UNITY AMONG BRETHREN
HOW DOES THE BIBLE DESCRIBE THE UNITY THAT SHOULD EXIST BETWEEN CHRISTIANS? Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. However, the bread from heaven gives eternal life to everyone who eats it. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; this bread is my flesh, offered so the world may live. John 6:48-51 CHRISTIAN UNITY IS BASED ON EACH PERSON’S CONNECTION WITH CHRIST. How can Jesus give us his flesh as bread to eat? To eat living bread means to accept Christ into our life and become united with him. We are united with Christ in two ways: (1) by believing in his death (the sacrifice of his flesh) and resurrection and (2) by devoting ourself to living as he requires, depending on his teaching for guidance and trusting in the Holy Spirit for power. Now I am departing the world; I am leaving them behind and coming to you. Holy Father, keep them and care for them-all those you have given me-so that they will be united just as we are. John 17:11 JESUS’ GREAT DESIRE FOR HIS DISCIPLES WAS THAT THEY WOULD BECOME ONE. Jesus wanted his followers to be unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love. Are you helping to unify the body of Christ, the church? You can pray for other Christians, avoid gossip, build others up, work together in humility, give your time and money, exalt Christ, and refuse to get sidetracked arguing over divisive matters.
CHRISTIANS ARE NOT INTENDED TO LIVE OUT THEIR FAITH IN ISOLATION. Jesus prayed for unity among the believers based on the believers’ unity with him and the Father. Christians can know unity among themselves if they are living in union with God. For example, each branch living in union with the vine is united with all other branches doing the same John 15:1-15. If the Gentiles were enriched because the Jews turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when the Jews finally accept it. Rom. 11:12
IN CHRIST, UNITY HAS BEEN MADE POSSIBLE, BUT IT HAS NOT YET BEEN FULLY ACHIEVED. Paul had a vision of a church where all Jews and Gentiles would be united in their love of God and in obedience to Christ. While respecting God’s law, this ideal church would look to Christ alone for salvation. A person’s ethnic background and social status would be irrelevant Galatians 3:28-what mattered would be faith in Christ. But Paul’s vision has not yet been realized. Many Jewish people rejected the gospel. They depended on their heritage for salvation, and they did not have the heart of obedience that was so important to the Old Testament prophets and to Paul. Once Gentiles became dominant in many of the Christian churches, they began rejecting Jews and even persecuting them. Unfortunately, this practice has recurred through the centuries. I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding. Phil. 1:9
THE LOVE COMMANDED BY CHRIST SHOULD CREATE DEEP UNITY AMONG CHRISTIANS. Have you ever longed to see a friend with whom you share fond memories? Paul had such a longing to see the Christians at Philippi. His love and affection for them was based not merely on past experiences, but also on the unity that comes when believers draw upon Christ’s love. All Christians are part of God’s family and thus share equally in the transforming power of his love. Do you feel a deep love for fellow Christians, friends and strangers alike? Let Christ’s love motivate you to love other Christians and to express that love in your actions toward them. Isaiah there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose. Phil. 2:1-2
UNITY OUGHT TO BE A DISTINCTIVE MARK AMONG CHRISTIANS. Many people-even Christians-live only to make a good impression on others or to please themselves. But selfishness brings discord. Paul therefore stressed spiritual unity, asking the Philippians to love one another and to be one in spirit and purpose. When we work together, caring for the problems of others as if they were our problems, we demonstrate Christ’s example of putting others first, and we experience unity. Don’t be so concerned about making a good impression or meeting your own needs that you strain relationships in God’s family.