Summary: Even where there are disagreements, unity is a commitment to remain together.

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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.

1. Church

2. Marriage – A covenant not a contract

3. Family

4. Relationships


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

C. Be patient

1. Patience is a virtue isn’t it

2. I have trouble being patient driving down the road, when someone is going just ten miles below the speed limit.

3. How about you?

4. If we want unity, we have got to be patient

D. Bear with one another in love

1. As hard as it may be at times to bear with each other, we have got to do it.

2. It’s not that Becca has ever woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but there are days where I have to bear with her because I love her. In all fairness, though, she probably has to bear with me more often. As my stress level increases so does my rashness.

II. Be like-minded…being one in spirit (Philippians 2:1-4)

A. Why should we be united?

1. We are encouraged by unity with Christ

2. … comforted by His love

3. … in fellowship with the Spirit.

4. … tender and compassionate

B. If you want unity…

1. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit

2. In humility consider others better than yourself

3. Look to the interests of others

III. Here there is neither Greek nor Jew (Colossians 3:5-15)

A. Rid yourself of sin (v. 5-10)

B. Act like God’s holy children (v.12-15)

1. Clothe yourself with

a. Compassion

b. Kindness

c. Humility

d. Gentleness

e. Patience

2. Bear with each other

3. Forgive as God forgave you

4. Over all these virtues put on love


I. "Even where there are differences, unity is a commitment to remain together." Everett Ferguson

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