to their amazement that both vessels flew the English
Many years earlier, just before the battle of Trafalgar in
1805, the British naval hero Lord Nelson learned that
an admiral and a captain in his fleet were not on good
Sending for the two men, he placed the hands of the
admiral and the captain together. Then, looking them
both in the face, he said, "Look--yonder is the enemy!"
1. The spirit of division
This produced the bitter and pernicious [evil or
wicked] fruits in the church at Corinth, even in
"It hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren . . .
that there are contentions among you. . . .
Every one of you saith, 'I am of Paul;' and 'I of Apollos;'
and 'I of Cephas;' and 'I of Christ.' Is Christ divided?
Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye first baptized in
the name of Paul?" (1 Cor. 1:11-12).
"First of all, when ye come together in the church, I
hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly
believe it" (1 Cor. 11:18).
"I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I
would ... lest there be debates, envyings, wraths,
strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults" (2
Disorders and animosities of this kind may abate and
gradually settle into a calm, without the restoration of
Thus, in ancient times the Church was divided into
Greeks and Latins.
In more modern times, Protestants have been divided
into Lutherans and Calvinists, Episcopalians,
Presbyterians, and Independents, with a great variety
of other denominations, which it would be painful and
impossible to enumerate.
2. Men of corrupt mind
This happens because of the instrumentality of men
who are activited by different motives and principles,
for which they are entirely responsible.
It is incumbent on all Christians to "endeavor to keep
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).
The violation of it can only be traced to a sinful cause.
The story is told about a small, country church where
the pastor called a special meeting of the congregation
to approve the purchase of a brand new chandelier.
After some discussion pro and con, an old farmer
stood up and said, "Buying a new chandelier may seem
like a good idea to you, but I’m against it for three
“First of all, it’s too expensive and we can’t afford one.
Second, there isn’t anybody around here who knows
how to play one.
And third, what we really need in this church is a new
3. Spirit of Dissention or rebellion
When dissensions arise in the Church of God, and it is
divided into parties, whatever the occasion or matter
of difference may be, there must be guilt somewhere.
The rules of truth, peace, and holy fellowship have
been transgressed; and those who are justly chargeable
with this cannot be blameless.
The Scripture has affixed a mark of disfavor on those
who "cause divisions and offenses contrary to the
doctrine which we have received" (cf. Rom. 16:17).
The dissensions which prevail in the Church may be
traced in general to the workings of human
"Whence come wars and fightings among you? Come
they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your
members?" (Jam. 4:1).
An issue of National Geographic included a photograph of
the fossil remains of two saber-tooth cats locked in
To quote the article: "One had bitten deep into the leg bone
of the other, a thrust that trapped both in a common fate.
The cause of the death of the two cats is as clear as the
causes of the extinction of their species are obvious.
When Christians fight each other, everybody loses. As Paul
put it, "if you keep biting and devouring each other, watch
out or you will be destroyed by each other" (Galations 5:15)
Peter A. Alwinson.
There can be nothing more repugnant [offensive] to
the spirit of Christianity, or damaging to the peace of
the church, than that of discords and rebellion.
They spring from the ignorance, error, unbelief,
prejudice, pride, passion, selfishness, carnality, which
are widespread [prevalent] in the minds of some of the
members of the Church.
These dissentions consist of uncertain and
unprofitable opinions, designed to unsettle the minds
of the hearers, and prompting perverse disputings and
Divisions in the Church may often be traced to a spirit
of vanity, pride, and ambition.
4. Spirit of error, and heresy
Discord is often found combined with a spirit of error, and
has formed a very prominent feature in the character of
heretics and the founders of sects.
Others are provoked to divide the Church by the base
desire of gratifying their greed or covetousness, and
procuring a livelihood from the disciples whom they draw
Such are the "unruly and vain talkers and deceivers,"
described by Paul, "who subvert whole houses, teaching
things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake" (Titus
They are charged by Peter as those who "beguile unstable
souls ... following the way of Balaam the Son of Bosor, who
loved the wages of unrighteousness" (2 Pet. 2:14-15).
1. Divisions in the Church sometimes become
hardened or deep-rooted, and it is the work of extreme
difficulty to heal them.
a. It is easy to divide, but not so easy to unite.
