PC-USA1997-11-19 - Unity in the Body

Lately I keep running into articles and Scripture passages about unity in the body or Christ. It is a topic close to Christ's heart. Unity shows the world Christ is from God. Unity builds up the body. Unity glorifies God.

Sometimes we need to take a stand. When something unScriptural is taking place in our churches or other Christian groups, we need to stand on our convictions. In fact, to not do so could be as much as condoning the unsound practices or beliefs. But as I have said before, we must choose our battles carefully. Think of all the effort and time that we spend fighting over the non-essentials. That time could be spent witnessing, doing missions work, serving God and fellowman.

Christ wanted His followers to be one, so unbelievers would know Christ was from God.

(John 17:20-21 NKJV)I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Paul admonished the believers in Corinth to avoid divisions, because we represent Christ, and He is not divided.

(1 Cor 1:10-13 NKJV) "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"

When all parts of the church use their gifts, the body is built up into a unified whole.

(Eph 4:11-13 NNAS) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Our unity brings glory to God.

(Rom 15:5-6 NNAS) Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What kind of witness is it, when people see Christians tearing each other apart? Who would want to be a part of that?

There are serious consequences for causing dissension, both now and in the life to come:

(Gal 5:19-21 NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Churches have literally split over insignificant issues. How it must grieve the Father when this happens. So the next time you start to complain about something, ask yourself some questions - is this really a vital issue, basic to the faith? Could this cause division in the church / group?

Dear Lord, please help us to choose our battles wisely. Let us look to You only as our Commander-in-Chief. Help us promote unity in Your church. In Jesus' name, amen.