Summary: This message is intended to stress the need for unity and provide instruction on how we can gain and keep it: in the church and family.
MODEL FOR UNITY
A. How many of you have ever built a model?
1. There are all kinds:
a. Cars & Trucks
b. Military vehicles & Trains
c. Planes & boats
2. At present I am working on a ship, the HMS Bounty.
a. There are many reasons a ship can become famous, usually because of a great battle or race.
b. But that is not the case in this instance.
c. The ship is famous for a mutiny: Capt Bligh & Mr. Christian are name synonymous with the story
d. This was not always the case: there was a time when they all worked together to make it though a storm around Cape Horn, South America
- For thirty days they fought hurricane force winds, rain, snow and the most terrible conditions.
- Yet they are remembered for mutiny!
e. You cannot pilot a ship like this one without everyone being on the same page – working together, in unity.
B. Just as it takes unity on a ship to bring it though a storm, so it is with church and families. We need one another to survive.
1. Hence, God has given us His Church which is the body of Christ.
2. Through Christ we are bound together in a community of faith.
a. Belonging to Christ we belong to each other.
b. Fellowship with Christ means fellowship with each other. Through Christ, God has made us a family.
c. As such we are to live in unity!
3. And unity is necessary for “vision”
a. No matter how good things look on the outside, if there is division inside, vision will suffer
1) The word division is a made up of the word vision – one definition of the words is: a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation
2) That is what we are doing this coming October 26, looking to cast a vision for the future of the church
3) The prefix attached to the word is “di” meaning two
b. James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
c. And folks the body cannot move in two directions at the same time.
C. So with unity necessary for vision, how do we go about maintaining it or arriving at it in the first place?
1. Well, I believe we can find a Model For Unity in our passage for this morning, Acts 11:1-18.
2. Now some of you are thinking, “The pastor has lost it, we were in this same passage last week.”
a. And you would be right to a point – we were in this passage last week – you are very perceptive.
b. But I have not lost it – in fact, while I was studying for last weeks message I came across a message preached by Jason Jones, of New Rivers Baptist Church in Tifton GA.
c. And so I have taken his outline and put together this message for us.
3. This model is made up of three pieces
a. Communication – Open and Honest Dialogue
b. Headship – Submission to The Head
c. Commitment – Pursuing The Vision
4. But before we get to the message I must say, I find it just a little ironic, that we are going to be talking about unity and it was a “Christian” who led the mutiny on the Bounty.
So lets pray and ask God to provide us with unity: unity in our relationship with Him; unity in our relationship in our families; unity in our relationship with the church!
We will begin by looking at
I. COMMUNICATION – OPEN AND HONEST DIALOGUE, Acts 11:1-4 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.  And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,  Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.  But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying…
A. Peter had gone to Cornelius house and saw God save the whole family and then returned to Jerusalem to give the good news to the church – unfortunately, it was not received as such.
1. As I pointed out last week the Greek word translated “contended” can be used in a number of ways
a. One such definition is: to learn by discrimination, to try, decide; to determine, give judgment, decide a dispute
b. Some translation use the word criticize
2. The point is that the church in Jerusalem wanted an explanation of what took place, very possibly with good intentions, but wrongly held.
3. Now Peter could have gotten angry and started spouting off at the mouth, but he did not.