Members of the Same Body
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: Paul instructs his Gentile audience about the collective realities of their personal faith in Jesus Christ. Although they once were separated from Christ, without God, and without hope, they are now fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. This new relationship with other believers is far more than a social gathering—it is a family of equals with full access to the blessings and promises of God. Even more, its significance extends above and beyond the lives of its members as the church is a visible demonstration of God’s grace and wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Paul, therefore, prays that the Holy Spirit would enable all church members to comprehend these truths and to live in such a way that the grace and wisdom of God are continually on display for all to see.
01. Because we are members of the same body, we are to walk together in a manner worthy of our calling, valuing others as God has valued them.
02. Because we are members of the same body, we are to strive together for unity by being gentle, patient and loving towards one another.
03. Because we are members of the same body, we are to grow together in our understanding and application of truth for the remainder of our lives.
Questions For Discussion & Discovery
1. What is the mystery to which Paul refers in 3:6? Who do you think would have been more surprised to discover this mystery—Jews or Gentiles? How did this plan of God transform Jewish/Gentile relations? What difficulties did they have to overcome in order to fulfill this plan?
2. Note how Paul came to understand this mystery (see 3:3) along with the term that he uses about himself in this regard (3:2). In what way did Paul act as a steward with regard to this mystery? In another text, 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Paul notes that stewards are to be found faithful. How can we live as faithful stewards of the Word of God? Are we at liberty to add to or omit from the Word of God?
3. What does 3:9-10 imply about the church’s role before rulers and authorities in the heavenly places? Have you ever considered how significant our congregational worship is before the unseen cosmic powers? How might this truth encourage you to worship the Lord with clean hands and a pure heart?
4. What hindrances do we experience when striving for unity in the church? How does Paul’s admonitions in 4:1-16 address our need to strive for unity even when it is difficult to achieve? What areas can you improve upon to experience unity with fellow believers?
5. According to 4:4-6, there is only one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God. How can we demonstrate unity in the faith when there are so many different churches around us? Does the mere presence of multiple churches in a city negate the true oneness we have in Christ?
For Further Reading: John Stott, The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor (IVP, 2007)