Summary: Even where there are disagreements, unity is a commitment to remain together.
Living In a Unified Church
Ephesians 1:10; 4:1-3; Philippians 2:1-4; Colossians 3:5-15
Preached at the Laurel Church of Christ
On October 20, 2002
I. Illustration: Kids Playing Church
A. Years ago, Leslie Flynn penned a book called, Great Church Fights.
B. In it he chronicled the way people in different churches would go after each other – all in the name of Jesus Christ.
C. A Young father heard a commotion out in his backyard, he look outside and saw his daughter and several playmates in a heated quarrel.
D. When he intervened, his daughter called back, "Dad, we’re just playing church!"
II. We recognize that assembly of saints are not act in such a way.
A. What a sad state of affairs when kids find it fun to play this kind of church?
B. I even find myself appalled at any church acting according to this description, and even I like to think of the perfect church
C. You know the place.
1. Where everyone smiles
2. Where everyone has no problems
3. Where there is no sin
4. Where everyone is happy.
D. So, we jump to the conclusion that at church no one should disagree.
E. Wrong! Disagreements will happen.
F. "Even where there are disagreements, unity is a commitment to remain together."
III. Unity is helpfully contrasted with two polar opposites: Uniformity and Union
A. Some people think of Christian unity in these terms: everybody must look, think, and sound alike.
1. "There is a certain core of beliefs and practices in which there is uniformity,
a. although even these may often have variations in expression at different times and places;
b. but to expect a large degree of uniformity is to deny individuality and uniqueness of personality."
2. Uniformity means that everything is alike
a. Some good examples are members of the military, a band, a team.
b. They all wear a uniform, thus creating a physical uniformity.
B. On the other side, many hope only for a loose sense of union in which people come together in their diversity.
1. Members of a trade union keep their individuality, but come together for economic goals.
2. The American colonies united to create a national government.
C. Unity may share some aspects of union and uniformity, but its essential quality is found elsewhere.
D. "Even where there are difference, unity is a commitment to remain together."
IV. Today we will look at three passages written by Paul, to give us a better sense of unity.
A. We struggle with unity in multiple areas of our lives.
2. Marriage – A covenant not a contract
I. Ephesians 1:10 "…to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ." (Ephesians 4:1-3)
A. Live a life worthy of the calling which you received
1. Paul is writing to a church who is struggling with divisive spirits
2. Jew vs. Gentile
3. My way or the highway
B. Be completely humble and gentle
1. In contrast, Paul says don’t consider yourself better than the other
2. Humility is making yourself lower than the other
3. That means elevating the one with whom you disagree