A child may break or take to pieces an instrument
which it will confuse the most skillful to put together
b. Leniency and tolerance easily creeps in
The force of these is sometimes greatly increased by
leniency or tolerance, so that parties become more
and more alienated from one another by mutual
injuries and recrimination; for "the beginning of strife
is as when one letteth out water" (Prov. 17:4).
The toleration of one error, and the defense of one
sinful practice, leads to the adoption and defense of
another, and that of a third…
so that when an individual or a society has turned
from the right way, every step they take carries them
farther astray, and removes them to a greater distance
from those who can help them back to the path of
truth and duty.
c. Passing of time does not mean healing
If time is expected to relieve the heat and fierceness of
controversy, and to smooth down the harshness of
personal animosity, it will only contribute to widen the
breach in another way.
It will add to the original grounds of difference and
separation. Parties at variance are inclined to move to a
farther distance from each other.
They will not only magnify the real point of dispute,
but also to create or discover new ones, with the
purpose of vindicating their separation, and enlarging
the charges which they bring against their opponents.
The consequence is that when proposals of
reconciliation are made, and a treaty of reunion is set,
the original cause of the breach forms perhaps the
smallest matter of difference between the parties.
It is always a work of difficulty to reconcile hostile
parties, whatever the matter of strife may happen to
Men, even those who are not of the most contentious
or obstinate tempers, have been known to persevere
until they had ruined themselves and their families.
When discord and contention arise between those
who are allied by blood, or who were united by the
bonds of close friendship, their variance is of all others
the most severe and deadly.
"A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong
city; and their contentions are like the bars of a castle"
If "love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the
grave" (Song 8:6).
It cannot be denied that "The wrath of man worketh
not the righteousness of God" (James 1:20), has often
been forgotten by the contending parties…
and the personal quarrels, the railing accusations, the
uncharitable judgments, the willful
misrepresentations contributed to bring great scandal
Those who are deeply concerned about this enemy of
unity and difficulty in the church must be willing to
make the sacrifices to peace in the "matters of the
Lord" (2 Chron. 19:11).
They must "buy the truth, but not sell it" (cf. Prov.
The church has an entailed inheritance called
“UNITY”, which the believers are bound to preserve
"that the generation to come may know it, even the
children that shall be born, who shall arise and declare
it to their children" (cf. Ps. 78:6).
"Can we do this without admitting or confessing that we
have so far erred, and acknowledging that others have been
more righteous, or honest, or intelligent than we?"
"My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (Jam. 3:10).
So long as a spirit of this kind prevails, every attempt at
healing divisions in the Church will fail, and become
merely a covering of the disease, while the seeds of future
discord and disunion are being planted and propagated.
We must guard ourselves against this great mistake where,
"All seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ's!" (Phil
It is not the name of any party, or of its founder or
leader, but the name of Jesus Christ, that must "endure
forever" (Ps. 135:13);
And every true lover of Him will be ready to say, "He
must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30), and
will rejoice in seeing the saying a reality.
1. Heed not the Ecumenical call:
"To remain divided is sinful! Did not our Lord pray,
that they may be one, even as we are one"? (John
A chorus of ecumenical voices keep harping the unity
What they are saying is, "Christians of all doctrinal
shades and beliefs must come together in one visible
organization. Let us be one! Let us be united!"
Such teaching is false. Such call is reckless and
Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth
comes before unity.
Unity without truth is hazardous.
Our Lord's prayer in John 17 must be read in its full
context. Look at verse 17: "Sanctify them through thy
truth; thy word is truth."
Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in
To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel.
Charles H. Spurgeon, The Essence of
Separation, quoted in The Berean Call,
July, 1992, p. 4.
There can be union without unity: tie two cats together
by their tails and throw them over a clothesline.
This is the unity of the Ecumenical movement, a unity
we must not clamor for.
2. Learn from a true experience
During World War II, Hitler commanded all religious
groups to unite so that he could control them. Among
the Brethren assemblies, half complied and half
Those who went along with the order had a much
easier time. Those who did not, faced harsh
persecution. In almost every family of those who
resisted, someone died in a concentration camp.
When the war was over, feelings of bitterness ran deep
between the groups and there was much tension.
Finally they decided that the situation had to be
healed. Leaders from each group met at a quiet retreat.
For several days, each person spent time in prayer,
examining his own heart in the light of Christ's
commands. Then they came together.
Francis Schaeffer, who told of the incident, asked a
friend who was there, "What did you do then?" "We
were just one," he replied.
