Quick Links For Christian Unity

A Study Guide On Christian Unity

Christian Unity Quotations

Christian Unity Sermons

Some Unity Questions Answered

Stories of Christian Unity

Introduction

As the following Scriptures and quotes attest, Christian unity is a fundamental pillar of a healthy church. Achieving unity can be very challenging. So challenging in fact, that unity among Christians is the greatest proof that Jesus was divine according to John 17:21,23. Christian unity is also impossible to attain on a purely human basis. Accordingly,  the process of pursuing godly unity can bring a necessary refining and perfecting to the church—lessons are learned about patience, deference to others, submission, etc. in seeking unity that might not be learned otherwise! There are numerous indications that God holds Christian unity in such high esteem that He cannot and will not bless a church that is in disunity. The indwelling presence of Jesus is also unavailable to those who hold grudges and stubbornly remain in disunity with other believers. That does not mean that God abandons the church when there is disunity, but it certainly limits His ability to bless His people.

Recognizing the need for godly unity, pursuing unity, and maintaining the unity that God can bless, is no easy matter. But, regardless of the challenges and the delays incurred in pursuing Christian unity, we need to do all we can to bring about the unity that God requires. This quest will sometimes mean a lot of dying to self. It will sometimes mean eating humble pie. It will sometimes mean waiting patiently for God to convict and bring to unity what may seem like discordant elements, for true Christian unity, though necessary, cannot be successfully imposed upon others. What we refuse to learn the first time around, God will bring around again. In all of this Satan is quietly working behind the scenes, for disunity separates us from God, hinders God's ability to use us, and greatly advances Satan's agenda.

Jesus spoke of Christian unity using the figure of the body. Our body is made of many diverse parts. They are composed differently. They function differently. But they are in complete unity. Just as there are no "independent elements in a healthy body, so there should be no "independent elements in a church that is in godly unity. The amazing harmony among the members of the physical body come as a result of their careful "obedience" to the brain and other control centers of the body. In the same way, the perfect harmony needed in the church will come when everyone in the church has a single-minded purpose to know and do God's will, where there is godly submission to those in rightful authority, and will include a similar overarching desire to be in harmony and good relationship with others. Disunity, on the other hand, is a significant red flag that God may not be present! 

I am aware there are strong feelings on this subject. I am aware that a mutual impatient annoyance is sometimes felt for the time and emotions invested on the subject of Christian unity these days. This has been historically true—admonishments for coming into unity were written for leaders in Europe in the early days of mission efforts there. And what is called Christian unity these days, depending on the perspective, may seem like disunity. But regardless of what we feel, regardless of history, regardless of personal or institutional baggage on the subject, we need to see things from God's perspective and seek His unity-bringing solutions.

Sadly, it would seem that God's work is being delayed. But delay is not new and has too often been a factor in slowing down advances in God's Kingdom. For example, it was never God's purpose to delay the entry of His people into the promise land for so many years. But the people were not accepting God's mandates, they were resisting God's leadership through Moses, and therefore they were turned back into the wilderness. God in mercy did not abandon His people in the wilderness. In fact, He blessed them. For forty years, they experienced daily miracles of manna and water. Their shoes never wore out either. But they were experiencing "wilderness blessings," not "promise land" blessings, and were certainly not doing the work that God had intended for them to accomplish in the land of Canaan as His special people. Their prayers and efforts were mainly about personal survival, and there were few conquests. 

It would seem the church is experiencing "wilderness blessings" today, more than "promise land" blessings! Looking at the grander scheme of things—natural, economic, societal disasters and other challenges, it would seem that much of what we are doing right now is, personal, too often self-centered, and less relevant, considering the great needs all around us. Can we honestly say that we are accomplishing God's will, making a great difference for others with the light we have been given, and becoming the united "other worldly" entity that proves that Jesus was divine, and which God can bless with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit?  Would it not be good to seek that?

It goes without saying, this is a very important subject. We are blessed to have a wealth of instruction on this subject, some of which is minimally known. Perhaps if we followed the instruction, we might overcome the Christian unity deficit!

Accordingly, in this section of discipleheart we try to address some of the challenges. It will be a work in progress. Explore to find answers to questions, audio and written resources and instructive and inspiring illustrations. 

Remember that underlined text clicked upon will bring you to a page where the thought or question is dealt with in a greater way.

I hope the information provided proves helpful. Please write if you have questions.—Dan

 

Bible Study On Christian Unity

Psalms. 133: 1 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"

On this page you will find a Bible Study on Christian unity.

 

"Unity in diversity among God’s children—the manifestation of love and forbearance in spite of difference of disposition—this is the testimony that God sent His Son into the world to save sinners."

Our Father Cares, 36.2

"It is not the principle of truth to be finding fault and thinking evil of our brethren. If there are any difficulties that arise in your midst, seek every way that you can to adjust them; this is your Christian duty. You may think that your brother is wholly in the fault, but if your brother does not come to you you must go to him, and try to come together. You must be in harmony; unless you are in harmony with another [person] Christ cannot abide in your heart."

Sermon and Talks, Vol. 2, 21.3

Inspired Thoughts on Christian Unity!

We should not allow any feelings to come into our hearts against any of our brethren, for this is not the spirit of Christ; it is not the principle of truth to be finding fault and thinking evil of our brethren. If there are any difficulties that arise in your midst, seek every way that you can to adjust them; this is your Christian duty. You may think that your brother is wholly in the fault, but if your brother does not come to you you must go to him, and try to come together. You must be in harmony; unless you are in harmony with another [person] Christ cannot abide in your heart. Will you bow before God in prayer every day and ask Him to let the light of His Holy Spirit come into your hearts? And do not cease pleading with God until every evil thought and feeling is overcome. Christ says, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." How much of this work have you done? Should the spirit of confession come into the church you would surely see of the salvation of God. Manuscript Releases, Vol. 5, 6.1   

"If any one comes to you and begins to tell you of the faults of another, if you cannot stop that voice in any other way, lift your voice and sing the Doxology."

