A call to unity

In Jesus’ prayer with the Father, recorded in John’s gospel chapter 17, He spends some time praying for all believers. Part of what He prayed is as follows, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

Part of our testimony to the glory of God is to be found in the unity of his people, as we are found to be one with each other as we are one with our LORD. Unfortunately, because of our sinful nature that rears its head from time to time, we could be found to be either unwillingly or willingly sowing descension within the church. This was certainly one of the issues that had arisen at the church at Corinth. It appears there had become contentions relating to doctrine and practical theology, there were tensions between believers, attitudes of self-importance and genuine love appeared to be waning. In fact, it had got so bad that different groups of people had become siloed and were following their own prefered leaders. 

In 1 Corinthians 1vs10-17 Paul begins to address some of these tensions and divisions by asking a rhetorical question, “Is Christ divided? He pleads with the believers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that they should all be speaking the same thing, there should be no divisions among them, and they should be perfectly joined together in the same mind and same judgement. 

As we approach a passage like this, it is perhaps easy to point out where others have been responsible for sowing division, however this attitude also has the potential of creating a blind spot. Perhaps a more appropriate prayerful question is to ask, “Lord, where have I unintentionally perhaps contributed to creating divisions in your church?

Let me end with the words of Paul to the Romans:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12vs9-18

Your fellow servant in Christ

Pastor Dave

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