Christian Unity

Quick Links For Christian Unity

Christian Unity Quotations

Christian Unity Sermons

Some Unity Questions Answered

Stories of Christian Unity

Introduction

As the following Scriptures and quotes attest, unity is a fundamental pillar of a healthy church. Achieving unity can be very challenging. So challenging in fact, that unity is the greatest proof that Jesus was divine according to John 17:21,23. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

Key Bible Texts

John 17:23 "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

Philippians 2:2 "Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

1 Peter 3:8 "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."

1 Corinthians 1:10 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."

Colossians 3:13 "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."

2 Corinthians 13:11 "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."

Ephesians 4:1 "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

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

Romans 12:14 "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."

"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." {OFC 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."

Inspired Thoughts on 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. . . .  {5MR 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."


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.)

 

Some Unity Questions Answered

Find answers about unity on this page.

 

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.