The Church, Forgiveness and Eternal Life

September 8th, 2019

Minoh International Church
Pastor Joseph Ricohermoso
Ephesians 4:1~13 NIV


The last part of the Apostles’ Creed reads like this:

. . . the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe in and belong to a dynamic community that spans the centuries.

The Greek word ekklesia in the New Testament refers to the church as a group of people, an assembly, NOT a building. It literally means, “those who are called out.”

The church is not a static building but a dynamic pilgrim people who are constantly moving on in faith and obedience. They have been called out of darkness and called out of the world of sin.
It includes those who have gone ahead of us (have died) and those who will follow (next generation of believers). It is a great fellowship of faith, spanning the ages and the continents.

When the Apostles’ Creed uses the term catholic, it means “according to the whole” or “universal.” In saying that the church is catholic we affirm that its message is valid and relevant to every age and every situation.

In several of his letters, Paul wrote of Christians’ essential unity that underlies a diversity of gifts for service.

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?
10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:1~13

1 主に仕えたために、今こうして牢獄につながれている私からお願いします。このようにすばらしい神の祝福を受けるために選ばれたあなたがたは、それにふさわしく生活し、行動してください。
2 謙遜で柔和な人になってください。愛をもって互いの欠点を思いやり、互いに忍耐してください。
3 御霊によって心を一つにされるよう常に努力し、互いに仲良く暮らしなさい。
4 私たちはみな、一つの体の各器官です。だれもが同じ御霊を与えられ、同じ輝かしい未来へと招かれています。
5 また、私たちの主はただ一人であり、信仰も一つであり、バプテスマ(洗礼)も一つです。
6 そして、私たちすべての上に立ち、すべての中に宿り、各器官である私たちを貫いて生きておられる、神であり父である方は一つです。
7 けれども、キリストは私たち一人一人に、それぞれ賜物を与えてくださいました。ご自分の豊かな賜物の宝庫から、お心のままに与えてくださったのです。
8 聖書の詩篇の作者は、こう言っています。「(キリストは)復活してサタンに打ち勝ち、勝利を得て天に帰られた時、人々に惜しみなく賜物をお与えになった。」
9 ここで、キリストが「天に帰られた」という点に注意してください。つまり、最初は天の一番高い所におられたのに、地の一番低い所に下られたことを意味します。
10 この下って来られた方が、天に帰られたのです。それは、キリストが、底辺から頂点に至るまで、あらゆる点であらゆるものを満たすためなのです。
11 さてこうして、ある者には使徒としての賜物が与えられ、ある者にはすぐれた説教者としての賜物が与えられました。また、キリストを救い主として信じるように人々を指導する賜物を受けた者もいれば、羊を見守る羊飼いのように、神の民となった人たちの世話をし、教え導く力を受けた者もいます。
12 なぜこのように、それぞれに賜物が与えられたのでしょうか。それは、神の民となった人々が、神のためによりよく働けるよう整え、キリストの体である教会を、力にあふれた、完成した状態へと建て上げるためです。
13 そしてついに、私たちは、救いについて、また救い主である神の子につ

エペソ人への手紙 4:1-13 Japanese Living Bible (JLB)

  1. Our commonalities as Christians – vv.1~6

According to this Scripture, Christian believers have these things in common:

Calling you have received (v.1), just as you were called to one hope when you were called (v.4)

One body and one Spirit, one hope (v.4)

One Lord, one faith, one baptism (v.5)

One God and Father of all (v.6)

We are exhorted to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (v.3)? Let’s remember that it is not only an ideal that we must aim for, but it’s practical. There are actual ways for this unity to be kept.
クリスチャンとしてパウロに「御霊によって心を一つにされるよう常に努力し、互いに仲良く暮らしなさい」 をするように強く忠告されています。これは理想ではなく現実な忠告です。この結束を保つ実践的な方法があります。

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (v.2)

  1. Unity in diversity – vv.7~11

After building a strong case for unity in verses 1~6, Paul abruptly switches to ways Christians differ in verses 7~11. According to this Scripture, how are Christians dissimilar even in unity?

