Let Us Keep the Unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-3)
1. This morning we showed from the Scriptures [the Old Testament, John 17, and the New Testament] that "God's people are to be united." 2. According to Ephesians 4:3, we are to "endeavor" to keep the unity of the Spirit. 3. In our lesson we are pointing out some things [positive and negative] that will help us fulfill this responsibility. 4. To keep the unity of the Spirit, . . .
I. WE MUST AVOID THINGS THAT ARE HINDRANCES TO UNITY
A. Exalting people over Christ is a hindrance to unity. 1. This practice was found in the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:11-12). 2. The result was strife and division (1 Corinthians 3:3-4). 3. 1 Corinthians 4:6 shows us how to avoid this problem. B. Murmuring is a hindrance to unity. 1. The church in Jerusalem displayed a beautiful spirit of unity (Acts 2:44, 46). 2. Later, murmuring threatened to destroy that church's unity (Acts 6:1). 3. Philippians 2:14 shows us how to avoid this problem. C. Earthly wisdom is a hindrance to unity. 1. We read about the effects of earthly wisdom in James 3:14-16. 2. We must pursue heavenly wisdom as described in James 3:17-18. D. Loving to have preeminence is a hindrance to unity. 1. This problem is mentioned in 3 John 9-10. 2. To avoid this problem, we must: a. remember that Christ has all preeminence in the church (Colossians 1:18) b. follow the instructions given in Philippians 2:3-4. E. On the positive side, to keep the unity of the Spirit, . . .
II. WE MUST PURSUE THINGS THAT PROMOTE UNITY
A. Love promotes unity. 1. True Christian love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. 2. (1 Corinthians 16:14) "Let all your things be done with charity." 3. Colossians 3:14 teaches us to "put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness." B. Practicing the Golden Rule promotes unity (Matthew 7:12). C. The right kind of speech promotes unity (Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 25:11).
1. In Ephesians 4:3 we are instructed to "endeavor" to keep the unity of the Spirit. 2. May God help us: a. to avoid things that are hindrances to unity b. to pursue those things that promote and maintain unity.