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Preserving Unity in the Church (12 of 16)
I have enjoyed our series through the book of Philippians. We have seen Paul's philosophy of living, the pattern of Christian living, the prize of Christian living and the power of Christian living. We've seen how Paul the pastor loves his people, how Paul the believer seeks to emulate Christ, how Paul the runner reaches for the prize and here we'll see how Paul the uniter seeks to bring others together.
Unity is essential in any body of believers. If the church is a body, the body must function in one accord. If the church is a building, it must be constructed using the same blueprint. If the church is a bride it must have one love and one love only - Jesus Christ.
Division brings damage to the church, damage to the people and damage to the gospel. Division, disunity and strife is unacceptable in the Body of Christ.
Paul understood this better than even we do. In fact, one of the reasons he wrote this letter was to address the issue of unity; or the lack thereof. He has been building on this theme of unity since chapter 2. READ TEXT
He urges the believers: ''let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.'' I believe this is the fuel that allows unity to take flight and soar in the church.
Then, he gives us the example of humility and unity in Christ. Then in Epaphroditus and Timothy. Then in his own personal testimony and now in his encouragement to two ladies who are involved in a dispute within the church. Three elements to preserving unity in the church.
Affection: love one another- 1
One of the first elements that is necessary for unity to exist is love and affection. The early church father Augustine once said, ''in the essentials we have unity, in nonessentials we have liberty but in all things we show charity.''
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