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The Church - Lesson 17

The Church in 25 Lessons

Jon Gary Williams

Lesson 17 - The Church: Its Unity

The unity of the body of Christ is of supreme importance. God requires it. Not only did 

Jesus pray that his followers be united, the apostles also made this a fervent plea. Without unity the Lord's church is hindered. Disunity is destructive to: (1) the edification of the church and (2) the mission of the church - saving lost souls. There is strength in unity but there is weakness in division. (Mark 3:24,25)

Every member of the body of Christ has an obligation to help maintain a spirit of unity within the body. Keeping the "unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3) should be the desire of all God's people. Unity is not only pleasing to God, it is "good" and "pleasant" to those practicing it. (Ps. 133:1)

I. What is God's plan for unity?
A. Christ's prayer for unity (Jn. 17:20,21)
  1. The scope - "for them also which shall believe on me"

  2. The object - "That they all may be one...that they also may be one in us"
  3. The ultimate desired effect - "that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" 

B. Paul's plea for unity (I Cor. 1:10)

  1. The preexisting condition - see vs. 11,12

  2. The demand - "speak the same division among you"

  3. The result - "that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment" 

C. The standard for unity (Eph. 4:4-6)
  1. One body - the one church

  2. One Spirit - the one Revealer

  3. One hope - the one desire
  4. One Lord - the one Savior

  5. One faith - the one message
  6. One baptism - the one access
  7. One God - the one Source 

II. Arguments against division

A. Christ is not to be divided (I Cor. 1:13
B. Honoring others as equal to Christ is prohibited (I Cor. 1:12-17)
C. Division is carnal (I Cor. 3:1-3
D. Division destroys the temple of God ( I Cor. 3:16,17)
III. Unity is an individual obligation
A. Christians are to "walk worthy" of their calling. How is this done? (Eph. 4:1-3)
  1. With lowliness

  2. With meekness

  3. With longsuffering - forbearance through love

  4. Endeavoring to maintain unity in the "bond of peace" 

B. Things that can destroy unity

  1. Selfishness (Php. 2:2-4)

  2. Uncontrolled tongues (Jam. 3:6-8)
  3. Anger (Col. 3:8
  4. Unsound teaching (II Tim. 4:3)