Have Faith Ministries

 

Unity in the Body of Christ

Most Christians would all agree that a church that has true unity is a wonderful place to fellowship. We've all heard the unpleasant stories of churches that are filled with back biting and all kinds of doctrinal disagreements. Church situations like this are uncomfortable and are not good environments for Spiritual growth. Unfortunately, many churches today have reached out for the World's philosophies to solve the "unity" problem in their churches. For the world "tolerance" is the BUZZ word. The world is encouraging everyone to set aside all their differences and tolerate each other. What's so interesting about this, is that all of these people in these societies that want tolerance, still have Laws and guidelines in their society. Their is really no such thing as absolute tolerance in any society. In order to have true unity and order, there must be guidance for those seeking unity. Unity assumes having things in common and unity also assumes a mutual care, one for another, anything else is just unity in name only. God certainly desires for the saints to have unity, but not to the neglect of His guidance from His word. 1Peter 1:22 gives us some insight to how God guides His children into true spiritual unity; "Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart." How does a group of believers develop this type of sincere love and concern for each other and the lost? First, the congregation must be made up of saved/born again individuals that have the spiritual ability to know and obey God's word (understanding that sincere unsaved seekers may be present). Second, they must be striving to obey God's Word. God never gave The Church a command to love one another without clear directives. For example, Paul told the Philippians saints in Phil. 1: 9 & 10 "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ." Paul teaches us that love must be in the realm of spiritual knowledge and discernment. Love that pleases God must also be without offense to His Holiness. God's commandments for the Christians to love one another are not based on emotions (though they certainly will be manifested at times), but rather they are based on Truth. It's when the Truths of God are acted upon, that God's commands are fulfilled. Remember, the greatest act of God's love, was an act of Righteousness (Rom. 3:25 & 26) when God sent His Son to die on the Cross. This act of love was based on the truth that "the wages of sin is death" and "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." The greatest act of love was also an obedient response by Jesus Christ to the will of God the Father. Christians must realize that the strongest and most sincere bonds of love will be manifested in a group of saints that live by and stand firm in God's Truths. For this reason, an assembly that is united Spiritually, through Christ, and united doctrinally (as they observe and obey God's Word) will have the greatest potential for sincere fellowship, love and unity. Some believe, if we lay aside all of our doctrinal differences that we can have unity. Is this thinking biblically correct? Jesus and the apostles taught us that true unity only comes through unity in God's truth.


When believers are abiding by the same standard for godly living at home and in the church, there will be unity.

When the saints are holding to the same sound doctrines based on Scripture alone, there will be unity.

When believers are listening to and responding to sound Bible teaching, it will produce Christ like love, one for another, which again produces unity.

You see, unity in the church is not a product of tolerance. Unity in the church is the wonderful fruit of obedience to God's word. Jesus said in John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Yet this same Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy, false doctrines and evil ways of the Pharisees. This same Jesus also rebuked His own disciples for not understanding or disobeying God's truths. Biblical love never forsakes biblical truths. In John 17:21 Jesus said "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." Some will lift this verse out of it's context to teach a doctrine of ecumenical unity. But is this what Jesus was teaching? John records Jesus' words previous to discussing unity in John17:17 &19 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth." Fellowship in truth is the key to true fellowship. Amos 3:3 says "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" Paul adds to that truth in 2Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" The Bible is clear! Being unequally yoked with unbelievers, false teachers and heretics is not fellowship at all. True fellowship is only found when the saints gather around the true doctrines of God. Acts 2:42 reminds us that the early church grew strong and quickly by having sound doctrine and true fellowship," And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers."

Christians today need to realize that the blessings of wonderful fellowship and sincere love with spiritual depth is the fruit of obedience to the Lord's truths in the Bible. Any watering down of His truths will also water down the love and the fellowship in any given church or ecclesiastical gathering. Healthy fellowship is a fruit of obedience to healthy doctrine.


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