Summary: All true believers have God’s glory within, no matter what they may look like on the outside. Christian unity is not based on the external, but the internal. The very Spirit of God within us.
How important is unity in our individual lives? How important is unity in our church? Jesus had a lot to say about the importance of unity. If Christians cannot be unified, then we are not approaching one another in love. And we cannot be a good witness for Christ if we are bickering with one another.
The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the church in Colossi; “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Christians may belong to different churches, contemporary and traditional, denominational or non-denominational, but we all belong to the Lord and to one another. We are to love one another which is the perfect bond of unity.
This illustration is a perfect example of the disunity of two Christian brothers:
Some time ago I came upon a fellow on a trip who was carrying a Bible.
“Are you a believer?” I asked him.
“Yes” he said excitedly.
I’ve learned you can’t be too careful.
“Virgin birth?” I asked.
“I accept it.”
“Deity of Jesus?”
“Death of Christ on the cross?”
“He died for all people.”
Could it be that I was face to face with a Christian? Perhaps. Nonetheless, I continued my checklist.
“Status of man?”
“Sinner in need of grace.”
“Definition of grace?”
“God doing for man what man can’t do.”
“Return of Christ?”
“Inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.”
“The Body of Christ.”
I started getting excited. “Conservative or liberal?”
He was getting interested too. “Conservative.”
My heart began to beat faster.
“Southern Congregationalist Holy Son of God Dispensationalist Triune Convention.”
That was mine!
“Pre-millennial, post-trib, noncharismatic, King James, one cup communion.”
My eyes misted. I had only one other question.
“Is your pulpit wooden or fiberglass?”
“Fiberglass” he responded.
I withdrew my hand and stiffened my neck. “Heretic” I said as I walked away!
The disciples had often exhibited a spirit of selfishness, competition and disunity, and this must have broken the heart of Jesus. I wonder how He feels when He sees the condition of the church today.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 17, verses 20 through 24, Jesus says; “I For those who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may believe in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are One; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I Am, so that they may see My Glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Church unity? Unity amongst Christians. God’s Word tells us just how important this is. God loved each of us before the foundation of the world, before even the world was created!
Thomas Brooke, a puritan preacher wrote; “Discord and division become no Christian. For wolves to worry the lambs is no wonder, but for one lamb to worry another, this is unnatural and monstrous.”
What is the basis for Christian unity? The person and work of Jesus Christ. He has already given His glory to us, and He promises that we will further experience that glory when we get to Heaven. All true believers have God’s glory within, no matter what they may look like on the outside. Christian harmony is not based on the external, but the internal. The very Spirit of God within us.
One of the things that most impresses the world is the way Christians love each other and live together in harmony. But I have to say that the world also thrives on just the opposite. When there is disunity in the Christian church, when believers act like everyone else, relying on our human nature rather than the spirit of God within us.