Unity in the Church

by Joanna Pierce on August 16, 2018

Basic Principles of Unity

The principle of unity is taught all throughout the Bible. Unity means “an agreement of purpose” or being one. The church’s main purpose is to go into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19–20); we’re called to reach a lost and dying world. As a church, we’re admonished to strive toward this purpose. But, individually, we need to be conformed to the image of Christ first.

We’re called to have one mind and one mouth as the body of Christ (Romans 15:5). Paul’s goal was to keep His focus on knowing and growing in Jesus. Like Paul, we need to keep our focus directed on Jesus and eliminate worldly distractions that can creep in to divide the body. It is only because of Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross, that the church body can be unified.

The Power of Unity

Unity is so powerful that when evil men came together at the tower of Babel, this got God’s attention and He came down from Heaven to disperse them. Conversely, when good men and women came together on the Day of Pentecost, they too solicited God’s attention, but the Holy Ghost came down instead and filled them!

Unity produces synergy: the interaction of two or more people, creating a combined effect that’s greater than an individual. For example, one can put 1,000 to flight and two can put 10,000 to flight (Deuteronomy 32:30). We must have unity in order to produce synergy. Purpose produces unity, unity produces synergy, and synergy produces results for the purpose. It’s all a great circle of influence.

The early church demonstrated unity and synergy. It allowed them all to turn their world upside down (Acts 17:6). The disciples continued in one accord and God added to the church daily (Acts 2:42–47). Because unity is so important for the church, the enemy of our souls hates it intensely and will do nothing to stop it. We must be on constant guard against the attacks of the devil. He will try to halt the production and continuance of unity in the church and in our individual lives. In the book of John, Jesus prayed for His disciples that they might be one as He and His Father were one (John 17:20–22). The perfection in being one will help guard us from the flesh and demonic attacks  (John 17:23).

Precious Unity

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore (Psalms 133:1–3).

This Psalm of David mentions the unity of God’s people. Aside from the beautiful description, there are pivotal truths unlocked for the church about unity.

Unity is Good and Pleasant

Jesus noted there is none good but God (Mark 10:18). When we are unified, God is with us and flowing through us. He is blessing us with His presence! Unity only can show forth a positive example to the world. When we operate as a unified body of Christ, this reduces stress that’s present with discord and opposition. The byproduct of stress is a stress-free church!

Unity is Like Precious Ointment

Ointment flowing down the mountain is symbolic of submission. There cannot be unity without humility; therefore, we must have the mind of Christ and spirit of humility. Scripture admonishes us not to do anything  in strife but to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). God has given all of us a new nature, and in this nature is found humility, which leads to unity.

The fragrance of the ointment symbolizes the attractive drawing power of other people to God’s presence. The world will know we’re Jesus’ disciples by our love for one another (John 13:34–35). As the oil was holy, our love for others needs to be holy. The holy anointing will break the yoke of bondage and influence unity. The formula for this oil was handed down from God directly to Moses and was not to be used to anything else but ministering in the Tabernacle. This speaks to the uniqueness of unity that’s promised to the church alone—this cannot be accomplished by the world (I Peter 2:9).

Unity is Like Dew

Mt. Hermon is the highest mountain in Palestine. It would receive so much moisture, it would provide plentiful water to the nation of Israel. Dew (by nature) will cool the hot, dry, scorched land. In God’s people, it will cool anger, temper, and disagreements. This will help us conquer our flesh, humble ourselves, and unify ourselves with the church. We’re commanded to live peaceably with all men as much as we can (Romans 12:18), and getting into the flow of God’s presence.

Unity is Pleasant and Produces Blessing

We are promised eternal life if we enter into unity within the church and with Jesus Christ. Heaven promises the fullness of our inheritance with the Lord and a continuation of His presence forevermore. But, we don’t have to wait until Heaven to experience these promises; we can obtain portions of them now. Scripture tells us when we’re gathered together in unity, Christ is in the midst of us (Matthew 18:20). We don’t have to be without His presence while we’re occupying earth.

Paul established many different churches, and in the latter part of his ministry, strove to influence churches to dwell in unity. He wanted to make sure they didn’t sin against each other, cause each other to stumble, but to love each other as Christ loved the church (I Corinthians 8:9–13). We need to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:13) and forgive one another (Colossians 3:13).

Conclusion

We need to be in one mind and have compassion on one another (I Peter 3:8). Unity benefits the individual and the church. However, the greatest purpose for us to live and be unified is to save a lost and dying world. Let’s abide in God’s presence and seek unity every day. There’s a soul that needs to be saved.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 15, 2018 with Pastor Melder