Introduction: Is unity in the church an easy thing? You
might look around at all the denominations and answer that
unity is obviously hard. What about unity in a marriage? I
frequently hear couples say “marriage is work.” It is not
easy. Single people point to these common statements about
the challenges of marriage to argue that they are better off
being single. Are Christian marriages easier? Are all of
these denominations consistent with church unity? What does
the Bible’s discussion of unity teach us about our local
church, the world church, and practical living? Let’s jump
into our study of the Bible and learn more!

I. The Cost

A. Read Ephesians 4:1-2. Paul started Ephesians 3
with the statement that he is a prisoner. We
studied his explanation for why readers should pay
attention to a prisoner. Paul repeats in chapter 4
that he is a prisoner. Why do you think he repeats
something that he previously thought he needed to
explain? (Paul has a different point here. He is
explaining why unity comes at a cost.)

1. Generally, we think of prisoners as people who
have made a serious mistake and are not
examples to be followed. Why does Paul tell
his readers to “walk in a manner worthy of the
calling?” (If you are presented with a
challenge, someone might tell you “be worthy
of the challenge.”)

B. Look again at Ephesians 4:2. Do you find anything
challenging here? (Who thinks that humility,
gentleness, and patience are easy? These are all

1. Can you see why Paul draws a parallel between
being a prisoner and his instruction to “walk”
in humility, gentleness, and patience?

C. Read Ephesians 4:3. What clue does Paul give us
about how we can move forward with this difficult
task? (The Holy Spirit enables us to have unity.
Jesus already made peace between the Jews and
Gentiles. The Holy Spirit aids us in the
essentials of unity: humility, gentleness,
patience, and love.)

II. Examples

A. Read Ephesians 4:4. What is the “one body,” and
the “one Spirit?” (The body is the church and the
Spirit is the Holy Spirit.)

1. What is the “one hope?” (Eternal life.)

2. Why does Paul give us these three “ones?” (We
should look at these three as foundational to
our faith. Our foundation is unity.)

B. Read Ephesians 4:5-6. We now have four more
“ones.” Do we really have “one faith,” and “one
baptism?” (Paul takes for granted that there is
only “one faith” and that is in Jesus.)

1. Read Romans 6:3-5. What is Paul’s “one
baptism?” (Paul believes in baptism by
immersion. He writes of being “buried” in
baptism. In this way we participate in the
death and resurrection of our Lord.)

2. Who is our “One Lord?” (Paul is referring to
Jesus. See John 14:6. We come to the Father in
Heaven only through Jesus. One Lord, one

C. Look again at Ephesians 4:6. Paul writes “one God
and Father of all.” What does this say about the
doctrine of the Trinity – three Gods in one?

D. Read 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 where we find Paul
further explaining his view of God the Father and
Jesus. How would you explain Paul’s view? (Notice
that 1 Corinthians 8:4 says “there is no God but
one.” Read Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Mark 12:29. This
is called the “Shema,” the Old Testament
declaration that there is only one God. Jesus
endorses this in Mark 12. But note that Paul not
only calls Jesus, “Lord” in 1 Corinthians 8:6, He
attributes to Jesus the creation and continued
existence of “all things.” Only God could do that,
which reinforces the Trinitarian belief, a belief
in unity.)

E. After thinking about these examples of unity, have
Christians completely lost sight of this goal due
to all of our denominations? (The best way to look
at this is to say that various denominations have
various points of emphasis. For example, we
discussed “one baptism.” Baptists have a focus on
this. The Salvation Army has a focus on service.
The Seventh-day Adventists have a focus on the
Sabbath and prophecy. All of these are helpful in
moving the work of God forward.)

III. Practical Unity

A. Read Ephesians 4:7. Why would Paul write of God’s
grace to us in the middle of a discussion about
unity? (This is the answer to how this difficult
task is accomplished. Jesus empowers us to live in
unity in our church and in our marriage. This
grace is a gift.)

1. Is this grace different than the gift of the
Holy Spirit that we discussed previously?

B. Read Ephesians 4:8 and Psalms 68:18. Paul is
roughly quoting this verse in Psalms. One
commentator said that he was quoting a very old
translation. What do you picture in your mind when
you read this verse? (Jesus ascending to heaven
after His resurrection. He came as a victor.)

1. What are these “gifts” that Jesus gave to
humans? (Read Acts 2:32-33. The gifts are the
gifts of the Holy Spirit which are given to
us. This ties together the idea of Jesus’
grace to us and the Holy Spirit. Part of the
grace flowing from Jesus’ victory are the
gifts of the Holy Spirit.)

C. Ephesians 4:9-10 is essentially a footnote that
explains that Jesus came to earth and then
returned “above all the heavens.” Read
Ephesians 4:11-12. How do you understand this – is the gift
the organization of the church? Or, is Paul saying
that humans are gifted to fill these positions in
the church? (I think the answer is both. Jesus
gives us the gift of organization and the Holy
Spirit equips those who fill those positions.)

1. What is the logical consequence of this?
Should a teacher not try to be an evangelist
or a shepherd? (In a sense it defeats the
organization. An old irritation of mine is
that a person asked to sing or give a prayer
in church decides to take the opportunity to
give a mini-sermon.)

2. What do you think it means to “equip the
saints for the work of ministry? To make the
members into one of the organizational
categories? (I don’t think that is what it
means. Instead, I think these specialized
roles help the members in general to grow in
their faith and service.)

D. Read Ephesians 4:13. Recall that we started this
lesson talking about unity in the church and in
marriage? How does this organization powered by
the Holy Spirit bring unity in the church?

1. Would that also be true for marriage?

2. Aside from unity, what else do Holy Spirit
organizational gifts bring to the church?
(Maturity. Becoming more like Jesus.)

E. Let’s bring into this discussion another of Paul’s
New Testament books on this subject. Read
1 Corinthians 12:28-31. Are these “stay in your lane
gifts?” (Yes and no. Paul clearly says that not
everyone has the same gift. Yet he also says to
“desire the higher gifts.”)

F. Read Ephesians 4:14. If you have a strong, Spirit-
led leadership team what is the result when it
comes to false doctrine? (It helps to repel
deceitful doctrines. Disputes over doctrines is a
major source of disunity.)

G. Read Ephesians 4:15. Should truth be spoken?
Should we be afraid to speak truth? (The first
point is that truth should be spoken.)

1. How should we speak truth? (In love.)

a. What does that mean? (We want the best
for the person.)

H. Read Matthew 12:34. Is this an example we should
follow? (Context is important. Jesus and the Holy
Spirit have been attacked as being agents of
Satan. The “viper people” are truly evil, and not
those who are struggling with their faith. Note
that this same chapter (Matthew 12:36) says that
we will have to give account for our careless

I. Read Ephesians 4:16. What is the result of a
properly organized, Spirit-lead church? (It works!
It grows up in love. What a great picture of the
kind of church God wants us to become!)

J. Friend, unity is the goal for your church and your
marriage. Will you follow Paul’s advice to have in
place an organization that is guided by the Holy

IV. Next week: Christ-Shaped Lives and Spirit-Inspired

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.