Fragrance of Christian Unity
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
Dearly beloved in Christ, living in unity with fellow brothers and sisters is very essential for successful Christian life. The metaphors the Scripture uses to define God’s people show us the importance of unity. We are a ‘family’ (1 Tim 5:1, 2) and believers are all brothers and sisters. We are a ‘flock’ (John 10:16) and the believers are all sheep that live together. We are the “Body of Christ” (Rom 12:5) and believers are all parts of that body. Our God is a God of unity. He is the Triune God living in unity (John 17:22). He prayed that his disciples should be living in unity (John 17:21). For us to win the spiritual battle and to defeat the plans of the enemy, unity is very important.
1. EXEMPLIFICATION OF UNITY: EARLY CHURCH
The Bible says the early church believers devoted themselves to the unity (Act 2:42). All the believers were together and had everything in common. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had (Acts 2:44; 4:32). In the New Testament Church, this unity is called by the Greek word “koinonia”. This term is used 20 times in the New Testament. “Koinonia” means “joint participation in a common interest and activity”. We can see clearly that oneness in mind and unity was the reason for the success and revival of the early church (Acts 1:14; 2:1; 2:46; 4:24; 5:12). They prayed together, helped each other, witnessed together and conquered together. The Lord desires that every one of us must be one in spirit and mind (Phil. 2:2).
2. EVIDENCES OF TRUE UNITY:
Unity is not just shaking hands after Sunday services or participating in some church activities. True unity is enquiring one another in love, praying for one another and helping one another. We see such unity in the early church (Acts 2:42-47). This kind of unity is stressed 71 times in the New Testament by the words “one another” in English and ‘allelous’ in Greek. By doing the following deeds to one another, we can show the world the true unity.
• Love one another (John 13:34, 35)
• Honor one another above yourselves (Rom. 12:11)
• Live in harmony with one another (Rom. 12:16)
• Encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11; Rom. 14:19)
• Teach and admonish one another (Col. 3:16)
• Have equal concern for one another (I Cor. 12:25)
• Carry each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2)
• Be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph. 4:32)
• Forgiving me another (Col. 3:13)
• Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21; I Pet. 5:5)
• Consider others better than yourselves (Phil. 2:3)
• Pray for each other (James 5:16)
• Offer hospitality to one another and serve others (I Pet. 4:9, 10)
As we are one body in Christ, and members of one body, we are called to do all these to one another in unity (Rom. 12:5; Eph. 4:25). So in our relationship with our family members and church members, let us put the above into practice and demonstrate our unity.
3. ENEMIES OF UNITY:
Satan is actively working to destroy unity in church and family. Do not give place to him (Eph. 4:27). The Bible that says what we should do to one another also says what we should not do to one another. When we avoid these we can overcome the enemy. We should not pass judgment on one another (Rom. 14:13). We should not provoke and envy each other (Gal. 5:26). Do not be harsh to one another (Col. 3:19). Do not slander one another (James 4:11).
There should be no backbiting, bitterness, unforgiveness, envy, selfish ambitions, vainglory among believers (Eph. 4:31, 32; Phil. 2:2, 3). These are enemies to unity. When these things are with us, Satan is happy. But when we discard all these, Satan is put to shame. We will grow and the church also will grow.
4. EXCITING BLESSINGS OF UNITY:
When we are in fellowship with God and live in unity with His people, God has promised the following blessings
• There will be answer to prayer (Matt. 18:9; Acts 12:5)
• God’s presence will be there (Matt. 18:20)
• Life and blessing for ever (Psalm 133:3)
• Spiritual help and Protection (Eccl. 4:9-12; Deut. 32:30)
• Victory over Satan (Eccl. 4:12)
• Needs will be met (Acts 4:32; Gal. 6:10)
• The world will believe Jesus (John 17:21)
• Preparation for the second coming of Jesus (Heb. 10:25)
Finally brothers and sisters, be strong in your unity with the fellow brethren. I would like to tell you a story that I read. One day all the parts of the body joined together and quarreled with the stomach. They said to the stomach, “without doing any work, you eat well three times a day. Hereafter we also won’t do any work”
From that day the hand never took the food. The mouth did not eat. The legs didn’t go in search of food. But the stomach did not worry about it. It believed that they will surely learn a lesson. After some days, the parts of the body lost their strength without food. They came to the stomach and asked to forgive them. From that day they lived together in unity. God has some work for everyone in the church. When we realize (accept) that and do our part, there will be blessing in our life and growth in the church. God’s kingdom will advance by leaps and bounds!