How Can We Have Unity? pt 1
It has been said, that nothing harms the truth like stretching it. That statement certainly has a great amount of truth in it. While there are downright lies, and completely fabricated errors in the religious world today, Satan has done a masterful job at convincing the world that it is alright to stretch the Truth a little, or perhaps bend the Truth just enough, and in so doing, the world will never know the Truth as it really is. The religious world today is full of error.
The apostle Paul told young Titus, a gospel preacher, saying, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.” (Titus 2:l.)
Christians must teach and preach “sound doctrine,” in fact all we say, or “speak,” must “befit” or be becoming to that “sound doctrine.” The word “doctrine” simply means teaching.
The word doctrine is from the Greek “didaskaliu,” which the lexicons describe as “instruction, or teaching, as in Romans 12:7; the doctrine taught, or as precept, instruction, as found in Mt. 15:9.
“Sound” doctrine is the opposite of “bad, or untrustworthy doctrine.”
Sound doctrine is trustworthy because it is fully supported by the Word of God. (Lk. 8:11) False doctrine is “rotten” doctrine, and has no germ in it, and is a corruptible seed, with no power to bring about the new birth, Jas. 1:18.) It is only the truth that can make a sinner free. (Jn. 8:32; I Pet. 1:22.) “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” (Ps. 19:7.) Even the devil knows the Word, like seed, has power to produce faith in men, or he would not come and take away the word out of their hearts, “lest they should believe and be saved.” (Lk. 811-12.)
There are so many errors that we do not care to get into each of them in this lecture. Everything from Roman Catholicism, to the tenants of Calvinism, to Atheism, to the idea that baptism is not really essential for salvation. Denominations teach various and sundry false doctrines.
However, it is interesting to think that if only the truth, the doctrine of Christ, had been preached and taught, believed and obeyed, there would not be a single religious denomination on earth today, for the seed, the pure doctrine of Christ, made and produced only “Christians,” with no denominational membership in the days of the apostles-then the Word will produce the same today. (Acts 11:26; 26:26-28; I Pet. 4:16; Jas. 2:7; Eph. 4:3-6.)
Some often ask the question, can we ever be united religiously? The answer is as difficult and as simple as this: once we realize that the seed is the Word of God, we must bow our will to His. All that we do in word or in deed, we must do all according to the authority of Christ. (Col.3:17)
How Unity is Attained
How will we become united? Must we be united? Notice Paul’s words as recorded in 1 Corinthians.
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. (1Co 1:10)
Certainly, it is apparent that we must all be united, the question is how in the world, can we be united, seeing that the religious world is so divided.
The answer to that question is also found on the pages of Holy Writ. In fact Paul by inspiration writes.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph4:1-6)
Paul starts this passage by saying: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
As one studies the book of Ephesians as with other books in the New Testament one finds that Paul wrote in order to show there is no difference between Jew and Gentile. In this passage, the word therefore shows the effect of the bringing both Jews and Gentiles into one body. He then lists some things that will help them (and us) in maintaining unity. Cf. (John 17:20-21)
Paul had reminded the Gentiles in Ephesians 2 of their past lives before they became Christians, but now they will have to live their lives differently and according to Christ (Eph 2:1-2) As he comes to chapter 4 he mentions some of the attitudes that they (and we) are to have.
The Right Attitude
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (Eph 4:2)
The term lowliness has to do with humility. Christians need to recognize our unworthiness, on our own. Recognizing that it is because of the grace of God that has brought us to where we are, and remembering what we were before Christ, will keep us away from Pride. One of the very first things that Christians must do in order to maintain unity is that we must remain humble (lowly.)
Pride is a major cause of division. Pride leads to self-righteousness, it leads to Christians thinking that we are better than other people. Pride leads to us looking down on people. That is Paul’s warning, Christians ought to see the importance of being lowly and meek when it comes to being in unity.
In Numbers 12, Moses is called the meekest man on the earth. The people had rebelled against him, and yet in order to maintain unity, one of the first things he did was to humble himself, only then did he understand properly how to handle the situation correctly.
Another word the apostle uses is the word longsuffering. Longsuffering is another thing that Christians need to keep in mind when it comes to keeping unity. We suffer long with our brethren, knowing that we too are not perfect.
In fact, forbearing one another in love goes back to Chapter 3 of Ephesians when he says that we are to be rooted and grounded in Love. Christians need to, first of all, have the right attitudes if unity is ever going to be attained. Ephesians 4 verse 2 sets up the fundamental attitudes that Christians are to have in order to maintain unity in all things.
In order for unity to be attained, Christians must be humble, longsuffering, and forbearing one another in love.
Then in vs 3, Paul says: Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The word endeavouring, shows that there is, first of all, an eagerness to maintaining unity, but then also there is a work toward unity. Unity does not just happen. It takes work on the part of People to be able to live together.
That was Paul’s point in the book of Ephesians. On one hand, you have Gentiles, they are worshipping in Paganism. They have different gods, they do unholy, and ungodly things during their pagan worship services; things that are base and disgusting.
Then you have on the other hand Jews, who had been separated from everyone. They had been worshipping the true and living God. Only now Paul says, now you bring the 2 together. Both of these groups, to some degree, had despised the other.
As Christians, Paul has to get them living together, IN PEACE. And so he says, How are you going to do that? It is going to take the right kind of attitudes, and it is going to take effort on both sides. Christians must work to have the unity that we long to have.
And we need to work to have unity. And all of us need to work on it. It is not enough for us to teach on unity or preach on it, it takes all of us working at it if we are ever to achieve it.
In the bond of peace.
The word bond here is a word that is used when they would take and bind prisoners to their cells. And so we see that unity is to be like heavy chains, binding us together. And just like a prisoner cannot get away from the prison because of the chains, so to should our unity be, that we are so united that nothing comes between us.
Then it says in the bond of peace- One cannot have unity when one does not have peace. If you disturb the peace of a congregation you will disturb the unity of it.
The Seven “Ones”
Paul then mentions 7 ones in vs 4-6 There is ONE BODY (Ephesians 1) ONE SPIRIT In denominations today some preacher will say, “the spirit said this to me,” and another will say “the spirit said that to me,” and the two things are completely opposite from one another, that is not unity, in fact the one Spirit speaks to us all the same way and that is only through the Word of God. ONE HOPE; for all people that hope is found in the …ONE LORD, Jesus the Christ, ONE FAITH, one body of truth, one way and only one way of becoming and remaining faithful to God. And ONE BAPTISM, it is very interesting that in talking about ONE Faith he mentions ONE baptism. That tells us that there is something about baptism that has to do with unity.
In reality, this goes back to having the proper attitude. When one is baptized he has crucified himself, and when you and I will crucify our selves, that gets rid of all the things that used to separate us from one another. The fact is; we can not have unity with those who are not baptized with the ONE baptism of the Bible. (1 Cor 12:13)
They even understood the same practical things about unity in the Old Testament.
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor 10:1-4)
So they were to find unity in ONE BODY, how were they to find it? By partaking of the same drink; of Christ. That is, by doing what the Christ said for them to do. They were to find unity based upon the words of Christ, as he spoke through Moses. for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
If people are to have unity today, the first thing we need to remember is that unity comes first, when we have the right attitude.
Next, we will discuss the right SOURCE for Unity.