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It's All About One

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We're so glad to have you with us.
God’s ambition for His people is simple: To allow His Spirit that unites us, to have precedence in our lives. God wants us to live together in a partnership, not only with Him but with one another.
At the risk of stating the obvious, as followers of Christ, we must grow in the area of unity, which is a matter of attitude and effort. Unity does not happen if we possess attitudes that are critical and complaining. Unity does not just happen, it comes down to active participation on our part. And, we will either do our part in making it happen, or we will not. As Christians, there is far more that unites us than that which divides us. We are all sinners, Jesus died for all of us. We are all children of God who have been promised eternal life. These are what set us apart as Christ's church!
As we have previously discussed, the church was given unity, we did not create it, we are, however, called to maintain it. It is what we do or do not do that will either preserve it or destroy it. We are called to walk in unity, or as Paul charges us in verse 1, "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." To clear up any confusion on the matter, unity is not uniformity. Unity is one together, uniformity is one alike.
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father,
Father, we thank You for this straight forward Word. Father, take control of the words that I speak, my thoughts that You might use them for Your own purposes. Accomplish in our hearts what You will from the tremendous treasure of this incredibly rich text. Prepare our hearts, open our eyes and ears, that will hear Your still small voice speak to each of us and we give You the glory and the praise.
Father, because we are less than we should be, bends us low in Your presence. Humble us, that we would not seek the exaltation of self, but that we will seek to exalt Your Son, Jesus Christ. Examine our hearts, burden them with our sin, and convict us of our errors. Cast off our self-centeredness, that we would experience true unity, spiritual oneness in Christ. Transform us into the image of Christ, in humility and meekness, that we might be quick to defend our faith, rather than our own actions.
We pray this in Jesus’ precious name. 
Today's Message: It's All About One
I’m sure all of us are familiar with the idiom, "Birds of a feather, flock together," there are some sources indicating it may go all the way back to the Greek and Romans cultures. It implies, that people who are similar, tend to stick together. There are all kinds of different types of ties that can bond us together with others. There are family ties, ties based on common interests, and ties based on common beliefs.

As you know, the apostle Paul began chapter 4 of Ephesians, by describing the unity that the Holy Spirit establishes for followers of Jesus Christ and four attitudes that we need to develop in order to preserve that unity. In verse 4, he’s going to continue that train of thought, by describing for us some common bonds that we share with other believers that are the basis for that kind of unity. 
Open with me your Bibles, to the book of Ephesians, chapter 4, as we continue to embark on this treasure, tucked in the middle of the letters to the church at Ephesus, where he is saying here is, "Look, now that you’re a Christian and now that you know who you are, here is what I want you to do." He talks only about the inner man, and only about the inward graces. Why? Because the essence of the Christian life is not the issue of simply what you do, it's more about who you are.
I invite you to follow along with me as I read to, from verses 4-6, to get it set in our minds. Ephesians 4:4-6

