The Unity Of The Spirit

The Unity of the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 4:1–6

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.


The letter to the Ephesians was written by the Apostle Paul from prison and directed to the church which is at Ephesus, a church that is predominantly a GENTILE church. It was written, not to Jews but to gentiles, those like you and I. 

It is six chapters in length; 

the first three being largely doctrinal, but most importantly points out what our state was like BEFORE we were saved through the blood of Christ. 

But it now turns to the last three chapters that are largely application. There are instructions on living our life since we believed, and in the likeness of God


From the first verse we see the instruction begin;

Ephesians 4:1–6

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 

Now in verse 2 Paul immediately relates to us the need for perfect relationships;

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 

As can be seen by the text, relationships begin with humility and the expected trials are to be willingly ‘longsuffered’ and ‘borne’, not by the other, but by us all individually

Much more can be said on that, but the manner with which it is all to be dealt with is LOVE.

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Then we come to our summary text describing both the Spirit of God, and his manifestation in our lives;

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

Though the text is instructive to us, it is also descriptive of God. It is in the likeness of God that we are instructed.

Ephesians 4:4–6

4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

When our text above speaks to keeping in the “Unity of the Spirit”, it speaks to determining to do all we can to live our lives in the likeness of God in ALL our relationships, to be unified as one!

When Jesus prayed to the Lord in John 17, it was his same desire that his disciples would likewise be united as he is with the father;

 John 17:21

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Just like all the doctrines we have given consideration to respecting the Holy Spirit, UNITY is also one of perfect application to each one of us.

Philippians 2:2

2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Peter wrote;

1 Peter 3:8

8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:




Ephesians 4:3

 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

Endeavouring” speaks to the ongoing desire of the subject of the sentence, that’s you and I, we are to be “Endeavouring”. 

We are to be ‘Striving, aspiring, trying, longing, intending, determining, aiming’. These are all synonyms of that which we are to be.

I would like you to first notice that the instruction that is given is to be consciously Endeavoured.

Paul gives the instruction as one that has the primary objective as “the bond of peace”, knowing that the worst state of any relationship is war. We are not to fight and devour one another, we are to consciously ENDEAVOUR toward the bond of peace. 

Why consciously? 

The natural state of man is one of the flesh. 

Man is naturally self centred, his thoughts are for his own wellbeing, he likes to think highly of himself, he exalts himself, trusts himself, loves himself. 

As such, he likes to think that others think of him as he does.

  • He likes to think that others prioritise him as much as he does; 
  • they care for HIS well-being, 
  • think highly of HIM, 
  • exalt HIM, 
  • trusts HIM and loves HIM, just as he does himself.

So when a person does not treat him just as he would like and just when he would like, he gets emotionally offended, he then speaks against what / who he believes is the cause of his emotional offence and begins to divide against them.

That is the NATURAL STATE of man. 

BUT. that is also the FLESHLY state of the Christian man.

Turn to;

James 4:1–3

1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

But Paul desires that we might consciously Endevour to attend to the OPPOSITE of that which we naturally do in life. 

Therefore watch carefully when you do these things. 

When you leave from visiting the home of a friend or relative, don’t be quick to pass comment or judgement on them

Don’t let that first negative thought ALSO be the first thing that comes out of your mouth. But put it in check, consciously be aware of the natural state of the flesh to divide against those we are charged to love.

REMEMBER SATANS DEVICES, its not flesh and blood we wrestle with!

So, CONSCIOUSLY Endevour to “keep the unity of the Spirit on the bond of peace”.

But also ‘ENDEAVOUR’!

Paul does not speak to this as if it is not a labour to attend to, but it is that which must be pursued and desired! Endevour speaks to that which is our aim to do consciously. 

We have already noted that it is NOT natural to do this, therefore it MUST be BOTH conscious and ALSO desired, intended and aspired to

We are to Endevour “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”.

I want to remind you beloved that Paul was writing this letter from a prison cell. And I want to also remind you that he was NOT in a prison cell because he was a criminal, or because he broke the law of the land, he was in that cell because he “ENDEAVOURED” to show the love of Christ to his own kin, his own people

This is why when he writes that we are to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called”, and states;

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Loving others MUST be with LONG-SUFFERING and FORBEARING. 

Loving people in spite of whether or not we are loved in return. 

Loving even our enemies.

Why? Because this demonstrates the love of God.

It is a sign to others that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (Jn 17:21)



Ephesians 4:1–6

1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

Paul here is PLEADING with us as Christians, “I therefore…beseech you….To keep”, that is, to protect, to hold and to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

Beloved the most sure way of disunity is seen in the given way to the flesh in our lives.

Fleshly response to the behaviour of others whom we are to love finds us risking that unity in the bond of peace, and often in discord and anxious one with another. BUT we are to do all we can, as much as is IN YOU, TO KEEP the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

A classic passage in the Bible that we should memorise for this point and too often forgotten is Romans 12:17-21;

Romans 12:17–21

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Unity does not mean we are all the same, 1 Corinthians 12:12–18 Teaches us that we are all different, but we are ALL part of that ONE BODY, the body of Christ

The bible speaks to each individual component of the body having a distinct purpose in life and YET that very purpose is given for the proper functioning of the body.

This ALSO means we ALL have different personalities, different natural attributes that pertain to that work.

Those attributes have BOTH positive and NEGATIVE elements to them and therefore CALL FOR PATIENCE and most especially GRACE among us.

