In the previous examinations of God’s good word in the book of Ephesians, we saw that Paul gave a very important but somewhat general description of God’s church. Christ’s body is composed of both Jew and Gentile who have been redeemed through His shed blood and made joint heirs with Him. Believers in Jesus Christ are filled with the Holy Spirit and our faith in Him is founded upon the testimony about Christ given to us through the apostles and prophets recorded in the Bible. We have access to God through Christ and Christ Jesus actually dwells in our hearts by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit through faith built upon the Holy Word of God. Such we are as the beloved of God, His church, a dwelling place of God in the Holy Spirit. Since we are the beloved of God, the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul pleads with us to show the evidence of the life of Christ within us in very specific ways as His redeemed, called-out, holy ones.
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:1-6
As believers in Jesus Christ, His church, one of our main purposes is to be unified with one another. This unity is expressed towards one another through humble, patient, loving tenderness given to one another. We are brethren and should treat each other with the utmost regard in the bonds of holy familial affection. This positive exhortation from Paul is then tempered with the admonition that the unity he is referring to, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is sourced solely in the truth. Without the truth of the Bible as the foundation of our fellowship, there can be no genuine unity.
God lets us know there is only one body and one Spirit. This one body, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is built upon faith in the risen Savior Jesus Christ who has promised eternal life to all who believe, the one hope of our calling. Beloved of the Lord, the definition of the church given here excludes the majority of visible Christianity. This doctrine of the church specifies that there is one faith in one Lord, not many different faiths in many different lords. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ makes any believer a member of Christ’s body, but we have to make sure this faith is centered upon the person of Jesus Christ as taught in the Holy Scriptures. This is so crucial that we are commanded by God not to welcome anyone who does not hold to the biblical doctrines about Jesus Christ.
6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 6-11
If we join with unbelievers and call them members of Christ’s body we are furthering the work of the evil one. Many, many high profile Christian leaders have done this very thing. Billy Graham loves the Pope and loves modernists both of whom deny the biblical doctrines about Jesus Christ. His son, Franklin, continues in the same vein as his father. Much of the reformed church, and their teachers, love C. S. Lewis and promote his books. Lewis denied the inerrancy of the Word of God and denied what the Scriptures teach about Christ’s work on the cross. He denied the truth about the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the origin of sin which plagues this world. He denied that Jesus Christ was the propitiation for our sins, by stating the Jesus paid our debt, but didn’t take our punishment. Ravi Zecharias, influenced by Lewis has spoken with Mormons in recent conferences (2004 and 2014) in the effort to share the gospel, without warning about the grave errors or Mormonism, and to stop the cultural slide of our country into greater secularism. What is the fruit of this and previous meetings with the Mormons? Have they repented of their unbelief and idolatry? This is important because the separation that exists between believers and unbelievers is being attacked through this effort to join forces with a false church that preaches a false gospel that condemns and does not save. What did God say through Paul about false gospels?
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. Galatians 1:6-10
The gospel of Jesus Christ as laid down in the Holy Scriptures is the only gospel that saves all who believe. There is no other gospel. The Mormon church, Jehovah Witnesses, and Seventh Day Adventists preach a different gospel and a false christ. The Catholic and Orthodox churches preach a different gospel and a false christ. The Reformed church that embraces works righteousness or Calvinism preaches a different gospel. The mainline churches preach a different gospel and a false christ. Liberals within in the visible church preach a different gospel and believe in a false christ. The Dominists and the church growth movement of Bill Hybels and Rick Warren preach a different gospel and a false christ. The name it and claim it prosperity preachers preach a different gospel and a false christ. The emergent and contemplative movements within the evangelical church preach a different gospel and teach a false christ. The charismatic movement enamored with signs and wonders, like Bethel and Hillsong churches preach a different gospel and a false christ. Neo-evangelicals, through ecumenism and love of intellectual prowess, compromise with those who believe a false gospel and so they undermine the gospel of Jesus Christ and promote apostasy. Finally, within the visible church, those who misinterpret Scripture, receive “words from the Lord”, or promote self-love, preach a different gospel. Genuine believers in Jesus Christ are not in unity with these aberrations of the faith and we must not join with them or work with them in any manner, to do so promotes the work of the devil.
Only those who have repented of their sins and believed in Jesus Christ and trusted in His finished work on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins and His resurrection from the dead for their justification, (His resurrection proving His death and shedding of blood was efficacious for the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation of the redeemed sinner to God the Father and that He is God the Son of God), being filled with His Holy Spirit, have God the Father who reigns from on high working for their good and dwelling within them. No other people can make this claim. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are united and must keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace through our mutual humble love for one another that is built upon the truth of the Scriptures and focused upon Jesus Christ. Amen!
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:4-6
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:28-29
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
Lord Jesus Christ we are Your called out ones through faith in the gospel and so we are united through faith in You. May our unity be observable to the world as we hold fast to the truth of Your Word, so the world may know God the Father sent You as Savior of the World. Amen!