Fellowship And Unity


  1. INTRODUCTION:

    1. "DIVERSITY IN UNITY" IS THE CRY OF SOME FOR FELLOWSHIP.
      1. Those pressing for diversity in unity, envision a kind of fellowship where everyone can "agree to disagree", regardless of conflicts in doctrine.
      2. This is as mere pretense of unity.
      3. Toleration for every false doctrine is in direction opposition to the New Testament.
    2. THERE MUST BE FELLOWSHIP IN THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST.
      1. Restoration statement: "In matters of faith, unity; in opinion, liberty; in all things, charity."
      2. There must be unity in allowing liberty in areas of opinion, not bound by Scriptural authority.
        1. The Bible does not require unity in matters of opinion, human judgment, or expediency.
        2. In these areas the Bible does allow for differences
          1. Elders may disagree in judgmental matters.
          2. However, a united decision in the best interest of the congregation is what they present to the church.
      3. How can we determine between "bound by the Scriptures" [essentials]; and matters of "opinion" [non-essentials]?
        1. It is essential if salvation depends upon it.
        2. It is non-essential if it does not effect our salvation.
      4. There is a great deal of difference between "union" and "unity".

  2. DISCUSSION:

    1. BIBLICAL UNITY CAN ONLY BE HAD UPON THE BIBLE.
      1. There can never be real unity upon the creeds of men.
      2. The Bible is our only authority. [II Timothy 3:16; John 12:48].
      3. We must follow the "Divine Pattern".
        1. Read: II Corinthians 5:7; Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6.
        2. No one has the right to change the Bible in anyway.
          1. Must not go beyond what is written [I Corinthians 4:6].
          2. See Also Galatians 1:6-8; Revelation 22:18-19.
    2. THE BIBLE HAS MUCH TO SAY ABOUT UNITY.
      1. Unity is pleasant [Psalms 133:1-3].
      2. Biblical prophecies concerning unity.
        1. Isaiah 2:2 - All nations shall flow into Jehovah’s house.
        2. Jeremiah 31:31 - New covenant for house of Israel and house of Judah.
        3. John 10:16 = "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice; and they shall become one flock, and one shepherd."
      3. Jesus prayed for unity in John 17:11, John 17:20-21.
      4. The New Testament pleas for unity.
        1. I Corinthians 1:10 - That ye all speak the same thing.
        2. II Corinthians 13:11 - Be of the same mind, live in peace.
        3. Ephesians 4:3 - Keep the unity of the Spirit.
        4. Philippians 1:27 - Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
        5. I Peter 3:8 - Be ye all of one mind.
        6. The letter to church at Ephesus is a study of unity:
          1. Chapter. 1 - Unity between God and man.
          2. Chapter. 2 - Unity between Jew and Gentile.
          3. Chapter. 3 - Unity of the gospel presented by the church.
          4. Chapter. 4 - Unity of faith obtain only in Christ.
          5. Chapter. 5 - Unity demonstrated with the marriage relationship.
          6. Chapter. 6 - Unity in warfare fighting on the same side.
      5. The divine platform for unity [Ephesians 4:1-6].
        1. Attitude [Ephesians 4:1-3].
          1. Deals first with attitude before dealing with doctrine.
          2. Deals [Ephesians 4:1-3] with spirit of unity.
          3. Deals [Ephesians 4:4-6] with unity of the Spirit.
          4. Lists seven points of the Spirit of unity [Ephesians 4:1-3]
            1. Lowliness – counting others better than self.
            2. Meekness – submitting will, actions and desires to another.
            3. Longsuffering – patience with people.
            4. Forbearing – helpfulness toward people.
            5. Love – desiring good for others.
            6. Giving diligence – constant application to the work at hand.
            7. Bond of peace – bone that wraps itself around and holds unity together.
        2. Doctrine [Ephesians 4:4-6].
          1. One body     – unity of organization.
          2. One Spirit    – unity of revelation.
          3. One hope     – unity of aim
          4. One Lord     – unity of authority.
          5. One faith     – unity of doctrine.
          6. One baptism– unity of practice.
          7. One God     – unity of worship.
      6. Unity of preaching.
        1. I Peter 4:11 - As the oracles of God.
        2. I Corinthians 1:10-11 – Joined together in the same mind and same judgment.
      7. Unity of profession.
        1. Galatians 5:22-23 – Fruits of the Spirit.
        2. Acts 2:44 - And all that believed were together, and had all things common.
    3. WHAT A BOUT UNITY IN DIVERSITY?
      1. The very statement is a self-contradictory concept.
        1. "Unity" means oneness, sameness, harmony, agreement, etc.
        2. "Diversity" indicates different, incomparable, incompatible, opposing.
      2. The statement is a step toward "unity in error".
        1. We are to strive for unity in Christ.
        2. Unity in error is condemned. [II Corinthians 6:14-16].
      3. Those who cause divisions and occasions of stumbling are to be marked.
        1. Romans 16:17-18 - Mark them …….Turn away from them.
        2. II John 9-10 - It is a sin to give encouragement and God speed unto them.
        3. Revelation 3:15-16 - There is no place for lukewarmness.
    4. WITH WHOM ARE WE TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP?
      1. I John 1:7 = "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
        1. We are to have fellowship with those who are in fellowship with God.
        2. We are to have fellowship with those who walk in the light.
      2. We must not have fellowship with those who are not in fellowship with God.
        1. When one ceases to walk in the light, he walks in darkness [II Corinthians. 6:14].
        2. There can be no fellowship between light and darkness for we have been called out of darkness
          [I Peter 2:9].

  3. CONCLUSION:

    1. "BEHOLD, HOW GOOD AND HOW PLEASANT IT IS FOR BRETHREN TO DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY" = Psalms 133:1.
    2. "CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER, EXCEPT THEY BE AGREED?" = Amos 3:3.

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