Posts Tagged ‘Unity’

Unity in the Body of Christ

On 8/14 I preached at LifeSpring on Ephesians 4:1-16 on unity in the church. What I found fascinating as I prepare the message is how central the message of unity is to Ephesians. In verse 3 we’re told “to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” And they way that happens is seen in 7-13. It is through the gifts God gives to his church. The end result is that we grow up in the faith and bear with each other as we gather the nations. To get the full message, have a listen:

Unity In the Body of Christ

Don’t Talk Dirty or Talk Dirt

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. – Ephesians 4:29, KJV

Don’t cuss. Don’t have a filthy mouth. Don’t use those words which in English are offensive. Don’t use double entendres with a wink. Don’t tell dirty jokes. Don’t speak of things that are unseemly. All of that is true and those are things we shouldn’t do. But I don’t think that goes quite far enough. It is possible to violate this command while at the same time using squeaky clean language and an equally squeaky smile.

The context of Ephesians takes our speech beyond just dirty words or concepts. “But speaking the truth in love…” Paul commands in 4:15 as he is calling us to unity. Not unity devoid of truth but unity in truth. To abandon truth is to violate 4:29. Likewise employing truth like a cudgel is equally a violation. Or speaking the truth at a time and in a situation or into an ear in which it isn’t appropriate does the same thing. Normally, that’s called gossip. If you spread something that isn’t true, that’s flat out lying and slander.

In chapter 5, Paul also says, “Let no man deceive you with vain words”. Bad doctrine violates Ephesians 4:29. In chapter 4 Paul wants us to be unified and says that God’s gifts to the church ensure that unity. According to 4:11 those gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Those who call the church and instruct the church. They are the gifts Paul cites so that we might be “no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine”. It is important that we be very leery of new doctrine, of things we haven’t heard before. The latest thing to blow in from the internet or Oprah might just be the thing that violates 4:29.

So don’t talk dirty. But also don’t speak or teach dirt either. None of that builds up the church nor does it preserve unity.