A house divided against itself cannot stand, but a house unified cannot be toppled. In more than one instance the Bible tells us that unity is important.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:4–6 (NIV)
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others
Romans 12:4-5 (NIV)
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
God’s Word makes it clear that unity is very important to him. The Church cannot function at its best without unity. The problem that we have is that within the church we often focus on our differences rather than on those things that unite us. The church can be divided into five sects Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, an independent. Among protestants, you have even more division between denominations. Among these different sects and denominations, you can find some major differences. There are differences in the understanding of the role of clergy. There are differences in understanding whether something is a sacrament or an ordinance. There are different beliefs in the role that the church should play in government and politics. All of these are valid topics of concern and discussion, however; the thing that we all have in common is our belief in God as the creator of the universe. We all have in common that we believe Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We all look forward to the day when Jesus will return, and even though we may have different ways of going about it we all seek to make this world a better place by spreading Jesus love. We all seek to spread the Word of Jesus Christ to the world. As the Church, our focus must be on those things that unite us. We can discuss and even argue about the areas where we disagree, but that cannot be our focus because as important as the things we disagree on may be, they are not essential to salvation. The Church agrees on the essentials, therefore; we must have unity. What does that unity look like? I think we can see a vision of unity in the word unity itself let’s look at this acrostic for unity.
Undivided in the essentials of salvation
Never stop praying for each other
In the nonessentials liberty
Together in Christ
Yes this means you
The first letter U stand for undivided on the essentials of salvation. If one is truly a member of the Church than we agree on the essentials of salvation. We agree that God is. We agree that we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. We all agree that Jesus rose from the dead and we all agree that Jesus has gone to the father and he will return. These are the essentials, these are the areas where we must be unified because without unity in these areas there is no church.
The second letter N stand for never stop praying for each other. As the people of God, we must pray for each other. We are going to have disagreements we are going to have our arguments. We are going to have people that we may not mesh with, but we are all a part of the family of God. We are all trying to build the kingdom and we all have times when we need prayer, so we should continually pray for each other.
The third letter I stand for in the nonessentials liberty. As we find unity in the essentials we must understand that we must give each other liberty in the nonessentials. There are things that are important to us, they may even be essential to us, however; these things are not essential to salvation and thus they are not essential to building the kingdom of God. That is not to say that these things are not important, they are important. They are just not essential to our primary task. Just as we have things that are important to us that are nonessential, other also have things that are important to them that are nonessential. To have unity and to do the job God has called us to do, we must allow for liberty in the nonessentials.
The fourth letter T stand for together in Christ. When we get to heaven I am certain that we are going to find that there are some things that we focused on that are not all that important. We also are going to find out that there are some things that we didn’t focus on that are more important than we thought. We will all know that we are in heaven because of Jesus Christ. Regardless of our differences as Christians, together in Christ. We are United in Christ.
The fifth letter Y stands for yes this means you. For us to fulfill the job of the church, we must work together. We must be unified on the essentials. We must never stop praying for each other. We must allow for liberty in the nonessentials and we must remember that we are meant to be together in Christ. No one gets to opt out and yes this means you. We must remember as Christians, as the church, we are more than our national origin. We are more than a political party. We are more than our race and we are more than our gender. We are even more than our theology. We are the church, we are the people of God, we are the body of Christ. For the church to grow, for the body of Christ to be healthy there must be unity and we all must do our part.