What Is Unity?
- The Triune God. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; (John 14:11) 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:20-21)
- Imitating the Trinity.
- “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” (I Corinthians 12:12-14)
- “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6).
- We are rooted in Christ. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” (Col. 2:6-7 ) Are we separate potted plants?
- We are the body of Christ. “…but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head —Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:15-16) Are we separate organs in tissue culture trays?
What Destroys Unity?
- Unconfessed sin in the church.
- Exalting leaders and distinctive doctrines over love for all the brothers. “For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” (1 Cor. 3:4-7)
- Being wrong in our rightness. Our views on church liturgy, music, architecture, preaching style, childrearing, educational pedagogy, food, medicine, etc., etc. give us occasion to despise or judge our brothers. (review the last two sermons)
- Lack of love for other Christians in different denominations. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”. (John 13:34-35). “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil…” (I Corinthians 13:4-5).
Benefits of Unity
- God blesses us.
- It is good and pleasant. 1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
- “The world will know we are His disciples! A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
- Evangelism will be much more effective. When we are living in unity, we are presenting to the unbelieving world a better picture of the Gospel and the Trinity. If not, they see an unattractive & dismembered body of Christ.
Bringing About Unity
- Confess our sins. We must be made pure, holy, and righteous? How? (1 John 1: 9). What sins? All kinds of sin hinder unity to some extent, but some sins overtly cause disunity. Bitterness (lack of forgiveness), divisiveness, looking down our nose at other denominations (doctrinal pride: knowledge puffs up), and stubbornness. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
- We must cultivate humility, gentleness, patience, and love. I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as 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 above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph. 4:1-6)
- Practice hospitality (Romans 12:13). Make close friendships with other believers outside your denominational tradition. This should be a delight (Romans 12:9). It shouldn’t be contrived or forced. Friendship builds trust and brotherly love. Once a loving friendship is established, you can talk about your doctrinal differences graciously without becoming contentious.
- Seek to work with other churches in evangelism & mercy ministries (as far as you are able). 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (Phil. 2:2).
- Don’t be possessive or territorial. What are we trying to build? Our denomination’s local or national presence or God’s Kingdom?
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)