The third great assertion in this passage scripture is "one God."
This is the ultimate in the matter of salvation.
He came and He died, as Peter reminds us, "to bring us to God." (1 Peter 3: 18)
Here we arrived at the ultimate source of all union.
God, one God, the only God, who has created all things, by whom all things are kept going,
the God who planned this great salvation and who sent His Son.
Paul's teaching in this passage is exactly the same as the teaching of our Lord in John 17.
That is the basis and the nature of Christian unity.
It must never be thought of except in terms of this great background, this essential doctrine.
The one sovereign God is the ultimate source of spiritual unity.
"Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord."
That was the Apostle's creed of ancient Israel, its central confession of faith in a time
when most people believed in many gods.
"I am the Lord your God... you shall have no other gods before me."
When Jesus was asked what is the first and greatest commandment,
He simply repeated the creed of Israel: "Hear, O Israel... the Lord is one;
and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength."
(Mark 12: 29f.)
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8: 4: "There is no God, but one."
And here in Ephesians 4: 6: "There is one God and Father of us all."
The word God has many meanings.
Anything which a man considers to be most important in his life, whose power he thinks is the greatest,
and for whose favor he would do anything or give anything to win, is properly called his "god."
A person may have many gods.
When a person worships anything else than the God of the Bible -- the one God,
he is worshiping an "idol."
An idol may be attracted or ugly.
An idol may be a concrete thing, a mythical character, or a mental ideal.
It is always something a person will serve with all he is or has.
Some people will worship drink, or pleasure, or money, or power, or even other persons.
Whatever or whosoever we put first in our heart is a god to us.
Sometimes a person will worship himself or herself.
(2 Thessalonians 2: 4)
When Christians speak of God, we mean the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible.
God has different names in the Bible.
He is called the "Lord," the "Almighty," the "Lord God,"
the "Creator," our "Maker," our "Heavenly Father."
Sometimes the word "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" is used.
But such names have the same meaning as "Lord."
Nothing or no one can stand beside Him.
Remember, "other gods" includes not only the wood and gold idols of primitive people,
but the more sophisticated idols of modern men, often called "isms."
Such "isms," such as: socialism, individualism, materialism,
communism, capitalism, secularism, and spiritualism.
To know the one God who alone is God means that neither do we have to,
nor are we allowed to, be dominated and controlled by any political ideology or by our weakness,
our physical needs and desires or by the repression and denial of our physical needs and desires.
No wonder the first Christians were denounced as atheists.
They renounced all the gods that other men anxiously or fanatically
clung to for the sake of the one God who freed them from all the dehumanizing, tyrannical gods.
And at the same time made an exclusive total claim on their lives.
And that one God, the God of the Bible, is to be revered, worshiped, and adored.
He is solitary in His majesty,unique in His excellency, and peerless in His perfections.
"We confess and acknowledge one God alone, to whom alone we must cleave,
whom alone we must serve, whom only we must worship, and in whom alone we put our trust."
-- Scot's Confession of 1560
We worship one God (Deuteronomy 6: 4), not three gods.
Though it is true that Scriptures ascribes election especially to the Father,
redemption especially to the Son, and sanctification especially to the Holy Spirit,
yet in each of these departments, all cooperate.
The three never work at cross purposes.
The Biblical faith stands or falls with the affirmation of one God.
Christians are by definition, people who are freed from the superstition,
fear and slavery of believing in all kinds of visible and invisible powers and authorities.
And they are freed for loving and fearing, trusting and obeying the one true God.
"One God and Father of all..."
We are "His people."
We all go to Him together and worship Him as "our Father."
"This is life eternal," says our Lord, "that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3)
This is the ultimate goal.
There is only one God, there is only one knowledge, and we know Him as "our Father."
"Ye have not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear;
but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, abba Father,
the Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
This is what makes us one.
We are "children" of the same Father.
And we know that He has a great inheritance prepared for us.
As the church is one because it is pervaded by one Spirit, and because it is owned and governed by one Lord,
so it is one because it has one God and Father, one glorious Being to whom sustains
the twofold relation of creature and child.
"One God and Father of us all."
The word, "all," in this passage appears to have specific reference to all the redeemed.
It is not the idea of the universal fatherhood of God in the sense sometimes used,
that if there is one God and He is the Father of all men.
