|Thoughts on Unity & Koinonia Part 2||| Print ||
|Written by Dr. Kluane|
|Friday, 25 July 2008 15:22|
THE PRINCIPLE OF UNITY
1). Unity is a non-negotiable immutable present truth – it will not change.
2). The principle of unity is sacrosanct – it is inviolable (it cannot be violated).
3). The requirement for unity is inclusive – it applies equally to every believer.
4). When believers focus upon common purpose, God’s glory causes unity to result. Then, God’s power is released to proceed forward.
There are three facets to this principle of unity – all reflecting the same truths:
1. We are a unit of many parts forming one when we center our attention on the ONE God.
2. We are in Christ together. He is in US.
3. We (together) have the mind of Christ
For the individual believer, there are five consequences to this principle of unity:
1). Character changes -- agreement, peace, and joy will emerge among believers. Unity is exhibited by fruits of the spirit demonstrated within our character.
2). Compliance with leadership increases in order to obtain objectives.
3). Obedience to the Word will increase.
4). Consistency is established - the agreement or harmony of members to one another or a whole: specifically, the ability to be established together without variance. Consistency makes public the sound of harmony.
5). Synergy — there will be a multiplying positive outcome.
Historically, many of our major divisions have occurred over differing interpretations of Paul's epistles! There’s considerable irony, because Paul insisted upon unity. Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, where Paul said that he fears, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ. The word, “simplicity” is “haplotes.” It doesn’t mean that they were supposed to only preach in simple messages or that they were deceived from a gospel “easy to understand.” It means that they were deceived from experiencing ONENESS (haplotes) with Christ and the body. Paul was telling them that deception came to keep them from being ONE.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 explains the diversities of function within the Trinity -- the Spirit, the Lord (Jesus), and God the Father are DIFFERENT… but still ONE. And we still have this SAME Spirit, the SAME Lord and the SAME God working in our lives. That’s why we need each other and the gifts that they have for the building up of the unified body. The New Testament teaches us of unity that is forged out of loving relationships, and it is always the Triune God that is presented as the representative model of what we desire. It is the aspiration of every personage of the Godhead to release this ever-present unity within the church. Like Paul said, the body is a unit. Eventhough it is made up of many parts; these parts form ONE body (1 Cor 12:12-28). And so it is with Christ.
Ephesians 4:3 tells us to MAKE EVERY EFFORT (endeavor, be diligent with careful determination to maintain) to keep (to guard and to preserve) the unity of the spirit through the bond (ligament – connecting) of peace. Believers will carefully watch over the unity of the Spirit (not heir unity -- but the unity of the Spirit). Unity is not shown though our mental exertion to have unity – no matter what. Endeavor is a gospel principle – not human effort! We must make every effort to nurture peace and maintain our focus on the Lord. The seat of Christian unity rests upon our peace -- it is not situated upon our thoughts, our likes and dislikes, or in one certain form and mode of doctrine, but UPON the hearts of those who reverence the Lord. This we endeavor to keep.
Paul goes further in verse 4 -8 by saying that there is ONE body and ONE spirit- ONE lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism… but to each one of us GRACE has been given…. Here, the Greek text the word "in One" is xpressed as a numeral (eh mian) – the lowest whole number. In the natural, we know that two plus two equals four, but God has a new kind of mathematics where two become one – and the Trinity shows us that three are one. Paul provides us with a list of the essential components of unity (Eph. 4:4-5) as follows:
ONE BODY (One Church):
NOW YOU ARE the body of Christ, and EACH ONE OF YOU is a part of it (Eph. 4:27). Therefore, we must view the church from the standpoint of permanently belonging to this undivided unit. Unity means that we join together with people who are different in nature, but together we are in inward agreement and union. There is ONE body. This phrase ONE BODY is also given in 1 Cor 10:17, 12:12-31; Eph 4:4-16; Rom 12:4-8; Col 1:18; Eph 3:6: This potent image reveals a profound wholeness.
What happens when you divide a body? Scientists know that the disunity (separation) of atoms creates a force field that can cause explosions!! And, a riddled and contentious atmosphere repels the Spirit. Oneness works (Is. 52:8, Matt. 23:8, 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil. 1:27, 3:17, 1 Pet. 3:8).
In order to try to depict the oneness of the BODY (church) in parables, Jesus used metaphors such as one flock, one sheepfold, and one grapevine. Jesus called it a holy nation, a kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:24, 31, 33; Luke 13:18; John 18:36). Christ said He would build HIS church (Matthew 16:18). It is His body (1 Corinthians 12:27). The church is also pictured as the family of God (1 Timothy 3:15), the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16), and one nation (Ez. 37:22, 1 Pet. 2:9). He also compared the church to a city (Matthew 5:14; 16:19), and to a sheepfold where the sheep were safely protected by one shepherd (John 10:7-17). And many other examples.
We read of the kingdom of God where Christ is king (John 3:3-5; Colossians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:15). Jesus warned them that "every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand" (Matthew 12:25). Should we ask ourselves, how many kingdoms does the Lord have? How many kings are there? ONE.
The author of Hebrews points out that we must not only be in harmony with one another today, but also with those of the body who have gone before: “Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn … and to the spirits of just men made perfect….” (Heb. 12:22-24). We are not separated from those who passed on before us in the faith -- they are close to us in God, for all live unto Him (Luke 20:38).
In trying to apprehend the truths of unity, there are several things that we should consider. Perhaps the most amazing may well be that God decided to use us (human beings) to manifest His unity. As fallible as we may be -- that’s still His plan.
In this article, we’ll talk about how:
1. Unity is an already existing fact. We need a fundamental and internal change in our thinking to understand that unity already is a present reality.
2. Obtaining unity is the accepting of that which Christ died to achieve. The church belongs to Him.
3. Unity is the fundamental mark of the Church; for without unity, a gathering cannot become a church. Unity is the source of strength, authority, and organization -- whereas dissension and schism are the source of strife and confusion.
4. God expects us, as Christians, to maintain unity in the Church (Matt. 18:15-17). He expects us to act like we believe the Bible is true!
5. It is the charge of apostolic ministry to release and activate this ever-present unity – now upon the body.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 11:07|