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Text Box: Unity Promotes Love



Text Box: (John 17:22-23 NIV) 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. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(Ephesians 4:3-6 NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
(Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
(Colossians 3:13-14 NIV) Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Text Box: Is it possible that any group of people can be totally united in mind and thought?  In a world in which the myth of individuality is perpetuated, the godly focus of unity is perverted and diminished to imply a loose alliance of purpose and mission.  Is that what Jesus really meant when He prayed to Father concerning the unity of believers (John 17:22-23)?
Paul interprets Jesus’ unity to be a lot more in 1 Corinthians 1:10-13.  Quarrels and arguments about petty things are signs of manipulative behavior and lead to lack of unity, rather than signs of ministering and service which promotes the unity of the Spirit through the bonds of peace (Ephesians 4:3).  False attempts to “unify” denominations (ecumenism) by watering down the Gospel of Jesus merely lead people to the pit—not to Jesus.  These mindless but good-intentioned attempts to unity just show the world the opposite of what Jesus wants to show the world—unity in Him, through His message; not unity in denominations, ecumenism, or philosophies and theologies.  These are all man-made and destined to perish.
Unity cannot exist amongst the immature and the worldly (1 Corinthians 3:1-7).  These are too concerned with themselves and their image to be “men of God”.  Only submissive men, willing to yield and submit even to the petty differences that exist amongst us, can forge unity with their meekness and willingness to become vulnerable for the Gospel.  
This meekness, coupled with a hunger and thirst for righteousness according to God’s Word, prevents churches from the splitting caused by self-righteous men and the apostasy caused by liberal-minded men who twist the Scriptures to suit their own desires.  
You must learn to discern and be sober enough to realize that where there are difference, they happen to point out those who are pleasing to God from those who are selfish and pride-filled (1 Corinthians 11:18-19).  Some create a false harmony in the church by justifying themselves with the “agree to disagree” philosophy.  Nothing could promote Satan’s agenda better than that!  
Understand that the fruits of love and unity proves to the world that we are Jesus’ (John 13:34-35; 17:22-23).

In His Footsteps © 1998                                                    





Text Box: Unity Promotes Love





Ecumenism is NOT unity.  Ecumenism refers to the movement many professing “Christian” churches and individuals support.  Being ecumenical means you accept members of other denominations as “Christians” just like yourself.  An ecumenical person or church accepts as members any person regardless of what specifics they believe about Jesus, as long as they believe He was God’s Son and gave His life that we may have eternal life.  Different doctrines concerning salvation are all generally accepted, though they may be unbiblical.  Is ecumenism biblical, let alone godly?  Read Matthew 7:13-14.  Does Jesus encourage us to be broad-minded when it comes to truth or narrow-minded?  Does He seem to promote a “herd” mentality (crowd follower/pleaser) or a “Jesus is Lord” mentality?  Is Jesus’ way going to be found among the many or among the few?  Read Matthew 13:44.  This parable speaks of a man selling all he had so that he could enjoy the treasure, which Jesus compares to God’s Kingdom.  Notice that in order to be able to possess God’s Kingdom (Daniel 7:18) you must give up everything.  You don’t add God’s truth to all the rest of your “truths”.  You get rid of anything you thought was “truth” and you are molded in God’s sole truth.  Read Luke 13:22-28.  Only those believe (John 3:16), repent (Luke 13:2-5), confess (Romans 10:9-10) and are baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16)—in other words, those who obey the gospel (1 Thessalonians 1:8-9) will be saved and become part of Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 12:12ff), the one true church (Ephesians 4:3-6), as sure as they walk in the narrow way of Jesus.  Only when you walk in His light as obedient children (1 John 1:7) do you have forgiveness of sins and His gift—the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 5:32).  Read Matthew 7:21-23.   Only those who obey His words will not be condemned (John 12:48).



Denominationalism is NOT unity.  De-nomin-ationalism means the naming of a division.  To support a denomination is to actually support divisions.  Is this godly or Christ-like?  Read Romans 16:17-18.  Is causing division contrary to the teaching of Jesus?  Are those who cause divisions serving the Lord Jesus?  Being denominational doesn’t support Christ’s mission: John 17:17-21.  What is the truth?  How will the world know that God sent Jesus for us?  How will the world know that God loves us?  Following Jesus’ words as opposed to men’s words is what brings unity.  Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-13.  We are to be perfectly united in _________ and _________.  Are we to follow personalities other than Jesus’?  What about those who follow “prophets” like Charles Russell (Jehovah Witness), Mary Baker Eddie (Christian Science), Joseph Smith (Mormon) or Ellen White (Seventh Day Adventist)?  What about on things that don’t concern doctrine, are we to even be united in that?  I will discuss that on Wednesdays’ Quiet Time.  Read 1 Corinthians 11:19.  What are differences for?  What if I receive a new revelation or inspiration from the Scriptures or from a vision/angel?  Read Galatians 1:6-9.  If someone tells you something different than what the Bible says, is it the Gospel?  Even if an angel tells you?  What happens to those who preach and teach a different Gospel? Read Colossians 2:16-23.  What about those who try to live by their dreams or interpretations of dreams and circumstances as opposed to the Gospel and sober, godly advice?  Are you to be called a Christian because of what you eat, drink or celebrate? Are you to be called a Christian because you look humble or holy and wear special clothes or hats?  Following people or worldly religions and ideas rather than Christ promotes division.  These include Catholicism, Protestantism (Methodist, Episcopalian, Baptist), Cults (Jehovah Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, Mormons), Pentecostalism and anything else that doesn’t comply with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in His Word, the Bible.  Following your own ideas (your heart) or any of these people’s ideas rather than Jesus’ words will cause you to follow other gods: Jeremiah 13:1-10.



Agreeing to disagree is NOT unity.  It is pride-filled, selfish and worldly.  True unity is shown in how we submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21) and honor one another’s requests and desires above ourselves in the matters of opinion (Romans 12:9-21).  Read Romans 14:1-13.  Are we to pass judgement or promote our agenda and ourselves when it comes to disputable matters?  Are we to look for recognition, approval or merit in our own doings and ideas?  Are you to think you are better because you do certain things better or more often?  Don’t judge another unless you’ve already examined your loyalty to Jesus first in your faith: Matthew 7:1-5.  Don’t be a hypocrite!  Also remember that only he who does the will of the father will enter the Kingdom.  Go back and quickly review study #35, page 69 titled Thinking Rightly—Obey God’s Will! for more insight. 



Not being held accountable by each other does NOT promote unity.  People who run away from accountability tend to be divisive because of selfishness or pride.  They are very judgmental but refuse to be held accountable by others.  Read Romans 2:1-6; 14:4, 10.  Does this describe you?  Do you dislike being told what to do?  Do you dislike counsel because you think you are better?  Do you trust yourself above God?  Be careful (1 Corinthians 10:12)!  Read 1 Corinthians 5:12-6:11.



Lack of teaching, correction and rebuking does NOT promote unity.  When you fail to stand for truth you compromise unity.  When you see fail to live by God’s Word and encourage others to do the same you compromise unity.  Read Ezekiel 18:4-32.  When you are intimidated to speak the truth you compromise unity (Zechariah 8:16-17).  When you fail to gently seek common ground with someone who is confused or brainwashed by the world you compromise unity (Proverbs 15:1; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:2-3; Philippians 4:5; Colossians 3:12-24; 2 Timothy 2:25-26; Hebrews 5:2; 1 Peter 3:15-16).


May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus…Romans 15:5


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