Unity: Part 1 - The Place of Blessing. Part 2 - The Causes And Cure of Breakdown
In this message we discover the importance of Unity among a local body of believers, to manifest the glory of God. We learn that unity is the place of anointing, refreshing and the commanded blessing. Unity is also key to world impact.
We are spending a few Sunday’s discussing the topic of Unity among us as a body/community of believers – so that we can truly be a people who manifest His glory.
Unity – The Place of Anointing, Refreshing, And The Commanded Blessing
When brethren dwell in unity –
They experience the flow of God’s anointing oil – the presence and work of the Holy Spirit,
They experience “dew” – refreshing and renewing
They experience life and blessing – and the Lord commands it for them. They don’t even have to go looking for it, God commands (appoints) life and blessing among a people who dwell in unity.
Unity – The Key To World Impact
Jesus prayed that we may be one in Him, that the world may believe….
Jesus prayed for us to be “made perfect in one”, that the world may know…
One of the things that is possibly limiting the church from impacting the world – is the division and disunity that keeps us apart.
Book of Acts – Unity At Work
Several times the phrase “one accord” is used to describe what God was doing among believers:
…and they prepared themselves for the receiving of the outpouring of the Spirit.
…and they received the outpouring of the Spirit and the New Testament church was born.
…and they saw the rapid growth of the Church, many being saved. They saw a great move of the Holy Spirit.
…and they saw God work great signs and wonders.
…and they continued to see great signs and wonders and many were added into the Kingdom of God.
…and the city was reached and there was great joy in the city.
…and they established the counsel of the Lord for the future growth of the Church.
Unity – An Intentional Effort
Unity does not happen by accident or chance.
Maintaining unity must be intentional – must be done on purpose.
Vs 3: “endeavoring”
Message Bible: Ephesians 4:3 alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.
In the next few verses in Ephesians 4:4-16, Paul emphasizes several “one”s. We are of one faith, have one Father, share in the one Spirit of God, etc., and belong to one Body, though with diverse gifts and callings. Each one of us do what is needed to be joined and knit together (vs 16).
Division is Di-Vision
We cannot be part of the same team and have two different visions. We must all flow together with the vision God has given to us as a local body.
Unity Happens When We All Walk In Humility
Paul reminds us to walk in the “fellowship of the Spirit” – being “like-minded”
1, don’t do anything out of selfish ambitions, motives or selfish agendas, selfish interest
2, walk in lowliness of mind – because this is the “mind of Christ”, or Christ-like attitude
…..and then He points to the perfect example of Jesus Christ
Submit to and flow with your team leaders – so that you can maintain unity in your teams.
1 Corinthians 1:10
Let us strive as a Church to walk in this kind of Unity.
Breakdown of Unity – Causes And Cure
What are some of the causes of breakdown in unity and what would be some of the ‘cures’
Will look at a few well known examples in Scripture:
The unhealthy desire for rank, a top position, a place of higher importance, etc.
Vs 24 : This almost divided the group
The cure: Philippians 2:1-5
If we all learn to walk in humility, not holding on to a ‘position’
In the Kingdom of God, you step down to go up.
In the Kingdom of God, even the smallest is to be highly honored, because even the least amongst us represents the Greatest amongst us, the Lord Himself.
Your honor lies not in the place you hold, but in ‘what’ you represent, or ‘who’ you represent.
3 John 1:9-11
“who loves to have the preeminence”
Vs 11 : Do not imitate what is evil, wrong, a bad example.
In the local church, we all learn to be servants, not seeking places of position.
The two leaders in the Antioch church, both remarkable men, both apostles, had differing views on John Mark. John Mark, was a relative of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) and possibly the author of the Gospel of Mark. He live in Jerusalem with his mother Mary, and it was in their home that the prayer meeting was held to see Peter release from prison (Acts 12:12). John Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas at the start of their first missionary journey but left the team very soon (Acts 13:13).
At the start of the second missionary journey Paul did not want to take John Mark along, while Barnabas wanted to. We don’t know who was right here, but neither was willing to yield to the other’s position – and this caused a breakdown in the relationship between two of the best leaders in the church.
The cure : Ephesians 4:1-3 Learn to yield in order to keep the unity of the Spirit
There are some battles not worth fighting – yield.
In the local church, we all understand the value of yielding in order to maintain unity.
Cliques, Factions - The Corinthian Church
1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
When we base our Christian walk and identity in some man, a particular message, a specific movement – we become Kingdom dividers, not Kingdom builders.
The cure: 1 Corinthians 3:21 1 Corinthians 4:6
While we respect and honor all men/women whom God has raised, and recognize the revelation God releases through different individuals and the contribution of different movements/denominations in the Body of Christ – our ultimate identity comes from Jesus, and our eyes are on Him.
This does not mean we embrace everything (that is taught) and everyone (who teaches). No we recognize error and walk in wisdom, adhering to the truth revealed, and yet our identity does not come from a doctrine we hold, but comes from the Lord whom we follow.