Unity in the Church
In my mind one of the greatest things about the church is the wonderful unity we enjoy. As a relatively new believer, I grew up having virtually no concept of denominational boundaries and judgemental beliefs occurring within the realm of the church. Truth be told, I continue to hold this naivety quite dear to my heart, preferring to remain “...innocent in what is evil.” (Romans 16:19)!
I truly believe that unity should be one of the highest goals of the church, and that this endeavour made in earnest will bring forth much fruit, including a powerful witness of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
I have heard from those who have been in the church longer than I that unity has improved dramatically in recent years. May we continue in fervent prayer and deed toward this end.
It's important to note that scripture makes it clear to us that it is only God's Holy Spirit that can bring the kind of unity that God calls us to; a unity that is transcendent of race, gender, class and the kind of spiritual gifts that we are each endowed with. The call to unity comes directly from Jesus, and is later confirmed by the teaching of His apostles.
In John chapter 17 Jesus prays fervently for the unity of all believers, including the prayer that He would be “in us” (v. 23), which references the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
In direct reference to this, the apostle Paul beseeches (NKJ) the church of Ephesus “...to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4).
There are many more examples of this in the Bible, and a simple search for “unity in the Holy Spirit” on Google will yield some great results.
Here's one great link I found during my research to get you started:
“Maintain the Unity of the Spirit” http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/maintain-the-unity-of-the-spirit from desiringgod.org. It's the transcript of a sermon by John Piper (the audio recording is there as well).
Photograph by David Emond.