From our worship service on June 27th 2021
but were going to focus on the first half of verse 4 and next week we’ll look at the second half of verse 4.
 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,  with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Geography // Culture // Time
The Roman Empire adopted it as their official religion in 380
By 600 is had spread across all of Europe
By 800 it overtook Russia
Around 1500 it spread across oceans to Japan, Central and South America, and then in to North America
And every member, of every one of those Churches----
Be they massive cathedrals on Mountain Tops
Or secret and hidden Churches in the basement of someone defying their government----
All of them, are member of the same Church as you and I
Jungles tribes without running water, who just a few generations before today, were cannibals and head hunters -----
As well as those whose minds shaped modern society---
All of them, are members of the same Church as you and I
The same Church as my children
And the same Church my grandchildren, when they come, will be a part of
Christians from thousands of years ago----
As well as Christians thousands of years from now----
All of them, and all of us, are members of the same body.
There is ONE Church
“Through our human blood we have inherited hate, anger, prejudice, dislikes, racism and sexism, but through the blood of Christ we have inherited divine and perfect unity”
No divisions ……. Based on Earthly things
(talk about the things that have separated humans for as long as weve been around)
John Chrysostom ---- a Preacher and a Monk from the 300s told this story, when it comes to unity:
“There comes an unbeliever and says, I wish to become a Christian, but I know not whom to join: there is much fighting and faction among you, much confusion: which doctrine am I to choose?” How shall we answer him? Each of you (says he) asserts, ' I speak the truth.' No doubt: this is in our favor. For if we told you to be persuaded by arguments, you might well be perplexed: but if we bid you believe the Scriptures, and these are simple and true, the decision is easy for you. If any agree with the Scriptures, he is the Christian; if any fight against them, he is far from belief.”
We are united in the GOSPEL
If anyone wants to speak contrary to what the Bible says ----- then they are not Christians
What about different denominations within Christianity?
Do they say that Jesus Christ is God?
That His sacrifice was fully and completely sufficient to pay the penalty of someone’s sin?
That nothing else can be added to His sacrifice?
Do they say that only through repentance of our sins and belief in Him is someone saved?
Do they believe that humans can overpower God?
Or inhibit Him in any way?
Is God just a genie in the sky to them who grants their every wish if they pray enough and say enough spiritual words or give enough of their money to the suit-wearing smile on TV?
Or is He the Sovereign Monarch of all reality and does whatever He pleases?
If we care, we need to answer these questions for ourselves-----
Do we spend more time reading the reviews of a product on Amazon so our wallet doesn’t get cheated ----- than we do reading and learning the differences in Doctrine so our soul doesn't get cheated?
There is One Body ---
One Church ---
And there is nothing in all of reality that can stop or slow or inhibit us.
It’s like that, because of the next thing that Saint Paul lists for us here in our Verse this morning----
 There is one body and one Spirit—
There is one body, because there is one Spirit
This ------- is how we are united across time and culture
Across age and race
Across Gender and intellect
When we were in Chapter 2 we read these words in verses 18-19
 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (ESV)
This is what unites us ------
Yes He gave us gifts and strengths---
Yes He gave us His word for us to compare and contrast everything in our life against---
But more than that ----
He gave us Himself
The third person of the Trinity came to Earth and lives within and intertwined with the souls of every single one of His children.
The Christians that hid from Hitler in WW2---
The Christians that stood before lions in a packed coliseum and died to the applause of the pagan audience cheering for their blood---
The Christians who today, in the 21st Century, are being persecuted and imprisoned in Iran and China
Or the Christians here in North America being Fired from their jobs
Ridiculed and mocked
Who are targeted for what they believe
The Pastors who are being imprisoned for holding to what Scripture says
Or Christians under Communism, who met in secret, only to be thrown in the gulag and tortured for years in some dark Commie basement
All of them belong to the same Church as us.
You see, one of the best tricks of the devil is to make us feel like we are all alone----
Theres no one alongside of us
Theres no one else who believes in God
Were all alone // Left alone to fight by ourselves
No one to lean on // No one to call for help
No one who understands what were going through
There were surrounded on all sides by enemies and falling and failing is our only hope because there is no one left to hold us up and help us
This is what the prophet Elijah was feeling in
1 Kings 19:14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
And God responded to Elijah in the next few verses reassuring him that there were still 7000 others who hadnt given in to the false religion that was claiming his countrymen.
