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November 5, 2020 12:00 am
I therefore prisoner of the Lord entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called in other words match your walk to the fact that you have been called by God in his grace when he redeemed you out of darkness into a marvelous line he's taking you from around of death into life with close going to do now is inform us that the way you measure whether or not you're walking that way isn't necessarily how you're treating the unbeliever out there, but how we treat each other and express toward each other. One of the most beautiful things about the Christian church is the fact that no matter our backgrounds, we have become one body we are brothers and sisters new creations bound together in unity through the Holy Spirit.
So it's imperative that we protect and promote that unity in every local church.
Thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the hearts today Stephen opens up Paul's letter to the Ephesians to share with you the ingredients it takes to maintain genuine privilege today to see a number of people follow the Lord in obedience through immersion in the these are folks that are just completed the greenhouse class. It's one of the one of the richest experiences for me as a pastor to teach this class. There was a time when I've given over to somebody else. I just missed that connection and have been teaching it now number of years.
In fact, a couple years ago I began to meet individually with each class member or couple individual individual households and give me an opportunity to hear their testimony a little bit perhaps clarify, the gospel is been a privilege to see some of them come to faith in Christ. During the course of of of the greenhouse class of you know right here that's new members class. You don't have to join the if you take it with you if you're wanting to join you take. It's amazing to me to see the variety of people that the Lord brings to this fellowship in this assembly together, making one family and this greenhouse class is no different.
This is a large class we moved over to colonial corners to make room for everyone in and we do a little survey and find out where they're coming from, and limited her back on her course. I get a lot of it will I meet with them personally. But it's just amazing to see the variety of backgrounds and cultures and histories and and testimony. Some of them come from a long line of believers with missionary kids and pastors kids in this particular class. Some of them are first-generation believers, that is, they have no family member that belongs to Christ. Except women are beginning this legacy of faith. Some come from churches that have a high degree of concern for interpreting Scripture correctly. Dr. Leanne Psalm came from churches.
It really didn't care about any kind of doctrinal sin. And that's why they're here. Some of come from churches where there is a high level of liturgy, high church and others come from churches that are spontaneous and and not structured, so some come in wondering why we don't recite the Lord's prayer every Sunday and others wonder why I'm wearing a necktie and a pair of blue jeans define what it will be scary if I if I did, but there wondering things like some of the men in this class this semester been teaching elders in former churches. They know the Scriptures well others in the class are just beginning to get to know this book and it begins with the book of Genesis and ends with the book of maps getting familiar with this whole thing somewhat torn the Lord some new students. Some of our classmates have moved here from Eastern Europe.
In this class we have some from the Philippine we have some from China.
We have some from South America, some from Louisiana to foreign country as well. I asked my secretary to give me a list of some of the states that she can recollect. This week, and that she sent me a note she said with people moving directly to colonial from their home church in their home state located in Maryland Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, California and Virginia all landed here by the grace of God with all of you native North Carolinians all 15 of you. Where are you all we know more about goes wrong or 70 is wonderful. They come from all kinds of backgrounds denominationally all different kinds of styles of worship Psalm of come from a southern gospel background and Alabama and Mississippi and others of you still high church kind of a formal setting. Some come from churches with a band driven contemporary setting some people in this class are praying there just waiting for us to break out the banjos when we got there yet but they're hoping we finally get some good music dear some of the class want more music somewhat longer sermons. Okay, I made that up with a number of college students in this class like the largest group of college students ever which is really exciting to me to see college collegians not less committed to the church but excited enough about belonging that they don't want to put it off.
They want to become an active part of. We have students from NC State students from a Meredith College joining others hear from you and see and number from wake tech.
We even have students at Duke. No church is perfect. You and I like that I did like that I could use your 930 and a dialogue to see the Lord doing this is amazing because it simply history so many cultures highly, highly make it together highly ever hope to get along.
If you ever thought about the fact that one of the greatest testimonies of the gospel to our world is that we do and we can the gospel of Jesus Christ is able to bind together to similar people to similar backgrounds, dissimilar cultures to similar tastes into a fellowship of genuine and profound unity. The world is nothing you don't understand is a vast difference between unity and uniformity. Uniformity is the only thing the world knows about effective drives the engine of the world.
Madison Avenue is banking on it. We want to be. We want to launch like each other on a drive. You know the same thing whatever is the same stuff, fashion, culture, uniformity is the result of that external pressure outside us unity is on the one hand, diversity, and on the other.
This shared life is the product of internal grace at work through the spirit of God. No one is making you get along from the world spirit of God inside creates this desire as we share the life of Christ together. One of the biblical promises the church member makes to the rest of the body is related to preserving and protecting this unity in Christ. We been covering these past several sessions. The promises were making to one another fact, let me mention that today in the lobby.
