Summary: It seems like there is a real danger for the church in that, the stronger a they hold to their beliefs, the greater the chance of disunity. There is such need for us, with our great beliefs that we hold dear, to talk about church unity.
You may notice that during this time of the year that many of our men around the country are glued to the football games on television. College football is such a great part of American tradition. It all builds up to the bowl games at the end. That is what people are waiting for, to win the big bowl game. There may not be another bowl game more prestigious than the Rose Bowl. College players will dream of making it to the Rose Bowl to play under this great college football tradition.
One man who actually lived out that college dream was named Roy Regal. He made it to the Rose Bowl and was able to play in this great game. He did more than just play. He got his hands on the football and he ran. He ran all the way down the field almost the full one hundred yards, making it almost all the way across the goal line before he was finally tackled.
He lived out the dream. Yet this dream was not the dream he thought it was. There were two problems with the run that Roy Regal made. One is he was going the wrong direction and secondly he was tackled by his own player.
This is a picture of disunity. The team normally goes one way together across the goal line. Can you imagine if in a church there is this kind of disunity? A church where someone is running in the wrong direction and being tackled by their own teammate. Church unity is so important.
It seems like there is a real danger for the church in that, the stronger a person holds to their beliefs, and the more their beliefs are important to them, the greater the chance of disunity. People hold strong to their beliefs seem to collide.
There is such need for us, with our great beliefs that we hold dear, to talk about church unity. If someone does not care about their beliefs they don’ t clash over beliefs. When we hold our values dear it is important that we think of them in terms of church unity. In Philippi they struggled with this problem of disunity. We find insight into this disunity in Philippians 4:3 Paul’s focuses in on this problem of disunity.
In Philippians1: 27-30 Paul brings us a prescription for church unity. In our church we have a theme of unity. In our building program we say, together we build. Together speaks of unity. We say in our building program, united we stand. That word united represents church unity. Unity is important and we now more than ever need to consider what the Bible says to us about church unity.
One thing church unity does not mean is uniformity. It does not mean we force everyone into the same mold. I saw a cartoon, which pictured a youth talking to a religious leader. The youth had spiked hair, an earring and a chain around his neck and all the trendy clothes. Apparently this youth had made some kind of religious commitment. The religious leader was standing before the youth and saying, “You know young man that this means you are going to have to dress normally.”
When you saw the religious leader he was wearing a bishop’s hat that rises up about two feet with a cross on it. He carried a staff and wore a robe and an enormous cross. You wondered what this religious leader meant when he said dress normal. We do not force everyone into uniformity. When we talk about church unity we mean a unity of purpose. We mean a focus on Jesus Christ that gives us a common bond together. We hold these things in common and we move in the same direction.
I) The Source of Church Unity. Vs 27
Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. This could be a great life verse. It could be a theme for the whole of your Christian life. To live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Paul says there is a reason that he wants them to live worthy. He says that weather he comes or stays that there would be a unity of purpose. He knows he may come to see them again, but on the other hand Paul may not make it. He is saying whether I come or do not come you must be unified in purpose.
Illustration: Living worthy
So many times people wait for a key leader to come to get their act together. I remember when I worked for the Quaker Oats Company and the big corporate executives would come in and visit the manufacturing plant. They would announce their visit and we would prepare for weeks in advance. We would get ready for this big visit cleaning up every part of the premises. It was just right so that when they took their five-minute pass through our floor everything would look beautiful.