I. How to ____ unity (v. 1-6)
A. Walk ______ of God’s calling (v. 1-3)
B. Oneness is from ___ (v. 4-6)
II. The _____ of unity (v. 7-16)
A. Unity is a ____ (v. 7-10)
B. Unity yields _____ (v. 11-16)
- To go deeper, read through Ephesians 1-3. What has God done for us
according to these chapters?
- We have oneness in Christ, but will we keep it? This is Jesus’ desire for his
people, that they would be one as He is one with the Father (Jn. 17:21-23).
- Living worthy of our calling requires humility and gentleness (4:2). These
are closely tied together. Read 1 Peter 5:5; Gal. 5:23; 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:25.
What do these passages teach us about humility and gentleness? How can
you grow in humility and gentleness this week?
- Living worthy of our calling also requires patience (4:2). Read Romans
2:4; Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Cor. 13:4; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Tim. 4:2. What
do these passages teach us about patience? How can you grow in patience
- Read 1 Peter 1:22; 2:17; 3:8; 4:8. How are we to bear with one another
in love? What will you do this week to bear with others in love?
- R. Kent Hughes says, “a peacemaker is willing to risk pain. Anytime one
attempts to bring peace societally or personally, he risks
misunderstanding and failure. If we have been wrong, there is the pain of
apologizing. Or we may have to endure the equally difficult pain of
rebuking another. It is so much easier (we think) to let things slide, but
that is not the way of the peacemaker.”
- Benjamin Merkle says, “each member (of the body of Christ) ought to be
a contributor and participant in that unity through his use of the gifts given
to him.” How are you using your gifts at Community Church? Don’t know
your gifts? Take our Spiritual Gifts survey on our website: spiritualgifts.ccfdl.org/quiz
Read Hebrews 5:12-6:1. In what ways do you need to grow in maturity as a Christian? What steps will you take this week to become more mature?
5 Ways to Destroy Church Unity by Mike Livingstone
1. Making everything about you
Reality check: The church doesn’t exist to make you (or me) happy; it exists
to glorify God. The way to maintain unity is to think of others as more
important than yourself and to make the mission of seeing lives changed by
the gospel as more important than personal preferences or comfort. It’s not
about you, or about me.
2. Fighting over secondary things
We argue and fight in the church over needless things — things that, from a
heavenly perspective, don’t really matter all that much. Like #1 above,
arguing over secondary things is an indication of self-centeredness. What’s
required for maintaining unity is less “self” and more “centeredness” on what
really matters. Or like Richard Baxter said: “In necessary things, unity; in
doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity.”
There’s a reason James said the tongue is a fire (James 3:6). Consider the
damage it can do to a church. Gossip and other sins of the tongue have
absolutely no place in the body of Christ. None. Gossip is a cancer in the
body of Christ that, if not removed, will destroy the fellowship. The problem
of gossip is a problem of the heart, and so the correction needs to happen in
the deepest recesses of the heart. A heart problem isn’t corrected by a
resolve to hold your tongue. It takes nothing less than the Holy Spirit
changing attitudes, leading to genuine repentance, which then opens the
way for unity to be restored.
4. Refusing to forgive
Bitterness and resentment are poisons. Unforgiveness poisons the soul and
it poisons the body of Christ. The church is, by nature, a fellowship rooted
in forgiveness. What does that mean, practically speaking? 17th-century
Puritan Thomas Watson said forgiveness looks like this: you don’t seek
revenge when someone offends you, you wish him well, you grieve at
his calamities, you pray for him, you seek reconciliation, and show yourself
willing to come to his aid. That’s what forgiveness looks like, and that’s what
it takes to maintain unity.
5. Taking our eyes off Jesus
This last one is the most insidious of all the threats to church harmony.
In The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer wrote: “Has it ever occurred to you that
one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to
each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to
another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred
worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart
nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become
‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer
fellowship.” It’s time for a tuning, don’t you think?
“Live in harmony with one another.”