I understand her tables were at the welcome desks where you can pick up a draft copy still being noodle on a little bit just proofing and grammar and things like that we wanted you to go ahead and have it seek and begin to read through the new Constitution and bylaws and end in there you'll find this the old covenant replaced with these promises. We had a number of people, by the way during this series this fall tell me that they want to join this church is really interesting. I giving a sermon series member free for people you want to join. This is based on what they're hearing what we believe were were standing and I were thinking now of teaching the class immediately again in the spring we offer now through video, live streaming, we attempted that this falls very helpful for those with work schedules. If you're interested, by the way, in this spring I will be in January beginning there and moving forward. Let me know. Call the church and let them know as well. This week, make our final decision.
One of the promises and this is the want to cover today is this what were promising to submit, but in humility to one another.
Striving for peaceful unity and harmony in the assembly.
That's a mouthful and the mouthful. There are a number of New Testament passages on the subject. Simply because there's always been a need for it. And there's always been a danger for any local church to lose it. So this is been the critical target of the enemy of the church and we often work in concert with him in our own flesh in one way or another. The apostles exhorted every church they wrote to preserve and promote and protect the unity of the local body and and that truth is needed again today like never before me tell you this, Satan.
Satan isn't going to try to destroy this gospel believing church and other gospel believing churches like us by coming in and saying you know I let's rethink the deity of Christ will last about 32nd, let's rethink the Trinity E thanks Sullivan day faith alone. Let's rethink so script tomorrow but let's come up with a counselor agreed and now tells what to do. Apart from Scripture what the enemy does in this church and every gospel believing church in an attempt to divide it in this unified is it isn't overtly attempting coming forward and very clearly openly trying to destroy it. What it does most often is simply join it and then divide from within Paul's clearest warning to the elders in Ephesus was the fact that the walls were going to come from within, from within to the apostle Peter is talking about that ally in the rooms around seeking somebody to discredit or devour any ends his first letter is is finally finally, if you forget everything else.
Remember this finally live in harmony with one another, writing that the church Paul warned the Galatian church, but if you bides and devour one another. Take care lest you be consumed by one another. Galatians 515.
In other words a divisive spirit ultimately consumes you how many churches have literally disappeared. Having been consumed from within by this divisive spirit. Wonder Paul exhorts the church in Ephesus to protect the unity of the spirit of the bond of peace by what had just turned that one text today. Ephesians chapter 4 Ephesians 4 Ephesians 4 Paul is going to expand on what it what it takes to promote true and genuine unity and and just for the sake of an ally line as we go through this. Let me identify four of four ingredients of genuine unity. Go to verse one. Ephesians chapter 4. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called in other words match your walk to the fact that you have been called by God in his grace when he redeemed you out of darkness into a marvelous line he's taking you from around my death into life. Now match that match that wonderful calling with the way you want. I find it interesting what Paul is going to do now is inform us that the way you measure whether or not you're walking that way isn't necessarily how you're treating the unbeliever out there, or even your family and your home address, but how we treat each other here. Here the ingredients first one you need to mix into the recipe of genuine unity is humility. Levers to all humility buses going to start with the easiest one right with all humility you translate that be completely humble, be completely hung and studying together before we set that aside among Philippians chapter 2 where Jesus Christ is shown to be amazingly wonderfully humble. And lest we think that's good for Jesus and not for us. He says the same attitude you sought him.
Let that be your in other words, it isn't just for the Lord it's for us to imitate that which we see in the Lord. This is the heartbeat, then of Christianity must be part of what makes us a body.
This this this makes our unity so clearly unique from the world. In fact, that very word is different from the Roman Empire to the ancient Greeks and Romans and their reading this in this culture of the first century they would've snickered they would've scoffed the word humility that same word the philosophers would say belong to slaves. It was a slave like they called it characteristic the great people in the Empire people to to admire were those people who were self-sufficient and self-assured and self-promoting just like it is today so you have in our own culture, people running around talking about how proud they are themselves. Humility is never been politically correct by Gwen Augustine, the great theologian early fourth century was asked what are the three most important principles in a Christian's life and in the church. He said oh that's easy one. Humility number two humility number three humility so begin their you won't have unity without it all adds. Next, the ingredient of gentleness notice in the text, gentleness, translation may render it meekness when you hear the word meekness a translator that we know passages in the new test me think of you know, to mid wallflower doormats press no spy in to make a decision. Meekness we think of it as weak in the New Testament mind, meekness was not weakness. It was incredible power under control fact, the word was used in Paul's day for warhorses. These stallions were called meet what it meant was that they were trained to respond to the warrior on its back.
I was given an opportunity to understand this little better as a kid. I'll never forget my family in summer we would go deputation my missionary parents would visit those who supported them in many of them right northward to our home wasn't my birthplace in Minneapolis, so I'm not a native North Carolinian.
By the way would be 18 years of 17 very right wing they they can work deputation in the vacation and that which was interesting because he gave us kids, you know, different sites, churches, and in the people going one particular ranch where this guy trained Arabian horses and it was a demonstration. He got on the back of one of them is okay I'm about to show you how to sing his train any any let go of the reins.
