Psalm 133:1 reads, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." If we are to be the people of God, unity is a necessity. We need to be of the same mind, of the same heart, have the same desires, the same love, and the same hope. We must be united in all things related to spiritual living if we are to fulfill the desires of God."
Firstly, we need to have unity in our identity. Jesus in John 17 prayed for the unity of believers. This passage has been misused by many to the end that we should have 'interdenominational meetings' which are to show the united nature of the followers of Christ. Jesus wanted all to be members of one body, members of one church, the church that He Himself established. He did nto ask for unity amongst various religious groups. There is but one church, the church established by Christ Himself. Any other is not His own, and thus cannot be united with His own. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul tells the brethren that we are "...baptized into one body..." To be a member of the church Jesus established, and to partake in the unity He desired, we must first be baptized into Christ, and thus, we have been baptized into the body of Christ, the church.
We are also in need of untiy in doctrine. Imagine a church which has one preacher teaching that baptism was necessary unto salvation, and another teaching that it is not. That would be a church which does not have unity. Denominational groups, in establishing their 'interdenominational meetings' have tried to bridge the gap between their doctrinal differences by uniting around love, and a common desire to serve Christ. Again, I say there cannot be unity, unless there is unity in doctrine. Paul wrote to the Corinthian brethren asking them to "...Speak the same thing..." and to "...be of the same mind and the same judgment..." It seemed important to Paul that Christians agree when it comes to doctrine, for without such agreement, unity is but a distant dream. On twelve occasions in Paul's writings to Timothy, he emphasized to him the importance of doctrine. On 4 occasions in his letter to Titus, again he encourages the need for sound doctrine. It would seem that unity in doctrine is a necessity if we are to be united in the manner Christ wanted.
When we think about unity, we ought to regard it in the perspective of a family. Scriptures teach that "every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand." Such is true in regards to the Lord's church. We need to have unity in identity, in doctrine, and in our attitudes and actions toward one another. Several times in Scripture, the apostle Paul encouraged brethren to "...be of the same mind toward one another." If the church is to stand united, we must learn attitudes which support unity, not division.
|We need to be of the same mind, of the same heart, have the same desires, the same love, and the same hope.|
Ephesians 4 gives us some facts that the church of our Lord centered upon. We read from verse 4, "There is one body and one Spirit - just as you were called in one hope of your calling - one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all and in you all." One would seem to be an important term when looking at the service of God. From these points in Ephesians, we might conclude that we are to have unity in identity, unity in our source of life, unity in aspirations, unity under one Master, unity in one doctrine, unity in our practice, and unity in the reverence and worship given to the Creator of all. As Paul wrote in verse 3 of this same context, we need to "...endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Click here for this week's Answering The Atheist
Why did God both commend and condemn Jehu for his actions at Jezreel? Is there a contradiction?