The importance of unity

March 30th, 2009

I am currently doing some research for a message on unity. It is interesting when you look at what the Bible says on unity between believers.

The Bible often describes believers in the local church (and the wider church as a whole) in a number of ways including being one flock (John 10:16), one body (Romans 12:4-5) and one nation and one people (1 Peter 2:9). Psalm 133 talks about how “good and pleasing it is when God’s people live in unity” and that God’s blessings flow when this happens.

I think the key in being unified is finding and focussing on the things that bring us together when we meet. Some of the key reasons for our common unity are Christ’s death on the cross for each of us (Ephesians 2:14-16), our own unity with Christ (Galatians 3:26-28) and our one hope we all have in Christ (Ephesians 4:4-5). When we focus on these things we find more common ground that unifies us than the things that can tear us apart.

Another key reason why I believe unity is important is shown in Jesus prayer for all believers in John 17:20-23. This is right before He is arrested and is crucified. Jesus says…

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me”.

In this passage we see Jesus’ reason why He prayed for unity.  He wanted Christians to live in unity so the world (those who do not know Jesus) will know that the Father sent the Son and that they are one in unity. And as Jesus says in John 17:3 – to know the Father and the Son, is to know eternal life.

For me these Scriptures show the importance of unity in the local church and the wider church at large.