Summary: Unity, according to Jesus, is essential for the well-being and success of any institution. This is especially true of the family and the Church.
Christ made a profound statement rgarding the importance of unity in MARK 3:24-25. Let us stop to examine the context of this statement.
Jesus had just cast-out demons from a fellow. Rather than admit Jesus’ Divine power, the spiritually blind Pharisees were making the claim that Jesus expelled demons by the power of Satan rather than by the power of God.
Christ Jesus states that such an accusation is entirely irrational. Demons are Satan’s loyal subjects and they are sent forth by their evil master to influenced and control individuals. If a person is possessed by demons that means that they are firmly under Satan’s dominion. Why would Satan use his powers to fight against himself? Why would the calculating and belligerent Devil be engaged in anything that would harm his own interests? Satan wants his own kingdom to succeeed and prosper. A kingdom - even Satan’s - if it is divided cannot stand....it will fail and fall.
Jesus’ statement is an universal truth. No household or kingdom can if it is divided. Unity is absoutely essential for the well-being and success of any family and kingdom. Since each of belong to one and, hopefully, both...let’s examine this closer.
The very concept of family carries with it the idea of unity. The family - beginning with the marriage of the husband and wife - is the most basic unit or grouping of individuals in Society. God spoke of marriage in unifying terminology such as "cleaving" and "one flesh".
The unity between the husband and wife is the cornerstone in the foundation of the family’s unity. If they are not united in a bond of mutual love and respect, are not guided by the same basic set of values, are not in agreement on what direction the household or family should strive towards, and do not cooperatively work together to reach common goals and ends...the household or family will crumble.
Whether it be on the family budget or policies on raising the children or determining the spiritual direction of the family, whatever the issue may be... the husband and wife must unite for the well-being of the household. If the husband and wife do not unite and promote unity, it is a pipedream to think that the children will appreciate and see the value of the family bond. They will not accept, without great contention, the premise of contributing to the good of the family or making any personal sacrifices for the sake of family. Thus, unity is thwarted.
When it comes to decision-making within the family, the Scriptures make it clear that the husband or father has the ultimate say. However, the man must acknowledge that he is not omniscient nor act as an arrogant tyrant. The glory of God and the well-being of the family - present and future - must be ends to achieve in all decision-making.
The man cannot presume to know what is best for his wife and family unless he first knows his wife and family. What are their individual and collective needs?
PROVERBS 13:16 says, "Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool displays folly."
PROVERBS 18:15 adds, "The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge."
To gather knowledge, the man must listen to and observe carefully his family. Decision-making with family input is not only helpful, but oftentimes critical. PROVERBS 13:10, "Through presumption comes nothing but strife (the opposite of unity), but with those who receive counsel is wisdom."
Before moving on, let me add that this responsibility of the man is extraordinary and, at times, overwhelming. The wife and children need to appreciate and show support toward the husband and father that is truly trying to promote the family’s well-being and bond of unity. Unity is dependant on everyone in the family doing their part.
Much more could be said on family unity but I want to move on to the next entity mentioned by our Lord -
The kingdom of God or Church is greatly in need of unity. Christ made it abundantly clear that He wanted His followers to be united: JOHN 17:20-23; 10:16. For teaching purposes, I will have us examine three important ways in which a congregation of the Lord’s Church must be united:
A. In Doctrine and Practice.
In His prayer for unity, Jesus’ alludes to the fact that one way in which unity would be secured is that they all would hear and accept the one sanctifying truth of God - preached by Christ and given to the apostles: JOHN 17:14-21. See also: MATTHEW 28:18-20; HEBREWS 1:1-2; 2:1,3-4. The early believers accepted the apostles’ doctrine as divinely inspired and those doctrines proclaimed by inspired men is the foundation for unity in the Church: 1 THESSALONIANS 2:13; 1 CORINTHIANS 4:17; ACTS 2:41-42; EPHESIANS 2:19-22; 1 CORINTHIANS 1:10.