“I appeal to you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought” 1 Corinthians 1:10
An old story tells of a father who had a family of quarrelsome sons. One day he called his sons to him and, picking out the strongest of them, handed him a stick. “Snap it,” he said. The son did so with a gesture of contempt. The father handed him two sticks. “Snap them,” he said. Again the son did. The father handed him ever increasing numbers of sticks. “Snap them,” he said – a bundle of four, five, six. Soon the young man was straining to snap the sticks and finally had to admit defeat. “This is a lesson in unity,” said the father. “Unity is strength. A house divided cannot stand. Anyone can overthrow you one by one. But stand together, in unity, and your united strength will give your enemies second thoughts.”
Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!”
Just like the father of the quarrelsome sons wanted unity in his family, God wants unity for His sons and daughters – for the family of God. For unity is the one thing that will convince people that the church has something the world doesn’t have. And unity is the one thing that makes the church virtually unstoppable as it goes into all the world and preaches the good news to all creation (cf. John 17:23).
That’s why we can’t afford to have some folk in the church pulling in one direction and others pulling in another. We’ve got to be all together, all pulling in the same direction. Not in the sense of uniformity. God wants unity, not uniformity. The Bible never teaches a uniformity brought about by political expediency, doctrinal compromise, ecumenical brotherhood, or organizational efficiency. The unity God desires is unity of spirit and purpose. The unity of being one with the Father and the Son (cf. John 17:21). For it’s only when we’re all together – one in Him, that the power of God is going to be unleashed in our midst.
A church worship team or choir provide an excellent example of church unity. When the members come together they don’t all sing the same note. They don’t sing in uniformity. They’re not all clones singing exactly the same way. They don’t have identical cadence or tone. They sing their own part and sound their own note. But as they sing their part; be it base, tenor, alto, or soprano, they do so in harmony – all singing the same song. That’s unity. They stop and start at the same time. They sing the same words and they’re governed by the same melody.
Likewise, we need to be on the same page of God’s sheet music. I can’t be singing one song while you’re singing another. That’s disunity. If I sing one song and you sing another we’ll be out of tune with God. We’ll be a discordant cacophony. We’ll be like “a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1. But when we sing the same song, each with our own part and note, each making sure we’re in harmony with the spirit and purpose of the church, then we have unity.
In essence then, church unity exists when people come together with a common understanding of what God has called them to do. It’s having a similar vision, being single-minded, cooperating with one another, having a shared mission, singing the same song.
Thus if you find you’re the only one with a certain vision for the church, or there are only a few of you who think the church should be going in a particular direction, then it’s unlikely that it’s God’s vision for the church. For God has never been, and will never be, the author of disunity. He doesn’t sell pork chops in a synagogue.
We need to be clear on this. If you’re clashing with others because your vision for the church is different from theirs, because you want to sing a different song, then one of two things may be needed: you may need to give up on your agenda, be submissive, and climb on board with everyone else. Or, you may need to find a church that sings the same song that you sing. Of course if there isn’t a Bible believing Spirit filled church singing the song that you’re singing then it begs the question, are you actually singing God’s song?
Paul sums up saying, “I appeal to you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought” 1 Corinthians 1:10.
Now commit this to memory and commit it to life.