Keeping the Unity of the Spirit
A Sermon on Ephesians 4:2-3
2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Conflict is an ongoing part of life today, just as it was for the church at Ephesus. In this sermon on Ephesians 4:2–3, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones opens Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and addresses how believers can live in unity and peace. Rather than ignore sin or avoid confrontation, Christians must quickly exhort and forgive one another, guarding the unity of the Spirit, and guarding the fellowship of believers. This is supernatural unity that can only belong to those indwelt with the Spirit. Therefore, to not guard this unity is actually a grievance to the Holy Spirit. So how can one guard Holy Spirit’s unity? Dr. Lloyd-Jones proclaims that being humble, gentle, patient, and bearing with one another are critical characteristics of believing relationships. Christian brothers and sisters must do this because they love one another and desire to guard their unity. Just as parents humbly serve and instruct their children with patience and gentleness, Christians must do the same thing with their brothers and sisters in Christ.
- The apostle Paul is appealing to the Ephesians to preserve the unity of the Spirit.
- This unity is produced by the Holy Spirit, not by human efforts. We are called to guard and keep this unity, not create it.
- This unity is spiritual, unseen and internal but also expresses itself externally. We start with the internal and move to the external.
- This unity can only be understood through understanding the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It can only be felt and experienced if the Holy Spirit is present.
- If the Holy Spirit is not present in a person, we cannot experience unity with them. If the Holy Spirit is present in two people, they will recognize and have fellowship with each other.
- The unity Paul speaks of is not just friendship or camaraderie but is theological and doctrinal, based on the truth.
- Our duty is to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Endeavor means to hasten to do something, to be diligent. Keep means to guard, hold fast, preserve.
- We keep this unity through humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, and love. These describe our disposition and our relationships with others.
- Humility means having a humble opinion of oneself, the opposite of pride. Meekness means inner gentleness and mildness, compatible with strength.
- Longsuffering means patiently enduring offense or hardship. Forbearance means holding back from retaliation or passion. Love means seeking the other's good.
- As we are peaceable, peace-loving and peacemaking, we preserve peace and the unity it binds together.
- This is living out the Beatitudes and the fruit of the Spirit. If we fail here, success elsewhere is useless. Doctrine and conduct should aim at preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The Book of Ephesians
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.