Or in Isaiah 1:9 when it says:
“If the Lord had not reserved a remnant, we would have become like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
The people of God, the Church, the true Israel, will always remain.
Regardless of how wicked or dark our culture may become, God preserves a remnant
No matter what evil laws they enact ------- God preserves a remnant
No matter what earthly divisions there are, be they divisions of time or geography or any other Earthy thing ------- we will never be alone in our fight
We are soldiers, in the army of God
Each of us has our assignment
Each of us has our armor
Each of us has our station
And each of us has other soldiers on our left and our right fighting alongside of us every single day
We are never ever ever alone ------- and the Church will always be here
You see, its like that, because our strength doesn't come from our numbers----
Our strength doesn't come from our intellect-----
Our strength doesn't come from how much of the Bible we have memorized----
Our strength doesn't come from anything on this Earth----
Our strength as Christians comes from the reality that the God who MADE us and SAVED us ----- LIVES within us.
This is what Zechariah 4:6 means when it says that it is not by might nor by strength, but by my Spirit
This is not an excuse to ignore the things of the lord----
To ignore study and prayer
To ignore gathering and worshiping together
To ignore determination and grit
Remember the past few weeks weve talked about walking worthy of the manner of our calling
But we can know that once we have done all that we can, our ultimate strength lies in the fact that the God who MADE us and SAVED us ----- LIVES within us
So when life comes your way
When the stress of life builds to the point that you are about to do something stupid
When hurt and pain and sorrow are the ocean you have been treading water in
When confusion and hurt is forced on to
When you yourself do something stupid
When the wicked ways of this world surround you on all sides and you cant seem to see a way of escape----
Know, in the very center of your being, that it is not by might nor by strength that you will persist ---------- but it is by the Spirit of God
Call upon Him and be saved
Reach out to the one who Made you and He will hear your prayers
Repent of your sins and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and He will forgive you of all of your sins ------ no matter how dark or deep they may be ------
He will accept the wrath of His Father on your behalf---
He will clean you
Breath fresh air into your lungs
Make you new
Set you on solid ground
And place you among the ranks of His Children, to stand side by side with them, growing and learning with them,
There aren't over 2 billion Christians on the planet today, because we have pretty Churches and charismatic speakers ----
But because of God Himself.
He lives within His Children----
All of them----
From the first to the last----
Uniting all of us----
Not in our race
Not in our language
We are not united in the fact that we all live in the same geographic area
Or we all have the same hobbies and interests
We are not united because we all have the same personality and same likes and dislikes
We are united across every earthly division and barrier because the God who brought the Solar System into existence with nothing but His voice -------
Chooses to intertwine Himself with the souls of His Children.
His spirit moves through our thoughts
Moves thought our childhoods
Moves though our futures
Moves through the numerous and complicated pathways of thought that our brains form around anything and everything
He is here, now, resting in the depths of your soul
Building connections within your mind
Healing scars within your hearts
The Holy Spirit is God, and it is because of Him that we are united.
 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
There is one hope that belongs to our call
Which we will get into next week-----
In closing ----- do you want to be united with other Christians?
Do you take tiny differences in Doctrine ---- and blow them out of proportion?
Do you think that the differences here and now, in this world, should separate you from someone else for whom Christ died?
Do we look down at Christians whose faith isn't as strong as our own?
Who fail and fall under trials that we ourselves think aren't that bad?
Do we study the Scriptures as if the very truth about why you exist is contained within its pages? ------
Do we understand that the Christians throughout the world and through time------ are in the very same Church as us?
The Jungle tribes that have killed countless missionaries, only to succumb to the power of God ------ are the part of the same Church as you and I
The illiterate fishermen from the first century
The world famous physicist who discovered gravity
The world famous painters and composers
The unknown homeless family, living on the streets of a city that doesn't know them
The ex drug addict, whose simple appearance causes other christians to be uncomfortable ------ is indwelt by the same Spirit as you and I
The reformed prostitute----
The ex stripper---- The reformed pedophile
The former racist---- The former Drug dealer
The man who used to beat his wife but can’t seem to ever clean the blood from his hands no matter how much he regrets his past----
All of us are the same-----
Sinners saved by grace, indwelt by the God who saves us ----- and all of us are members of the largest religion on the planet ----
The one true Church of the One true God.