Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Unity And Gifts

The Unity of the Body

Ephesians 4

1I am in prison because I belong to the Lord. God chose you to be his people,
so I urge you now to live the life to which God called you. 2Always be humble,
gentle, and patient, accepting each other in love. 3You are joined together with
peace through the Spirit, so make every effort to continue together in this way.
4There is one body and one Spirit, and God called you to have one hope. 5There
is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. 6There is one God and Father of
everything. He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.

7Christ gave each one of us the special gift of grace, showing how generous
he is. 8That is why it says in the Scriptures,

“When he went up to the heights,

he led a parade of captives,

and he gave gifts to people.”

Psalm 68:18

9When it says, “He went up,” what does it mean? It means that he first came
down to the earth. 10So Jesus came down, and he is the same One who went up
above all the sky. Christ did that to fill everything with his presence. 11And Christ
gave gifts to people—he made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to
go and tell the Good News, and some to have the work of caring for and teaching
God’s people. 12Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work
of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger. 13This work must continue until
we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge of the Son
of God. We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like
Christ and have his perfection.

14Then we will no longer be babies. We will not be tossed about like a ship
that the waves carry one way and then another. We will not be influenced by
every new teaching we hear from people who are trying to fool us. They make
plans and try any kind of trick to fool people into following the wrong path.
15No! Speaking the truth with love, we will grow up in every way into Christ,
who is the head. 16The whole body depends on Christ, and all the parts of the
body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the
whole body grow and be strong with love.

The Way You Should Live

17In the Lord’s name, I tell you this. Do not continue living like those who do
not believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. 18They do not understand, and they
know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God
gives. 19They have lost all feeling of shame, and they use their lives for doing
evil. They continually want to do all kinds of evil. 20But what you learned in
Christ was not like this. 21I know that you heard about him, and you are in him,
so you were taught the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught to leave your old
self—to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse,
because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. 23But you were
taught to be made new in your hearts, 24to become a new person. That new
person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy.

25So you must stop telling lies. Tell each other the truth, because we all
belong to each other in the same body. 26When you are angry, do not sin, and be
sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. 27Do not give the devil a way
to defeat you. 28Those who are stealing must stop stealing and start working.
They should earn an honest living for themselves. Then they will have something
to share with those who are poor.

29When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—
words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to
those who listen to you. 30And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is
God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God
will make you free when the final day comes. 31Do not be bitter or angry or mad.
Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. 32Be
kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in

The Holy Bible, New Century Version


Paul labored to bring unity between Gentiles and Jews. He urgently defended the need for a unified and God-honoring lifestyle.


Attitudes of humility, gentleness, and patience should characterize Christians. We are told to accept each other in love.


Let's take inventory of our hearts. Am I living in the overflow of God's love? How well do I love the people in my life? Does the way I treat people reflect the way God has treated me?

Loving people isn't always easy. In fact, this book has been a challenging one for some of you. You've been forced to think again about some of the people in your life whom you find hard to love. This is serious business. It's not easy to love those who have been the source of heartache. abuse, rejection, or loneliness. Some of you wonder how you could ever love the people who have caused you such pain. So what can you do?

Conventional wisdom says that a lack of love implies a lack of effort, so we try harder, dig deeper, strain more.

But could a lack of love imply something else? Could we be skipping a step? An essential step? Could it be that we are trying to give what we don't have? Are we forgetting to receive first?

The woman in Capernaum didn't forget. [Read Luke 7:36-50.] Remember how she lavished love on Christ? Bathing his feet with tears. Drying his feet with her hair. If love were a waterfall, she'd be a Niagara.

And Simon, well, Simon was a Sahara. Dry. Parched. Hard. His arid heart surprises us. He was the churchgoer, the pastor, the seminarian. She, on the other hand, was the town slut. He'd forgotten more Bible than she ever knew. But she'd discovered one truth Simon had somehow missed: God's love has no limits.

God's love meets the standard of our final passage. “Love," Paul says, "never fails"

(1 Corinthians 13:8, NIV).

How could God have a love like this? No one has unfailing love. No person can love with perfection. You're right, No person can. But God is not a person. Unlike our love, his never fails. His love is immensely different from ours. (From A Love Worth Saving by Max Lucado)


Is your attitude toward other believers marked by love, humility, patience, and gentleness? Paul encouraged us to display unity in the body of Christ and accept one another in love. If you're not doing that, check your attitudes. Your spiritual gifts and talents should help bring the body of Christ together.


Unity - John 7:11, 20-23; Romans 12:9-21; Philippians 2:1-2.

No comments: