You were made for this: God’s Vision For Unity in His Family
God has given you a life vision and a purpose. But you can’t fulfill that vision until you clearly see it. In this series, we look at the transforming power of vision by describing the consequences of an unclear vision and revealing the antidote to fear in pursuing the future God has planned for you.
Something To Talk About:
Before Jesus died on the cross, the last thing He prayed for was unity. More than anything else, he wanted his church to be unified in their love for Him. Here are five biblical truths about God’s vision for unity in the church.
- The Trinity is our model for unity: Jesus explains this in John 17:11: “Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.” The Trinity is the model. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in harmony and unity with each other. The three are one and the Bible says that’s the way we’re to be. John 17:21 says, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”
- Unity begins when we realize we’re incomplete without each other: We need each other. God wired us in such a way that nobody gets all the gifts. That’s why we need each other. 1 Corinthians 12:20- 21, and verse 25 says this, “Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you….This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.” Almost 250 times in the New Testament Christians are called “brother,” “sister,” or “brethren.” These Christians were from different cultures, backgrounds, and races. In a single church fellowship there would be men and women; poor and rich; slaves and masters; Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Yet they were “brothers,” “sisters,” and “brethren.” It didn’t matter what their status was in this world because they were related to each other in Jesus Christ: “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28).Christians associate with and are committed to each other because they love Christ and His people—their desire to be with other believers shows they are a believer.
- Focusing on our common purpose creates unity: Solidarity is unity or agreement among individuals who have a common interest. Teams, clubs, and organizations are built upon the solidarity of their members. We create solidarity when we gravitate toward groups of people who think or believe as we do. Solidarity gives us emotional support and companionship when we connect with like-minded people. Solidarity also allows us to work together for common goals so that we accomplish more than any single individual can. Psalm 133:1 (ESV) says,“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” God created the world to be a place of beauty, harmony, and unbroken fellowship with Him. His desire is for us to live together harmoniously. God wants us to be purpose-driven. Not program-driven, not power-driven, not popularity-driven, not personality-driven, not politics-driven.
- Jesus expects me to work hard at unifying Christians:This is not something for somebody else. If you claim to be a Christian, this is part of your job description. Jesus expects me to work hard at unifying Christians in the church family. Ephesians 4:3 says this, “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Do you make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in your church family? Did you bind yourselves together with everybody else to live in peace with each other? A united church is a powerful tool. Paul says we exist as a church so, “…all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6) If we’re going to be successful doing that, it’s going to take everyone making that our goal.
- Baptism and Unity are visible signs of unity: Both baptism and communion are symbols of our incorporation into the body of Christ. Both of them visualize that we now don’t just belong to Christ, we belong to each other. We’ve all been baptized into Christ’s body by the same Spirit. He says no matter what your cultural background is, your racial background is, your religious background, is your national background. He said it doesn’t matter. He says we’ve all received the same Spirit, we’ve been baptized into the body of Christ. Paul points out that not only in baptism but also taking communion is a sign of unity. 1 Corinthians 10:16 and 17 says this: “When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body.”
- How important is living in harmony?
- How would you describe the power and impact of unity? When or where have you experienced that?
- What can you do to become more of a force for unity?
- Why is unity important for all churches? If all the people in Northstar were in “complete unity,” how would the church look different?
- How do you go about the goal of unity in your home, marriage, family, church? What practical steps do we need to take?
- It is difficult to lay aside differences but as Christians we are called to do this, so we may have God’s glory and power in our lives. Share a time you laid aside differences with another Christian or saw someone else do so.
- We are expected to contribute our gifts to the unity of the Church. When reaching out to others it not only helps the one helped, but it helps the helper. Share how you contribute to the unity of the body.
- What point in this message was most impactful for you?
- What do you think? How did this message challenge, change, or affirm your thinking?
- What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned today?
Take one thing home with you:
Jesus says to His followers, to the Church, “I want you to be different. I want you to love one another, just as I have loved you. You are different. You are all unique in the body of Christ but love one another. Then, when others look at you, they will see God. When the church is united amid its diversity, it becomes a reflection of God.”
Take a look at your life. Are you reflecting the unity in diversity of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? In what areas are you lacking unity with other believers? Ask God for help overcoming any animosity toward others. Ask God to help you be a force for unity amidst the diversity of Christ’s church.