…put someone down
…or tell them off
…or ignore them
It hurts the community when we do that.

Instead, we are to bear with each other’s imperfections, even if they are totally obnoxious.
We are to tolerate each other’s weaknesses.
We are to live in harmony.


Next Sunday, we begin our annual discipleship emphasis.
We do this emphasis because we are disciples.
We are deliberate followers of Jesus.
But we are to be humble enough to understand that we need correction from time to time.

Christians, like pianos, need frequent tuning.

So the tune-up is beginning for us this morning as we apply these four challenges.
The first challenge is…

1. Focus on the truth that unity is sacred.

Note this…
Unity is God’s idea.
Unity is God’s priority.
It is something we must get right.
This is an absolute for us.
There is no debate about it.
Unity is holy.
So we have to get it right.

This is not to say that we can’t disagree.
Disagreements are a part of being a family.
But how we disagree is very important.

Every once in a while, I hear someone say, “I don’t want to disagree because I don’t want to be accused of disunity.”
You are right.
You don’t want to be accused of disunity, because unity is sacred.

You see…
If we voice our disagreements with anger, we are wrong.
If we voice our disagreements with a critical spirit, we are in the wrong.
If we voice our disagreements by talking about people, instead of to them, then we are in the wrong.
But if we voice our disagreements with a spirit of love, grace and compassion, it can lead to a healthy discourse as we work to discern the Spirit’s leading.

This brings us to our second challenge which is to…

2. Practice unity since it is essential to accomplishing our purpose.

The ESV translates part of verse three with “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit…”
Other versions translate it this way…
“Make every effort…”
“Stay together…”
“Being diligent to preserve…”
“Striving earnestly…”
“Do your best…”
In other words, we are called to give an all out effort when it comes to unity.

So why is this so important?
It is important because God uses unity to enable us to achieve kingdom purposes.
Unity is the vehicle the church rides to fulfill its mission.
And what is our mission?
We are called on to multiply, by making disciples of Jesus, intentionally reaching the spiritually lost of our community.

This brings us, then, to our third challenge which is to…

3. Control any attitude and/or action which prevents us from experiencing unity.

In one of my old nursery rhyme books, there is this limerick:

ILL Unity (H)

There once were two cats of Killkenny.
Each thought there was one cat too many.
They fought and they spit,
They clawed and they bit,
Till instead of two cats there weren’t any!

We know that is not what we want to experience.
But the truth we must face is that a divided church is a dying church.