Summary: How to have unity in the local church.
No matter how much a local church has going for it, division can negate it’s vision.
The word division is constructed of the word vision with the prefix "di", which means, "double".
Double vision can be dangerous. If you are seeing two of everything you need to make a trip to the eye doctor. If there is disharmony in the local church you need some spiritual doctoring.
CONDITIONS FOR UNITY:
1. "Speak the same thing." (1 Corinthians 1:10)
There must be unity in speech if a local church is to make an effective impact for God.
The Bible is not saying there isn’t room for disagreement among good Christians. Rather, we are encouraged, even when we do disagree, and we will, to speak in such a way as to promote harmony.
Your motive for speaking and how you deliver your words are just as important as what you say.
Be careful of a critical spirit. If you find your self hyper-critical of everything done in your church and others in your church, there are two options:
a) The church may need your positive contributions to turn in the right direction, or,
b) You may need to change your attitude. Ask yourself, "Is there something else going on in my life right now that has me angry or discouraged? Am I taking my frustration out on others in my church?
It’s good from time to time to pray the prayer of the Psalmist:
Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.
2. "Be perfectly joined together in the same mind." (1 Corinthians 1:10)
There must be unity of thought if a local church is to have an effective impact for God.
Once again, unity and uniformity are not the same thing. God has given all of us different perspectives to bring to the table.
Pro 11:14 Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety.
I have refinished a few pieces of antique furniture in my time and I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t matter how hard and long you sand the finish, no matter how precisely you stain it and varnish it, if the joints are not glued and clamped your prized heirloom will fall apart.
A church may look beautiful and have the latest technology, latest innovative programs and sharpest presentations, but without unity it will come apart at the seams.
How can we accomplish this objective? How can we "perfectly joined together in the same mind?"
We can all spend a lot of time in the Bible and by reading the same thing we will have a greater chance of unity.
We can worship together consistently, serve together regularly, pray together faithfully, and fellowship together constantly.
These things will help to keep us on the same page.
3. "Be perfectly joined together in the same judgment." (1 Corinthians 1:10)
There must be a unity of purpose if a local church is to have an impact for God.
God’s purposes are greater than our minor differences in the local church.
I talked to a man not long ago who thought he could possibly die from cancer. He’s not a Christian man so I was trying to share the Good News of God’s love to him. For the first time in years he was very open to God.
Then he got better and the doctor told him he would live. His coldness toward spiritual things resurfaced.
I’m not telling you about this to criticize this individual but to point out how our perspective changes when we grapple with eternity.
When we get to heaven, will it really matter that we voted with the minority on the color of the church carpet?
What will really matter is whether or not we accomplished God’s purpose for the church.