As they confessed their hostility and bitterness to God
and yielded to His control, the Holy Spirit created a
spirit of unity among them.
Love filled their hearts and dissolved their hatred.
When love prevails among believers, especially in
times of strong disagreement, it presents to the world
an indisputable mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ.
Our Daily Bread, October 4, 1992.
Years ago, Leslie Flynn penned a book called, Great
In it he chronicled the way people in different
churches would go after each other – all in the name of
A young father heard a commotion out in his
backyard, he looked outside and saw his daughter and
several playmates in a heated quarrel.
When he intervened, his daughter called back, “Dad,
we’re just playing church!”
Text – Eph. 4:1-16
[Adopted from the message of
Robert L. (Bob)Deffinbaugh]*
The New Testament church is one that derives its
doctrines from the New Testament.
It derives its principles and practices for church life
from the New Testament.
It is one which exhibits the life of Jesus Christ to the
It is measured by “body life” – a life characterized by
“Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but
just look at what they can do when they stick together.”
No passage deals with this fundamental to church life
more clearly than that of Ephesians 4:1-16.
This passage can be logically divided into three parts,
all of which relate to the central theme of Christian
I. FUNDAMENTAL CHRISTIAN UNITY IS TO BE
A. This unity is not one which the Christian needs to
create. (vs. 3).
1. It is based upon our sharing life in one body, the
universal church, the body of Christ (vs. 5, cf. 2:15,16).
2. It exists because all Christians are sealed, possessed,
and indwelt by the same Spirit and look forward to the
same hope (vs. 5, cf. 1:18).
3. It exists because we possess one Lord, that is, one
Supreme Commander, one common faith (one system
of fundamental truth) held by all Christians, and one
baptism (i.e. spirit baptism, cf. 1 Cor. 12:13).
B. Unity, although it can not be created by the
Christians, must be preserved by them.
1. This is to be diligently pursued (vs. 3) by an attitude
of humility (seeing ourselves as God does, unworthy
recipients of His grace).
2. Our humble spirit should be demonstrated by a
gentleness and graciousness in our dealings with
3. This gentleness should be longsuffering, patiently
enduring prolonged irritation.
4. The love which we have for one another should help
us become considerate with the different
characterisitcs of our fellow-Christians.
As Ironside put it, “lovingly considering all that is
disagreeable in other people.”
II. UNITY IN DIVERSITY (4:7-11)
A. Unity does not imply uniformity.
1. It does not mean that all Christians will think alike.
Each of us has a personality.
The word refers to the qualities and characteristics
that make a person who he is, that makes him distinct
from other people.
“Personality” is the sum total of what identifies a
For the purpose of knowing how God has designed
us and our personalities, we can start by
considering the four aspects of our unique
> How you we around other people [out-going or
> How we make decisions [according to facts, or
according to feelings].
> How we are in our relationships [dependent or
> How we are in the use of our time [organized /
pro-active or spontaneous / reactive]
2. It does not mean that we perform identical
To every individual within the body of Christ is given a
particular capacity for ministry.
This capacity (or capacities) is commonly called a
a. Although the particular function involved may not
appear to be particularly ‘spiritual,’ the outcome is
spiritual benefit to the body of Christ.
For example, there is seemingly little difference
between preaching [exerts strength] and driving
[reserves the strength] for the preacher;
Between giving [works to have something to give] and
doing repair jobs [works to save money of the giver].
b. Although our mains emphasis is not about the
details of our spiritual gifts, we will simply summarize
simple truths about spiritual gifts.
* Spiritual gifts are given to every Christian: “… to each
one of us was given …” (vs. 7).
* Spiritual gifts are a gift of grace: “… grace was given …”
* Spiritual gifts are a token of the victory of our Lord
over Satan, wrought by His incarnation, work of
atonement, resurrection and ascension (vss. 7-10).
* Spiritual gifts are not given primarily for the benefit
of the individual, but for the edification of the entire
body (vss. 12-16).
* Spiritual gifts are not contradictory to Christian
unity, they are complimentary to it (vs. 16).
“No member of the body of Christ is endowed with
such Perfection as to be able, without the assistance of
others, to supply his own necessities.”8
III. DIVERSITY OF GIFTS LEADS TO UNITY (4:12-
A. The diversity of spiritual gifts enhances, even
1. While in verses 1-6 the basis for Christian endeavor
was the existing unity, verses 12-16 demand Christians
to live in unity.
a. We might call the unity of verses 1-6 positional and
that of verses 12-16 practical.
