Summary: Unity starts with, and stays so long as, the Body of Christ in a family, home group or church obeys a non-optional calling on our lives that requires us to actively live worthy of that call from Christ Himself.
Unity starts with, and stays so long as, the Body of Christ in a family, home group or church obeys a non-optional calling on our lives that requires us to actively live worthy of that call, from Christ Himself.
What is this call? It is known as the ‘Great Commission’. It is not optional, but applies to everyone who is a true, born-again Christian.
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely [then] I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
This calling involves …
1. Unity Through Maturity
Romans 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus (NIV).
Romans 15:5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another [mentally disposed to interest oneself in ‘one mind’ = ‘unity’], according to [in accordance with = as they will it, as you follow that will] Christ Jesus (NKJV).
Unity is a character, an attitude of heart and mind given by God (through grace Eph 2:8). This character is given as we actively and willingly follow Jesus, seeking to do His will in all things.
2. There Is A Real Cost
a. Take up your cross
Matthew 10:38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Take up our cross, and continue to take it up, or else we are not worthy. This leaves us in no doubt that we will need to pay a cost in sacrifice, pain, suffering, doing something you really don’t want/feel like doing (see Peter in John 21:18).
We can do this, but only as we ‘deny’ - ‘disown utterly’ our ‘selfishness’. ‘Me, me, me’ has to go in all areas of our lives. That is part of taking up our cross!
b. Start fishing
Matthew 4:19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."
Stop fishing for material wealth, promotion, getting a better house, car. Fish for souls that will have an eternal consequence:
Jude 1:23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear--hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Matthew 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him.
As Disciples (Matt 28:19), we obey our Lord Jesus when it is convenient to Him, not to us. Somebody knocks at your door or rings you at 3:00 am. What do you do? Only a few regulars turn up to special meetings, how do you respond?
3. A Life of Action
a. Will, but whose?
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
“Do the Father’s will.” Means you cannot sit and meditate through this life; get involved and follow Jesus.
b. But I need power
John 14:12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
If we will only believe, i.e. put our active faith in the person of Jesus, and go, we will be empowered to do all that He needs. Indeed, He promises that if we are close to Him, we are going to do even greater things than He did on this earth. Why? How? Because He sent us the Holy Spirit.
John 16:7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
c. Meet the condition; get the blessing
Only when we meet the conditions in Scripture do we receive the blessings. We expect to be blessed, but the Bible is clear that this comes only after we have fulfilled Christ’s conditions.
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
When we go and make disciples, i.e. reproduce ourselves by teaching new Believers to obey Christ ... then and only then do we receive the promise that Jesus is with us always!