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it (v.7)
7 けれども、キリストは私たち一人一人に、それぞれ賜物を与えてくださいました。ご自分の豊かな賜物の宝庫から、お心のままに与えてくださったのです。

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers (v.11)
11 さてこうして、ある者には使徒としての賜物が与えられ、ある者にはすぐれた説教者としての賜物が与えられました。また、キリストを救い主として信じるように人々を指導する賜物を受けた者もいれば、羊を見守る羊飼いのように、神の民となった人たちの世話をし、教え導く力を受けた者もいます。

There are diverse gifts as Christ has given them. As such, we can also expect diversity of expressions in the way they are put to use.

For example, what are your attitudes toward Christians who belong to groups or denominations different from ours? Are you aware of the many denominations within Christendom?

We can talk about the different denominations separately because of time constraint. But, just to give you an idea, we can divide the major denominations into two (2) categories, namely: liturgical and non-liturgical.

The liturgical churches include: the Roman Catholics, Orthodox churches, Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians and Methodists.

The non-liturgical churches include: Anabaptists, Congregational churches, Baptists, Churches of Christ, Adventists and Pentecostals.

Which aspects of your beliefs and their beliefs feel most divisive, and which feel most unifying? Is it their mode of baptism? The way they do the Lord’s Supper? Leadership structure? Etc.?

The disunity of churches does not deny the fact that the church is one. There are many different churches or denominations, yet to the extent that these are genuinely Christian, they are all part of the one church.

And the church’s message is valid and relevant to every age. It is not as if there were one church with a message suited to the 2nd century and another with a message suited to the 21st. The same church, throughout all ages and across the world, seeks to apply the same gospel in any situation it may happen to meet.

The Scripture passage expresses what the Apostles’ Creed calls, “the communion of saints.”

To declare that we believe in “the communion of saints” does not mean that we believe in a holy club; it means that we believe in a holy God who has called us as individuals into a community, within which His work of renewal and regeneration can take place.

Communion is the old English word for fellowship, and it identifies a key role of the church. Among its many functions the church is there to support its members.

At one level it means “sharing joys and sorrows.” But fellowship operates at another level as well, the level of material goods and wealth. It is a reminder of the need for mutual commitment within the Christian fellowship.

The word saint just means “someone who is holy.” Christians are holy not because of anything we are in ourselves, but because of the One who has called us. God’s holiness can be reflected in our lives, even if we ourselves are sinners.

  1. Forgiveness of sins

The creed expresses belief in “the forgiveness of sins” with no attempt to explain the idea or elaborate on it. Yet in this Scripture passage we see the idea of reconciliation between God and human beings with a single word: CALLED. It connotes the idea of being welcomed and invited to a new relationship with God.

Forgiveness of sins is perhaps the most powerful and familiar concept used to explain the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection for believers.

Forgiveness of sins may be regarded as a legal concept involving the remission of a penalty or debt.

Whatever penalty was due for human sin has been fully met by the obedient death of Christ on the cross.

Forgiveness is also closely related to the idea of reconciliation.

Forgiveness is what is necessary for a personal relationship to be restored to its former state after a hurtful disagreement or misunderstanding. Our sin separates us from God. The creed, however, affirms a central and joyous insight of the New Testament—this barrier can be and has been broken down by God.

  1. Resurrection and life everlasting – vv.7~11

Verses 7~10 affirm that Christ ascended in triumph and lives forever.

The Greek language, in which the New Testament was written, has two words for life. One is bios [the root of biology] and it means, “mere biological existence”; the other is zoe [the root of zoology] which means, “life in all its fullness.”

What we are being offered is fullness of life as what our Lord Jesus said in John 10:10.

“The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10


ヨハネの福音書 10:10 JLB

It is something that not even death itself can destroy. We are not being offered an endless extension of our biological existence but rather a transformation of that existence.

Eternal does not mean “throughout all time”; it means “outside time.” Eternal life means life with God, outside the confines of space and time.

Eternal life is not something that lies totally in the future. We can begin to experience it now. While eternal life in all its fullness is something we can only hope to gain in the age to come, we are able to gain a foretaste of it now. Eternal life is inaugurated, though not fulfilled, in our present life as believers.


We belong to the one body of Jesus Christ. We must not see other churches as our competition, but rather nurture our connection with them. Pray that your God-given gifts of service will be used to build up Christ’s church.

We have been called and reconciled to God. We have been forgiven of our sins. Let’s no longer continue to live with guilt, but joyfully pursue the transformed life He has given to us. That is, to honor and glorify Him.