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
This is one of those passages that is fairly straightforward. God’s primary direction for the church is that we be one. However, if we’re not careful, we can easily get so caught up in the small details, that we’ll miss the big picture. So we’re going to spend our time focusing on the overall concept that Paul is trying to communicate to us here. 
It's rather obvious, that the key to this passage is obviously the word "one," or "en" in the Greek.
This particular word indicates something that is primary, joined together as one rather than something that is consisting of separate parts.  
As I began to read and study this passage, I was struck by the fact, that Paul uses the word "one" seven times in these two verses and I do not believe that was by accident. I'm sure most of you are aware, that the number seven in the Bible, indicates completeness. For example, seven days make a complete week. I believe that Paul's usage of the seven "ones" in this passage was intentional to indicate something that is complete. In this passage, Paul is describing seven things that all believers have in common.
These common bonds are much deeper than any ties based on merely causes or beliefs, far deeper than any ties based on common interests, deeper than any family ties. The common bonds, which Paul writes about between believers, find their roots in God Himself. 
Through careful study of these seven common bonds, it is revealed that they are far more than just some random bond we have in common, Paul actually groups them in a manner that reveals the work of all three parts of the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in the lives of believers. These three distinct groupings are rather obvious in our English translations, however, they are even more pronounced in the Greek. I do not believe that any authentic Christian, would argue the fact that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit work in perfect harmony and unity to accomplish the purposes of God.
The primary function of the Holy Spirit is to point us to Jesus Christ, as in a manner of shyness, never drawing attention to Himself, but rather, coming in the name of the Son, bearing witness of the Son and giving glory to the Son.
Interestingly enough, Jesus didn’t go around calling attention to Himself either. Instead, He submitted to the Spirit who led Him into the wilderness and He told his Father, "Not my will but yours be done." And even the Father, both at the baptism of Jesus and at the Transfiguration, commanded those there to listen to His Son, in whom He was pleased.
Ironically, there are some "Christians," who believe that God as a proud, almost arrogant being, who can get away with it because He is God. However, the doctrine of the Trinity tells me, very clearly this is not so. God exists as Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in a community of greater humility, servanthood, mutual submission, and delight than you and I can imagine. Three and yet One. Oneness is God’s signature.
It is the Oneness of God that is the model for the oneness of God’s people. That’s why I believe Paul very deliberately and clearly arranged these seven bonds in such a way that they point to the work of each Person in the Godhead. Paul does something rather interesting here. He begins with the work of the Holy Spirit and then progresses to the work of the Son and finally to the work of the Father. That seems kind of backwards from the normal progression we would expect. For instance if you go back and read chapter 1, Paul begins with the work of the Father, then writes about the work of the Son and finishes by describing the work of the Spirit. 
If you will remember our last study of the first three verses, Paul ends verse 3 by describing the unity of the Spirit. So it only makes sense that Paul would start there in verse 4 and then work his way to Jesus and the Father. The seven bonds are arranged by Paul into two triads that correspond to the work of the Spirit and then the Son and he finishes by describing the work of the Father.
In verse 4, he writes "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling;" The work of the Holy Spirit. All three of these bonds clearly relate to the work of the Holy Spirit. As we’ve already seen in Ephesians and as we find in the rest of Scripture, it is the Holy Spirit who causes a person to see their need for a Savior by convicting that person of his or her sin. And, as we most clearly see at Pentecost, it is the role of the Holy Spirit to place people into the body of believers we call the church. 
This is such a tremendous passage. Because how many bodies of Christ are there? Five? Eight? No, there's One. There isn’t the Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist and Episcopal. There is One body of Christ, period! We're all one in Christ, that's the message.

In Galatians 3:28, Paul makes this same point. No need to turn there, I'll just read it to you. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Do you see that? "...One in Christ Jesus." 

In I Corinthians 12:12-13, Paul makes this same point, in his first letter to the Corinthian church, "For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."
We clearly see from this passage, there is only one Spirit and there is only one body into which He places the followers of Jesus Christ. Paul is obviously referring here to the universal church, or what is also referred to as the catholic church, with a small "c." Not to be confused with the Catholic Church.

I am literally baffled, how many different ways can this same point be made before the modern church finally gets the message? Look, God never intended for His church, the body of Christ, to be divided the way it has become today. I believe that Paul would be completely appalled at the way followers of Jesus Christ have divided themselves along denominational and theological lines today. 

Look, let me tell you that other Bible believing churches that proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ are not the competition. They are not our enemy. I don’t care if they are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Apostolic, Protestant or Independent. I don’t care if they have 20 members or 20,000 members. Our competition is the world around us who says there is no need for God and that denies the deity of Jesus Christ and what He did for us through the cross and the resurrection. And we need all the help we can get trying to reach that world with the power of the gospel. 
That's right, we are all in the same body. Only one body. And we better start to realize it. There maybe true Christians, and they maybe saved, but some of them are messed up! Instead of celebrating our differences, rather than trying to create unity out of superficial ecumenism, we’ve got to start where it matters, in the heart. I firmly believe if all Christians were right with the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t have all this division and discord. If all Christians were right with the Holy Spirit, would purify our doctrine and purify our relationships with one another. One body.
The Holy Spirit has one more important function, as Paul so clearly describes earlier in his letter in Ephesians 1:13-14, "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory."
It is the Holy Spirit who comes into our life as the guarantee that we’ll one day receive everything that God has promised to us. It is the Holy Spirit who provides us with hope that one day Jesus Christ will return to this earth and take us to be with Him for eternity where all the spiritual blessings that we experience in part now will be experienced in full.

