John 17:20–23, Philippians 1:27–28
E Pluribus Unum.
If you look at US currency, most (if not all) will have this saying. In Latin, it means “Out of many, one.” While the US might be the gathering place of people of many nations, it is the church that should be living out this saying more than any entity in Creation.
Jesus prayed that we (all the church, in all the world, in all of time) would be one, just as he (Jesus) and the Father are one. This is one of those areas of mystery and freedom for the people who make up the church. Our theology and tradition teach us that God is One. Our theology and tradition also teach us that as One, God is still (at the same time) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In purpose and intent, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One. However, they are also separate (the great conundrum of the Trinity), which should be kind of like us.
United in intent and love, and individual at the same time. As we can see, it hasn’t worked so well in the United States. It certainly could be worse. It certainly could be better. Jesus doesn’t give us the excuse of, “it’s a republic.” We are to be united (a perfect single unit) so that the world knows that Jesus is the Messiah. This is not so the world knows we are Christians or good people, or we’re “saved”. Unity is the testimony that Jesus is who he says he is.
Paul takes unity and puts it as a symbol of trusting in the Gospel. In other words, Paul is saying, “you’re preaching it, but do you believe it?”
The church in general and even Generations Community Church has a problem with unity. Unity is hard work. Unity is never about our-self, it is about all of us…together.
Whether you struggle with being united with an “opposing” political party, a different skin color, a different language, a different nationality, a different sexuality (or lack thereof), we are called to be united. We have seen denominations start the long and painful road to separation. Church history is filled with splits. Even positives, like the Church of the Nazarene (which united different churches), are outweighed by splits.
It may seem abrupt to tie this in, but evangelism as a practice is in decline. Evangelism, not sharing the faith. Yes, there is a huge difference. Evangelism is often a whip. Sharing the faith isn’t. Unity is the example the world needs. Unity shows the world who Jesus is. Unity shows the world we believe what we say.
1) Have you ever left a church for a reason other than moving? If so, why?
2) What are you doing in this church framily to build unity?
3) One of the biggest struggles in unity is speaking truth in love. To whom do you need to speak truth?
4) Often the biggest struggle in unity is hearing truth spoken in love. What truths have people shared that you did (and/or do) not listen to?