Over the past year I’ve met a lot of people. I’ve entered into relationships with them and I’ve done my best to keep relationships with them, and as I grow to understand people’s lives, do you know what I’m seeing? Division. More and more of it. Maybe you’ve seen it too. Maybe you’ve felt it yourself. It has been bothering me and making me sick to my stomach to see the ways that divisions are rising and cutting people off from one another.
As I think about this division that I see and that you see, I’ll tell you what. I’ve been praying a lot about this week’s sermon.
You see, what we have on tap this Sunday in Ephesians 4:1-16 is a teaching on unity. How do we do get unity? How do we, as a church, be unified when even the rest of the church and the rest of the world is breaking apart? How do we do this? How do we stop from being what Paul says we can be sometimes- infants tossed back and forth on the wind and the waves of the times? How do we do this? How do we be what Paul calls us to be? This strong church that grows up into Christ where the wind and the waves beat against us and we don’t move because we are so unified. How do we do this? Paul gives us three answers. I’ll give you the spoiler. Boil the three answers down and you’ll see- it’s a call to grow into Christ!
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit,just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.8 This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 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.
14 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. 15 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. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself upin love, as each part does its work.