He was hands-free and just by nudging it with his knee in turn one nudging it with the other knee, depending on how hard he nods did it would turn the other way if you lean forward, it would speed up canter into a gallop just by him leaning if you lean back.
It would stop. That was a picture in Paul's mind of meekness great power, but under control that Jesus Christ is very interesting to hear him describe himself. He described himself, Matthew records for us in chapter 11 verse 29. He said I am me and humble of heart. I'm meek and humble of heart, the meekness of Jesus Christ was demonstrated by the fact that he had all power he could retaliate. He could get his way. He could change everything from the weather to someone's response and he never had all authority to do as he pleased for himself to suit himself to make his life more comfortable and he never served himself, Jesus Christ is the enemy of power under control disunity in the churches. Frankly, most often tied to the lack of this ingredient in suing determination to dig heels and have our way to display some kind of power some kind of perceived authority or influence you on unity. Stir in the ingredients of humility and gentleness. He adds 1/3 ingredient in verse three. Notice with patients showing forbearance to one another in love. That's another mouthful that decouples patients with forbearance forbearance refers to being patient with other people while being provoked to need another supplier is just saying they were supposed to be patient until we get out of the parking lot were to be patient with other people, so long as they're looking at us. This is) closing down every loophole is saying the patient but show forbearance. This long-suffering with people in love. So when you're not treated like you think you are to be treated when people don't respond you like they like using the auto responders. The question do you care more about the unity of the church or yourself.
What matters more whatever the controversy arises whenever the confrontation occurs.
What matters most unity of the church or my own personal feelings like Pentecost is now the Lord will professors from Dallas seminary told of the church split that was so serious that each side in the argument, which had long been forgotten, both filed lawsuits in secular courts trying to dispossess the other side from the church property basically kicked them out and then keep the property for themselves and they disregarded.
Of course the biblical injunction not to take biblical matters or church matters, secular courts. Nonetheless, they did like Pentecost wrote that in the court proceedings as they both gave their arguments. It was it was eventually discovered as a TrackBack.
This conflict to find out that the conflict it actually begun at a church. Why dinner and at that dinner.
An older well-known member of the church was given a smaller slice of ham than the person next to and that started it all.
Now it's one thing to show patience toward people with a bad attitude.
That's why he's tying up the loophole show patience toward people in a spirit of alive and get back to the question what's good for the body what's good for the church. What's good for unity.
We care enough to be slighted.
We care enough to be overlooked. We keep our power under control or will we use it to hurt and provoke and respond in anything but love okay if you're like me, after just going through a couple of these ingredients you're probably thinking I got some homework to do right. I have some stuff I need to address the many audit really give it some some diligence and work harder at it and I think all ingredient like that's what he says next verse three being diligent to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Being diligent literally making every effort by the way, that word is the nuance of hurricane Ike, like that don't you like to hurry to my own detriment, make haste domicile item is the elevator tackle. He's using that same idea with urgency and haste and speed all this issue. Don't miss the fact by the way here that nowhere does Paul tell us that we are the ones creating unity. You look again. Don't miss that. He doesn't say we create the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace.
We don't create unity.
We can the spirit of God creates it. We are just supposed to energetically and passionately and diligently preserve what he has created works hard at what the Spirit of God is created get translated, make haste gardens make haste to maintain and make haste to keep them along the local church is to make up your mind that you're really not as important as other people. Part of it, you're not as important as other people you're effectively following the commands of the apostle and more promising each other that will be the kind of person to protect and preserve and promote the unity of the body, instead of being quick, divide quick gossip, quick to take sides will be quick and eager to hasten toward resolution so if somebody involves viewing the controversy they just invited somebody is going to make haste to resolve it challenging and convicting his when was the last time someone involved you in conflict. How did you respond did you contribute to driving in the wedge of conflict even further. Or did you make haste to try to help resolve the conflict. Well, Stephen has more to share regarding how believers are to get along. However, organist stop here for today because were out of time. This is wisdom for the hearts the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey will actually bring you the conclusion to this lesson on Monday twice a month on the first and third Friday of each month we take a break from our normal Bible teaching to answer questions that come in from listeners will be doing that tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow's question and answer session. We have a special phone number that you can use to call in and record your question are Bible question line is 910-808-9384 if you call that number you can record your question so that Stephen can answer it on a future broadcast that number once again is 910-808-9384 before we end our time. Today I want to tell you that God is using this current teaching series that Stevens in to bless Christians and churches all over the country and world. This series explores God's design for the church and is called upon this rock we've had pastors, elders and deacons call and order the CD set because they want to listen to it and take people from their church through it as well.
If you'd like this series, you'll find it on our website.
Wisdom online.org again. It's called upon this rock. You can also call us and we can help you over the phone. Our office number is 86 648 Bible numerically. That's 866-482-4253, and of course please join us tomorrow for more wisdom for the heart