We don’t have time to get into a PERSONALITY STUDY this morning, but simply understand that our natural temperament differs one from another makes it all the more important to “as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” 

And should a brother or sister sin against you, to 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

But sometimes, and for some it may be many times, we are also charged to simply SUFFER the wrong done to us.

To “Suffer hurt”.

Turn to;

1 Corinthians 6:1–8

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

In this we also KEEP the Unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

But then you will say to me that it is not fair!

Nor was what was done to Jesus.

Nor is what many still do to him.

One of the worst hurts you can experience is being wrongly judged by those you love. Sometimes they make judgements against you that is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what your motives and actions demonstrate.


We cant even properly judge ourselves, and yet can our motives truly be judged by others? But we are imperfect, WHAT ARE WE TO SAY OF THOSE WHO CHARGE GOD WITH SIN?

If there is any pure motive, it is God.

So why would we be so willing to suffer wrong TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE?

Firstly, because that is what Jesus did that we might be ONE IN HIM.

Secondly, because we are to grow in the likeness of Christ. 

The Bible says in Isaiah 53:3 that he is “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” We hid our faces from him, we despised him, we did not esteem him and all he could do is suffer sorrow and greave, and we are all to grow in the likeness of him, which may indeed include some of this kind of suffering.

This is why we are called to represent God in our lives, to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 



Ephesians 4:3–6

 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The unity of the Spirit”, The Spirit of God has his nature identified.

As God is one, so are we called to be as one, to have one mind in all things, united, not in error, but in the truth.

While the last few decades a desire for UNITY apart from truth has been promoted, a tolerance of error and acceptance of all peoples views on truth to be without question no matter how wrong they are, the Bible teaches us that we are to be united in the TRUTH  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

It is the Spirit of Truth that has been given us and the unity we are to be united in is the truth

Beloved, this is what we are to Endevour to keep, but this does not mean that we are to forsake the truth in order to preserve the guise of unity! 

There are times when we are called to SEPARATE.

2 Thessalonians 3:6

6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

1 Corinthians 5:11

11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

1 Corinthians 11:18–19

18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

There are numerous passages in the Bible where we are indeed charged to separate from those who walk diametrically opposed to the truth, but we ARE CHARGED to be united IN the TRUTH, just as the Spirit is with the Father and the Son.

Amos 3:3

3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

We are called to Endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Turn to 1 Corinthians 1

Paul here is about to deal with some serious contentions that are arising in the house of Cloe, people dividing over who baptised who, contending one with another over carnal things, but Paul calls them to unity of mind.

1 Corinthians 1:10

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

In Romans 15, the Bible says;

Romans 15:5–6

5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Unity that is spoke of is not one to be united in error, but united in the truth.

This is what we are to ENDEAVOUR to do.

This is what we are to attend to it with all lowliness and meekness

This is why me must be long-suffering, even to the point where we need to forebear one another in love.

BUT, we will NEVER be able to be UNITED, and of the SAME MIND, if we are NOT reading our Bibles.

If you don’t have an interest in the word of God, if the Bible is not going to be your daily bread and all you are going to do is live in accordance with feeling and flesh, YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. 

Beloved, let these words of Martin Luther sink down into your ears respecting your need for the word of God today. Five hundred years have passed since they were written and they hold the same sway today as they did when they were first uttered;

“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God–
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,

― Martin Luther



Ephesians 4:3

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace

Bond of peace”, a commitment undertaken to a singular purpose. 

All around us today we see a world at war.

Not just kinetic wars, not just Hot wars where people shot at one other, but wars of words where people fire their darts into the hearts of each other.

… a man is set at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. Matthew 10:35–36

It’s interesting that those are the words of Jesus, acknowledging that the truth will divide families and in the end, nations.

The world that knows not the Lord have no access to the truth and they no right to it. 

They are joined to the father of lies who is also the true architect of division. 

He sets the world against the truth through deception in every way that people may be at variance one with another, joined in deceit, they have no way to know the truth of a matter and revert to feelings and emotion. 

Therefore they war one with another. 

The time will come when they will be even “without natural affection”, indeed news items over the last few years had seen mothers killing their young children, fathers killing their sons. 

Revelation 6:4

4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

Peace will be taken from the earth when the culmination of the hatred of God is manifested in the end, and “he who now letteth will let, until he be taken away” (2 Thess 2:7). Today it is the Spirit of God who hinders the fullest expression of hatred between people, and hatred for mankind has always followed hatred for God, why? 

Because man was made in the image of God. Those who hate God, ALSO happen to hate mankind.

Those who have long desired the death of God, also desire to kill man made in the image of God. Deicide has always led to homocide.

But those of us who love God will love one another.

John 13:34

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Our greatest desire is to be in the bond of peace and to be bound with no other bond. We Endevour, we strive, we desire to keep, preserve, protect, the UNITY of the Spirit in this bond of peace and we do so continuously.

Jesus knows what it was like to suffer and to sacrifice for the sake of bringing many people into that unity that is with the father, HAVE YOU ACCEPTED THIS FOR YOU?

Are you at one with  God? Have you been reconciled to him through the shed blood of Christ for YOUR SINS?

Are you saved?

Are you ONE WITH GOD, or are you still divided against him?

Believe the Gospel!

For those who are united in Christ, DO NOT PERMIT anything to divide you.

Beloved, as we near the Christmas season, let us not be ignorant to Satans devices nor to our own nature. During a time we ought to have love one for another and unity, we can often find there will be some that are not so inclined and at times that are those we also greatly love.

Colossians 3:12-15 might be a passage worth keeping close at hand.

Colossians 3:12–15

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.


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