Fellowship - The unity of the spirit (2)

Returning to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians chapter 4:-

4. One Faith

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13)

The “unity [unanimity] of the faith”

 The “knowledge”[grk. Epignosis know fully]

 A “perfect man”

 The “fulness of Christ”

 So if we are all the things mentioned in v13 we shall not be carried away with every wind of doctrine.

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14).

We need to accept that there are deceivers out there; people who teach wrong things, we can be taken in. But if we attain unto the one faith & get the full knowledge of Jesus Christ, then we shall not be moved around by all these different doctrines.

The true doctrine is found in the spirit word-The Bible. The Bible was written by the inspiration of God which came upon the prophets & Apostles. so it is the word of God -His spirit word- that can produce the unity of the spirit in those that believe it and take it to heart.

Only through studying The Bible can we attain unto the unity of the spirit and true fellowship.

“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).

The Faith of The Gospel”

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet. 1:3-4).

So again the word “knowledge” here is ‘Epiginosis’ to know fully. This is what is necessary to attain to eternal life (“the divine nature”).

The Gospel consists of promises of eternal life in the Land of promise.

“by these” we can become “partakers of the divine nature”

Knowledge of, and Faith in, the Gospel promises is essential. These gospel promises were first made plain to Abraham in Genesis chapters 12,13,15,17,22; the significance of this is taught by Paul in Gal 3 (as we shall see shortly).

The One Faith is in the:-

 5.One Hope

 “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister” (Col. 1:21-23)

“if” we “continue in the faith” and be

“not moved away from the hope of the gospel”

Paul makes the point here that it is necessary to continue in the Faith & that the way to do this is not to be moved away from ie; forget the “Hope of The Gospel” ie the “One Hope”.

An Element of that One Faith is a belief in One Lord & One God

The substance of the one Faith is Abraham’s Gospel Hope

“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Gal. 3:6-7)

“Abraham believed God” those “of faith” are “the children of Abraham”

If we have the same faith as Abraham, believe in the same promises, then in Christ we are his Spiritual Children, and heirs according to the promises made to him.

The Faith of Abraham was THE GOSPEL & IS THE GOSPEL as we read on:-

“And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal. 3:8-9)

These promises made to Abraham include the Gospel message, things of eternal life, eternal inheritance in the land promised to Abraham, Israel.

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16).

It was promised to Abraham that he would become a head of a great nation, the Jews, but there was to be a particular descendant through whom all this would come to pass, which was Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. So the promises were made to Abraham & to Christ & all those who share Abraham’s faith & are baptised into Christ, as Paul goes on to explain in v26-29

Faith; Baptisim; One in Christ=Abrahams Seed

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:26-29).

If we adopt The Gospel Faith of Abraham, and are then baptized into Christ (Abrahams Seed) We then are counted as heirs (along with Christ) of Abraham, and all the Gospel promises made to him.  So there is only one true faith that can do this for us!

6. One Lord

7. One God

 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Eph. 4:5-6).

Eph 4:5 lists the “Lord” (Jesus) as being distinct from the “One God” of verse 6; likewise also this same distinction is emphasised in 1 Timothy 2:5.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5)

Jesus makes the same distinction between himself and the “Only True God” in

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (Jno. 17:3)

He makes the point that it was God that sent him. A son is always considered to be subservient to his Father, and it is always the greater that sends the lessor – Christ never sends God anywhere!

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (Jno. 20:17)

This shows that even when Jesus had been raised from the dead, and was no longer “in the flesh” of mortality, his God is the same as that of the believers.

“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:7-9).

This shows us how Jesus needed the salvation of his own sacrifice – he needed to be saved from out of death.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14)

“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25).

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? … Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:14, 17-18).

Separation from those who walk disorderly or who hold false doctrine is the only way that the Unity of the Spirit can be preserved; There can be no divisions in the One True Body of Christ.

This is how we are to endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. It is the only way, otherwise the whole Body will become corrupted in doctrine & practice:

  • “One Mind”  (Phil 1:27)
  • “Fitly joined together” (Eph 4:16)
  • “Baptized into One Body” (1 Cor 12:13)
  • “The unity of  The Faith”(Eph 4:13)
  • “The hope of  The Gospel” (Col 1:23)
  • “The man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5)
  • “Father of all” (Eph 4:6)

At the beginning we saw from Ephesians 4 this definition of some of the characteristics of the Unity of the Spirit,

THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT

 We have seen from our Study today that to these can be added some others namely

Such is

THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT”

Les Fern