Unity is the said pursuit of many organizations, pundits, and leaders today. The price, according to the world, is pretty simple: give up your beliefs. Unity becomes an end in and of itself in our culture, as if unity is the greatest achievement for humanity. From a human standpoint it probably is, because everyone worships, and when unity is all there is, the only “one” left to worship is the human condition, because WE did it!
Ephesians 4:1-16 is my text this week as we look at treasuring Christ together. It’s a simple text that demands acknowledgment and adherence. Paul lays out a pretty simple formula for unity among the body of Christ: Shared beliefs + Diverse gifts + Single-minded worship = UNITY.
Churches are also prone to check beliefs at the door. We think that Statements of Faith and Church Covenants are relegated to Constitution and By-Laws, but really impractical to actually use. Admittedly, we are frail and every church is imperfect. Unity, and it’s pursuit, will never be perfect, the reason we are to be unified is ALWAYS perfect!
Putting Jesus on display by treasuring Him above everything, is what drives us to be together, unified. So, we have to hold each other to our shared beliefs and practices. But they cannot be held on to while sitting our backsides, armchair quarterbacking worship services or church programs. We have to get up, use the spiritual gifts we’ve been given, and use them in love to build up the body so that she more naturally reflects Jesus and is better equipped to battle against all other loves. The world would look at a church like that, in all of her cultural diversity, and wonder. Maybe the world would even dare to ask questions.
The response to biblical, church unity is not in our control. It is incumbent upon every believer, living in covenant community as a church, to pursue sound doctrine and right living, including using gifts to help each other mature into Jesus. Are you using your spiritual gift? I’m not talking about talents. I’m talking about gifts. I’m talking about how and why you use your talents and abilities. Last time I looked, God didn’t like the too old, too young, not talented enough, excuses…pretty sure He still doesn’t.
We have one Lord, Jesus Christ, and He is worthy of our worship through believing rightly, serving regularly, and seeing His glory displayed however He chooses to put it on display…especially the unity of His followers in the local church.