One rhyme said it well, "to live above with those we love, oh, how that will be glory. To live below with those we know, now that's another story." It's true . . . but it shouldn't be. At the conclusion of Jesus' great prayer, He prays for those who would believe because of the message of the disciples. . . .He prays for us. He prays for the church. The one request that stands out (because it is repeated three times!) is that His followers be united as One.
We are not called to create unity . . . we are called to maintain it. However, before we can maintain the unity that comes from being related to each other in Christ, we must repair some of the damage we have done. Let's talk about maintaining unity in our church and community. Here are two Good Reasons for Unity:
1. The greatest tool of evangelism is the love we show for each other.(vv 21 & 23) Unity is the bedrock of evangelism. People understand the love of God when they see that love manifested in His people. What happens more often is people are turning away from the gospel because of the bickering between Christians.
2. We need each other. In 1 Corinthians Paul likens us to a body, a family. We need the comfort, instruction, gifts the other possesses. We also are depriving ourselves of great joy when we divide. Our differences serve a very important function:
1 Differences keep us from grievous error.
2 Differences force us to think about what we believe.
3 Differences expose us to joys we would not have discovered without them. Differences do not destroy us . . . they strengthen us.
Let's not allow division to destroy the work of Christ any longer. Amen?