August 28, 2022
Aug 28, 2022
Today I am going to discuss “Unity” and why it is essential to us all.
Webster defines the word unity as being the quality or state of being made one.
Ephesians 4:1-6 (J. B. Phillips)
As God’s prisoner, then, I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another. You all belong to one body, of which there is one Spirit, just as you all experienced one calling to one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of us all, who is the one over all, the one working through all and the one living in all.
Ephesians 4:1-6 (AMPC)
I therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service, 2 Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. 3 Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace. 4 [There is] one body and one Spirit—just as there is also one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received— 5 [There is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all.
One of Jesus’s prayers during his last moments before His betrayal for all believers, His disciples and those yet to come, you and I, was recorded in John 17.
John 17:20-23 (NKJV)
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who [j]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. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Why did He pray this way? Right there in verse 23: that the world may know that Father sent Him. I believe that this is a subject that holds great significance to the Father and it should for us as well.
What is unity:
As I have mentioned before, unity is being made into something that is single. Like taking all of the necessary ingredients for a cake, all separate individual items, and combining them to create a completed end product. Dry cocoa by itself is terrible. Dry cocoa, combined with sugar, eggs, butter, flour, etc, becomes something that can actually be consumed and enjoyed.
Another way to define unity is coming into one accord or agreement. If we think about the making of the cake, we know that the ingredients do not change because they are combined. Cocoa is cocoa, it is definitely not flour. These different components once combined are simply enhanced and made to become something amazing when they are united.
Can you imagine what it would be like if your car was missing the spark plugs? Does the average driver think about the role of a spark plug in a car? Can the car be affected by the spark plug? Our cars would not start without spark plugs. One of the smallest components used in a car is the spark plug. It takes the fuel and air and somehow with a small strike it causes an ignition, a spark that brings that fuel to the engine and causes it to run.
These analogies are given to give a small glimpse of objects that are unified to create something that is complete.
(1 Corinthians 12:12-31 AMPC)
What unity isn’t:
There are some words that are used in conjunction with the word unity.
One is uniformity. Uniformity is something that is identical or consistent in every way. Like a uniform, or lipstick, or a certain box of nails. For people, this would mean that we all look the same, talk the same, think the same, like the same things, etc. This is not unity. In unity, we don’t have to think the same, speak the same, walk the same, and talk the same. We can be different and yet work toward the same goal, we can all be different, yet have perfect harmony.
Another word used is unanimity. This is the state of being of the same opinion or in perfect agreement. Working together doesn’t mean that we will not disagree. Unanimity is having the same exact perspective, that we are all in consensus. This is not unity.
We can surmise that uniformity is centered on appearances being the same. Unanimity is centered on us being in complete consensus of opinions; unity is centered on us being in one accord or in harmony with each other.
I would say that it is of utmost importance to the Father that we seek after and pursue the latter. That we seek after and pursue harmony and unity with each other.
We can be unified and still have a difference of opinion. Unity never takes away our individuality.
God is the perfect example of unity. He is the Triune God. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Each role is inseparable, yet each is distinct. All working in perfect unison.
Augustine of Hippo
“It is not easy to find a name that will suitably express so great an excellence, unless it is better to speak in this way: the Trinity, one God, of whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things. Thus the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and each of these by Himself, is God, and at the same time they are all one God; and each of them by Himself is a complete substance, and yet they are all one substance. The Father is not the Son nor the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father nor the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father nor the Son: but the Father is only Father, the Son is only Son, and the Holy Spirit is only Holy Spirit. To all Three belong the same eternity, the same unchangeableness, the same majesty, the same power. In the Father is unity, in the Son equality, in the Holy Spirit the harmony of unity and equality. And these three attributes are all one because of the Father, all equal because of the Son, and all harmonious because of the Holy Spirit.” (On Christian Doctrine, I.V.5.)
The mark has been set:
In John 17:20-23 we see that Jesus is praying to the Father. These are literally his last hours before He finishes His earthly ministry. His last moments with His disciples. In this passage of scripture we see and we read that He is praying about us! He says, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who [j]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.
He is expressing His deep and sincere desire, His last wish, that we, you and I, become one. That we become one like He is one with the Father. This is enormous and it is incomprehensible to the natural human mind. And then to make the standard all the more richer, He establishes the reason for this desire of His. He states that this unity will be the evidence for the world to know that He, His sacrifice, is real.
The church, our unity, is intended to be an example of the unity expressed in The Trinity. It is the expression of Christ in us, as we unite, to a world that is lost.
Each member of The Trinity is fully submitted to the other. Their desire is the same; their thoughts come into perfect agreement. Their love is complete, their peace is perfect and the result of their unity is supernatural power.
Philippians 2: 1-4 (TPT)
Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with his comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt his tender affection and mercy. 2 So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy.
3 Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. 4 Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests.
How are we walking with other believers? Are we quick to take offense, quick to believe the worst of another’s intention? Are we cold, aloof, sarcastic, harsh, rude? When we find that someone doesn’t do what we expect them to do, do we criticize, condemn, give them the cold shoulder, and silent treatment? How are we reflecting the oneness that Jesus has called us to?
