Monday Morning: 05 Aug 2019 – Ephesians 4:1-16 ~ Stay united in the Spirit.

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for the Renewal of Life – Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Ephesians 4:1-16 (NLT)

Unity in the Body

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.

However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say,

“When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.”

Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
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Morning Reflection:

Stay united in the Spirit.

Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit,
binding yourselves together with peace.
– Ephesians 4:3 –

Keeping a church together and moving in the same direction is like herding cats. It’s not a human enterprise; it requires an extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit. But that’s just what it takes for a church to be healthy, growing, and full of love.

Paul writes: “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” It’s not that we create unity or harmony in the church, rather it’s about living into the unity that God has already established in Christ – i.e. lead a life worthy of God’s calling to be one body with Christ at the head. What does that involve?

+ humility and gentleness – seeing ourselves in the mirror of God’s grace, self-restraint
+ patience and forbearance – endurance, even when wronged
+ love and peace – staying together for the good of the whole church

Christians must preserve the unity between believers that God has created in the church. Paul viewed peace as what keeps potential factions together. He had in mind peace between all kinds of diverse groups in the church, the most basic being Jews and Gentiles. And what is the foundational basis of our unity?

+ one body and one Spirit
+ one glorious hope for the future
+ one Lord, one faith, one baptism
+  one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.

Nevertheless, “idle hands are the devil’s tools.” So God has given each one of us something to do in the church – a way for each one of us to contribute to the good of the whole, to build up the body, to contribute to the health and growth of the body. And this, again, is the work of the Holy Spirit. And where are we headed together – what’s our destination?

Maturity: we will be “growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”

Questions for consideration:

  • humility and gentleness – How do you see yourself in the mirror of God’s mercy and grace? Please explain.
  • patience and forbearance – Has another believer wronged you? How have you responded? Please explain.
  • love and peace – How can you love believers that you don’t particularly like? What would it take to be a peacemaker in your church? Please explain.
  • Are you involved in a church ministry? What part do you play? How does it build up the church? How does it help you become more Christ-like? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: – For the Unity of All Christian People

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace to take to heart the grave dangers we are in through our many divisions. Deliver your Church from all enmity and prejudice, and everything that hinders us from godly union. As there is one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so make us all to be of one heart and of one mind, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and love, that with one voice we may give you praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God in everlasting glory. Amen.

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“Make Us one” – Jesus Culture

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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