The calling for Christian canning - Eph 4:1-6

Summary:  Since we are our Father God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to be his one 
body, we need to preserve the unity that God created in Christ Jesus through the qualities of 
humility, gentleness, patience, and loving tolerance.

Know:  God created us to be Christ's "body" on the earth, and the only way to function as Christ's 
"body" on the earth is to work hard at preserving unity and love among ourselves.

Feel:  The need to pursue and preserve a unity that enables us to work together as one body 
in fulfilling God's purposes and mission

Do:  Identify the character traits that help to preserve the unity God has created and evaluate 
which is strongest and weakest in your life.  Formulate a plan to strengthen the character traits 
that are the weakest.

Text:  Eph 4:1-6

Scripture Reading:  John 17:20-21

1.  Preservatives, we usually think of them as being bad for you
	- There are ways to preserve things that are not bad for you
2.  Sermon Title:  I remembered my Aunt Rosie and her canning
	a.  When you can, you have to do it right, or it will be ruined
	b.  Canning preserves what you put in the jar
	c.  In this morning's text, Paul talks about canning
3.  Text:  Eph 4:1-6
a.  Text has only one command - Walk working of the calling
	b.  The rest are all prepositional phrases and participles
4.  How do you walk worthy of the calling?  Through "preserving unity"

I.  Unity is created by God
	A.  Text does not tell us to attain unity, but to preserve unity
	B.  Command is to walk worthy of the calling which we have been called
		1.  What is this calling?  Chap. 1-3 Paul spoke of it.
			a.  When dead in sins, God raised us up with Christ
			b.  We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
			c.  Broke down the barrier, two groups into one
			d.  Paul's prayer - Know the bigness of God's plan
		2.  In this paragraph, he points out the oneness of God
			a.  Seven ones, to signify the perfection unity
			b.  One body, Spirit, Hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God/Father
			c.  Ends list with One "Father," we are one "family"
		3.  The one God and Father has called us into one body
			a.  To live worthy of our calling is to be one body
			b.  We are not bodies, but the body of Christ
		4.  Unity is based on God's work, not ours
			a.  Unity of the "Spirit" in the bond of "peace"
				- Who gave the Spirit as a seal and pledge? God 1:14
				- Who broke down barrier, creating peace? God 2:14
			b.  Basis of unity is not on being identical to each other
				- We all have differing roles in the body
				- Don't see eye to eye, Paul deals with this in Rom 14
			c.  Because of this, we don't vote on who is in the body
			d.  Whoever God has redeemed is family
				- God broke down walls, we need to keep them down
	C.  ILL: Man on a bridge about to jump off, another man comes along
		1.  What are you doing?    I have nothing to live for!
		2.  Don't you believe in God?  Yes.  What a coincidence, so do I!
		3.  Are you Christian, Jew, Muslim, or what?  Christian.  So am I!
		4.  Catholic or Protestant?  Protestant.  Coincidence, so am I!
		5.  Which denomination?  Non-Denominational.  So am I!
		6.  Premillenial or Amillenial?  Amillenial.  
		7.  He pushed the guy off of the bridge - Die heretic die!!
	D.  That is an extreme example, but it illustrates the point
		1.  Not only different personalities, but viewpoints as well
		2.  I know we don't have 100% agreement, but we are still family
			a.  Why?  Not because we got everything right
			b.  It is because God in his mercy redeemed us
		3.  What made us God's family is his work of redemption
		4.  We don't "create" what is in the jar, just preserve it

