Summary: A short message for any time of the year (but would be useful as a new year message) that draws the attention of believers to their responsibility to demonstrate the message of Christ in their local church.
Unity and Purpose.
I feel drawn this morning to give a short message on Unity and Purpose in the Church of Jesus Christ.
When thinking about this topic it prompted me to think about the word “Unity” and ask myself what it means.
The dictionary defines unity as
Concord; harmony; conjunction; agreement; uniformity; unity of doctrine.
But what is unity in the Christian sense or to be more specific, what is it in the local church sense?
Well I know what it is not, it is not, everyone l thinking and doing the same thing. Neither is it everyone thinking as though they were on rails.
In reality Unity is
“Togetherness of hearts that are personally committed to Christ”
Paul spoke about unity when he said,
This work must continue until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge of the Son of God. We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have his perfection Eph 4:13 NCV
Paul uses the word “growing” That is what we are doing by the power of the Holy Spirit… we are growing individually and corporately into a greater understanding of the Gospel and what it means, this means that we are all exposed to a continual revelation of the person of Jesus. We need to keep open hearts to embrace this growth and revelation.
LW is made up of many different peoples with different stories but the common dominator is our unity in Christ and the fact that we are growing in our understanding of what the Lord has done for us.
Then I began to wonder about the word “purpose”,, the dictionary states,
PURPOSE The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal:
Sarah Hale who died in 1879 was an American writer. She was the author of the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and she campaigned for the creation of the American holiday known as Thanksgiving
She said about purpose,
"And ever those, who would enjoyment gain Must find it in the purpose they pursue"
So purpose is in part perusing something.
But what is “purpose” in the Christian sense or rather in the sense of the local church?
Purpose is not energy for different projects it is everyone in unity all moving toward the same goal, a goal not defined by men but by the scriptures.
Surprisingly that goal is not actions or programs they are a means to attain the purpose that exists among us.
When we think of the local church in Acts what was it that defined it?
Well there were a few things,
Persecutions, worship, unity and this overarching thing that really set the church alight and caused such a stir in the Roman and Gentile world “The Lord adding daily to the church such as should be saved”
Jesus said, “if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people toward me”
(We know that Jesus was showing how He would die. Lifted up on the cross.)
In Acts the common purpose of the church was to make Jesus known. We see this in,
Then those people who accepted what Peter said were baptized. About three thousand people were added to the number of believers that day. 42 They spent their time learning the apostles’ teaching, sharing, breaking bread, and praying together.
43 The apostles were doing many miracles and signs, and everyone felt great respect for God. 44 All the believers were together and shared everything. 45 They would sell their land and the things they owned and then divide the money and give it to anyone who needed it. 46 The believers met together in the Temple every day. They ate together in their homes, happy to share their food with joyful hearts. 47 They praised God and were liked by all the people. Every day the Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers.
Acts 2:41-47 NCV
It is right to say that the purpose of the church is to be centred on Jesus and as that happens men and women are just drawn to Him.
In our church programs, music, creative arts, preaching and teaching are all vehicles to help us express our lifting up of Him.
As we engage in these things we demonstrate a picture of Jesus to a world that has not the slightest knowledge of him. Ponder on this,
Many people in your town / city will go to their death bed and the sum total of their knowledge of Jesus and His purpose in coming will be from what they have learned from watching Christians!
All they will ever know about Him is what they see us doing and believing the Holy Spirit can then work with us and reveal Jesus to enquiring hearts.