‘Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ Ephesians 4:3
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 15:1–13
Let us cultivate everything that would tend to unity. Are any sick? Let us care for them. Are any suffering? Let us weep with them. Do we know one who has less love than others? Let us have more, so as to make up the deficiency. Do we perceive faults in a brother? Let us admonish him in love and affection. I pray you be peacemakers, everyone. Let us remember that we cannot keep the unity of the Spirit unless we all believe the truth of God. Let us search our Bibles, therefore, and conform our views and sentiments to the teaching of God’s Word. Unity in error is unity in ruin. We want unity in the truth of God through the Spirit of God. This let us seek after; let us live near to Christ, for this is the best way of promoting unity. Divisions in churches never begin with those full of love to the Saviour. Cold hearts, unholy lives, inconsistent actions, neglected closets; these are the seeds which sow schisms in the body; but he who lives near to Jesus, wears his likeness and copies his example, will be, wherever he goes, a sacred bond, a holy link to bind the church more closely than ever together. May God give us this, and henceforth let us endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. I commend the text to all believers, to be practised through the coming year. And to those who are not believers, what can I say but that I trust their unity and their peace may be broken for ever, and that they may be led to Christ Jesus to find peace in his death? May faith be given, and then love and grace will follow, so that they may be one with us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For meditation: God alone can create unity between the disunited (Ephesians 2:12–16); we are not expected to manufacture false unity with those who teach another gospel. But neither are we expected to undermine the unity God has already created. Rather we are to work towards its perfection (Ephesians 4:13). What is your track record in this matter? Do you need to make a New Year’s resolution?
Sermon no. 607
1 January (1865)