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Summary: Building up the Body of Christ through unity in the local church!

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Evening Message

Central Church of Christ

January 21, 2001

John Dobbs

BODY BUILDERS: SPIRIT OF UNITY

Romans 15:5-6

Introduction:

1. We cannot sacrifice the unity of the Body of Christ without sacrificing everything that we stand for! We believe in the saving power of Christ! We believe we are inhabited by the same Spirit! We all serve the same Father! We are born again into the same Family! When Satan is successful in disrupting unity, then we suffer in terms of our purpose!

2. Each of us needs to possess certain characteristics that so that we can build up the body here at Central. Romans 15:5-6 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among ourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In John 17 Jesus Christ prayed to the Father expressing one major request! (John 17:11, 20-23). In our understanding that the church is the body of Christ, it is certainly necessary for us to fulfill the will of Christ in regard to that body.

I. UNITY IS THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY

A. It is a visible unity – a oneness. 2 Corinthians 5:19 “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” Satan’s strategy throughout the ages has been to destroy unity in Christ’s body. “However ornate a church may be, however perfect its worship and its music, however liberal its giving, it has lost the very first essential of a Christian fellowship if it has lost harmony.” William Barclay. Christ, who unites us, is greater by far than the differences which may divide us. With unity destroyed, the message that the world needs to hear will be buried beneath the rubble of broken hearts and bitter spirits.

B. Paul urged for viewpoints that bring unity! Do Not Judge One Another!Romans 14:13 “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Love moves us to avoid behavior that may cause another brother to stumble and fall into sin. That can include the act of judging itself!

Build Up One Another! Romans 14:19 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” b. Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Unity is the essence of Christianity! We have a…

II. A DYNAMIC EXAMPLE – THE JERUSALEM CHURCH

A. The unity of the Jerusalem church was profound! Acts 2:46 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…” There was great joy because of their common faith. This does not mean that there were no problems! Certain widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.

B. The results of unity.

*Acts 2 reports the unity of the people, and at the end of the chapter mentions, “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (47)

*Acts 4 reports that the believers were one in heart and mind. In verse 33, “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”

*Following a restoration of the unity in Acts 6 with the neglected widows, notice verse 7, “So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

C. Unity is the essence of Christianity, we have a dynamic example of how unity brings so many blessings!

III. HOW WE REALIZE UNITY!

A. Realize that unity is possible. Psalm133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” 1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

B. Realize that unity in a local church is not automatic. Creating and maintaining unity takes effort. Every believer has to do his part. Make every effort – see that human factors do not creep in to create misunderstandings which divide us. Satan delights in using trivia to destroy local churches. Philipians1:27 “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.”

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