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A People With One Voice

December 1, 2018 Speaker: Dudley Hall Series: Dudley's Monthly Message

Topic: Dudley's Monthly Message Passage: Ephesians 4:1–4:7

A PEOPLE WITH ONE VOICE

The public’s perception of Christians is not very good. Various surveys reveal that many have bought the description of Christianity offered by secularism and have focused on the failings, mistakes, immaturity, and imperfections of Christians. We should expect this since our culture seems to be obsessed with distorted caricatures of those we don’t want to know. The common complaints regarding Christians are that we are hypocritical, judgmental, and unloving. Where those criticisms are true, we should quickly repent. But we should also note (with humility rather than snark) that we never claimed to be perfect; so when we fail, we aren’t hypocritical, just needy. We confess that we need a Savior, not only to go to heaven, but to live. When we believe that there is a standard of right and wrong, we aren’t being judgmental, we are acknowledging God. When we try to stop people from destroying themselves and the culture, we are not necessarily being unloving. But it is futile trying to defend ourselves by arguments. We just need to be who we are.

 We are the people that God promised long ago would be on earth to glorify him with one voice. It was his original divine plan. He made humans to fully enjoy him by fully worshipping him. He created humans with differences and distinctions. He didn’t stop with the creation of Adam. He made Eve. They had much in common but were distinctly different. The voice of praise would be a duet. As they produced a larger family, the design was for it to be choir with harmony. This is consistent with his own nature. He is Father, Son, and Spirit. One voice; three persons.

In the fatal fall, humans became alienated from God, disoriented as to their own purpose, and confused about the true nature of all things. Feeling unsafe, they were frantic to survive, on edge, and ready to attack. While obsessed with doing their own thing there was no harmonious sound coming from the people on earth. God demonstrated his desire for corporate harmony by not just saving Noah, but his family as well. He promised Abraham a posterity. He gave Moses a nation. He gave David a kingdom. None of those bodies could glorify God with one voice, so He sent Jesus as one person who was both God and human to do for people what none had been able to do. Jesus was the duet that defined the tune and the tone for a people who believe in him and share his resurrected life. This entity is called the Church. It is the “called out ones” who live as his body on earth to make a harmonious sound that glorifies God. When this sound is heard, those who are tired of living in chaos and disharmony with the creator and his creation are glad. Like the animals summoned to Noah’s ark, they turn and start walking toward the sound that calls them to safety and destiny.

The sound is distinct. It is not just a conglomeration of the different sounds that humans make. That is noise. God likes harmony. The various parts mesh together to form a sound greater than any single piece can make. Four-part harmony is just a taste of the kind of harmony we'll hear when all God’s people sing their part. The tune is distinct. It has one theme. Paul, the apostle, when speaking of this issue of unity to the church in Ephesus, gave the seven essential notes to the chord. (See Ephesians 4:1-7.)

  1. One body. It is the body of Christ. It is not ethnic, national, geographical, or cultural. There is one living expression of God’s life on earth. It is the body of Christ made up of Jew and Gentile.
  2. One Spirit. It is the Spirit that filled Jesus in his life and raised him from the dead. It is the same Spirit that he sent from the exalted position at the right hand of the Father.
  3. One hope. God’s promise of vindication and fulfilled destiny is in Christ alone who already sits enthroned.
  4. One Lord. Of all the claimants of sovereignty in the heavens and on earth, there is only one who possesses it. Peter declared on the day of Pentecost that Jesus is that Lord. He alone reigns over all that his blood purchased.
  5. One faith. It is the same faith in the promiser that Abraham exhibited. All the first testament saints trusted in the God who is revealed as Father, Son, and Spirit. All new covenant saints have the privilege of seeing the fulfillment of what had been promised.
  6. One baptism. All who believe in Jesus as sent by the Father are baptized into the body of Christ. They are not in Adam, nor in Moses, nor any other category of identity. They are in Christ.
  7. One God and Father of all. He is the God revealed in the biblical narrative. He is the source of all things. He rules over all. He has made himself known as the Father of Jesus and thus all those who believe in him.

Those who sing this song with their various gifts make a glorious sound to both God and the world. They are more interested in the one voice glorifying God than receiving recognition of their part. They don’t demand their rights but are willing even to suffer reproach to get the sound right. They don’t just tolerate each other. They embrace each other recognizing that difference is delightful when singing the same song.

God has always desired a people who glorify him with one voice. He has that people now. We are learning how to not only respect different perspectives and various levels of maturity, but to relish them. With honor toward each other, we confront issues that have divided people since the Garden of Eden. We know that it isn’t about us individually. It is the one voice. We know that unity is what Jesus has produced in tearing down every wall that separates not only Jew and Gentile but God and people. We sacrifice to preserve that unity. We do our part. We encourage others to do their part. We listen. We learn. We rejoice when we hear the harmony.

Those who hate us will continue to criticize. They think they don’t want us around. How mistaken they are. Without even the faint sound of harmony, the world would hear nothing but noise.

More in Dudley's Monthly Message

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July 1, 2020

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June 1, 2020

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