Unity of The Spirit

Ephesians 4:1-3 NIV

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Prisoners for the Lord

Paul was persecuted for his faith and testimony for Jesus Christ and for his gospel. He was slandered, stoned, beaten, falsely accused, falsely arrested, and falsely imprisoned for sharing the gospel of our salvation.

Jesus said that if we follow him with our lives that we will be hated and persecuted as he was. He told us that as they treated him so they will treat us. So, we should expect to be treated as Jesus was, as Paul was, and as many of the saints of old and believers today were and are being treated.

But most American Christians have never known this kind of persecution, primarily because of the acceptance of Christianity in our nation, up to this point, but also because American Christians, for the most part, are not living holy lives separate from the world but they have become one with the world.

But that is about to change, I believe. Christian persecution in America has been in the workings for some time now, and much of it has come from within the gatherings of the church or within the institutional church. But we can see the signs that it is going to get much more severe.

Worthy of the Calling

We need to always live our lives worthy of the calling we have received from God to live holy and pure lives, pleasing to him, free from slavery to sin, living as slaves (bondservants) of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).

But as the nearness of the Lord’s return approaches, this world is becoming way more evil, and persecution of Christians is rising throughout the world and is now coming to America, too. It has been coming for some time now with all the talks of oneness, unity, and equality.

But this is a forced unity, and the unity is with the world, not with God. And we will be required to discard from our lives all that divides us as a people, which will mean that we will be forced to stop sharing the gospel of our salvation or to face severe persecution for our faith should we continue.

Humble and Gentle

Being humble is not focusing on ourselves but on God’s will for our lives and on ministering to other people’s lives. And gentle is controlled strength in the power of God’s Spirit. It is not weakness, and it is not compromise with the world so as not to offend people with the truth of the gospel.

Bearing with one another in love and being patient is kindness and it is gentleness and it is the loving thing to do. But this also has nothing to do with compromising truth, holiness, and righteousness in order to not offend others or in order to be tolerant of deliberate sinful practices in the church.

Also, the unity being spoken of here is unity with the Holy Spirit of God. It is not unity with the institutional church and its marketing schemes for how to grow its businesses. And it is not unity with the government or with the world so that we all get along and no one offends anyone else.

In order to keep the unity of the Spirit we must be at peace with God, not necessarily with other humans. We must be walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to our flesh, and we must be living in humble submission to God’s will for our lives (Rom 8:1-17; Rom 12:1-2).

Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Our goal in life is to live for the Lord and for his purposes and for his glory and not for the purposes and glory of ourselves or of other human beings. We are not put here to compromise with the world so that the world will like us. We are here to serve the Lord in all that we do.

God has called certain individuals to prepare us and to equip us for works of service which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them, as his workmanship – in his wisdom, power, and strength, and for the praise of his glory. So, these will be works of service that are designed by God for us.

And the purpose of us being equipped for works of service which God prepared in advance for us to do – not what man wants us to do – is so that the body of Christ might be edified (encouraged, strengthened) in the faith so that we all reach maturity in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Ephesians 4:14-16 NIV

“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. 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. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Another purpose for us being equipped for Christian service that God has planned for us to do is to help one another out of spiritual immaturity and out of being tossed here and there in our minds and emotions by every wind of teaching that sounds good to our ears.

For, many people who call themselves Christians are being led astray by actors, who are clever enchanters, who are manipulators and deceivers, who are convincing people that they can believe in Jesus but still live however they want and that they still will go to heaven when they die.

So, as the body of Christ, we are to speak the truth to one another in love, which involves exposing the lies being told by these cunning and crafty people in their deceitful scheming. We must tell them that God’s grace to us is not freedom to continue living in sin without punishment or guilt.

And we have to tell the people that God requires death to sin and living to righteousness as part of our faith, and that he requires we walk in obedience to his commands and that we submit to him as Lord of our lives – all in his power and strength (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

For, if we don’t repent, obey, and submit, as a matter of practice, but instead we keep on in deliberate sinful practices, we don’t have eternal life with God but we will die in our sins. So we must get this message out so that many will hear the truth which will set them free (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).

Servant of the Lord

An Original Work / July 26, 2012
Based off Romans 1:1-17

Servant of the Lord;
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.
Through Him, and for His name alone,
We receive His grace
To call people, Him to obey;
Coming from their faith.
Servant of the Lord,
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.

You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ;
Always praying for others’ needs;
Helping hand to lend;
Giving courage to others’ faith,
For the praise of God.
You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ.

Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.
In the gospel find righteousness:
Being right with God.
Turn from sin, and trust Jesus Christ.
By faith, live in Him.
Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.

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