(Lord's Supper Night)
Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
One of the important lessons of the Lord's Supper is the lesson of Church unity. It is so very important that the members of the Lord's churches be in a state of perpetual unity. Unity as defined in the Bible is a state of oneness between church members and Christ, and between church members and one another. This oneness is depicted in several spiritual aspects, which we want to study this evening.
1. The Local Church is One body:
1 Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
We as members in particular were led of the Spirit to repent and believe in Jesus, and then to one of the Lord's true churches where we submitted to scriptural baptism and church membership. Each local New Testament Church is one body in Christ- as a unity with one another, and as a unity with Christ.
2. The Local Church has One Lord, one faith, and one Baptism:
Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism (compare to 1 Cor. 12:13 above).
One Lord- We do not worship three God's, but one God Who is designated in three Persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
One faith- There is only one true saving faith; one gospel; one way of salvation.
There is only one true system of faith or beliefs as taught in the Word of God.
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
It is so important that we come unto the "unity of the faith", the definite article implying the system of truth or doctrine contained in the Word of God. There is only one rightful understanding and interpretation of the doctrines of the Word of God, and it is our solemn duty as church members to learn and grow up, and come into the unity of the truth.
The greater unity a church has in the area of doctrine, the greater unity it will have in every other area of its service to God. There is no basis for unity without sound doctrine.
3. There is only One Spirit that Leads and Guides in the Local Church:
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
There is one Holy Spirit Who leads sinners to repent and believe the gospel, and to submit to scriptural baptism (water baptism is meant in the verse above, not "Spirit baptism) and church membership. The Lord through His Holy Spirit is the One Who adds to His Church as it pleases Him. Thus He is with every new addition to the church, bringing them into the unity of the Spirit. Sometimes, as we all know, people come into the church, which the Holy Spirit has not added. This always results in problems as most of us have seen in our Christian lives.
Thus, there is one Holy Spirit, Who works in all of us the same. He is not divided and His interests are not divided- but He is in perfect unity with Himself and with the Godhead, and with the Word of God. He leads us into this same unity with Himself and with the Father and the Son. When church members go in different directions in their thinking, resulting in divisions in the church, they are not being led of the Spirit.
4. There is a oneness between our spirits as members of the Lord's Church:
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel
This passage is speaking not of the Holy Spirit, but of the unity of our spirits as members of a local New Testament Church. It is that common bond of our spirits, which have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. There should be a unity of love and purpose between the members of a local church for the Lord and His work, and for one another.
5. Members of a local New Testament should be of one mind:
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
We are to be striving together with one mind for one purpose and one goal, which Paul expresses in the spiritually all-inclusive phrase "the faith of the gospel"- meaning the cause of Christ in and through His Church and its gospel outreach to this world.
As a church our primary focus ought to be advancing the "faith of the gospel" in our world. I believe that to a degree, we are doing this. But we can increase. What can your mind think of to do for the common interest of the church, and the advancement of the Lord's work. Are we individually doing all we can toward this goal?
I personally want to do more in this way. I would like to visit and witness more than I have been. Some of us may be able to give more financially to the cause. If you are able, I believe the Lord will bless you for it.
6. Finally, the Lord's Churches are to be of one heart and soul:
Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
In other words, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is bigger than the individual. The primary concern of the individual should be the body as a whole. How contrary to the philosophy of this world, where the philosophy is "me first", and "every man for Himself"!
It takes great grace and faith to make the Lord's Church number one in our heart and soul; and to consider it above all other things, including our personal interests. But it is blessed for us when we willing enjoin our heart and soul, to the heart and soul of the church, and place the common good of the Lord's house above our own self. This is key to spiritual happiness and prosperity as members of one of the Lord's Churches.
I trust that as a church tonight we have this kind of unity. If we do, we can only expect to have the richest blessings of our Lord as Savior upon our church, and upon our individual lives. Only blessings can result from such unity as this- its inevitable.
(Sermon preached by Pastor Burke at the Faith Baptist Church of Lawtey, Florida)