1. In Ephesians 4:1-3 some important instructions are given to Christians. 2. In our lesson we are concentrating on the admonition given in vs.3 -- we are to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit. 3. To accomplish this we must: a. avoid things that prevent unity b. pursue things that promote unity. 4. Let us begin our study by determining . . .
I. HOW THE LORD FEELS ABOUT UNITY AMONG HIS PEOPLE
A. In Psalm 133 David described brethren dwelling together in unity. 1. (vs.1) Brethren dwelling together in unity is "good" and "pleasant." 2. (vs.2) Brethren dwelling together in unity is "precious" [compared to the ointment placed on Aaron -- Exodus 30]. 3. (vs.3) Brethren dwelling together in unity is a blessing from God [compared to the dew that comes from above]. B. In John 17 Jesus prayed for unity. 1. (vs.11) Jesus prayed that His apostles would be one. 2. (vs.20-21) Jesus prayed that all of His followers would be one. 3. (vs.21b) This kind of unity will have a positive impact upon others. C. In the New Testament letters, the Lord commands His followers to be united (Romans 15:5-6; Philippians 1:27). D. To summarize, we have seen how the Lord feels about unity among His people. 1. David described it in a beautiful way (Psalm 133). 2. Jesus prayed for His followers to be united (John 17). 3. The Lord commands His followers to be united in the epistles. E. Let us turn our attention to several . . .
II. AREAS IN WHICH THE LORD'S PEOPLE ARE TO BE UNITED
A. The Lord wants His people to be united in doctrine. 1. To be the Lord's disciples we must "continue" in His Word (John 8:31-32). 2. To achieve doctrinal unity we must "rightly divide" [handle accurately] the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). B. The Lord wants His people to be united in other matters. 1. This is made clear in 1 Corinthians 1:10. 2. To accomplish this we must follow the instructions given in Romans 12:16; 14:19; Ephesians 4:1-3. C. For our last point, let us consider a few specific . . .
III. HINDRANCES TO UNITY AMONG THE LORD'S PEOPLE
A. Exalting people over Christ 1. This was done in the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:11-12). 2. This resulted in strife and division (1 Corinthians 3:3-4). 3. We learn from 1 Corinthians 4:6 how to keep the unity of the Spirit. B. Murmuring 1. The church in Jerusalem enjoyed a beautiful spirit of unity (Acts 2:44, 46). 2. Later, murmuring threatened to destroy that congregation's unity (Acts 6:1). 3. We learn from Philippians 2:14 how to keep the unity of the Spirit. C. Loving to have preeminence 1. This problem is mentioned in 3 John 9-10. 2. To keep the unity of the Spirit, 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.
1. The Bible clearly teaches that Christ wants His people to keep the unity of the Spirit. 2. Let us: a. avoid those things that prevent unity b. pursue those things that promote unity.