Sunday School Material 12-16-12: Part of One Body In Christ

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God wants His church to be known for strong and loving work. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on being strong, loving, and working members/parts of the body of Christ.

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Body:

Read Ephesians 6:1-6

I. Called to Unity. Paul refers to himself as a prisoner of the Lord in this section of our Sunday School material. As such, he urges his readers to walk worthy of their calling.

Humility and love are important. He calls on them to live in unity as members of the same body.


Applications –

- Prisoner of the Lord. Notice in vs. 1 of our Sunday School material that Paul refers to himself as a prisoner for the Lord. First, serving the Lord doesn’t exempt us from rough times.

Paul suffered tremendous pain, both physically and mentally, because of his commitment to Christ.In like manner, we should expect there to be some bumps and bruises and imprisonments along our spiritual journey.

Second, thank God that serving the Lord and suffering for Him will pay off. The more we suffer for the Lord, the more we can expect to be blessed at the end of our journey; and we are often blessed along our journey as well.

Third, there is a great need to develop a faith that is strong enough to help us get through prison like situations. Prayerful study and obedience with the support of other believers are essential.

Let’s work on developing the faith needed to get through prison situations for the Lord.

- Walking worthy of our calling. Notice in vs. 1 of our Sunday School material the urging to walk worthy of the calling. First, every believer is called to live a holy life – a life that is set aside for the Lord’s usage.

At the core of the Lord’s usage are the issues of loving Him with all that we have and loving others, as we love ourselves.

Second, as church leaders, we have all of the expectations that any other believer would have and the expectation that we would go even higher in our discipleship.

To be clear, if every member of the church is expected to study, serve, and give then surely those in leadership ought to be the first to class and teach class. They ought to be the first in service. They surely ought to be the first in giving.

Third, it seems that sometimes we forget that Christian living and church ministry are callings, not simply volunteer activities. We ought to do what we do because we believe God called us to do it.

Let’s work on living up to the expectations of the roles that God has called us to play.

- Humble love and unity. Notice in vss. 2-6 that humble love for the sake of unity is of foundational importance.

No matter how old, smart, and financial well off you may be, and no matter what office you hold and how long you have been in church, you have a duty to humbly love the rest of the people in the church for the sake of unity.

It is embarrassing to see how fragmented our churches can be. If a body was a fragmented as many of our churches, it could never walk up a flight of stairs, let alone fight off an enemy.

Let’s work on humble love and unity in our churches. Church is not supposed to be a place where the longer we hang around the more entitled we become to people yielding to our desires.

When this becomes the case in our churches, it is a grave embarrassment to our Lord.

Read Ephesians 4:7-16

II. Called to Service. In our Sunday School material Paul talks about Christ sending gifted people to the church as gifts. Among the gifts are Pastor/teachers. They are to help the people grow up and function as one body of Christ.


Applications

- Using our gifts and appreciating the gift of others. Notice in vss. 7-11 that Christ has given gifted people as gifts to His churches.

First, being able to give godly leadership and nurture are gifts from God. We may become more polished after formal education, but without the God given gift, very little will be accomplished.

Second, the gifted people are given to the church as gifts. In other words, the gifted Pastor is a gift to the church. The gifted singers, youth workers, media technicians, and others are also gifts to the church.

On one side, the gifted people should not be arrogant about having gifts, because after all they are gifts, not something we earned or deserve to have.

On the other side, the church should be appreciative of the gifted people that have been given as gifts to the church. Too often, we don’t miss or appreciate our water, until the well runs dry.

Let’s work on using our gifts for the betterment of the church and appreciating those who have been given to the church.

- Three types of oneness. Notice in vss. 11-13 of our Sunday School material that the Pastor and other gifted people are given to the church for the sake of edifying the body of Christ – helping people grow up in the Lord.

There is to be a great focus on helping all of the members of the body have a oneness of faith, knowledge, and maturity. Our faith should be in Jesus paying it all. Our oneness of knowledge should be the product of teaching and learning the same material.

And then our oneness of maturity should be demonstrated by our loving one another enough to work with one another as we evangelize and edify God’s way.

Let’s work on cooperating with God’s agenda for His church – oneness of faith, knowledge, and maturity.

- Doing your part in the body. Notice in vss. 14-16 of our Sunday School material that the body of Christ is to be known for being strong in the Lord, which includes speaking the truth in love and working together, not childish instability.

Whenever the church is unaligned with God’s word, it is childish at best. God’s desire is that we grow up to be those who live by His word. This growth requires our speaking the truth to one another, in love.

We don’t have time to develop this point, but let me at least say that speaking the truth and speaking in love are probably equally important. Love without truth is often harmful flattery or enablement. Truth without love is almost abusive.

Notice further that God desires His church to be like a body known for each part doing its part. Let’s work on being a strong, loving, and working church – by being strong, loving, working members/parts of the body.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being strong, loving, and working members/parts of the body of Christ. God has much for those who obey His will.

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