Summary: In this sermon I talk about the importance of maintaining unity in the church and give practical ways a church can protect against disunity.
How To Protect Our Church
MESSAGE DISCLAIMER: Most of this message material was taken from a sermon Rick Warren (Saddleback Church) preached to his core leadership. This sermon fit right in with what our church is (was) going through at the time. I used the manuscript from his "Leadership Lifter" series.
I want to get very practical with all of you tonight. I want to talk about something that is very important to the heart of God and that is unity. Unity is absolutely essential to reach any kind of achievement. It’s needed in families. To have a happy family, you have to have unity there. It’s needed in business. Employees must learn to get along. It’s needed in government in order for the government to get anything done. Our government can be brought to a standstill whenever the different parties cannot get along. On a football team, players have to be unified in order to win and just putting guys in the same jersey doesn’t automatically make them a team as you very well know.
But especially in the church, there must be unity for God to be able to work and for the church to become all that God wants it to be.
When you join NCC (some of you will be doing that next week) you signed or will sign a membership covenant. One of the things you agree to is that you will protect your church by promoting unity. Unity is a key theme in the Bible. The Bible talks more about unity than it does heaven and hell. It is up to EVERY member to help protect the church’s unity. Churches are made up of people and believe it or not there are no perfect people. So people get into conflict with each other so we need to learn how to deal with it.
First of all let me talk to you about the importance of unity in the church.
1. Jesus prayed for it. John 17:20-26
The world will be won to Christ when the church is one. It is key to reaching the unchurched.
2. Remember, the church is a fellowship. Fellowship is not something we do but something we are. Acts 2:42 (PH) “They continued steadily learning the teachings of the apostles and joined in the fellowship.” Since the church is a fellowship if you destroy the unity and harmony of the church you destroy the church.
3. We are commanded to make unity the top priority. Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bonds of peace.” One of your primary jobs as a member of this church is not only to be involved in ministry but also promote peace. Whatever it takes!
4. Any attitude that causes disunity is sin. We need to make sure we are regularly checking our attitudes.
5. Unity is a witness to the world. John 13:34-35 “Jesus said, ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.” When a church loves each other there is unity and harmony. Visitors will walk into the service and say “There’s something going on in here that I want.”
Bill Hybels, the pastor of Willow Creek Community Church just outside of Chicago makes this statement. “If you create a loving community, first time seekers will sniff it and say “I want in.” (www.sermoncentral.com)