"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

I Know Whose Truth It Is - Message 4

Listen to I Know Whose Truth It Is.

This message is the fourth in a five part series entitled "What I Wish I Had Known Forty Years Ago." This series was preached at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, Oklahoma, January 7-10, 2007, by guest speaker Paul Burleson. The outline below is given for your enjoyment.

I Know Whose Truth it Is
Ephesians 4:1-6

Sunday morning I said I knew forty years ago what brought unity - "If you agreed with my truth!"

I lived according to the principle "My way or the highway.” I might have called you a brother, but if you disagreed, I moved away from you.

First, a couple of background thoughts before we examine what it means to "Endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit." (Ephesians 4:3).

1. Forty years ago I had a scriptural problem.

I didn't realize that there were two moods in Greek language predominately used in Paul's writings, and to properly understand Ephesians 4:3 I had to understand the proper moods of the grammar Paul used.

There is the indicative mood – It is language that points to what God has done/accomplished.

There is the imperative mood – It is language that points to what we are to do because of what has done.

Let me illustrate:

Romans chapters 1-11 are in the indicative. God has chosen us. God has justified us. God has redeemed us. God has saved us. And so on.
Romans chapter 12 and the following chapters are written in the imperative mood. In Light of what God has done for us, let us therefore . . . likewise,

Ephesians chapter 1-3 is in the indicative.
Ephesians hapter 4 is in the imperative

In Ephesians 4:1-6 we’re to do what is commanded here because of what God has done for us, as recorded in the first 3 chapters of Ephesians. When it comes to what God has done for us regarding unity, He clearly reveals to us that He has made us . . .

"Fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and has built us upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building (us) fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye are also builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:21-22)

So, in Ephesians 4:3 we have an imperative, or a command, given to us by God in light of what He has done for us (the indicative).

What is the command for us? (Imperative) “keep the unity.”

We are united by the Spirit – and we are to keep the unity. Unity is not produced by the actions of men --- it is the work of the Spirit.

We are to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit.

2. Forty years ago I had a relational problem.

All of us are so different -- in even the local church. We are different . . .
In the foods we like.
In the cars we drive.
In the sermons we deliver (some long, some short, etc . . .).
In our view of the end times.
In our understanding of the gifts.

Forty years ago people had to accept 'my truth' for their to be 'unity.' If they disagreed I would move away from them. I was not 'endeavoring' to keep the unity that the Spirit had created.

However, as I began to understand the Scriptural teaching of unity, I began to see that my opinion was just that --- an opinion

Conclusion: There is nothing wrong with Chrsitian groups or bodies of people, or a denominations, or a local churches . . .

But love is never stepping away from a Christian people or a Christian person, but always toward those people or toward that person.

Are you endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit?


Anonymous said...

Linky no worky

Bryan Riley said...

Works for me.. just hard to get my ears to work with the kiddos running around at my feet. :)

Debbie said...

I personally was so blessed by this series that, like a good book, I hated when it ended. Not only did I get to meet some wonderful people, including Paul B himself, but I gleaned so much that I will take with me on the rest of my life's spiritual journey.

Debbie said...

Anonymous: It could be that you think the link may not be working because it takes a minute to download and so you may get a blank page for a few seconds.

Andy said...

Your definition of the imperative as "what we are to do because of what has done" seems misleading. True, anything Scripture commands us to do could be interpreted as being something we would do in response to what God has already done. However, this is not a characteristic of the imperative mood. If it were, particles like oun (translated as "therefore" in Eph 2:19; 4:1; 4:17; 5:1; 5:7; 5:24; 6:14) would be redundant. While the imperative is, indeed, the verb mood telling us to do something, that our action would be a response to something preceding the command is not inherent.

Having said all that, I agree wholeheartedly with your application. The theme of unity in the church is a predominant one Ephesians. I have some thoughts on that, but rather tahn put them all in this comment here is a link to an article on my own blog: "Ephesians: The Message of Ephesians."

Paul/Mary Burleson said...


Thank you. I bow to one who knows the Greek language better than do I. I will look at your work. You are kind for stopping by.

johnthebaptist2007 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Mo scratch,

I released an official statement just a few hours ago to a couple of national news organizations that requested it. At your request, I will give it to you here.

"I am not familiar with 'The Baptist Covenant,' nor am I acquainted with the leaders of the 2008 convocation in Atlanta. However, it would be difficult for me to criticize any evangelical Christian movement whose stated goals are to live out the gospel through doing justice and loving mercy. There comes a time when we as Southern Baptists should simply remain silent if we cannot say anything supportive of other Baptist attempts at addressing pressing social and cultural issues in a prophetic manner. To provide a public defense of our convention's record, while at the same time criticizing others, seems to be acting in a manner contrary to the spirit of our Lord and the good of His kingdom at large. I wish nothing but success for all Baptists who seek to live out the gospel for a world in need of a Savior.

johnthebaptist2007 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
volfan007 said...


good response to the news people in a difficult setting. also, did yall see that rosalyn became a deaconette at thier church down in geoooorgiaaa?

i know of a church in peanutville that i would not attend.


Bryan Riley said...

What a great response, Wade, and I appreciate you speaking from your heart and not from your head or from what one might believe plays well in the media. I'm thankful they asked you for one and that you sought God's heart as you wrote it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Wade, for a very mature and thoughtful answer. Why can't we all cooperate at a time such as this.

Florence in KY

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...


I can assure you Jeremy is no Howard Stern of Conservatives - you crossed the line with that one.

I think we can do better, or I least I pray we can!