Summary: Unity is a vital issue for society as well as for the Church. Unity involves us having a relationship with one or more persons and God wants to be involved so that we can be united as people and as a community enjoying the friendship of God.
Unity is a vital issue for society as well as for the Church. Unity involves us having a relationship with one or more persons and God wants to be involved so that we can be united as people and as a community enjoying the friendship of God.
So, the subject of unity - inside and outside the church - is:
- personal - it affects every one of us
- active - we have to participate, as unity is meaningless without others
- risky - you can be rejected
1. In the beginning
The words of Amos ring true "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (Amos 3:3). Man was created by God to be His special companion and friend.
Genesis 1:26-30 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
But, it didn’t stop with Man’s creation. God gave everything to Man:
28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
2. Love is spelt ‘R.I.S.K.’
The act of creation was not a random action of some remote God, but it was a deliberate action on His part to involve someone who could choose to be His friend or His enemy. God took the risk of being rejected. This is always a possibility, when we trust someone enough to love them. Love may not be returned!
3. It all went wrong
Initially, the unity between God and Man was perfect. But, then along came that enemy of God and Mankind - 'Sin'. It took the unity enjoyed by God and Mankind, and broke it, separating Man from his God. Disunity arrived, for disunity is ‘Sin’.
1 John 3:4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is [the breaking of God’s Law] lawlessness.
4. God’s rescue plan - Man’s comeback
Question: are we ‘sinners’, i.e. have we broken any of God’s laws (per 1 John 3:4)? Let’s look at the Bible’s answers.
a. So, have we broken any of God’s laws?
Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 'And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. 31 "And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
This is a whole lot better than having to keep the 613 Jewish rules and regulations!
b. So, we’re all sinners?
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
c. We can have this barrier removed, and receive forgiveness -- freely given!
There is hope for:
Romans 3:24 we ... are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
d. This free gift of forgiveness came at God’s expense
John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be placed on a cross, taking the penalty for our sins - dying in our place.
Romans 6:23 ... the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
e. Only Jesus has the answer!
The answer for real unity can only be found through Jesus. Man has been trying for centuries to create unity by his own ability, both between nations and within family and marriage. It’s failed so far, and it never will truly work unless God is brought into the equation.