Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit – Common Grace.

Class Outline:



Title: Ephesians 4:4-6, One Spirit - Common Grace.


In the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, we would use the scripture to prove that He is a Person (has a personality and is not a force) and that He is God, or Deity. We would study His typology in the OT as well as His ministry in the OT (creation, revelation, inspiration, and ministry to man). We would study His relation to Christ (virgin birth, ministry to the life of Christ, Christ’s sufferings and glorification). And then we would come to His works or ministries in the age of the church.


Next we turn to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in common grace.


The Holy Spirit forms the church by baptizing each believer into union with Christ and entering them into the body which is one in eternal life and intimacy of the Trinity (JOH 17:21).


We will return to the baptism of the Spirit to look at more detail as we progress through EPH 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.


JOH 17:17-23

“Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. 18 As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20 I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. 22 And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.”


1CO 12:12-13

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.


Common Grace:

The work of the Holy Spirit is primarily toward the Christian, but He is working in the world as well. He ministers in scenes of disorder and sin, GEN 1:2; 6:3.


The chaos of the primeval earth finds the Spirit’s presence, moving over the surface of the waters.


GEN 1:1-3

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.


God works in the world of darkness. That doesn’t make Him a part of it, nor influenced in any way by it, but He is not absent from it or hands off.


During the wickedness of Noah’s day, the mad course of men was striving against the Spirit of God.


GEN 6:1-5

Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.


5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.


The degeneracy of the period of the judges had its heroes with the Holy Spirit upon them; Othniel (3:10), Gideon (6:34), Jepthah (11:29), and culminating with Sampson whose strength came from the Holy Spirit (13:25; 14:6, 19; 15:14).


The prophets of the period of Israel’s kingdom were living examples of the power of the Holy Spirit to minister in the midst of sin and unbelief. From the beginning, the Holy Spirit has been restraining sin and evil throughout human history, and continues today. It is impossible to connect certain historical events with the working of the Holy Spirit, unless revealed in the scripture. Yet, throughout history we see evil frustrated and collapsing in falling regimes, collapsing economies, lost battles, won battles, surprising bravery at pivotal moments, sudden ‘coincidences.’


It seems proper from revelation that the Holy Spirit is not only restraining sin and evil to preserve civilization until the time set by God, but also so that the unsaved in every generation would be evangelized.


The Holy Spirit is also restraining sin and evil now. It would be expected that He should have a special ministry to the unsaved world in every generation.


2TH 2:7-10

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.


The antichrist, the little horn, appears on the scene after the ten kings arise from the one world government and have taken rulership of the world. Whether the ten kings ascend to power after the Rapture or before is anyone’s guess.


There seems to be an interim period between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation, which begins when the antichrist signs a seven-year treaty with Israel. How long that interim period my be is also a guess at best.  


Common grace: the entire work of the Holy Spirit on behalf of the unsaved world - restraining and revealing the gospel.


The work of the Holy Spirit revealing the gospel is an aspect of a larger program of God in dealing with a lost world. As we look at our world through the lens of media (news and television programing) or at the sin and evil and death present, when we see them, it is easy to forget that the Spirit of God is moving everywhere, restraining sin and evil (things could be a whole lot worse), and revealing the gospel.


The gospel must be articulate, understood, and a universal call of the gospel must go the world. Only God could accomplish all of this, and He uses man and circumstances to do it.


It is vital that the Holy Spirit do both things: restrain the power of Satan and his hatred of the gospel and truth and to make the gospel understandable to man’s natural incapacity. All men are born spiritually dead and remain that way until they are born-again.


In view of the power of Satan and his hatred of the truth and the gospel, it must be the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit that explains the freedom of Christianity and missionaries in much of the world. And in fact, in nations like China and Iran, where Christianity is seen as an enemy and is heavily persecuted, still the church grows there.


God is calling out His church in this age, and that is common grace. It cannot be stopped by man or Satan.


Therefore, when we see the persecution of the gospel and of missionaries, evangelists, and teachers in this age, we need not despair. Certainly, we don’t rejoice over it either, and pray for the strength and conviction of faith in those ambassadors for Christ, yet, nothing is going to stop common grace in this age for it is the work of God.


Due to the fall, man is unable to comprehend the truth of God. This is an obvious problem.


1CO 2:9-16

but just as it is written,


"Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,

And which have not entered the heart of man,

All that God has prepared for those who love Him."


10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. 14 But a natural [psuchikos - immaterial part is soulish only, unspiritual] man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.