Week 11: Unity

FRIDAY

Peter wrote in His epistle, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. “ (I Peter 3:8-9) We were called to walk in unity with one another. It is hard to do that if our focus is on the things that we want or in the way that we want them. That type of selfish thinking will not build up the body and yet its presence frequents our churches most Sundays in some way. What could change in our churches if we had the focus of this verse in that we sought to first be a blessing to someone else before receiving a blessing ourselves?

That type of attitude is both life-giving and life-transforming. It builds up the body in a powerful way. So as you go to church this week, do not focus on the things that are not the way you wished them to be. Think of a way that you could bless someone else and build them up. Focus on how your presence in the church body could lead to strengthening the unity of the church. Remember unity does not equal passivity. If there is something that needs to be worked through, be committed to working through it at the proper time. But do so with an attitude that honors God and seeks to build unity in the church. Take advantage of the opportunities that you will have to bless someone else this weekend with an act of love no matter how small it may seem.

THURSDAY

There are many different things that attack the unity of a church. We talked Sunday night about a list of different ones: anger, unforgiveness, gossip, quarreling, selfish ambition, and pride. The list could be longer but what we need to realize is there are things that will be destructive to our unity and we need to identify them and stop being passive with their presence in our churches. D.L Moody once said, “I have never yet known the Spirit of God to work where the Lord’s people were divided.” That is a bold statement! But its truth should unsettle our passiveness with disunity in the church.

Paul told the church in Epehesus, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) We are urged to walk with one another in a manner worthy of the calling that Jesus has given us. How are you walking with one another today? Is there something that is hindering the unity that you are experiencing with another brother or sister? Seek to be reconciled to that person and continue to respond to what Christ has done for and in you and continue to bear witness to the world what Christ has done for them by living in biblical unity with one another.

WEDNESDAY

Unity motivates a church to accomplish more than they ever could without it. Perry Noble has said, “When a team feels like a family, they will go all out to love and serve one another.” We can see this truth communicated time and time again in the New Testament and it was an effective witnessing tool the early church had that drew people to the message that they proclaimed. When the unity of a church is strong they are motivated to accomplish great things. It can be considered much like the fire produced from one stick as opposed to the blaze produced by thousands of sticks. Much more is accomplished when we work together to accomplish God’s will.

The writer to the Hebrew church again has something to say about our unity, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) A unified church will consider how to encourage and stir one another up to fulfill the mission that God is calling them to do. As we are committed to living out our faith with one another we will work through the obstacles we encounter and go out of our way to both encourage each other and be faithful to what God is calling us to do. May we not lose sight of the importance of unity in the church.

TUESDAY

Richard Baxter once poetically wrote, “Is it not enough that all the world is against us, but we must also be against one another? O happy days of persecution, which drove us together in love, whom the sunshine of liberty and prosperity crumbles into dust by our contentions!” Who in this world can the body of Christ turn to if not each other? At times we have abandoned fellow believers around us in their moment of need. We have left them to fend for themselves and for some it has been too much, they became hardened by the difficulties they experienced and some have turned their back on following the Lord. Unity with one another should drive us to encourage one another.

The writer to the Hebrews said, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Have you taken advantage of the opportunities that you have to exhort and lift up other believers around you? That is an essential aspect of being a part of the Church. Let us not just come alongside of one another during the worst seasons of life. Instead, let us continue to lift one another up to fulfill the call that God has given to each of us and the Church as a whole!

MONDAY

Corrie Ten Boom once wrote, “Be united with other Christians. A wall with loose bricks is not good. The bricks must be cemented together.” This week in our Gospel of John series I talked about the importance of church unity. I mentioned the fact that this topic was so important to Jesus that he spent one of his last nights before His crucifixion praying that those who called themselves His followers would be defined by their unity with one another. In fact, one of the results of the unity of those who followed Christ would be that the world would come to realize and believe that God had sent His Son into the world. (John 17:21)

So many times the quality of our unity with one another has the opposite effect though. The world sees the way we argue amongst ourselves, the way we treat each other, the authenticity of both our unity with each other and our unity with Jesus and come to the conclusion that they do not want to follow Christ. Disunity in every sphere of life is destructive and especially in the church. It leads a trail of wreckage behind it. The true authentic unity that Jesus desires for us on the other hand is magnetic and draws people to the saving work of Jesus. The Psalmist wrote, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) Indeed!  May it be true of our interaction with one another in greater ways this week!