Summary: God is returning for a bride without spot or blemish. Guidelines regarding unity within the Body of Christ
Unity in the Body
Joh 17:11 [NLT] Now I am departing the world; I am leaving them behind and coming to you. Holy Father, keep them and care for them - all those you have given me - so that they will be united just as we are.
Joh 17:20-23 [NLT] "I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. (21) My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father-that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. (22) "I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are- (23) I in them and you in me, all being perfected into one. Then the world will know that you sent me and will understand that you love them as much as you love me.
What is Unity?
Def: Unity is a heart condition of a regenerated believer that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and bears the fruit of kindness, compassion, peace-making, forgiveness, humbling ourselves and esteeming others more highly than ourselves.
The “Church” has allowed denominations to bring about division!!!
We have allowed ourselves to be divided by “doctrine”….
• It is not our “Doctrine” that unites us……but “Faith through the Holy Spirit”!
Eph 4:3-6 [NLT] Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace. (4) We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future. (5) There is only one Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) and there is only one God and Father, who is over us all and in us all and living through us all.
Denominations should not cause division…..
• Denominations are just different expressions within the body.
o To fulfil a certain specific purpose
• It’s a matter of preference…
• Different expression..
• Eg. Hand, foot, arm, leg etc….
Our common denominator is ……Jesus Christ!!
• “Jesus Christ” needs to be the objective of our preaching and teaching in the church.
• He is the object of our worship……,
• …the purpose of our service………..,
• …the meaning of our very existence.
And so, unity between the churches is indeed possible…….(it’s not an option)
• “IF” Jesus is fully committed to be our common denominator.
• Jesus must be the focal point
o -- more than our variety of opinions ……. and
o -- more than our celebrated traditions.
• We need to lift Him up above all things and speak the language that Jesus spoke…
o — the language of God’s love.
Genuine love for our other brothers and sisters brings an image of “credibility” to the church.
1Cor 1:10-11 GNB By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my friends, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." -- Henry Ford
How does this work……?
• here we have a problem, because I believe God doesn’t see different churches
• He only sees one! One bride
We must realise:
• The things that divide us…….
• Are much smaller than that which unites us!!!
o Things that divide are disputable things!!!!!!
1Co 12:12-18 NLT The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. (13) Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into Christ's body by one Spirit, and we have all received the same Spirit. (14) Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. (15) If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body. (16) And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body? (17) Suppose the whole body were an eye-then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything? (18) But God made our bodies with many parts, and he has put each part just where he wants it.
Where to from here?