UNITED TO BUILD UNITY
By Lay Pastor Jusak Pundiono
Lemah Putro, Sunday, September 2, 2018
The recent Asian Games 2018 featured something phenomenal as North Korea and South Korea participated in the multi-sport event as a unified team. In the past, such a unification was out of the question. How about us? We have conducted Revival Meetings with the theme on One Spirit in One Tabernacle. Many servants of God from interdenominational churches showed up, becoming one and dining at the same table, etc.
Nothing is impossible with God. The problem is: Are we aware of our callings? Never doubt that God can use us to serve Him and manifest His glory to other nations in spite of our pasts and backgrounds. Let’s stay faithful to our callings for the sake of the unity in the body of Christ. Through the unity in the body of Christ, those who do not know the Triune God (yet) may believe in Him and believe that Jesus was sent by the Father to be the Savior of the world.
What did the Apostle Paul write in his letter in regard to unity? Ephesians 4: 1-32 comprises two major parts: A. The foundations of unity (vv. 1-16)
B. Living in unity (vv. 17-32)
Verses 1 and 17 include the word “Therefore,” indicating the the relationship between one and the other.
The foundation and the structure are real to testify. The Letter to the Ephesians refers to the Table of Showbread on which there were two rows of loaves, six in a row (Levicticus 24: 6) prepared by all tribes of Israel. When the Israelites saw the twelve loaves of showbread, no one could point out which loaf was made by their tribe. The showbread became one, placed on one table and offered before the Triune God (the one God, the one Christ and the one Holy Spirit) who has saved mankind from death because of sins.
What are the foundations of unity?
Living in a manner worthy of the calling with all humility, meekness, patience and showing love in helping one another (Ephesians 4: 1-2). This can happen if we actively get involved in the ministry, meeting many people with different kinds of characters. This activity provides us with training and practice of emotional control so that we will not quickly get offended when partnering with others in the ministry.
Do we minister in a manner worthy of the gift God has given us with the idea of staying focused on our ministry and keeping on growing? Do not keep chasing for titles and piling up riches until you get sickly and burned out. Then you realize that you have not done anything for the Lord. As for the Lord, victory is for those who are called, chosen and faithful (Revelation 17: 14).
One in the calling (Ephesians 4: 3-6)
Everyone has a calling but must strive for unity. In order to unite, every congregant must understand the seven “ones” (one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God). The seven “ones” must be complete. None of them must be missing.
To study the doctrine/teaching on the seven “ones” above, we should have an in-depth understanding of the Bible, read books on doctrines or attend classes of the graduate programs as listeners at the STTIA (Indonesian Tabernacle College of Theology). These will help us to confront false teachings.
In the days to come, our activites in God’s ministry that leads to eternity should vastly outnumber our activities in the world.
The grace of Christ for unity (vv. 7-10)
Every believer who believes that Christ died and rose from the dead has received a gift without question by way of formal or non-formal education, a course, a training or at work where they develop their potentials. Keep in mind that all this expertise is part of the equipment for the unity in the body of Christ.
Never forget that all we have received are His gifts for the sake of unity. The death and resurrection of Christ set us free from the devil’s grip. Following that, material as well as spiritual blessings are granted to us in proportion to our capacities so as to magnify the unity of His body instead of our careers or businesses and self-esteem.
Your past or “unability” should be no excuse for staying away from God’s ministry. Such an attitude means degrading the blood of Christ at the point when you take the Lord’s Supper. Hasn’t God received us as we were despite our conditions? Hasn’t His sacrifice blotted out our sinful pasts? Do we have the grace to shy away from the ministry and downgrade His grace for the sake of unity?
Full maturity like Christ’s (vv. 1-16)
Christ has given 5 offices or functions to mature every congregant to be a member of Christ’s body. One of the functions is teachers who thoroughly understand the seven “ones” to equip the congregation through trainings, workshops, seminars and counselings. In this way, the movements of the ministry will not step away from the unity in the body of Christ, but rather stay directed to Christ as the Head and, at the same time, the Heavenly Bridegroom while we are His Bride.
It is worth noting that church members do not automatically become members of Christ’s body unless they are ready to spiritually grow mature so that they can withstand the winds of false teaching. Stay alert because if you evade the reprimanding Word of God’s (but prefer the message of prosperity), you will, sooner or later, get tossed around by false teaching. This teaching works underground to offer the teaching for sale either from house to house or from person to person. Therefore, parents should stand ready all the time to protect their children against false teaching.
Every church member undergoes a test to find out if they have a neatly-knit relationship with other members. That’s why every church member needs to live in true love in place of love
centered on their own group, ethnic group, family and the like. They should be bound to each other by the ministries in the church. Love should be the peak of the ongoing growth from the right faith which comes from hearing the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17) instead of miracle-oriented faith.
The foundations of unity and living in unity resemble the two inseperable sides of a coin. How do we live in unity?
We do not turn back to the old lifestyles (Ephesians 4: 17-19).
We must not go back the old ways totally in contrast to godly lifestyles. For that reason, we must be able to progressively understand who God is. As a result, we will know who He is instead of blindly following Him. Besides, we can intelectually understand the factual God, not a God in fantasy. Further, we will be sensitive to anything that is not right and live a life completely different from the former way of life.
We live as new men (vv. 20-24).
Our lives are changed to be perfected. How awesome our achievement will be if we can testify through our lives wherever we are. People around us can clearly see the changes or differences between our former and present conducts. Please take a look: Across the Showbread Table stands the Golden Lampstand with seven burning lamps that shine on the Showbread Table right in front of it.
We put away our old ways (vv. 25-29).
We scrutinize and evaluate our old ways. Do we still practice them? In reality, the more we learn about Jesus, the more naturally we put the old ways to an end.
Why is the LGBT movement spreading rapidly to a large number of countries as if the tragedy of Sodom and Gomorrah were repeating itself. The trait of Sodom and Gomorrah infiltrates Christianity when Christians do not know God who created man according to His image (Romans 1: 21-27).
We do not grieve the Holy Spirit (vv. 30-32).
Through Christ God sealed us with the Holy Spirit when we heard the Word of truth, namely, the Gospel of salvation and faith (Ephesians 1: 13). In order not to grieve the Holy Spirit, we must do away with bitterness, wrath, anger, slander and the like. On the contrary, we must be friendly, loving and forgiving as God has forgiven us in Christ.
God chose us before the creation of the world so that we may live a holy life before God. When we fell into sin, He forgave us through the sacrifice of Christ. Let’s serve Him in proportion to His gifts. With the Word of God as our mirror, we can get our conducts renewed from day to day. Aside from that, the Holy Spirit in us guides and brings us to our senses so that we may grow in maturity into Christ who is the Head. In spite of the existing church denominations, we are all one before God. There is no other church name as we have united as the Bride of Christ to live together with Him in the New Jerusalem forever and ever. Amen.