We continue our series entitled Living Life from a Heavenly Edge. As we progress to march through the phenomenal book of Ephesians, we have been focused on Harmony, Unity & Diversity. So far, we have learned the ground of our unity. The Apostle Paul articulated the seven pillars of our Christianity.
We now move from the ground of our unity to:
The Glory of Our Diversity
Did you know that God made us one and God made us different all at the same time? Look now in verse 7; (Ephesians 4:7) “But…” Do you see the word but? He’s changing direction. He’s been talking about our sameness, doctrinally, but then he, in contradistinction, uses the word but. “But unto every one of us is given grace….” The Greek word for grace is “charis”, from which we get “charismatic.” “Unto every one of us is given charisma, according to the measure of the gift of Christ.”
These are spiritual gifts. God made us different in the church. Not only do we have our unity; we have our diversity. I told you ahead of time that this is not to be a congregation of clones. What we have is unity in diversity.
I’m not talking about diversity about doctrine. Romans 16:17 states: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” No, there is not room for every kind of belief, but there is room for people who have different gifts.
God gave us different gifts that He might make us one. And you have a grace gift. “Unto every one of us,” the Scripture says here, “is given grace, charisma…” God gave you a gift to serve Him.
My heart would be overwhelmed if every member of the Church were to discover, develop, and deploy his/her gift. A spiritual gift is not for your ecstasy. It’s not a toy; it’s a tool. Each of us have a spiritual gift.
Sameness is not unity. As a matter of fact, unity comes from diversity. My wife, Sheri, and I are quite different. Yet, it is the difference that makes us have unity.
One of the modern difficulties in the Church is we have different tastes. Our different tastes are often shown in the styles of Gospel music we like to sing and praise our Lord. Some like old music and some like new. Some like fast music and others like slow.
We may be divided over tastes but must not be divided over foundational doctrines. I hear people say, ‘Well, this is my style of music. That is my style of music.” Friend, forget that stuff! We’re here to glorify the Lord Jesus.
There is a glory in our diversity. We are to celebrate our diversity. We are also to conserve our diversity. We don’t all have to sing in unison.
We have learned the ground of our unity and the glory of our diversity. Yet, we need to comprehend:
The Goal of Our Maturity
In Ephesians 4:13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man [the word “perfect” means “mature”], unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
Peace comes with unity, diversity, and maturity. Little children squabble and fuss; mature adults learn how to get along with one another. Bickering comes from immaturity, and may God preserve the Church from bickering. We’re to be mature in stature. Look in verse 13: “….unto the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
We are to be mature in stature. You want to know whether you’re growing up or not? Don’t measure yourself by some other Church leader. Measure yourself by Jesus Christ. The measure of our ministry is not based on the size of buildings, budgets, or our Bible study attendances. The measurement stick is: Are your members or your team becoming more like Jesus Christ?
We’re to be mature in stability. Look in verse 14: “That we be henceforth no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Get your feet on the rock. Paul told the Ephesian church, “I know that after my departure there will come grievous wolves, not sparing the flock…”
False cults do not produce converts nearly so much as they try to siphon off Bible believers who don’t understand. When immature believers are not rooted and grounded in the faith, they’re drawn away into these things. They’re like little sailboats blown this way and blown that way, “…blown about by every wind of doctrine.”
As I have said earlier, we must get a bulldog grip on the truth. College students need to get a grip on the truth, these seven basic principles highlighted by Paul. Now, you can be different in a lot of things, but when you grow up, when you mature, you’re going to be mature in stature; you’re going to be mature in stability.
Furthermore, we are going be mature in speech. Look in verse 15: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up…” Speaking the truth in love. We’re not to speak truth less love or loveless truth. We’re to speak the truth. Speak the truth, but in love. Truth without love is brutality. Love without truth is hypocrisy.
The Bible is a wonderful sword; it’s a poor club. We are not to be a Bible bully, argumentative over the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. We are never to jettison the truth, but we speak the truth in love. We’re mature in stature, mature in stability, mature in speech.
We are also mature in service. Look in verse 16. He says, “For whom, for whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
What is Paul teaching? Each part, in his own special way, helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing, full of love. He speaks here of the joints. What makes my arm operate like this? There’s a joint there. The Greek word for joint is the word “hamos”, from which we get our word “harmony”. He’s saying that the body is to be flexible and is to work together. The body is to be coordinated. Each of us have a role in God’s goal and a part in God’s heart.