2. A decade ago the vast majority of churches would
have virtually stopped at verse 11, thinking that the
work of the ministry was the work of the clergy.
Thank God many churches have had the courage to
study and apply the remaining verses of this section,
“the equipping of the saints.”
3. The Greek word rendered ‘equipping’ is a very
a. It is used with the idea of equipping
> as of the fitting out of a ship
> as of the fitting out of an army
> as of developing certain parts of the body by
b. It is also used of restoring or putting something in
> as of mending nets and preparing them for another
day’s fishing (Matthew 4:21)
> as of pacifying a city torn by faction
> as of restoring a limb that was dislocated (cf. 1
4. The saints are equipped for ministry.
a. Note: Christians are no longer turning the world
upside down, but the Scriptures upside down.
b. This passage tells us that the ministry is the saint’s
work, not the preacher’s.
c. We say that the preacher is ‘in the ministry’ but Paul
says everyone else is.
4. The ministry to which every Christian is called is to
build up the body, make it work in unity.
a. How this is accomplished is described in verse 16:
The body is caused to grow when every individual
member of that body carries out its assigned task to
the best of its God-given ability.
This is where the other gifts fit in.
5. If evangelists and pastor-teachers are equipping
gifts, all the rest are serving gifts or ministry gifts.
6. The ultimate goal of all ministry in the church,
where every believer minister or serves, is given in
“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the
measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
C. The ultimate manifestation of unity in the
church is a united focus on conformity to the
measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
D. The daily manifestation of unity in the church
is that of stability.
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed
here and there by waves, and carried about by every
wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness
in deceitful scheming” (vs. 14).
1. The stability is being so well-grounded in doctrine
that we can recognize and avoid those who teach out
of impure motives and by questionable methods, and
reject their teachings.
E. The continuing manifestation of unity in the
church is the vibrant response to the call of
speaking the truth.
“… speaking the truth in Love, we are to grow up in all
aspects into Him …” (vs. 15).
1. The term rendered ‘speaking the truth’ can mean
‘holding to the truth’ or ‘walking in truth’.
2. We are surely to hold or adhere to what is truth in a
loving way, just as we should speak the truth in love.
CONCLUSION AND APPLICATIONS
If we are to take this passage in Ephesians chapter 4
seriously, there are a number of specific applications.
Let me begin by making some to myself.
1. To bring unity in the church, the Pastor-teacher
must pick up the task of equipping the believers
for the ministry.
There are two extremes for those who have this gift to
a. The one is trying to do all of the ‘ministry’ ourselves.
b. The second extreme is to sit in our offices all day
long and refuse to do anything but study.
You cannot be a pastor in a locked study with the
phone off the hook.
You cannot equip people for ministry without giving
them the example to follow.
2. The goal of our preaching and teaching should
be maturity, growth and unity.
We must dread any effort of teaching and preaching
that do not create greater unity among all the saints,
but further divides us.
3. The work of the ministry is in the hands of both
minsters and the members.
What the members expect and demand from their
pastors, they must also do it by themselves.
4. We must commit to cure the deficiency
Christian unity, not just within our own church
the church, but also in the churches which have a
like faith as ours.
With this commitment, we will be able to stop and
break the unnecessary and harmful divisions among
those who are of the household of faith.
5. Find out your place in the local church and get
Let me suggest some benefits of personal involvement
in the work of the ministry as Paul defined ministry.
First, there is the benefit to the body of Jesus Christ.
Second, there is the satisfaction and fulfillment of
doing what God designed and created you to do.
Third, there is the growth which you will experience as
a vital part of the body and from making use of the
truth which you have learned (cf. Mark 4:24,25).
Fourth, there is the joy of being able to see God at
work. When our Lord Jesus turned the water into wine
in John chapter two, it was only those who were
involved by filling the water pots who knew what our
Lord had done (John 2:9).
Finally, there is fellowship and intimacy in working
with other Christians which cannot be experienced in
any other way.
* [Robert L. (Bob)Deffinbaugh graduated from Dallas
Theological Seminary with his Th.M. in 1971. Bob is a
pastor/teacher and elder at Community Bible Chapel
in Richardson, Texas, and has contributed many of his
Bible study series for use by the Foundation.]