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As a growing church, we are in the process
of forming committees. We are realizing
more and more, God's plan for us. We know
that everyone has a place in the body, as
we know that Christ is at the head. Unity
is very important and something that we lift
up in prayer. God's Word says it best...

Genesis 13:7-8 And quarreling arose between
Abram's herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot.
The Canaanites and Peizzites were also
living in the land at that time. So Abram
said to Lot, "Let's not have any quarreling
between you and me or between your herdsmen
and mine, for we are brothers.

Surrounded by hostile neighbors, the
herdsmen of Abram and Lot should have pulled
together. Instead, they let petty jealousy
tear them apart. Similar situations exist
today. Chistians often bicker while Satan
is at work all around them.

Rivalries, arguments and disageements among
believers can be destructive in three ways...
1) They damage goodwill, trust, and peace,
the foundations of good human relations...
2) They hamper progress toward important
goals... 3) They make us self-centered rather
than love-centered. Jesus understood how
destructive arguments among brothers could be.
In his final prayer before being betrayed
and arrested, Jesus asked God that his
followers be "one" (John 17:21).

Nehemiah 4:16 From that day on, half of my
men did the work, while the other half were
equipped with spears, shields, bows and ammo.
The officers posted themselves behind all the
people of Juda who were building the wall.

The workers were spread out along the wall,
so Nehemiah devised a plan of defense that
would unite and protect his people - half the
men worked while the other half stood guard.
Christians need to help one another in the
same way, because we can become so afraid of
possible dangers that we can't get anything
done. By looking out for each other, we will
be free to put forth our best efforts,
confident that others are ready to offer help
when needed. Don't cut yourself off from
others; instead, join together for mutual
benefit. You need them as much as they need you.

Psalm 133:1-3 How good and pleasant it is when
brothers live together in unity! It is like
precious oil poured on the head, running down
on the beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were
blessing, even life forevermore.

David stated that unity is pleasant and precious.
Unfortunately, unity does not abound in the
church as it should. People disagee and cause
division over unimportant issues. Some delight
in causing tension by discrediting others.
Unity is important because... 1) It makes the
church a positive example to the world and helps
draw others to us... 2) it helps us cooperate as a
body of believers as God meant us to, giving us
a foretaste of heaven... 3) it renews and
revitalizes ministry because there is less
tension to sap our energy. Living in unity does
not mean that we will agree on everything, there
will be many opinions, just as there are many
notes in a musical chord. But we must agree on
our purpose in life - to work together for God.
Our outward expression of unity will reflect our
inward unity of purpose.

Acts 2:40-43 With many other words he warned
them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves
from this corrupt generation. Those who accepted
his message were baptised and about three
thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles'
teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking
of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled
with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs
were done by the apostles.

About 3,000 people became new believers when
Peter preached the Good News about Christ.
These new Christians were united with the other
believers, taught by the apostles, and included
in the prayer meetings and fellowship. New
believers in Christ need to be in groups where
they can learn God's Word, pray, and mature in
the faith. If you have just begun a relationship
with Christ, seek out other believers for
fellowship, prayer and teaching. This is the way
to grow.

John 17:21-23 That all of them may be one, Father,
just as you are in me and I am in you. May they
also be in us so that the world may believe that
you have sent me. If I have given them the glory
that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to
complete unity to let the world know that you sent
me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Jesus' geat desire for his disciples was that they
would become one. He wanted them unified as a
powerful witness to the reality of God's love. Are
you helping to unify the body of Christ, the church?
You can pray for other Christians, avoid gossip,
build others up, work together in humility, give
your time and money, exalt Christ, and refuse to get
sidetracked arguing over divisive matters.

Jesus prayed for unity among the believers based on
the believers' unity with him and the Father.
Christians can know unity among themselves if they
are living in union with God. For example, each
branch living in union with the vine is united with
all other branches doing the same.

Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and
mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions
was his own, but they shared eveything they had.

Differences of opinion are inevitable among human
personalities and can actually be helpful, if
handled well. But spiritual unity is essential -
loyalty, commitment, and love for God and his Word.
Without spiritual unity, the church could not
survive. Paul wote the letter of 1 Corinthians to
urge the church in Corinth toward greater unity.

None of these Christians felt that what they had
was their own, so they were able to give and share,
eliminating poverty among them. They would not let
a brother or sister suffer when others had plenty.
How do you feel about your possessions? We should
adopt the attitude that everything we have comes
from God, and we are only sharing what is already his.

1 Corinthians 1:10-11 I appeal to you, brothers,
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of
you agree with one another so that there may be no
divisions among you and that you may be perfectly
united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from
Chloe's household have informed me that there are
quarrels among you.

By saying brothers, Paul is emphasizing that all
Christians are part of God's family. Believers
share a unity that runs even deeper than that of
blood brothers and sisters. To "agree with one
another", allows for "no divisions" and "be
perfectly united in mind and thought" does not
require everyone to believe exactly the same.
There is a difference between having opposing
viewpoints and being divisive. A group of people
will not completely agree on every issue, but
they can work together harmoniously if they agree
on what truly matters - Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
In your church, speak and behave in a way that will
reduce arguments and increase harmony. Petty
differences should never divide Christians.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13 The body is a unit, though
it is made up of many parts; and though all its
parts are many, they form one body. So it is with
Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit
into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or
free - and we were all given the one Spirit drink.

Paul compares the body of Christ to a human body.
Each part has a specific function that is necessary
to the body as a whole. The parts are different
for a purpose and in their differences they must
work together. Christians must avoid two common
errors: 1) being too proud of their abilities, or...
2) thinking they have nothing to give to the body
of believers. Instead of comparing ourselves to
one another, we should use our different gifts
together, to spread the Good News of salvation.

