Forest Park Church
A CHURCH THAT IS UNIFIED
August 15, 2021

A CHURCH THAT IS UNIFIED

August 15, 2021

In 1887 the coffin of Abraham Lincoln was pried open to determine if it contained his body. What makes that act so remarkable is the fact that Lincoln’s body had rested in that coffin for 22 years. Yet, even more amazing is that 14 years later a rumor circulated again that Lincoln’s coffin was actually empty. The furor so gripped the land that the only way to silence it was to dig up the coffin&md;again. This was done and the rumor silenced when a handful of witnesses viewed the lifeless body of Abraham Lincoln.

1 Corinthians 12:12 “…just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”

 Ephesians 4:1-5

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

 

Some Christians think that spiritual maturity is achieved through amassing knowledge about the Bible the Bible.

  • But spiritual maturity is achieved through obeying what the Bible says

  • and fulfilling the mission of telling everyone everywhere about the gospel.

I. of .

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

1. JESUS .

On the last night of his life Jesus prayed a prayer that should stand as a rallying cry for all Christians:

John 17:20–21

I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me”

Of all the lessons we can draw from this verse, don’t miss the most important:

  • unity matters to God.

  • Why? Because “all people will know that you are my followers if you love each other” (John 13:35 NCV).

  • Unity creates belief. How will the world believe that Jesus was sent by God?

2.UNITY IS ESSENTIAL TO

John 17:23b “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Notice how this kind of unity is tied to the spreading of the gospel. “Then the world will know…”

Unity creates belief. Disunity fosters disbelief.

Who wants to board a ship of bickering sailors?

  • Paul Billheimer may very well be right when he says: “The continuous and widespread fragmentation of the Church has been the scandal of the ages. It has been Satan’s master strategy. The sin of disunity probably has caused more souls to be lost than all other sins combined.”

I believe a church that is unified around the mission of spreading the gospel will model the kind of unity that the Father and Son have. I also believe that Satan knows the best way to keep a church from fulfilling its mission is to get people arguing over non-essentials.

  • This kind of disharmony causes the church to become inward-focused and to lose its evangelistic passion. 

3. WHERE THERE IS UNITY

2 Chronicles 30:12

Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the LORD.”

  1. Unity of Mind

  2. To Carry out the missionary

  3. Following God’s Word

A church must not focus on the minor things but on the major thing!

Too often we divide ourselves over things that do not matter.

 

Don’t mistake diversity for disunity.

  • We can be wonderfully diverse while being totally in harmony over who we are in Christ.

  • If God created over 400,000 species of beetles, why would he not want churches with unique personalities and abilities to reach people!

II. Lasting unity must be

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

A: The Danger of .

Compromise is simply changing the question to fit the answer.

Charles Spurgeon, a powerful preacher from generations past, addressed the idea of unity in this way.

“To remain divided is sinful! Did not our Lord pray, that they may be one, even as we are one”? (John 17:22). A chorus of ecumenical voices keep harping the unity tune. What they are saying is, “Christians of all doctrinal shades and beliefs must come together in one visible organization, regardless… Unite, unite!”  Such teaching is false, reckless and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity.  Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord’s prayer in John 17 must be read in its full context. Look at verse 17: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the Gospel. 

B: A

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

1 Corinthians 3:11

11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

What are the

III. to Unity. (and how do we move them)

A) When we put

Today, we often identify ourselves by our denomination, or our beliefs, rather than by our allegiance to Jesus.  When we identify ourselves by our allegiance to Jesus, we emphasize our oneness.  But when we identify ourselves by something or someone other than Christ and his word, we emphasize the divisions between us.  ”, we are no better than the Corinthians who said “I am for Paul” or “I am for Apollos” and we need to consider Paul’s question “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:11-13).

None of us has got it absolutely right.  Yet we love to point out where others have got it wrong, even though we know that Jesus told us not to judge others (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:37).

B: When we loose

1 Corinthians 2:2

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Conclusion:

UNITY KEEPS CHRIST AT THE CENTER INSTEAD OF US.

Ephesians 1:10

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known[c] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

It is not about you but it is about Christ! My plans, my desires, my preferences, my agenda, and my feelings are nothing compared to the gospel. When we become unified around that mission it changes everything and makes our churches more effective in fulfilling God’s mission for our lives.

The Psalmist said it well when he wrote, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 131:1

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