Virtues Needed for Christian Unity
Eph. 4:1- 3
The Epistle to the Ephesians is basically divided into two parts. The first part, Chapters 1 to 3 is
theological, emphasizing New Testament doctrines. Chapter 4 to 6 is what we call the practical part.
It focusses on application which includes conduct and behaviour. Verse 1 in this chapter exhorts us
to walk worthy of our vocation. “Walk” is often used in the Bible for the life of the Christian. Life, as
we know, is not spent in running but more often in walking. It suggests the steady, patient, daily
living for Christ. The Christian life is one step at a time. However, walking is not just individual or
personal. Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is telling us as a church family to walk together in
unity for His glory. The Lord wants us to be united and He is calling us to be united. The word of God
lists some virtues needed for Christian unity.
I. Lists of Virtues:
1. Lowliness means; humiliation of mind, that is, modesty, humbleness
2. Submissiveness of mind, whereby we esteem others better than ourselves, Ph.
2:3. A virtue peculiar to Christians, unknown to philosophers: Acts 20:19; Col.
3. Humility is the most foundational Christian virtue (Jas. 4:6).
Illustration: The Test of a Truly Great Man
It was John Riskin who said, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean
by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have
a … feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be
anything else than God made them.” Andrew Murray said, “The humble man feels no jealousy or
envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear
others praised while he is forgotten because … he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not
Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has
put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility.”
M. R. De Haan used to say, “Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank
God that we have.” (Anonymous)
1. Gentleness is meekness, that spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us
without disputing and resisting; and also, the accepting patiently of the injuries
done us by men, out of the thought that they are permitted by God for the
chastening and purifying of His people.
2. Meekness is not weakness, but it is power under control.
a. Jesus was “meek and lowly in heart” but he called the Pharisees vipers, and
drove the money changers out of the temple.
b. Moses was quoted in the OT… was very meek, above all the men which
were upon the face of the earth (Num. 12:3), but showed righteous anger
and punished Israel when they committed idolatry by making a golden calf.
Illustration: Soft Answers to Rough Questions
A missionary in Jamaica was once questioning some little boys on the meaning of Matthew 5:5 and
asked, “Who are the meek?” A boy answered, “Those who give soft answers to rough questions.”
We shall do well to remember this child’s definition. The one who has wisdom in his head and heart
does not need to shout at others. Wisdom speaks softly and persuasively, instead of impelling and
forcing. Through the use of our tongues people will know whether we are wise or not. As that great
theologian, Charles Hodge, said, “The doctrines of grace humble a man without degrading him and
exalt him without inflating him.” (Illustrations of Bible Truths.)
1. Long-mindedness – never permitting a trial or provocation to get to the end of
2. Longsuffering gives us endurance to deal with all the imperfections of our fellow
Illustration: Beaten into Higher Value
A bar of steel is worth five dollars. When it is wrought into horseshoes, it is worth ten dollars. If
made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars. If wrought into penknife blades, it is
worth thirty-two thousand dollars. And if it is wrought into springs for watches, it is worth two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth a higher value. But the more it is
manipulated, the more it is hammered, and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and
polished, the greater the value.
Those who suffer most are capable of yielding most; and it is through pain that God can get the most
out of us. (Encyclopaedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.)
D. Bearing with one another in Love.
1. Overlooking the infirmities of one another, forgiving injuries done, sympathizing
with, and assisting each other in distressed circumstances, the spring of all
which should be love.
2. The virtues mentioned above is tied up in one word, that is “love”. (Col. 3:12-
E. Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit
1. Making an effort or efforts; striving; essaying; attempting.
2. Unity of the Spirit here refers to unity of affection, of confidence, of love. It
means that Christians should be united in temper and affection, and not be split
up in factions and parties.
II. The other side of Unity
A. While it is true that as Christians we must be united. There is danger that is
B. There is a group which is called ecumenical movement. The ultimate goal of the
ecumenical movement will be to bring all religious groups together into one
worldwide entity, in sympathy, if not in organizational unity
C. What they are saying is, “Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come
together in one visible organization, regardless… Unite, unite!”
D. Such teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our
alignments. Truth comes before unity. Unity without truth is hazardous
E. Ecumenical groups do not have high moral and doctrinal standards. Sadly, it is
common to find drinking, smoking, cursing, immodest dress, dancing,
homosexuality, and various other forms of immorality among ecumenical Christians.
The cry of the hour is “liberty” and “self-esteem,” and those who call for strict Bible
standards of morality are labelled “legalists.”
F. As faithful Christians, we must be vigilant and always on guard. We must separate
ourselves from those people.
We need the above-mentioned virtues to have Christian unity. However, we must still be
careful. Let’s be faithful, obedient, yet watchful and careful in our Christian walk. Let’s
be united for Christ but always remember, truth comes first before unity