Unity

May this excerpt from Paul Stevens, Liberating the Laity (InterVarsity Press, 1984), be true of us and The Table!

“What is remarkable when we explore the unity in the church is the fact that it exists not in spite of diversity, but because of it. Ephesians 4:1-16 moves thematically from one calling (4:1) to the many expressions of grace (4:7) and many gifts for ministry (4:11), and then ties all these together to the one common goal of maturity in Christ (4:13)…

“Every member of the body is indispensable. Only as each part does its work (4:16) can the body grow and attain its goal of maturity and unity in Christ. To this end, grace has been given to each one of us (4:7). Each of us becomes a minister of that particular grace which we have been given for the sake of the church…

“In a church that recognizes that every member is given grace from Christ, every member will be prized, every ministry will be appreciated, every differing experience of the grace of Christ will be treasured. Such an environment will communicate ‘we need you!’”

 

Ephesians 4:1-16:

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, and one God and Father, who is over all and 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. 10 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. 11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 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. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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