Unity: The Church’s Line of Defense

This comes from Jesus’ pray for unity with his disciples:

“Holy Father protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
John 17:11

The enemy that Jesus seeks protection from is very real and active. The evil one lives and breathes to see the kingdom of God fall. Every chance he gets he will sow seeds of hatred, envy, selfish ambition and confusion among God’s people hoping it will grow into catastrophic division.

What kind of unity can there be when we are divided over petty issues? When we gossip behind each other’s back? When we hold grudges and never seek reconciliation? The phrase “a kingdom divided amongst itself cannot stand” comes from the mouth of Jesus himself.

There are times when God himself will cause division among his own people, but it’s only when his children act blasphemously towards him. The early Israelites suffered from division when God “scattered them among the nations” for their wicked behavior. Their example makes me wonder if the church is as separated as it is today by God’s hand because of the amount of evil that we condone.

God is certainly not opposed to unity; he’s opposed to the rise of evil, especially among those who are responsible for preserving his reputation—which is us!

Our Father is proud when we make him look good by adhering to unfiltered doctrines of his Word, by relying on him more than we rely on ourselves and by giving to others when it seems like we have nothing left to give. When we live by the faith and righteousness he’s given us, there is no need to suffer the discipline of his separating.

The church has lost sight of what it means to be one. Everyone wants to do their own thing. It’s ridiculous, and frankly heartbreaking, that churches go to such extreme lengths to make a name for themselves. They want to be the best in town and more popular than any other ministry. Even in the sermons, they promote their own church as much as they do the gospel.

I find it a little ironic that church leaders can be stubbornly loyal to their particular denomination while their congregants visit a variety of churches. Christians are placing less of a priority on denominational affiliation.

Of course, we’re not going to agree on everything, but we do share core beliefs. There are essential doctrines and non-essential doctrines, and if we can agree on all that is essential we have a very good chance of reaching unity. We won’t have any idea what we have in common unless someone starts the conversation.

Whenever there is unity, we are much stronger. Iron sharpens iron. Love inspires love. And the weak are made strong. The kingdom of God moves forward as one impenetrable unit.

It’s like the herd of buffalo in the Savannah. When the lions prowl, you know what the herd does? They collect themselves and stand shoulder to shoulder. The bigger and stronger buffalo stand in front facing the lions while the babies are shielded. If the lion wants to take a chance it will have to go through the line.

What chance do we have against the enemy when we are only interested in saving and protecting ourselves? The devil is picking off stand alone churches and lone Christians like stray gazelle. Thousands of churches split or die out every year. Those who are just starting to take their faith seriously slip back into their old habits.

We must become like the buffalo. Stand together. Protect the weak.

 

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11 thoughts on “Unity: The Church’s Line of Defense

  1. I do agree we should protect the weak who are new Christians and could easily be led astray. Too many churches think it’s important to promote their own churches, as if to compete with other churches, and they do lead people astray in order to become big mega-churches. That is the goal for too many churches rather than teaching the truth of God’s Word.

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  2. A timely article. This morning i wrote a short article ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ for my fb page. I felt the issue needed to be discussed but was on the fence because living in a Buddhist country, we do need to show solidarity. But the free churches preaching prosperity and prophecying career success makes it real hard to keep mum.

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    1. Yes, sister. There are many wolves among us. I was in a church in LA and one of their major themes in their messages was about having your dreams come true. In a city like LA that was a very bankable approach.

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  3. I like your point that God himself will cause division if it is because of sin in the camp. His “remnant” always seems to be separated unto him. When I first looked at this path I thought God was calling me to, I was a little worried at what would appear to be division. So God took me to the ten virgins waking up from a sleep, and I witnessed with horror the 5 wise saying “NO” to the 5 foolish, and I saw a form of division the Bible called wise. I still ponder that parable a lot, even to this day. Jesus had his inner circle. There are levels of division, and yet a common faith.

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    1. One way that division is good is under the concept of “divide and conquer.” This is what the Apostles did in Acts. Like the bible advises, we must make every effort to be of one mind. We are all connect to and by the living Spirit of God, and as long as we are connected to him through pure love and truth, then we are unified.

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