In verse 5, the work of the Son  " Lord, one faith, one baptism..." I don't believe in coincidences, and I certainly don't believe it’s a coincidence that "one Lord" is at the very center of this sevenfold unity. In Paul’s day, Caesar and other political authorities had taken the title Lord. But Paul is emphasizing that if there is to be unity in the body, there can only be one Lord, and that Lord is the Head, Jesus Christ. Everything that Paul has written so far makes Jesus Christ the very center of who we are as Christians. 

Jesus Himself made this quite clear in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.

Unfortunately in our culture today, Jesus has even become the source of division among His followers. As much as I hate to say this, I believe one of the greatest contributors to this kind of division was the "What Would Jesus Do?" movement. The problem with that movement is that each individual had to try to decide what Jesus would do in any given situation. And, in many situations, that answer would be pretty clear, and the right choices were made. However, in other cases, individuals would come up with answers to that question in the very same set of circumstances, using any kind of reasoning to try to justify their non Christian behavior. Saying things like, "Well, my Jesus wouldn't want me to.." or in contrast, "My Jesus would want me to ...."

Because there is only one Lord, there is only one faith. There is only one kind of faith that can save us and that is faith in Jesus Christ alone. There is only one body of belief, one body of doctrine that unites us. Obviously, the practical problem with that is in deciding what that body of beliefs consists of and we would certainly have no shortage of people, who would disagree on that as well. I can tell you this, that body of belief is centered in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. Allow me to put it another way, whatever race, whatever creed, whatever culture, whatever nationality, whatever language, whatever temperament may be in your background, when you become a Christian none of that matters! Because you are instantaneously made one with every other Christian, in Jesus Christ. That said, we can in no way accept wrong theology or tolerate wrong behavior from those who claim Christ. We must hold and maintain a biblical view.
"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12
"one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
One Lord, one faith, meaning the revealed Word of God. There’s only one Christianity, one Christian faith. One God and Father, there are no other gods.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 makes it very clear, "...the Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." 
One Lord, one faith, a faith that trusts totally and completely in Jesus Christ alone as the basis for our relationship with God. The third element of the work of the Son is one baptism. As I'm sure you can imagine, commentators disagree over whether this is a water baptism or baptism of the Spirit. Citing a number of verses to argue their point. However, I believe we need look no further than Jesus Himself.

Allow me to read to you Acts 1:1-5, "The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had given orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of things regarding the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
And in Mark 1:8, "I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
Verse 6, "one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all."
There is actually a very logical flow to Paul’s writing in this passage. He begins by describing the unity within the body that is brought about through the work of the Holy Spirit. But how did that body come into existence? Through the work of the Son. And why did the Son do all that? Because it all flows from the Father who is over all and through all and in all.

Unfortunately this verse has been taken out of context and used by those who would try to claim that God is the Father of all. They use this verse to try to make the point that everyone is a child of God. These are the same people who would claim that there are many roads to God and that it doesn’t matter which road you take just as long as you are sincere.

But to use this verse in that way, one would have to completely disregard everything that Paul has written in the first three chapters of his letter. When Paul writes that there is one God and Father of all, he is clearly saying that is true within the context of the church. He is writing here to believers and he is trying to stress the idea that they are to be unified because they all have the same heavenly Father, regardless of whether they are Jews or Greeks, male or female, slave or free. 
He made this point quite clear in Galatians 3:26-28, "For you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
In Closing...
I believe that in the church, we spend far too much time focusing on our petty differences. And when we do that, we destroy the unity that God has established among His children. But perhaps even more tragically, we also deny the unity of God Himself. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And if we are to be part of God’s family, then we need to follow His example and focus on the things that unite us rather than the things that divide. We are all individuals, with different ideas and opinions, we're not going to agree on everything. However, what we must agree on is the infallible Word of God. We are one body in Jesus Christ. The same sovereign God, the Creator of the universe...God. We are God created, God loved, God fathered, God controlled, God sustained, God filled, God loved, God blessed. United in one, the Lord Jesus Christ.

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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