A Sermon on Romans 12:4-5
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (ESV)
The modern ecumenical movement has made a profound impact on the contemporary Christian understanding of unity. But what overlap, if any, does this movement have with biblical unity? An essential point for evangelical Christians to remember, says Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, is the inevitability of the unity of the church. Because the church is a spiritual society, called the body of Christ, there will necessarily be true unity. While rightly critical of the ecumenical movement, we must nevertheless acknowledge the importance of not only invisible unity, but visible unity of the church. Striving to maintain visible unity is a necessity because evangelical Christians believe what the Bible says. Still, says Dr. Lloyd-Jones, the character of our unity is spiritual – it cannot be manufactured by men. It is the supernatural result of the creative work of the Holy Spirit. Only when a person is born again and baptized into the body of Christ can genuine Christian unity occur. This along with the error of separating unity from the whole person – in a particular a man’s mind through doctrine – is the biggest error of the ecumenical movement. While some Christians rally around the claim “doctrine divides,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones offers a pointed biblical challenge saying you cannot have true unity by suppressing thought and denying a person’s ability to think about Truth. Evangelical Christians need to hear afresh this important message from Romans 12:4 on Christian unity, doctrine, and the ecumenical moment.
About Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.