There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
Teaching One God In Ephesus
Paul’s message to the Ephesian church was striking. He boldly declared the unity of the Spirit in the oneness of the body, spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism and God. This would be received with mixed emotions by his readers but how much more today. Standing on a street corner in Ephesus declaring there is one body probably did not ring a message of alarm. Earlier Paul had explained the body was the church and he declares that God only has one church. Painting a sign with “There is ONE church” and walking around the town square would bring more puzzlement than reaction. Changing the sign to read, “There is ONE God” would have brought a lot of attention.
When Paul visited Ephesus on his third missionary journey, a riot began thanks to the efforts of a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana. The temple of Diana was a centerpiece of idol worship to Diana and in the time of Paul the Greek god Artemis. Preaching there was one God would be an affront to the pagan worship of multiple gods. Standing on the street corner of America with a sign declaring, “There is ONE God” would hardly take notice and causes little stir. Returning to the early days of the church when Paul was in Ephesus and he stood on the street corner with a sign “There is ONE church” there would be little concern. It would be doubtful Demetrius would take notice or even care. Having a sign “There is ONE church” in modern day America would take great notice and probably great disdain. What has changed? The truth two thousand years ago is still the truth today. There is one God and there is one church.
It is difficult in a country filled with every variety of church to believe there is one church. People get upset when they hear preachers of truth declare the one church and one body. This is not unlike how Demetrius reacted when he heard Paul decrying there were not multiple gods. Jesus came and built one church because there is one God. One head can only have one body and Christ has only one church. Worshipping with the church of man’s choice is going back to the idol worship of Diana. The riot in Ephesus did not change the word of God. Refusing to believe there is one church will not change the word of God. Truth is founded on the certainty of one God and one faith. The teachings of the one church is the one hope and one baptism made possible by one Lord. There is one God and Father of all. Believing in one God demands belief in one body or one church. Jesus is the head over all things to the church, which is His body. There is one Jesus. There is one church. There is one body.
We desire unity of religion but not when purchased at the cost of the unity of truth. (Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West, 1948)