Make a hot drink, settle into a comfy chair and take some time to read through the following devotion that Pastor Milton has written for you…
You might like to start with this prayer:
God – it is good to spend time with you. Calm my thoughts. Help me to hear you. Thank you for coming into my life in this moment. Amen
Read through this verse slowly. Pause and read it again.
Stay with it for a moment. What stands out to you?
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called into the 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 all. (Ephesians 4:4-6).
Today, we are reflecting on the unity of the church. In his wonderful passage from Ephesians 4:1-6, Paul speaks how:
- Church unity reflects the perfect unity in the Triune God.
- God’s purpose for church unity.
- How we serve as instruments of church unity.
Church unity is based on and reflects the perfect unity that exists in the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Paul writes: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called into the 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 all. (Ephesians 4:4-6).
The Spirit of God builds the church. The church is the one body of Christ. The Spirit also gives the church hope. This hope is centred in Jesus Christ who is the one Lord of the church. A person belongs to the church through the one baptism. Whenever a child or an adult is baptised, we use the Apostles’ Creed as we confess that Jesus is Lord. We also confess our faith in the: one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:6).
All of this reminds us that church unity reflects the perfect unity that exists in the Triune God.
Paul goes onto speak about God’s purpose for church unity.
God’s purpose for the world is to unite all things under the headship of Jesus Christ. God’s purpose for the church is to proclaim Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead. To proclaim Jesus Christ who now offers the gift of faith and salvation to all sinners.
For this to happen, Jesus gives each member of the church a gift suitable for the ongoing growth and wellbeing of the church. Paul goes onto say what some of these gifts are: The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers… (Ephesians 4:11). These gifted people were tasked with spreading the Word of God.
What is the purpose of these gifted people in the church? …to equip the saints for work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full grace of God. (Ephesians 4:12-13). As the equipped people of God, we are all involved in the churches ministry of proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world. God promises that when well-equipped Christians fulfil their ministry, then the body of Christ grows and matures.
The opening two verses of Ephesians 4, remind us how we are called to serve as instruments of church unity. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 3:1-3). Paul here is reflecting the reality of our human existence. That is why he encourages all of us to put up with one another with good humour. With patience, understanding, compassion and love! When we do this, we are participating in the work of maintaining and promoting church unity!
We thank you, Father,
for your Son Jesus who gives us life,
and for the Holy Spirit who joins us all together.
Increase our faith in Jesus
and our love for one another and all people.
Lead us to use the gifts you have given us
in loving service for the good of all.
Take a moment to add any other prayers that are on your heart.