Summary: This message examines the importance of unity to our walk with God.
In our text the prophet Amos poses a very thought provoking question, “Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” I would like you to take a few moments and think about the implications of this question. As Christians one of the distinctive marks of our faith is the privilege to walk with God. However, that brings another question to mind, “Does the way we relate to others have a direct bearing on our walk with God? John answers this question quite clearly in 1 John 4:20-21, “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Logic causes us to arrive at this simple conclusion, in order for us to enjoy walking with God we must first agree to walk with one another. As long as there is conflict and divisions among us, our fellowship with God is impacted in a very negative way. The bottom line is this; to walk with God requires us to be within the boundaries of his will. His will dictates the necessity of His followers being united as one. Amos’ point is this, in order to enjoy unity, we must agree to put our differences behind us and agree to walk with one another and God. Today I would like us to take some time and look at what determines whether or not we walk with God.
I. When divisions exist among us, we cannot walk with God.
A. When divisions exist, the basic foundation of our faith is destroyed.
1. The purpose of the Gospel is to bring all people into a common fellowship united with one another under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
2. Consider these words from one of Jesus’ prayers, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21—NIV)
3. It is the desire of God’s heart for His people to be united. Unfortunately Satan has done a tremendous amount of damage to the church and its witness by using people to cause divisions.
4. When we allow divisions to be created we willfully work against the prayer that Jesus prayed in John 17.
B. Divisions send the wrong message to those outside the church.
1. If we cannot agree to put our differences aside and work together to get His work done, how can we expect the church to be able to make a united stand upon God’s will.
2. Perhaps the greatest challenge we face as Christians is to put our own desires and preferences aside in order to take the Gospel to the world around us.
3. The Lord has placed a huge responsibility on our shoulders, and we cannot allow ourselves to take it lightly.
4. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20—NIV)
5. In order for this to be accomplished, we must unite together around this common purpose.
C. God’s work cannot be done by a divided people.
1. How can we take a message of unity to a divided world if we ourselves are divided?
2. Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25—NIV)
3. If we are going to be able to stand, we must come to the point that we decide it will be what God wants, not what I want.
II. When we do not display love for one another, we cannot walk with God.
A. What determines whether or not we have love for our brother?
1. In a world full of imperfect people, relationships will inevitably become broken. Our love for one another is visible when we seek to reconcile ourselves to those with who we have a broken relationship.
2. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Matthew 5:22—NIV)
3. Jesus gives explicit instructions on how to handle these situations. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24—NIV)