The church is composed of many types of people
from a variety of backgrounds with a multitude
of gifts and abilities. It is easy for these
differences to divide people, as was the case
in Corinth. But despite the differences, all
believers have one thing in common, faith in
Christ. On this essential truth the church
finds unity. All believers are baptized by one
Holy Spirit into one body of believers, the
church. We don't lose our individual
identities, but we have an overriding oneness
in Christ. When a person becomes a Christian,
the Holy Spirit takes up residence, and he or
she is born into God's family. "We were all
given the Spirit to drink" means that the same
Holy Spirit completely fills our innermost
beings. As members of God's family, we may have
different interests and gifts, but we have one
common goal.

1 Corinthians 12:14-26 Now the body is not
made up of one part but of many. If the foot
should say "Because I am not a hand, I do not
belong to the body," it would not for that reason
cease to be part of the body. If the whole body
were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?
If the whole body were an ear, where would the
sense of smell be? But in fact, God has arranged
the parts in the body, every one of them, just as
he wanted them to be. If they were all one part,
where would the body be? As it is, there are many
parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the
hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say
to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary,
those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are
indispensable, and the parts that we think are less
honorable we treat with special honor. And the
parts that are unpresentable are treated with
special modesty, while our presentable parts need
no special treatment. But God has combined the
members of the body and has given greater honor to
the parts that lacked it, so that there should be
no division of the body, but that its parts should
have equal concern for each other. If one part
suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part
is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Using the analogy of the body, Paul emphasizes the
importance of each church member. If a seemingly
insignificant part is taken away, the whole body
becomes less effective. Thinking that your gift
is more important than someone else's is an
expression of spiritual pride. We should not look
down on those who seem unimportant, and we should
not be jealous of others who have impressive gifts.
Instead we should use the gifts we have been given
and encourage others to use theirs. If we don't,
the body of believers will be less effective. What
is your response when a fellow Christian is honored?
How do you respond when someone is suffering? We
are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and
weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Too often,
unfortunately, we are jealous of those who rejoice
and apathetic toward those who weep. Believers are
in the world together - there is no such thing as
private or individualistic Chistianity. We
shouldn't stop with enjoying only our own
relationship with God; we need to get involved in
the lives of others.

Romans 12:4-8 Just as each of us has one body
with many members, and these members do not all
have the same function, so in Christ we who are
many form one body, and each member belongs to
all the others. We have different gifts,
according to the grace given us. If a man's
gift is prophesying, let him use it in
proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let
him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if
it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is
contributing to the needs of others, let him give
generously; if it is leadership, let him govern
diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it

Paul uses the concept of the human body to teach
how Christians should live and work together.
Just as the parts of the body function under the
direction of the brain, so Christians are to work
together under the command and authority of Jesus
Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians

God gives us gifts so we can build up his church.
To use them effectively, we must 1) realize that
all gifts and abilities come from God;... 2) under-
stand that not everyone has the same gifts... 3) know
who we are and what we do best;... 4) dedicate our
gifts to God's service and not to our personal
success;... 5) be willing to utilize our gifts whole-
heartedly, not holding anything back from God's

Galatians 5:14-15 The entire law is summed up in
a single command: "Love your neighbor as your-
self." If you keep on biting and devouring each
other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each

When we are not motivated by love, we become
critical of others. We stop looking for good in
them and see only their faults. Soon the unity
of believers is broken. Have you talked behind
someone's back? Have you focused on other's
shortcomings instead of their strengths? Remind
yourself of Jesus' command to love others as you
love yourself (Matthew 22:39). When you begin
to feel critical of someone, make a list of that
person's positive qualities. If there are problems
that need to be addressed, it is better to confront
in love than to gossip.

Ephesians 4:1-6 As a prisoner for the Lord, then,
I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling
you have received. Be completely humble and
gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in
love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the
Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one
body and one Spirit - just as you were called to
one hope when you were called - one Lord, one
over all and through all and in all.

"There is one body," says Paul. Unity does not
just happen; we have to work at it. Often
differences among people can lead to division,
but this should not be true in the church.
of concentrating on what divides us, we should
remember what unites us: one body, one Spirit,
hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God!
you learned to appreciate people who are
different from you? Can you see how their
differing gifts and viewpoints can help the
church as it does God's work? Learn to enjoy
the way we members of Christ's body complement
one another.

No one is ever going to be perfect here on earth,
so we must accept and love other Chrisitans in
spite of their faults. When we see faults in
fellow believers, we should be patient and gentle.
Is there someone whose actions or personality
really annoys you? Rather than dwelling on that
person's weaknesses or looking for faults, pray
for him or her. Then do even more - spend time
together & see if you can learn to like him or her.

To build unity is one of the Holy Spirit's
important roles. He leads, but we have to be
willing to be led and to do our part to keep
the peace. We do that by focusing on God, not
on ourselves.

Have you heard someone sing that had a beautiful
voice? Or maybe someone wrote a very spiritual
poem. Have you ever thought, gee, why can't I
be like that? Why didn't God give me that
talent? I remember thinking that and I "thank
God" for helping me realize that my life is
blessed by others sharing their talent with me.
I am learning that I have my own "God-given"
qualities and that he is enabling me to use them
to honor him. If we focus on God, our Creator,
the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, and the
guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will see things
as He would have us see. That's the beauty and
life of being with those around us. Together,
what a wonderful way to be!