Summary: Special ingredients to establishing unity in the church
Mark Twain once said, "I built a cage and in it I put a dog and a cat. After a little training I got the dog and the cat to the point where they lived peaceably together. Then I introduced a pig, a goat, a kangaroo, some birds, and a monkey. And after a few adjustments, they learned to live in harmony together. So encouraged was I by such successes that I added an Irish Catholic, a Presbyterian, a Jew, a Muslim from Turkestan, and a Buddhist from China, along with a Baptist missionary that I captured on the same trip. And in a very short time there wasn’t a single living thing left in the cage."
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
MESSAGE: If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
In a church there is a surprising diversity in the congregation. We are old and young, wealthy and not-so-wealthy, from nearby and from distant locations, from different church backgrounds, and embracing a variety of views on the issues of the day. Like Baskin Robbins Baptist Church, our members come in at least 32 flavors—and the flavors change weekly.
Christians love our labels and sometimes we judge each other by the labels we wear.
Two men met on a plane and one man asked the other, " Are you a Christian?" "Yes I am." "Wonderful!". "Are you Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox?" "I’m a Protestant." "That’s great. So am I." "Are you Calvinist or Arminian in your theology?" "I’m happy to say that I’m a staunch Calvinist." "That’s fantastic. So am I." "If you don’t mind my asking, Are you a Calvinistic Baptist or a Calvinistic Presbyterian?" "I’m a Calvinistic Baptist." "What a coincidence. I’m a Calvinistic Baptist too." " Are you a Northern Calvinistic Baptist or a Southern Calvinistic Baptist?" "By heritage and by choice I am a Northern Calvinistic Baptist." "Unbelievable! So am I." "May I ask if you are a Northern Regular Calvinistic Baptist or a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist?" "I’m a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist." "This is truly astounding. There are only 200 of us in the world—and two of us happened to meet on this plane." "Tell me, sir, would you happen to be a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1844 or a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1868?" "I am a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1844." "This is a miracle!" "Are you a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1844 King James Version or a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist Convention of 1844 New International Version?" "I am a Northern Conservative Calvinistic Baptist of 1844 New International Version,"
With that the first man ceased to smile, turned away and refused to speak any further to that heretic.
Satan loves it when Christians split hairs. First we split hairs, then we split churches One major danger for every church is DISUNITY.
I. The Resources for Unity 1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
The word speaks of "comfort, and cheer." The ideal is of someone standing with you to help and strengthen you. If we are to experience this help and encouragement as a group of believers, harmony is essential.
Unity is a precious gift of the Spirit. It is to be prized, to be sought, and to be guarded at all costs. When it is lost, it is hard to regain. Paul understood this truth and sensed that underneath the surface there were cracks in the church that if not repaired would fragment the congregation.
Verse 1 contains four "if" statements. Those do not express doubt. In the Greek this actually expresses a certainty—"If such-and-such is true―and I know that it is …"