Share story of judging another person’s ministry in front of a new believer and the conviction the Lord brought to me.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (TPT)
There are six evils God truly hates and a seventh that is an abomination to him: 1 Putting others down while considering yourself superior, spreading lies and rumors, spilling the blood of the innocent, 18 plotting evil in your heart toward another, gloating over doing what’s plainly wrong, 19 spouting lies in false testimony, and stirring up strife between friends. These are entirely despicable to God!
Discord is the lack of harmony; it is strife. Scripture teaches us that where there is strife
and discord, every evil work abounds (James 3:16).
Gal 5:19 (TLB)
19 But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group—and there will be wrong doctrine, 21 envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
As a Christ follower, we are called to live in harmony with one another. We are called to show the world that we are ONE in Him.
What Biblical Unity Brings:
1- It attracts the Blessing, the Anointing and Favor of God.
Psalm 133 (AMPC)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment poured on the head, that ran down on the beard, even the beard of Aaron [the first high priest], that came down upon the collar and skirts of his garments [consecrating the whole body]. 3 It is like the dew of [lofty] Mount Hermon and the dew that comes on the hills of Zion; for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, even life forevermore [upon the high and the lowly].
The Bible says that it is something to take notice of, to be seen (to behold), that it is something that is good and pleasant, and that life is better together when we get along with each other. Unity has always been God’s plan for us.
Ephesians 1:9-10 (AMPC)
Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him, 10 [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth.
The precious ointment spoken of here represents the anointing oil that was poured out on the High Priest. This oil was the oil of consecration, not to be poured out on any random man, but on the High Priest. In this sense, we would say that when this oil was poured out on Aaron, he would be one that offered service unto God and to God’s people; he would make atonement for the sins of the people (he would intercede for the people). He would make offerings on behalf of the people. As it would apply to you and me, when we live in unity with each other, we are set apart spiritually, and we can boldly walk in the anointing that belongs to one that is consecrated unto the Father. We have the touch of God present in our lives to minister not only to each other in the body of Christ, but we are also able to influence unbelievers.
Favor of God:
Dew refreshes and covers the ground. It forms a protective shield to plants to help aid in hydration and will reduce stress that can be caused by heat. It cools down plants and grass that are exposed to extreme heat. Dew also can help seeds to germinate naturally. Mt Hermon is the highest mountain in Israel. The slopes of Mt Hermon would therefore naturally have the most dew compared to Mt. Zion which was to the south of this mountain. The picture expressed here with dew indicates the blessings and richness of God, flowing down to the lowest parts. Unity among God’s people is life-giving. It offers favor, protection, and it strengthens us.
Unity will cause the world to look and to behold that we truly belong to Jesus. It will provide the necessary evidence to convince them that there is a God. He shows up when we are united. His power is made manifest amongst us when we unite.
2- It Helps us to Achieve More Together
Ecclesiastes 4:9 (ESV)
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their toil.
Many hands make light work. Jesus sent out His disciples two by two.
When the people were all together in Genesis 11:1 building the Tower of Babel, they were united. God said that they would be able to accomplish all they set their minds to do (verse 6). And they were rebellious. In Genesis 9, God told them to fill the earth. They began to build a city to make a name for themselves so that they would not spread out on the earth (Gen 11:4). Imagine what we could do as God’s people if we are united in Him.
3- It Will Cause us to Stand:
Matthew 24:25 (ESV)
25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.”
We will not stand if we are not united.
In Matthew 16, Jesus tells us that He will build His church and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The church is something that He builds, and we choose to be a part of it by choosing Him. If we choose Him, we must also choose to rightly relate to each other.
What Hinders Unity:
1- Being Offended
Holding on to unforgiveness causes disunity. Harboring and rehearsing our hurts will snuff out unity in the Body of Christ.
Holding on to anger, and resentment towards those we think may have treated us unfairly. Holding on to grudges.
1 Corinthians 3:1-4 (ESV)
But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
God has called each of us, in our uniqueness, to be part of the whole. Each of us with our individual giftings to be part of One Body.
4- Focusing on Self
Life is not about you! We must consider each other more than ourselves.
Philippians 2:1-4 (MSG)
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
We are not called to compare ourselves to each other; we are not called to outdo each other. We are called to work together to be a testimony of His love to each other and to those that are without Him.
When we divide ourselves from the body of Christ, we open ourselves up to being attacked. We become ineffective and stymie the anointing. We risk being attacked by the enemy. We risk losing our witness to those we are called to be a light to. It is said that Sunday morning is the most divided time for believers. We are separated from fellow believers because of denominations, because of race, because of politics; we are separated by culture. We hop from church to church because our personal needs are not being met. Or because the pastor said something that we didn’t agree with. And not only do we leave, we speak our rubbish to others and cause division in the houses of worship. This behavior must not be so among us. It must not be found in us.
We are called to be one, just as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one. This pleases the Father. This will cause the perishing, those without Jesus, to look and see Him, when we are united in His love and protect the bond of peace with each other (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:21).
- What will you do to promote unity among the body, among fellow believers?
- How are you a peacemaker when you are aware of differences between others? (Matthew 5:9)
- Ask the Lord if there are any divisive ways that you have allowed yourself to participate in, whether it be in your thought life or behavior. If present, repent and move forward to be a person who treasures unity.