Let The Church Be One
In the Gospel of John, we find a special prayer that Jesus prayed: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn. 17:21).
In the Greek, the last phrase of this prayer, “that the world may believe,” is called a “hina clause.” It states the purpose for requesting unity within the body of Christ. There is no doubt that the spread of the gospel is greatly hindered when the church is not in unity. Therefore, our prayer today must be, “Lord, let the church be one.”
Agree With Me
To some people, unity simply means that you must believe the way I believe. When you agree with me, then we have unity. We then fulfill the unity prayer of Jesus. But is there more to unity than saying the same thing?
Divisions In Corinth
Paul addressed division in Corinth. “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:12-13). Each of these preachers had their own styles and merits. However, to accept the teachings of one and excluding the others was wrong. Paul even addressed those who were of the “Jesus Camp” because pride always creates division.
Unity Of The Spirit
“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” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
According to Strong’s Concordance, the word endeavoring—spoudazō—means “to make an effort, to diligently labor to keep the unity of the Spirit.” There must be a unified effort by all within the body to walk in the unity of the Spirit. Of course, it is impossible to walk in the unity of the Spirit if you are walking in the flesh.
Unity Of The Faith
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11). We must continue to see the purpose of such gifts to the church. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:12-14). It is the unity of the faith. “Unto oneness of faith” (Greek). Not just any faith but the faith of Jesus Christ. This speaks of a unity of the body in believing the true message of the Bible.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). We see here a unity caused by correct doctrine. The word skopeite means, “to keep an eye on so as to avoid.” False doctrine is no doubt the greatest reason for divisions in the body of Christ. To walk in unity means we need to walk in the Spirit saying, believing, and living the true message of the Bible.