08052018 11 Aft Pent 10 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

08052018 11 Aft Pent 10 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

August 5, 2018

“The Spirit unites us in the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:1-16)

Sermon Audio

If you walk into PNC park, Heinz Field or PPG Arena and you are wearing anything other than, Black and Gold or Yellow, it is very clear you are not united with our Pittsburgh teams, whether the Pirates, Steelers or Penguins.  It might be said Pittsburgh natives blood runs black and gold even to decorating homes and vehicles with stickers to the point of even naming one’s pets or even children after famous players on the ice, gridiron or diamond. The unity shown is clear and palpable.  

This unity provided can be seen across the country and world for many different sports teams.  Yet, for we who gather here in the church, do we have this unity as well? Do we clearly show how we lock arms with one another behind the causes and beliefs we hold dear here at Emmanuel that give God the greatest glory?  Or are we afraid of showing our unity, because, we might offend someone?

Today Paul in Ephesians 4 clearly and meticulously speaks to unity and how “The Spirit unites us in the Body of Christ”.  The unity found in the Body of Christ isn’t by chance, but clearly by design by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is a unity that is found in, for and by us when we unite not only to hear the Word of God, but share in the Sacrament, whether when we baptize or weekly when we commune.  This unity of the Spirit is clearly and emphatically a demonstration of our unity of faith, belief and practice for each and every one of us that gather weekly here at Emmanuel.

Just as an army when marching, clearly demonstrates its unity when all are in step, our gathering weekly  in hearing the Word of God and receiving the forgiveness of sins and Jesus Christ Body and Blood demonstrate for our local community and our world our unity.  For this shows, “The Spirit unites us in the Body of Christ”!

Many may doubt unity recently here at Emmanuel, because of what are perceived as intentional slights or divisions among us.  Whether the days or times we come for worship, the attitudes of some and even the bulletin’s we use weekly. It could be said, the changes could have been communicated more effectively or more input for how we choose to worship, yet, if we allow these issues to define us and prevent us from unity, then we clearly have followed in the footsteps of our forefathers.  From Adam and Eve, the people of God who were in slavery to the Egyptians and in their escape travelled a journey for forty years, instead of two weeks. To the disciples who ran when Jesus was being taken captive. All of us, including myself have fallen short of the Glory of God. And this causes disunity among the Body of Christ. Yet, God our Father, Who Created us, the Son Who redeems us on the Cross of Calvary and the Holy Spirit, daily, calls, gathers and wants us to have a different outcome, a unity because of His love for us.

God is calling we the people of Emmanuel unite and to engage in our faith, enter into a dialogue, not a monologue and unite behind His Word, Will and Way.  In this way we demonstrate for our community and world that “The Spirit unites us in the Body of Christ”!

Our unity in the Spirit as the Body of Christ will change in each of us how people receive and perceive us when they come and visit at Emmanuel.  One of the thoughts that was spoken about at our Council retreat this last weekend was how we as members of the Body of Christ here at Emmanuel need to be intentional.  Just like Paul’s admonition to the people of Ephesus that it is their calling to be intentional about their unity, we the people of God, forgiven by Him and especially loved by Him are called to make this a reality here at Emmanuel for not only current members, but those who are not members and those who have not been here in a while.  This clear action will then show others that “The Spirit unites us in the Body of Christ”!  We as a council will do this in the coming weeks and months by our intentionally making contact with the people of the church that we have seen and have not seen on a monthly basis.  In this way we can not only reach out the hand of friendship and fellowship, but willingly and gladly open the front door and not allow anyone to fall through the cracks and not feel the unity God gives us here.

This plan of intentionality will help all of us here at Emmanuel to unite us in the work of the Church and sharing and showing the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In doing this we will not only demonstrate how we are making disciples of all nations as Jesus calls us to do right before He ascended into heaven. It will also solidify our unity as the Body of Christ.  I’d like to ask each of you here to join your council and step out in faith with your council. Let’s join our hands and hearts as the Spirit inspires each of us to intentionally engage our brothers and sisters in Christ, by not only reaching out to others in your neighborhood, your subdivision but even your family and friends by asking them to come or come back and help all of us demonstrate God’s love for us here at Emmanuel Lutheran Export believing and showing that “The Spirit unites us in the Body of Christ”!  AMEN.