Summary: The sermon introduces the series and stresses the importance of protecting the unity of the church that Christ died to give us.
Somerset Membership Covenant
I Will Save the Unity of Our Church
January 4, 2004
A visitor to a mental hospital was astonished to note that there were only three guards watching over a hundred dangerous inmates.
He asked his guide, “Don’t you fear that these people will overpower the guards and escape?”
“No,” was the reply. “Lunatics never unite.”
1. And if there was ever a group of people who should be smarter than lunatics, its the body of Christ!
2. The body of Christ is not a bunch of lunatics, so we’d better be smart and unite!
B. The Scriptures have some very important things to say about the need for Christians to be united…
1. Romans 15:5 "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,"
2. Colossians 3:14 "And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
3. Ephesians 4:3 "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
a. The apostle Paul says there that it is the responsibility of every member of the body of Christ to make every effort to keep unity in the church through the bond of peace.
b. That is the responsibility of every believer; every member of a church.
c. As long as the leadership of that church focuses on keeping that church Biblical—the next verses say this about what should be the foundation of that unity, "There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Ephesians 4:4-6)
d. The leadership needs to keep the church based on those truths, and if the leadership does its job to keep the church based on that, then the members of that church need to commit themselves to make every effort to keep (or save) the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
C. This is the first in a series of sermons that I want to preach on our new membership covenant.
1. We are going to start out the first of this year thinking and studying and praying about this new membership covenant.
2. We are going to have our first membership class on Saturday, January 17.
3. It will run from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
4. We will have lunch right here at the church.
5. As a result of that one-time, four-hour class, we will have our first members.
6. We will study in the class what it means to be a saved Christian and what it means to be a member of Somerset Church.
7. Those who decide to take the class, sign, and abide by the covenant will be members of the church.
8. We will have other opportunities to take the class on different days of the week in different formats.
9. Let me know if Saturdays are not convenient for you and we will create other opportunities for you.
10. But the first class will be January 17, beginning at 10:00 AM.
D. So today’s sermon is about the first statement of the covenant: I Will Save the Unity of Our Church.
1. Christ died to unite us, to make us one.
2. We are united.
3. The only way we can be divided is if we allow Satan to use us as tools to divide our unity.
4. He is subtle and sneaky so we need to do exactly what Ephesians 4:3 says, we need to make every effort to save the unity that Christ has given us.
5. So here are three important ways that we can do that, first…
I. …by acting in love toward other members
1 Peter 3:8 (NIV), Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
A. The apostle Peter gives us several ways which we should treat others in the church.
1. Peter explains to us the way in which we should act towards other members.
2. And if we act in these ways towards others in the church, we will go along way towards maintaining the unity that we now enjoy at Somerset.
B. First, Peter says that we should live in harmony with one another.
1. Now this just makes sense, doesn’t it?
2. It just makes sense that church members ought to live in harmony with one another.
3. It just makes sense that church members ought to get a long with one another.
4. And it just makes sense that if church members are not living in harmony, there will be no unity in the church.