Tim preached on Ephesians 4 1:16. Each part of the Christian body does its work.
Tim wondered if we’d ever thought about what being grown up looks like, taking the bike stabilisers off, or is the when we leave home, or when you start cooking for yourself.
Paul turns this on its head. He states that God is bringing all things together under Christ his son.
Paul asks us to consider the response we are to make to this. He urges us to live a life worthy of the calling we received.
He points out it comes as God’s gift to us. Paul reminds us it is God who has called us, not as a calling to an occupation but to a life that is possible in God’s grace.
Paul is blown away by us becoming part of God’s plan for the world reconciling all things to himself. The grace of God is in line for all his creation.
It is unsurprising to hear that the worthy life also encompasses the unity of the church. That’s gods plan.
Paul calls us to maintain or guard the unity of the spirit. Tim asked are there times we struggle to maintain that unity, not just in the church but with our other denominations and brothers and sisters in Christ. The unity of the church is all to Paul, as he writes to lots of different churches.
Paul talks about one body, one hope, one lord Jesus ,one faith, one baptism.
Tim highlights the danger for us in falling into the trap that we sometimes think our way is the only way.
Paul says no, all of you, despite your differences, all your differences of understanding, you’re all one all part of the one Church. Never been more important than now to believe in the oneness of the body of Christ.
Paul gets all trinitarian here. We are called to nurture and care for it. Guards outside Buckingham palace are focussed on the job they are given. Even if they don’t appear to be paying much attention they are and they move into action at perceived threats. We need to have the same focus. We need to treat each other with love patience, humility, gentleness.
We are always in a rush, but thankfully God isn’t . He wants that unity and for us to bear with each other. After all it is God that has given us the diversity we have. The new testament is full of Paul writing to lots of different types of churches. There is no one type or model of new testament church. We all need to stop seeing diverse churches as a problem and more as God’s gift.
Those who are different they are a gift, they might teach us something.
What can other churches teach us? Tim shared that he loves going to Catholic Churches , the moments of drama and silence. Tim invited us to imagine going to an African church and they’re dancing and make us look miserable, differences are not a problem they help us to speak truth in love.
Be wary though, this verse has been much misused, beware condescension. God’s calling for the unity of the church and all it’s diversity are all affirmed here.
When we experienced division in the church we probably getting what we deserved, we need to learn to value difference. V13 talks about us still growing in maturity. Thankfully we’re not doing this in our own strength . We need to grow more in Christ as we experience things. It’s God’s gift as we grow together. It’s in all that we do and experience as a church.
Tim closed by quoting Martin Luther “This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed.“