II.  Unity is preserved by us
	A.  Need to "be diligent" to preserve the unity of the Spirit in bond of peace
		1.  Means we need to work hard at it.
		2.  God had to work hard to created it
		3.  We need to work hard to preserve it
	B.  Paul lists the ingredients we need to preserve God's unity
		1.  Humility
			a.  Definition:
			 	- Syn: Lowliness, Meekness, Unselfishness, Modesty
				- Ant:  Pride, Arrogance, Vanity, Boastfulness, 
			b.  What does humility sound like?
				- I'm listening, I'm sorry, Let me help you, Let's do 
  				   what you enjoy, I'm nothing and God is everything
				- For Paul - "I am least of the Apostles" - 1 Cor 15:9
				- For John the Baptist - "He must increase and I must 
     				   decrease." - John 3:30
			c.  Cannot be the body of Christ without humility
				- Everyone will insist on their own way
				- Instead, need to consider others before ourselves
				- ILL  Disagreement in a Synagogue over whether to 
 				   stand or sit for the Shema.  Asked charter member 
   				   which is the tradition, Sit or stand?   That not the 
  				   tradition.  Then we will continue to fight and argue.  
  				   Ah, that is the tradition.
			d.  "The best protection one can have from the devil and his 
     			     schemes is a humble heart" - Jonathan Edwards
		2.  Gentleness
			a.  Bible might say meekness.  Idea is gentle, mild.
			b.  Many do not value this, but God does
			c.  It is a fruit of the Spirit
			d.  ILL:  Richard Dunagin tells about going to carnival and his 
     			     kids winning 4 goldfish
				- Bought tank, used dirty, good deal $5, cleaned up
				- Next day, a fish died, then another
				- Called expert - problem, used soap
				- In zeal to clean up others, can use killer harsh soaps
		3.  Patience
			a.  This is also a fruit of the Spirit
			b.  Met a couple in Bono, Arkansas 
				- His wife prayed he would become Christian
				- For 14 years, she invited him to church
				- One day, he said yes.  Eventually became Christian
				- Today he is an elder in that church	
			c.  Gal 6:9  - Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due 
     			     time we shall reap if we do not grow weary
			d.  In context, Paul is saying we should be patient with each 
     			     other.  Brings us to final ingredient
		4.  Loving Tolerance
			a.  Bible might say forbearance
			b.  Doesn't just mean put up, but to do it in love
			c.  Tolerance says, "I can wait to get away from him,"  
      			     Loving tolerance says, "Let me be kind to you."
			d.  ILL:  Dad told me about a job were store mgr. Was mean
				- Dad decided to actively be nice to him
				- More than just put up with him
				- The guy softened, they became friends
				- They worked together well
	C.  These ingredients we will preserve the unity of the Spirit
		1.  With the unity of the Spirit, we can work together well
		2.  Paul will expand on this in the next section
	D.  But for now, let's consider these preservatives

1.  Jesus came to preserve us from eternal death (Invitation)
2.  When we obey the Gospel, God unites us with his body
3.  We need to preserve that unity SO THAT we can fulfill God's purposes
	a.  Not just unified so we can be under one roof
	b.  Unified so we can carry out God's purposes and mission
		- It doesn't just stay in the jar
		- It comes out so we can share it with others
	c.  Will talk some more about this next time
4.  Which preservative do you need the most?

Small Group Questions:  The Call for Christian Canning

Summary:  Since we are our Father God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to be his one 
body, we need to preserve the unity that God created in Christ Jesus through the qualities of 
humility, gentleness, patience, and loving tolerance.

- What is your favorite food that comes in a can or a jar?

Explore:  (Eph 4:1-6)

1.  Paul does not begin this section with "I, Paul, an Apostle," but "I Paul, a prisoner of the Lord." 
 In what way to you see this tying in with the points Paul makes in this section?  How is Paul's 
attitude an example?

2.  According to what Paul writes here and in the previous chapters, what is the "source" of 
Christian unity?  On what is it based, who created it, how was it created?

3.  If we do not "create" Christian unity, then what is our role in regards to unity?

4.  What character traits are necessary in order to preserve unity?  How have you seen these 
character traits preserve unity in your life?

5.  What things will unity achieve?


6.  Which is the strongest of the character traits in your life that contribute toward unity?

7.  Which character trait do you struggle with the most?  In what way?

8.  How can this character trait be strengthened

Use John 17:20-21 as a meditation for your prayer