Maintain the Unity in the Body
The apostle Paul urges believers in Ephesians 4:3 "to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
What is this calling that we have received? Whatever it is, he instructs us to do it with all humility and gentleness, with patience bearing with one another in love. We are also told to make every effort to do this. This is what it takes to live worthy of this calling! He writes more about this in Philippians 2:1-2, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” This is what it means to have unity in the body of believers, the Church. This can only be accomplished through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who establishes this unity that we have in Christ. Our responsibility is to maintain it, giving our all, or as he wrote, making every effort to do so.
Pride tells us that we’ll be just fine on our own and that we don’t really need any help from others. It is impossible to have unity as an individual. Unity is defined as the state of being united or joined as a whole. This involves combining many to make one. This uniting as one is further defined in Ephesians 4:4-6. “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” We are called to be a part of something bigger than just ourselves. Many of you have heard me speak about the “one another” passages throughout the New Testament. Here are 27 of them.
Accept one another Romans 15:7
Bear one another’s burdens Galatians 6:2
Be devoted to one another Romans 12:10
Be hospitable to one another 1 Peter 4:9
Be humble toward one another 1 Peter 5:5
Be kind to one another Ephesians 4:32
Be of the same mind with one another Romans 15:5
Care for one another 1 Corinthians 12:25
Comfort one another 1 Thessalonians 4:18
Confess your sins to one another James 5:16
Do not complain against one another James 5:9
Do not judge one another Romans 14:13
Do not lie to one another Colossians 3:9
Do not speak against one another James 4:11
Encourage one another 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Forgive one another Colossians 3:13
Greet one another Romans 16:16
Honor one another Romans 12:10
Live in peace with one another 1 Thessalonians 5:13
Love one another Romans 13:8
Regard one another as more important Philippians 2:3
Seek what is good for one another 1 Thessalonians 5:15
Serve one another 1 Peter 4:10
Show forbearance to one another Ephesians 4:2
Stimulate one another to love Hebrews 10:24
Submit to one another Ephesians 5:21
Teach one another Romans 15:14
I encourage each one of us to take a close look at this list. Post it somewhere in your home or workplace and over the next 27 days, look up one passage, think closely about it and assess how you are in that area. What have we done to demonstrate it in our life? As we pray about reaching out to the others in our church body, also consider how we are doing in making ourselves available to others who want to minister to us.
Ephesians 4:12-16 tells us that God has equipped the saints (us) for the work of ministry.
Why? — To build up the body of Christ (the Church).
For how long? — Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son.
To what standard? — To maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.
What’s the benefit? — So that we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit.
What does this look like? — Speaking the truth in love, growing in every way in to him who is the head — Christ. From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament,
What’s the result? — promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.
When we are obedient to this passage, we grow more in our love for Christ and for one another. Our needs are met and we get to be a blessing to someone else. This is what we should look and be like as a church body. Let’s be and look like the church that we have been called to!