Manuscripts 4, 1885, par. 8.


The trouble with many is they have lost sight of Jesus and fail to see the self-denial and love and mercy in His character, and therefore they do not imitate His life. But Jesus wants us to be one with Him as He was one with the Father, and He wants us to be united one with another. We want to show to the world that we have a faith that is elevating, that it makes us kind, courteous, self-denying; and begets in us love and reverence for God, and makes us Christian ladies and gentlemen. We must pray more earnestly for the grace of Christ which is essential for us if we preserve our integrity and spiritual life. If any one comes to you and begins to tell you of the faults of another, if you cannot stop that voice in any other way, lift your voice and sing the Doxology. Vain talkers and mischiefmakers are Satan's agents in doing his work. There is a great work to be done for this church, and the sad part of it is there are so many well satisfied with themselves. They must be converted, their thoughts must be directed in a divine channel. We have a mighty soul-purifying truth, and this truth is to sanctify us individually. Satan has come down with great power, knowing that his time is short. He will overthrow the faith of some in this assembly unless we keep close to Jesus. We are warned that he [Satan] will work with all power and signs and lying wonders, and therefore we want to be building up a firm character. All our powers should be trained to war against the enemy, for as Christ's faithful soldiers we want to be minutemen and give no place to the devil. . . .  {5MR 6.2}  
There is something for every one of us to do to clear the King's highway. We want to confess and forsake our sins and have them go beforehand to judgment that when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus, our sins will be blotted out. What we want is pure and undefiled religion before God. . . .  {5MR 7.1}—Mrs. E.G. White, Ms 4, 1885, pp. 3-6, 8. (Sermon, "Christian Fellowship," November 9, 1885.)

Christ, The Secret Of Christian Unity!

Highly instructive words on unity among various classes of people, in this case people from different countries:

Some who have entered these missionary fields have said, ‘You do not understand the French people; you do not understand the Germans. They have to be met in just such a way.’ But, I inquire, does not God understand them? Is it not He who gives His servants a message for the people?”—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 136. {EGWE 78.2}

She used the illustration of the Jewish Temple. Its stones were quarried out of the mountains, but when they were brought together they formed a perfect building. Then, with great candor, she said: {EGWE 78.3}

“Let no one think that there need not be a stroke placed upon him. There is no person, no nation, that is perfect in every habit and thought. One must learn of another. Therefore God wants the different nationalities to mingle together, to be one in judgment, one in purpose. Then the union that there is in Christ will be exemplified.”—Ibid., 137. {EGWE 78.4}

Mrs. White confessed that she was almost afraid to come to Europe because she had heard so much about the peculiarities of the various nationalities. But then she realized that God could bring people where they would receive the truth. She urged: {EGWE 78.5}

Look to Jesus, brethren; copy His manners and spirit, and you will have no trouble in reaching these different classes. We have not six patterns to follow, nor five. We have only one, and that is Christ Jesus. If the Italian brethren, the French brethren, and the German brethren try to be like Him, they will plant their feet upon the same foundation of truth; the same spirit that dwells in one, will dwell in the other,—Christ in them, the hope of glory. I warn you, brethren and sisters, not to build up a wall of partition between different nationalities. On the contrary, seek to break it down wherever it exists.... {EGWE 78.6}

“As workers together for God, brethren and sisters, lean heavily upon the arm of the Mighty One. Labor for unity, labor for love, and you may become a power in the world.”—Ibid., 137, 138. {EGWE 79.1}—Taken from the biography of Ellen White.

 

A Study Guide On Christian Unity

This study guide looks at the subject of unity in the context of Christ's prayer for unity in John 17.

Jesus And The Prayer That Restored Unity 8x11

Jesus And The Prayer That Restored Unity A5

Jesus And The Prayer That Restored Unity A4

Jesus And The Prayer That Restored Unity Booklet

 

Some Christian Unity Questions Answered

Find answers about unity on this page.

 

Key Topics on Christian Unity

Christian Individuality And Christian Unity

 

Christian Unity Sermons

A Listing Of Many Ellen White Sermons, Manuscripts And Letters On Unity.

This is a list of the sermons that I have personally read on the subject. There are undoubtedly many more of them, but these were noteworthy. I put a couple of bars at the end to give a bit of a sense of the relative quality.

Christian Unity Sermons

This page features written and audio sermons on unity from a variety of people. Some of them are really wonderful. 

 

Audio Sermon

Jesus And The Prayer That Restored Unity - Dan Augsburger

This was part of a longer prayer series on prayer. Be sure to download the handout to follow along. Line numbers on the left side of the page are referred to during the course of the presentation.

The "Unity Handout" is a two-sided booklet folded in half. If necessary you can print this booklet. Then put the pages back to back following the line numbers, and fold in half. Then you will have a booklet to read even though you don't have a two-sided printer. 

Unity Handout

 

Christian Unity Quotations

Here are selected quotations on Christian unity.

 

Stories of Christian Unity

The Brother Howland Story

This illustration comes from the early days of our pioneer believers. They were gathering at Stockbridge Howland's home in Topsham, Maine for worship services. One Sabbath, Brother Howland was late arriving. He explained that He had been visiting a member who had not been attending. His detailed explanation provides a plan that "shall never fail" for reaching out to struggling members. 

 

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