It was sometime in April 2010 that I had to make a telephone call to Pastor Harry Kiujian of the Armenian Evangelical Brethren Church in Sydney, Australia to inform him of my new credit card number because the old one was compromised. Harry then casually mentioned a mission trip to Armenia which was planned for August/September of that year. Apparently, I was the first one to reply with an affirmative response. It has been my privilege to visit Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh on several occasions -- since that first memorable visit ten years ago.
Unfortunately, since late September this year the politically tense situation between Karabakh and neighbouring Azerbaijan erupted into what has become a war. We were meant to be there at this moment on another of our mission trips. We are all aware of how Covid-19 has affected the whole world. In all this, the Lord has graciously enabled us to continue in fellowship and prayer with our dear ones in Christ through the various platforms easily available to us through the Internet.
Paul's letter to the Ephesians gives us a very comforting reminder and we read a few verses before we proceeded to uphold one another in prayer a few weeks ago.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
The writer of this letter knew all about prisons and spiritual warfare.
He begins by calling the church to walk worthy of their calling or vocation as believers in the one true God. We note that the word 'one' appears a few times in these 6 verses.
1. ONE ANOTHER (Eph.4: 2-3)
It is all about what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. He has made us one in Him as it is mentioned earlier:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
We are commanded to serve one another humbly and patiently in love.
Forbearing has the emphasis of holding up, sustaining or even suffering for one another.
When we 'endeavour to keep' we must labour, toil or work hard to enjoy our oneness or unity.
The word 'bond' has an interesting Greek word sundesmos, which is very much like ligaments which keep the joints together and stable so they can move and function with ease. We get the medical term syndesmosis from this same word.
This bond of peace, propelled by the love of Christ is what the church of the living God represents in this world of darkness, unrest and war.
2. ONE BODY, ONE SPIRIT (Eph.4: 4)
We are the body of Christ. One of the metaphors used very powerfully to describe the church:
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
Christ is the head of the body and we are part of the body when we repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
The geographical distance and remoteness in no way separates us as we realise that we are drawn together by His One Spirit, when we have come together with the Armenian believers or even in this blog 'HOPE BEYOND CRISIS'.
But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
The Spirit of Christ, God, The Holy Spirit, is the same person who was promised by the Lord Jesus to His disciples, a miraculous reality at Pentecost. We can come together as one because the bond and unity has been created and put in place by the Lord Jesus; not our doing, as we cannot initiate or create unity!
3. ONE HOPE (Eph.4: 4)
This hope is focussed on one Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This word used in our earthly context usually means the opposite. It begins with self and the extent of our carnal desires knows no limit. Many a disappointment has been a result of our 'hopes'.
Paul emphasises this truth of Christ earlier on in this letter:
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
The hope of eternal union which begins now in Christ, will have no end.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
4. ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM (Eph.4: 5)
The world looks at the word faith and continues in endless debate and discussion about faith. For the believer, the subject of faith is subservient to the object of our faith- Our Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, our baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit incorporates us as one into the body of Christ.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
5. ONE GOD AND FATHER (Eph.4: 6)
This one true God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The access into His presence is through His Son.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him and have seen him.
It is the unity of the Godhead that now makes it a reality as we come in unity with one another in the name of Christ.
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
As we continue to intercede in love and uphold one another,
may this reminder be our assurance and comfort:
ONE BODY AND ONE SPIRIT
ONE LORD, ONE FAITH , ONE BAPTISM
ONE GOD AND FATHER