WHO WE ARE: ONE LORD, ONE FAITH
1. THE CHURCH IS AT THE CENTER OF GOD’S PLAN.
Ephesians 2:19-21 (NIV) 19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
Ephesians 3:10-11 (NIV) 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,11according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When we put this together, the church is:
2. THE CHURCH IS CALLED TO BE UNIFIED.
Ephesians 4:1-3 (NIV) 1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Romans 15:5-6 (ESV) 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. WE ARE TO BE UNIFIED IN THE ESSENTIALS OF THE CHURCH.
Essential: absolutely necessary; extremely important1
IN ESSENTIALS, UNITY; IN NON-ESSENTIALS, LIBERTY; IN ALL THINGS, CHARITY.2
Ephesians 4:4-6 (NIV) 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
ESSENTIAL: ONE LORD One King and Messiah: Jesus, who brought His Kingdom to earth.
Mark 1:14-15 (NIV) 14After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV) 1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
John 14:6 (NIV) I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
ESSENTIAL: ONE FAITH Not just right beliefs but right behavior/actions. Live balanced lives of faith. Remember Ephesians 4:1.
Jude 1:3 (NIV) Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
James 2:21-22 (NIV) 21Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
1. How important is my faith in the way I live day-to-day?
2. Is there anyone whom I am not in unity with, and I need to go and make things right?
3. Is my general attitude toward the church universally one of criticism or support?
4. What steps do I need to take to reinforce the unity of the church?