Living In Unity In The Body Of Christ - Ephesians 4: 17-32

LIVING IN UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST - Ephesians 4: 17-32
By Lay Pastor Jusak Pundiono
Johor, Sunday, September 2, 2018


Shalom,
The desire of an oppressed nation for freedom urges the people to unite themselves and fight against the colonists to get their freedom. But following their freedom, they need to stay alert for the weakening of their unity. This problem typically happens to a newly liberated nation. Everyone tends to satisfy his buried desires during the oppression period so that he forgets the spirit and the goal of his struggle for freedom.
Excessive and anomalous desire overpowers unbelievers who do not have the truth of Christ and end up with new problems. Please note that uncontrolled freedom is no longer true freedom. Rather, it is wild freedom, opposing the bond which unites us to grow by caring for each other in love.
Jesus Christ has set us free from the oppression of sin so that we can grow in all aspects into Him who is the Head. From Him the whole body is neatly joined together by means of ministries respectively according to each member’s work (Ephesians 4: 15-16).
The Apostle Paul asserts that we should not go back to the condition when we had not known God yet. Hence, our mindsets need to be renewed. We no longer think of futile things, not related to God’s plan in Jesus Christ. Living with pointless thoughts contributes nothing to Him and our future as well. However, we cannot renew our minds in our own strength. We need the power of the Holy Spirit who empowers us to change our minds according to the standards in Christ. The renewal of mind is absolutely needed in order to unite fellow members in actualizing His plan. Thus, let there be no stubbornness in rejecting advice and warnings from the Word of God which remind us to be readily sanctified. That way, we can get rid of our bad characters and eventually have access to unity in a holy fellowship. The changed mind will get us to understand the importance of unity in a fellowship with God’s light. On the contrary, stubbornness will always evoke stupidity affecting our lifestyles. Therefore, we need to stop being stubborn. If we don’t, it will then be a disadvantageous obstacle for us to see God’s works in forming His church. In the end, we will miss the chance to get into the construction of the body of Christ.
Someone who is not involved in God’s plan tends to nourish uncontrollable desires. This makes him give in to practicing greed and various impurities heading towards out-of-line lifestyles. This can lead him to all kinds of dangerous desires beyond control which have the potential to ruin the future. For instance, the unbelievers tend to lead an unnatural life and do weird things, such as: earning a living driven by greed and dishonesty; enjoying God’s care with insatiable appetite; practicing free sexual
deviation; blindly picking a life partner whether a man or a woman, old or young, satisfying their vile lust without restraint. These sorts of way of life ruin human civilization and wreck the next generation.
What is the Apostle Paul’s advice regarding fighting against the character and attitude of the old man that can harm God’s plan? Ephesians 4: 20-24 says, “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
Learning to know Christ is the only way to maintain the renewal of life by always undergoing the transforming process in holiness in order to live in fellowship with God.
What are the signs of the renewal by Christ?
 It starts out with the renewal of mind and feelings in order to be able to determine the right attitudes and actions, to be honest by staying away from lies, dismissing any suspicion, and to refrain from anger that potentially triggers ongoing hatred and grudge evoking sins. With the mind enlightened by the Holy Spirit and sensitive feelings, we will be able to ward off the devil that keeps trying to tempt us in many ways.
 We are no longer controlled by the desire driving us to commit theft. Instead, we are overwhelmed with enthusiasm for working hard and sharing our blessings with the needy.
 No bad words come out from our mouths. Rather, our speech brings encouragement and grace to those listening to us. Such a speech is of great benefit to unity.
 We no longer grieve the Holy Spirit who sealed us toward the salvation day. The Holy Spirit also gives us understanding and guides all our actions with an eye to unity.
 We put away all bitterness, fury, rage, quarrel, slander, and all evils.
 We maintain a holy fellowship in the bond of love, being kind to each other, being loving and forgiving each other as God has forgiven us in Christ.
The purpose of turning away from old ways and turning to the new life by the power of Christ is to unite every member in the bond of God’s love. In this unity, every single gift of each member is very useful for serving each other to prevent any attitude from causing break-ups. In so doing, the body of Christ will take shape and be ready to accept Christ as Head and Heavenly Bridegroom. Amen.


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