Can There Be Unity In Christs Body?
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of
our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions
among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same
Many years ago, after a rousing sermon on church unity, Ill
never forget the little girl who approached me after the service. She said, Mister
Pastor, why are there so many abominations? I chuckled at her mispronunciation of
denomination, but thought to myself, perhaps her term is the more appropriate
one to describe the division that sometimes exists between so many churches.
In the body of Christ, the various denominations exist largely due
to different opinions about certain doctrines, organizational government, the style of
worship, or perhaps passed-down traditions. But what is not commonly understood, is that
most Christian churches have far more in common than they have in disagreement with each
other. Researchers indicate that the majority of protestant/evangelical congregations in
the U.S. share at least 90% of the same beliefs. And more importantly, there is little
disagreement over the most basic elements of Christianity such as Jesus life
and teachings, including His deity, death and resurrection.
The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the church at Corinth, made
it clear that division and disharmony in the body of Christ was not acceptable. In fact,
he expressed an expectation of the church that sounds nearly unbelievable in todays
standards: that you all speak the same thing... that you be perfectly joined
together in the same mind and judgment.
Is it really possible for the body of Christ to attain such high
ideals of unity? In practical terms, would it be possible for the Christian community to
come into such harmony that we all speak the same thing? Such a possibility
exists, only if Christians and churches can focus on the common ground of what makes us
all Christians and followers of Christ.
More than any other factor, the common bond upon which every
Christian church is founded is Jesus Christ. He is the cornerstone upon which
every believer bases his trust in eternal things. Above all other things, even above our
interpretations and eloquent commentaries, Jesus needs to be the objective of
preaching and teaching in the church. He is the object of our worship, the purpose of our
service, the meaning of our very existence. And its at the foot of the cross, where
every humble believer finds that same common, blood-soaked ground which brings us together
in unity as brothers and sisters in the family of God. Jesus said it Himself, that His
suffering on the cross was a magnet to the lost and from that great event He will
gather to himself a collected body of followers. And I, if I am lifted up from the
earth, will draw all peoples to Myself (John 12:32).
And so, unity between the churches is indeed possible if
Jesus is fully committed to be our common denominator. Jesus must be the focal point
more than our variety of opinions and more than our celebrated traditions. We need
to lift Him up above all things and speak the language that Jesus spoke the
language of Gods love.
Speak lovingly and kindly of those who attend other churches
they are your family too. Cease striving, or competing against Christians of other
congregations. Love, forgive, trust and uplift one another in the vast reservoir of God
Genuine love for our other brothers and sisters brings an image of
credibility to the church. Jesus said that the world would identify His
followers by love for each other. He indicated that the Gospel message would influence the
whole world, from the evidence of our love for our brethren. Perhaps this is what the
world is waiting for to see a body of Christians who sincerely care about each
other, who are not embroiled in conflict or competition. Then perhaps they will more
likely believe that we really do represent Jesus, and might be inclined to trust the
Gospel message we preach. Jesus said, A new commandment I give to you, that you love
one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know
that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).
Both in the singular congregation and in the overall body of Christ,
Gods blessing resides upon love and unity. The psalmist declared that unity is
associated with His anointing a symbolic application of oil, representing His Holy
Spirit. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in
unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of
Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments (Psa. 133:1-2).
If there was ever a time that the church needs Gods anointing, it is today. And if we hope to embrace that anointed blessing, let each of us strive to make our contribution to the unity of the body of Christ.