Relationships in Christ
- Maintain Unity
- Minister to the Body
- Mature in Christ Together
Central Truth: Believers should minister to one another and experience spiritual growth together.
Focus: Discover how we are to function in the body of Christ and seek to help others mature in the Lord.
Evangelism Emphasis: A unified church will attract unbelievers to Christ.
Key Scripture (Ephesians 4:14-15): Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
- Paul now incorporates the Gentiles into the people of God
- We must have a change in lifestyle
- The "worthy walk" is to be seen in various areas of the lives of the individuals and believing community
1. Maintain Unity
A. divine calling
Key Scripture (Ephesians 4:1-3): I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- Beseech = appeal
- Vocation = call
- 4 virtues: lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, and love
- endeavouring = spare no effort toward keeping unity
The Sign of Grace
Christians in community must again show the world . . . the bond of the love of Christ. Increasingly the ordered fellowship of the church becomes the sign of grace for the warring factions of a disordered world.
b. divine oneness
Key Scripture (Ephesians 4:4-6): There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
- There are a series of seven things that are one:
- one body
- one Spirit
- one hope
- one Lord
- one faith
- one baptism
- one God and Father of all
- Q: Can we be part of the body of Christ if any of the seven "ones" are missing from our congregation? Why or why not?
2. Minister to the Body
A. THE GRACE OF GOD
Key Scripture (Ephesians 4:7-8): But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
God is the giver, and we are the receivers. And His richest gifts are bestowed not upon those who do the greatest things, but upon those who accept His abundance and His grace.
-- Hannah Whitall Smith
B. the exalted one
Key Scripture (Ephesians 4:9-10): (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also [a]first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
Q: What do the terms "ascended" and "descended" suggest to us about Heaven?
c. gifts to the church
Key Scripture (Ephesians 4:11-12): And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Q: Can you describe how a church leader has helped to equip you for ministry?
3. Mature in Christ Together
a. infants no longer
Key Scripture (Ephesians 4:13-15): till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
Tempting a Hurricane
Instead of clinging to the only Lifeboat that can save, we have tossed overboard Biblical truths in the name of [compromise], living on the edge of life, like the man who rides the parameter of a hurricane, daring it to sweep him away.
b. united in love
Key Scripture (Ephesians 4:16): from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Q: Why is love an absolutely necessary aspect of a Christian congregation?
the single requisite
- The one requisite of spiritual life and effective service is union with Christ the Head, and harmony and coordination with the other members of the body
M - Working Together Brings Victory (Exodus 17:8-13)
T - Love the Lord in Unity (Deuteronomy 6:10-19)
W - The Good of Unity (Psalm 133:1-3)
T - Live in Peace Together (Romans 14:13-19)
F - Warning Against Division (Romans 16:17-19)
S - United in Purpose (I Corinthians 1:10-13)