Rather, the emphasis here is on the fact that there is one God,
and He is the Father of all the redeemed.
There is a sense in which God as Creator is "Father," (cf. Malachi 2: 10)
but the present context favors the limitation of the concept here to His being Father of all who are Christians.
All believers (Jewish and Gentile), forming one redeemed body, have one God and Father.
This one God is "above all, and through all, and in you all." (Verse 6)
He is "over all, and through all, and in all."
This threefold relation indicates His sovereign power, His pervasive action,
and His indwelling presence.
"Over all" speaks of God's unshared sovereignty.
He has, and can have, no superior.
His throne, lifted high over all creation, is paramount and unchallenged.
He is the Most High, Lord of heaven and earth.
He is subject to none, absolutely independent.
God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, and always as He pleases.
God governs His creation.
God said, "Let there be light," and "there was light."
God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear,"
and "It was so."
"God said, let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed,
and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth."
And "It was so."
The Psalmist declared: "He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast."
Remember God's absolute (and sovereign) control of inanimate matter
in connection with the plagues upon Egypt.
At His command the light was turned into darkness, and rivers into blood; hail fell,
and death came upon the godless land of the Nile,
until its haughty monarch was compelled to cry out for deliverance.
At God's command fire and brimstone descended from heaven and the cities of the Plain
were destroyed, and a fertile valley was converted into a loathsome sea of death.
At His command the waters of the Red Sea parted so that the Israelites passed over dry shod,
and at His Word they rolled back again and destroyed the Egyptians who were chasing them.
Psalm 147: 15-18:
"He sendeth forth His commandment upon earth: His Word runneth very swiftly.
He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoar frost like ashes.
He casteth forth His ice like morsels: who can stand before His cold?
He sendeth out His word, and melteth them: He causeth His wind to blow, and the waters flow."
All the elements are beneath God's sovereign control.
The second phase speaks of God's immanence.
It speaks of His presence as pervading, controlling, and sustaining all things.
Although He is over all, He does not live in remote indifference.
His influence and power are felt everywhere.
Acts 17: 28: "In Him we live, and move, and have our being."
What a sweeping assertion!
Notice these words were not addressed to one of the churches of God,
and not to a company of saints who had reached and exalted plane of spirituality.
They were addressed to a heathen audience.
They were addressed addressed to those who worship "the unknown God,"
and who "mocked" when they heard of the resurrection of the dead.
And yet, to the Athenian philosophers, to the Epicureans and Stoics,
Paul did not hesitate to affirm that they lived and moved and had their being in God.
This signified not only that they owe their existence and preservation to the One
who made the world and all things therein, but also that their very actions were encompassed,
and therefore controlled, by the Lord of heaven and earth.
The third phase, "in you all," speaks of God's indwelling
and suggests a personal and intimate relationship.
The one God and Father dwells in His people by His Spirit.
Therefore, in Scripture it is said that the Spirit dwells in believers, that Christ dwells in them,
and that God dwells in believers, and therefore also, our Lord prays for His people.
Jesus prayed in John 17: 21:
"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me,
and I in thee, that they also may be one in us."
Here Paul is referring of the relation of God to the church, and the whole passage makes this point.
God, as Father, is over all its members, through them all and in them all.
The church is a habitation of God through the Spirit.
It is His temple in which He dwells and which is pervaded in all its parts by His presence.
The Greek preposition, dia, therefore, does not here
express instrumentality, but expresses diffusion.
It is not that God operates "through all," (dia patwv) but that he pervades all and abides in all.
This is the climax.
To be filled with God; to be pervaded by His presence, and controlled by Him, is to know the summit
of all created excellence, blessedness and glory.
The Lord God omnipotent reigneth!
His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over the brutal beasts, over the children of men,
over angels good and evil, and over Satan himself.
No whirling world, no shining star, no storm, no creature moves, no action of men,
no errands of angels, no deeds of devils -- nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise
than God has eternally purposed.
Here is the foundation for faith.
Here is the resting place for the intellect -- a weary mind.
Here is the anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast.
It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, men or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world.
He is ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory.
A true recognition of God's sovereignty humbles us as nothing else does or can.
It brings the heart into lowly submission before God, causing us to yield our own self-will
and making us delight in the perception and performance of His divine will.
"Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight." (Matthew 11:26)
Come, let us adore Him!
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org