August 17, 2017

Ephesians 4:4-6: One Faith

By David J. Halter

I. Introduction:

A. The Unity of the Church.

1. Paul encourages the church at Ephesus to stand as one in the teachings of the Spirit.

2. The church is composed of all races, Jews and Gentiles; the need for unity then is great.

3. Unity and harmony are only possible through Christ.

4. This is what Jesus prayed for (Jn. 17:20-23).

B. The Context of Ephesians 4.

1. Seven ones are here enumerated.

2. The number seven in the Bible often represented completeness or perfection:

a. Seven churches in Asia (Rev. 1-3).

b. The march around Jericho (Josh. 6:4,8,13).

c. Naaman's dipping in the Jordan (2 Kgs. 5:1-14).

d. Seven seals in the book of Revelation (Rev. 5:1).

3. Here Paul deals with the growth and development of the church (Eph. 4:12,13).

II. Discussion

A. How Many Faiths?

1. Ever read the obituary page where the paper said:

a. He was of the Baptist faith.

b. He was of the Methodist faith, etc.

2. Ever hear people say: "What's your faith?"

3. There are just as many faiths as there are Spirits.

4. There are just as many faiths as there are bodies.

5. There are just as many faiths as there are hopes.

6. There are just as many faiths as there are Lords.

7. There are just as many faiths as there are Gods.

8. How many gospels are there (Phil. 1:27; Rom. 1:16)?

a. There are many man-made gospels (Gal. 1:6-9).

b. But there is only one gospel of Christ.

B. Use of Faith In the New Testament:

1. By what is a man justified (Gal. 2:16)?

a. Is this the personal faith of Jesus Christ?

b. No. The plan of salvation in/by/through Christ (Rom. 1:17; Phil. 3:9).

2. There is the common salvation (Jude 3).

a. How is it common? The same plan offered to all (Tit. 1:4).

b. Once delivered - it is the New Testament (Acts 6:7).

3. How many faiths did Paul preach or make havoc of (Gal. 1:23)?

4. Churches were established in the faith (Acts 16:5).

a. Grounded and settled (Col. 1:23).

b. Built up in it (Jude 20).

c. Stand fast in it (1 Cor. 16:13; Col. 2:7).

d. By the truth, in accordance with truth.

5. The faith was something you could/can depart from (1 Tim. 4:1).

a. Deny it (1 Tim. 5:8).

b. Err from it (1 Tim. 6: 10).

c. Erred concerning it (1 Tim. 6:21).

d. If there is more than one, then I contend that departing from it will be difficult because departing from one will not necessarily be departing from another!

C. Where Can We Find the One Faith?

1. Our basis (foundation) of oneness is objective, not subjective.

a. By objective I mean that it is not just in our mind, it is real and can be determined what it is.

b. By subjective, I mean that it just exists in the mind and is subject to change as we change our minds.

2. The "grounds," substance and truth on which saving faith rests, are one and only one.

3. The answer is obviously in the one body: the church (Eph. 1:22,23).

4. The oneness is more than just simply mental as sent; it is one regardless of what I perceive in my mind.

D. Why So Much Confusion?

1. Men even in Christ's lifetime were divided over who Christ was (Matt. 16:13-16).

a. Men's opinions differed based subjectively on what they thought in their mind: John, Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the other prophets.

b. The apostles, however, had an objective view of Christ, he had taught them (Acts 8:37).

2. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that man does not have an immortal soul (The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, p. 37); however the Bible teaches otherwise (Eccl. 3:21).

3. Baptists believe that baptism is immersion (What Baptists Believe & Why They Believe It, p. 25); however, Methodists say sprinkling is okay (Major United Methodist Beliefs, p. 118).

4. Presbyterians believe in the existence of hell (Presbyterians, Their History& Beliefs, p. 116); however, Jehovah's Witnesses do not (The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, pp. 41,43).

5. Mormons accept baptism as a requirement for salvation for the remissions of sins (The Plan of Salvation, Articles of Faith, back cover #4); but Baptists teach that baptism is for those already saved (What Baptists Believe and Why They Believe It, p. 33).

6. Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God practices/keeps the Sabbath (Where Is The True Church, p. 21); but I believe Sunday is our day of worship (Acts 20:7).

7. Is it any wonder why people are confused about religion? And we expect them often to be able to see the Bible as it ought to be seen (2 Tim. 2:15).

Conclusion

1. The faith is something we must keep ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5).

2. If anyone was not in Noah's ark during the flood, what do you suppose happened to them?

3. The faith is something we should live by (Gal. 2:20).

4. Paul had kept it, and expected a reward for doing so (2 Tim. 4:7,8).

5. Friends, if you are not in it, get in it and if you are in it, stay in it (2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 2:16)!

Guardian of Truth XXXIV; 9, pp. 277, 280
May 3, 1990

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