Read: Ephesians 4:1-16
Key Text: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.(Ephesians 4:3)
Reflection: My ecclesiology (theology of the church) is summarized in the following statement - “the Church is one, big, happy and sometimes dysfunctional family”. The scandal of the historic Church is that far too often we have not lived out our oneness. Paul forcefully reminds the Ephesians and us that the church is one body, birthed by one Spirit, with one Lord, one hope, one baptism and one Father over and through it all (vv.4-6). Too often we are not known for our unity, but our disunity.
Paul seems to be saying that unity is both a gift and a goal. We have received as a gift the dynamic and unified life of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (vv.4-6). This is a gift we can either treasure or squander. The fact that so much of the New Testament letters to the early churches address issues of disunity, tells us that this is a gift they often squandered. Unfortunately we do the same today. For example, it is estimated there are presently 38,000 separate Christian denominations in the world today, many of them birthed out of schism.
Unity in the church is also a goal. Our unity was the subject of the final prayer of Jesus before the events of his arrest and crucifixion (John 17:20-26). If it was so important for Jesus, for God’s sake, it should be that important to us! We are to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit (v.3). We are to use our gifts to serve and build up the church until we reach unity in the faith and become spiritually mature (v.v.12-13). And always we are to look to Christ who is the head, and who from and through perfect unity, is made possible.
Question: Augustine famously stated about unity in the Church: ‘In essentials, unity; in non-essential liberty; in all things, charity. What do you believe are the essentials around which the Church must be unified?
Read and Do: Google ‘Gold Coast Churches’ and pick a view of one of the church websites listed. Get to know the church a little through the information they detail. Then pray for them.