Summary: Importance of unity

INTRO: A man was visiting a place where many dangerous mentally-ill patients were housed. The man was terribly shaken because there were only three guards to watch over 100 inmates. The man questioned the guard, “Aren’t you afraid that these people will unite and overpower you?” The guard’s reply was a simple one, “No, lunatics never unite.”

TITLE: United We Stand, Divided We Fall

I. Unity with others

II. Unity with ourselves

III. Unity with Christ

DEF: Unity - become one, alike, oneness, join together.

I. Unity with Others - I Peter 3:8-9 (READ)

-Peter gives us five virtues to help us live in unity with others!

A. Harmony (GK: Of one mind) Romans 12:16 - “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but willing to associate with people of low position.”

1. Paul is stressing the temptation of thinking that you’re better than someone else (superior breed of a Christian). Have equal regard for one another.

ex In music have different chords: soprano, alto, tenor, bass. When they are all singing in harmony, it makes beautiful music.

-I’m proud to say I can sing in all ranges.

ex African Army ant. (Destroy anything in its path, lizard) Cross water, some drowned bridges to overcome obstacles.

-Shows us the power of doing things in unison.

B. Sympathetic (GK: Suffering or feeling the like with another) Romans 12:15 - “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn.”

-Share in one another’s joys and sorrows. Sometimes it’s easier to feel sympathy for those in sorrow than share in their joy because (envy).

Ex. Jesus is a perfect example (he spent most of his time with the down and out). (Religious leaders questioned this - tax collectors, prostitutes, wicked sinners!)

-Don’t judge someone until you have walked in their shoes! If someone is having a problem, don’t come off as cold and judgmental.

ex Coach telling me to throw strikes (like I didn’t know that).

C. Love As Brothers (GK: Secular people used this expression for an attachment to one’s blood relatives.) Christians began using this term to relate the close ties within the spiritual family of God.

ex Blood thicker than water (quarrels, enemy comes, family unites).

D. Compassionate (tenderhearted) A lot alike with sympathy. (This tells us that it’s important to have this type of attitude).

ex John 11 - Lazarus’ death, travel there, Martha tells death, Jesus says brother will rise, Mary comes weeping, Jesus moved (weeping).

-Compassion is a further extension of sympathy; not only to feel what they feel, but to also act. (Do something about it).

E. Humble - (GK (Lowliness, friendly) attitude of not thinking you’re better than someone else. Putting their needs above yours.

-Phil. 2:6-7 - “Who being in the very nature of God. Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

F. V. 9 - Deals with how to handle those who are hostile to us. (Note: God’s justice will far outweigh our revenge).

1. Natural response to hostility is retaliation!

-Jesus taught love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you (respond to hostility with grace).

a. Don’t repay evil for evil but with blessing (means to speak well of someone, friendly manner towards someone).

ex Peter is warning us to not fill into this negative cycle (destroy our relationship with God) not to give the devil a foothold in our life.

b. Chose to bless, we will be blessed (having an attitude of giving, caring for others needs rather than our own needs).

ex Early church (Acts 4:32-35) READ

1. Background - Jesus killed, resurrected, heaven, HS comes, Peter heals crippled beggar, taken and released from Sanhedrin, atmosphere of persecution.

-Text tells us they were in one heart and mind, focused on one purpose (I believe the early church had these five virtues we have discussed).

Power of Unity - Early church numbers were few but almost 300 years later Christianity spread worldwide. Rome, in the beginning, outlawed and killed Christians (Paganism was religion) but in 300 years Christianity became legal and paganism was outlawed!

Power of Unity - (Secular) - Germany after WWI (economic, political disaster) span of 20 years became a world power.

TS - Can’t have unity with others until we have with ourselves!

II. Unity With Ourselves - James 4:1 (READ)

A. Desires that battle from within causes fights and quarrels!

1. The process - James 1:14-15 (READ) everyone encounters:

a. Own evil desire, drags away and entices us (our own).

b. Desire, sin, death (notice sequence).

-Temptation comes and works through our own evil desires!

B. Three basic ways we are tempted - I John 2:16 (READ)

1. Cravings of a sinful man (flesh), desires.

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