I. ENDEAVORING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE.
A. Later in the chapter he will speak of the unity of the faith.
1. The unity of the faith comes much later than the unity of the Spirit.
2. There are those who are very divisive. A group known as CURE are heavy into Calvinistic doctrine and always seem to have an ax to grind with everyone who does not embrace their position.
3. Of course when you get as ultra calvinistic as they are there is no incentive to seek to win the lost to Jesus Christ, they do not believe that it is possible to convert a man to believe in Jesus Christ, so the only ones they seek to convert are believers to their persuasion.
4. They are so radical that they bring division to the body of Christ.
B. We may not agree on every issue, and that is all right, as long as we disagree agreeably. Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
1. I believe that attitude is far more important than proving your point.
2. There are certain positions of doctrine that are non-negotiable The correct belief is essential for salvation.
3. There are many other things that can be interpreted several different ways. There are scriptures that can be used to prove either position.
4. There is where we must walk in love and not insist that the other person subscribe wholly to our position.
5. The subject of the rapture of the church. Your salvation does not depend on whether you believe in a pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or a post-tribulation. Take your choice, whatever you are most comfortable with. We can still love each other and worship the Lord together.
6. I feel that it is all right to express another opinion as long as it is not in an argumentive way, or with dogmatism, like you have to see it my way, or you just do not have any understanding.
7. There are always those who are seeking to draw you into some kind of argument or debate.
8. I am very happy the way I see it so just leave me alone.
C. Paul tells us to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, I would also add love. As he tells us in the next chapter to walk in love.
II. THERE IS ONE BODY, AND ONE SPIRIT, AND ONE HOPE OF YOUR CALLING.
A. There is only one church, and only One person who has the right to say My church, and that is Jesus.
1. And the beautiful thing about it is that you cannot join it.
2. You have to be born into it.
3. But everyone who is born again by the Spirit of God is a member of that one body. They may call themselves Baptists, or Presbyterians, or Methodists, or Church of Christ, or Catholics, or even Mormons, for I believe that there are some sincere Mormons who are born again. I personally just like to call myself a Christian.
B. There is only one Spirit of God.
1. We know that there are many spirits in the world today, including the spirit of the anti-christ. We are to try the spirits to see if they be of God.
2. The way some people act, you would think that they are the only group experiencing the true work of the Spirit of God in their midst.
3. Their attitude is that we are the only ones that have the the true Spirit of God because we speak in tongues and you don't, or we are overtaken with laughter and you are not.
4. The true evidence of the Spirit is not speaking in tongues or laughing, but walking in love.
C. There is one hope of our calling.
1. God does not have 7 heavens contrary to the Mormon belief.
2. It is rather interesting that so many groups think that they are the only ones that are going to make it to heaven.
3. Heaven will be full of surprises, I think that we will be surprised at the many people that will be there that we thought would never make it.
4. I think that we will be surprised also by those who were prominent in the religious arena, who did not make it.
D. One Lord.
1. Jesus Christ is Lord, you cannot serve two masters, you cannot serve God and mammon.
2. Paul tells us that one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
3. Paul said that if we confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.
4. We who have received Jesus Christ all serve the same Lord.
5. Let us not seek to cut the body of Christ up into many little different segments.
E. One faith.
1. People often ask, "Of what faith are you?" By this, they are usually seeking to know what denomination you belong to.
2. There is only one faith, that is faith in Jesus Christ. That He is the Son of God and that He died for my sins. If I truly believe that, it will be manifested by His Lordship over my life.
F. One baptism.
1. This is our introduction by baptism into the body of Christ. It is often referred to as the baptism of repentance.
a. There are many denominations that baptize into their fellowship or denomination.
b. They will not accept as valid your baptism unless you were baptized by them or one within their same persuasion.
c. The Church of Christ will not accept as valid any baptism that is not conducted by them. The Lutheran Missouri Synod the same.
d. The Jesus Only sect say that unless you were baptized in the name of Jesus only, your baptism is not valid. They reject as invalid your baptism if it was in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2. Paul is not saying that there is not a baptism in the Holy Spirit that is separate from the baptism of repentance.
a. John said, "I indeed baptize with water unto repentance but there is one coming after me, that is mightier than I, and I am not worthy to untie His sandal, and He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
b. In Acts one Jesus said to His disciples that they should wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, for John did indeed baptize with water unto repentance, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.
c. Both John and Jesus spoke of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
3. With the baptism of John, John was the baptizer, the element was water, and the issue was the repentance of sins.
4. With the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the baptizer, the element is the Holy Spirit, and the issue is power to be a witness.
G. One God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in you all.
1. This is not teaching the Universal Fatherhood of God.
2. Paul is not writing a general epistle to the world. He is writing to faithful saints that are in Christ Jesus.
3. If you are not in Christ Jesus, as Jesus said, "You are of your father the devil."
4. So God is above all.
5. He is through all, He permeates the universe.
6. He is in all who are in Christ Jesus.
III. NOTE HERE THE TRINITY.
A. The unity of the Spirit.
B. One Lord who is Jesus.
C. One God and Father.
D. All through the scriptures you find them coupled together, integrated together, same attributes and works attributed to each One.
1. At the baptism of Jesus you find Him being baptized, and the Holy Spirit descending upon Him in the form of a dove, and the Father confirming the whole scene, as He declares, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
2. Throughout His life you find all three.
3. In His death, you find Him laying down His life, "No man takes My life from Me, I give My life." Yet you find Him by the eternal Spirit giving His life as a sacrifice.
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? still,
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.