OceanSide church of Christ
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THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT (3)
Doctrinal Elements for Unity (2)
Victor M. Eskew
A. By means of the church, God takes divided, fragmented, and sinful man and unites them together in the body of Christ.
B. Jesus’ prayer was that oneness would be maintained among all believers (John 17:20-21).
C. This unity involves two key components according to the Paul in Ephesians 4:1-6.
1. Christians must exemplify certain personal traits (Eph. 4:1-3).
2. Christians must hold to certain fundamental doctrinal points (Eph. 4:4-6).
D. In two previous lessons we have examined the personal traits needed for unity and three of the seven doctrinal platforms.
E. We will conclude our study this morning with an analysis of the last four doctrinal components for unity.
1. Ephesians 4:4-6
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in your all.
2. In the first three ones, we found the following:
a. One body: Unity of organization
b. One Spirit: Unity of revelation
c. One hope: Unity of expectation.
I. THERE IS ONE LORD
A. The word “Lord” is “kurios” in the Greek language.
1. Strong (2962): supremacy, supreme in authority, that is, …controller
2. Thayer: master, lord, the owner, one who has control of the person
B. In this statement, we have “unity of jurisdiction.”
1. All power and authority resides in Jesus Christ.
2. He is supreme.
3. He is our owner and Master.
a. I Corinthians 6:20
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
b. Acts 2:36
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
4. Jesus, and Jesus alone, has all authority (Matt. 28:18).
C. When men reject the jurisdiction of Jesus Christ and turn to other authorities, division and fragmentation will occur.
1. Man-made doctrines
2. False gods
3. Man’s feelings and opinions
D. Jesus asked a very powerful question in the long ago (Luke 6:46).
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
II. THERE IS ONE FAITH
A. Faith came be defined in several ways in the New Testament.
1. Here, it denotes “the system of faith.”
2. It involves all the teachings, all the commands, all the facts, and all the promises of the New Testament of Jesus Christ.
3. Three verses:
a. Acts 6:7
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
b. I Timothy 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
c. Jude 3
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
B. The “one faith” involves “the unity of conviction.”
C. The New Testament of Jesus Christ is what we
1. Believe (Acts 4:4)
2. Love (II Thess. 2:10-12)
3. Obey (Rom. 22:16)
4. Proclaim (Tit. 2:1; I Pet. 4:11)
5. Defend (Phil. 1:17)
6. Give our lives for (Rev. 6:9).
D. When men deviate from God’s Word, the faith, there is fragmentation of the body of Christ (See Gal. 1:8-9).
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you that that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
E. NOTE: Man is not free to believe whatever he desires if he wants to be right with God.
1. Our convictions must be based upon the truth of God’s Word.
2. All other beliefs will divide and separate the body of Christ.
III. THERE IS ONE BAPTISM
A. Baptism involves the concept of “the unity of inclusion.”
B. Not everyone belongs to the family of God. Not just anyone call be fellow-shipped. Only those who have received the one baptism can be included in the number of the saved.
C. Definition of baptism:
1. The Greek word in Ephesians 4:5 is “baptizma.” Strong says that it comes from the Greek word “baptizo” meaning “to make whelmed, that is, fully wet.”
2. Thayer: immersion, submersion
3. The scriptures harmonize with this definition over and over again.
a. In John 3:23, John is said to have been baptizing in Enon near Salim because there was much water there.
b. In Acts 8:38, Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch went down both into the water…and he baptized him.
c. Then, in Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12, baptism is referred to as a burial.
4. Conclusion: Sprinkling and pouring do not constitute baptism. Those who receive these so-called baptisms cannot be received into the number of the saints.
D. This one baptism also has a purpose attached to it. It involves a line of demarcation. It separates the saved the unsaved.
1. Three verses:
a. Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
b. Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
c. I Peter 3:21
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2. When a person is baptized, he is saved. At that time, the Lord adds him, includes him, in the church, the body of Christ.
a. Acts 2:47
Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
b. I Corinthians 12:13
By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…
3. Important points:
a. Some do not practice baptism. These cannot be included among God’s chosen.
b. Some baptize, but they reject the purpose of baptism. These are not included among the people of God.
c. Some baptize, but they have a perverted view of Jesus Christ. They do not recognize Him as deity or as the second member of the Godhead. Their baptism, therefore, is not valid.
d. Those who use perverted forms of baptism are not within the number of the saved.
e. Others attach additional conditions to one’s initial salvation (Holy Spirit baptism, speaking in tongues, foot washing, etc.). These additional items they say are needed for salvation make their baptism invalid.
IV. THERE IS ONE GOD
A. In this doctrinal element, we find “the unity of adoration.”
B. There is one God who is supreme and worthy of the praise and adoration of man.
1. Exodus 20:3-5
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate me.
2. Matthew 4:10
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
C. When men choose other objects of worship, they destroy the unity of the body of Christ.
D. If men simply refuse to worship God, they, too, destroy the unity of the Lord’s church.
A. Unity is a precious and valuable thing.
B. It is founded upon personal traits of Christians and doctrinal aspects found in God’s Word.
C. Today, we have seen four of these doctrinal components.
1. One Lord: unity of jurisdiction
2. One faith: unity of conviction
3. One baptism: unity of inclusion
4. One God: unity of adoration