Summary: How does a committed Christina promote unity within the body of Christ?
In our passage, when we are told that the church in Jerusalem was “all together,” the emphasis is not only on the fact that they were in a particular place, but that they met with a particular purpose. The description here is not just one that speaks of their physical location, but also of their spiritual condition. There was, in the fellowship of the early church, a oneness, an accord.
The secret to their oneness was that they shared common commitments. Specifically, there were three commitments which significantly contributed to their experience of unity - commitments which every committed Christian will share with others who are truly committed in their desire to follow Christ - commitments which contribute to unity within God’s family of faith, the local church.
A committed Christian advocates for Christian unity; and he advocates for Christian unity through encouraging . . .
1. A common commitment to the Lordship of Christ.
The Bible tells us that there were 120 who waited in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised (Acts 1:15). For 10 days, they waited for the Spirit’s coming and spent time in prayer. Why did they wait for 10 days? Because they were committed to doing what Jesus had asked them to do.
But it is important for us to understand that not everyone who had encountered the risen Lord shared their commitment. In 1 Corinthians 15:6, we are told of how Jesus had appeared on one occasion to over 500 people after He was resurrected. So, out of at least 500 people who had the risen Lord appear to them, only 120 were committed to obeying His instructions to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit had come.
There are those today who, despite having a relationship with Christ, are not fully surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. They may be part of the membership of the church, but they are not part of the fellowship of the church.
You see, the strength of the church’s fellowship with one another is directly related to the strength of the church members’ commitment to living under the Lordship of Christ.
When God’s people are each focused on the Lordship of Christ, their focus is on something far more important than the things which, too often, are allowed to divide us.
Christian conflict mediator, Blake Coffee says that the secret to unity is a commitment to finding the answer to one question, “What does God want?”
That is the question the committed Christian asks himself each and every day. Which his why he will be used of God to promote unity in the body of Christ. He will remind others that we must all always seek an answer to that question, regardless of what issues are under consideration.
A committed Christian advocates for Christian unity by choosing to live under and encouraging others to likewise live under a common commitment to the Lordship of Christ.
But he also advocates for Christian unity through encouraging . . .
2. A common commitment to loving one another.
For 10 days, the 120 tarried together in an upper room. That’s a lot of days lived in “close quarters!” Such conditions can produce tension and frustration among people. But such was not the case with this group. Why? Because they realized that they were in this thing together.
In his book, “One Church from the Fence,” Wes Seelinger writes: “I have spent long hours in the intensive care waiting room . . . watching with anguished people . . . Listening to urgent questions: Will my husband make it? Will my child walk again? How do you live without your companion of 30 years? The intensive care waiting room is different from any other place in the world. And the people who wait there are different. They can’t do enough for each other. No one is rude. The distinctions of race and class melt away. Each person pulls for everyone else. In the intensive care waiting room, the world changes. Vanity and pretense vanish. The universe is focused on the doctor’s next report. If only it will show improvement. Everyone knows that loving someone else is what life is all about.”
Obviously, what makes the difference in the way people treat each other in the intensive care waiting room is the fact that everyone realizes that they are all in the same boat.
Likewise, just as the early disciples knew that they were equally in need of the power of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill what Christ had called them to, we also need to realize that we are all in the same boat.
Without Christ, we are all in the Intensive Care Waiting room! Without the Lord, we not only can do nothing, we are nothing. We are all sinner saved by God’s grace. Such a humble awareness, will make a powerful and positive difference in how we view each other and on our willingness to love and forgive each other.