U N I T Y

 

The word “unity” means “being one” or the state of oneness.  Unity also means something that is complete or whole.  To fully understand the concept of unity from the Christian view point we can only learn from God’s revelation in the Holy Bible.

 

One of the scribes asked the Lord Jesus Christ this question, “Which is the first commandment of all?  Jesus answered him, ’The first of all the commandments is,

 

‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Shema Yisrael, Ado-nai Elo-heinu, Ado-nai Echad.

 

 

And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

Baruch sheim kavod mal-chuso li-olam va-ed

 

 

This is the first commandment.” (Mk. 12:28-29)

 

For centuries Deuteronomy 6:4-5 that begin with these words have been known in Jewish tradition as "The Shema" which contains the fundamental truth of Israel's religion.   The One True God is a unity.  The Shema is not only the creed of the Jews in the Old Testament, but it also has a place of prominence for all Christians in the New Testament as well.  

 

God  revealed  Himself  as  the  Creator 

 

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  Then God said, ‘Let there be light ‘, and there was light.” (Gen. 1:1-3)

 

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26)

 

The personal pronouns “Us” and “Our” in the plural form does not mean there are many creators for there is only one Creator who created man in His own image, and not ‘in their images’.

 

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27)

 

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb:  I am the LORD, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone,  Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself.” (Isa. 44:24)

 

“Have we not all one Father?  Has not one God created us? . . .” (Mal. 2:10)

 

Throughout the ages the people of God called Him as their heavenly Father who is the Creator of mankind.

 

God’s  Revelation  of  His  Incarnation

 

This One True God has revealed through the prophets in the Old Testament that He would come to this earth in human form. 

 

Isaiah 9:6 is one of the most powerful prophecies that the One True God would manifest Himself in the flesh:

 

"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government willl be upon His shoulder: And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

 

The terms “Child” and “Son” refer to the Incarnation or manifestation of the “Mighty God" and the “Everlasting Father."

 

Isaiah also prophesied that the Messiah would be called “Immanuel”, that is, “God with us” (Isa. 7:14 Mt. 1:22-23).

 

Micah 5:2 proves that the Messiah is God. "But you, Bethlehem Ephratah . . . yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

 

Thus the Old Testament clearly states that the Messiah and Savior who is to come would be the One True God Himself.

 

The  Lord  Jesus  Christ  revealed  the  Holy  Spirit

 

The Lord Jesus Christ declared: “I and My Father are one.” (Jn. 10:30). The disciples already knew the Father as their Creator (Mal. 2:10). They also knew Jesus is the Son of God (Mt. 16:16-17). Jesus revealed the Holy Spirit to His disciples: “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter - KJV), that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (Jn. 14:15:-17).

 

 

Unity  of  the  Father,  Son  and  Holy  Spirit

 

There is only One True God; the Creator of the heavens and the earth and of all mankind (Mk 12:29; Acts 17:24-25). God exists eternally by Himself, being infinite in power, holy in nature, attributes and purpose; and possessing absolute, indivisible deity. This One True Cod has revealed Himself to mankind in three principal ways. He manifests Himself as the FATHER (Creator), SON (Savior), and HOLY SPIRIT (Comforter). These three are One and the same God.

 


 

Unity  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  with  His  Church

 

“For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.  ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”  (Eph. 5:30-32)

 

The relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Church is like that of a husband and his wife.  In the natural marriage “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.”  In the spiritual marriage the Lord Jesus Christ would leave His heavenly Father and also His earthly mother and be joined to His wife which is the Church (Phil 2:5-8; Jn. 19:25-27).  Just as the husband and the wife “shall become one flesh” so Christians unite with the Lord Jesus Christ to become His Body which is the Church.  “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”  

 

 

 

Lord Jesus Christ and His Church

 

 

Relationship between husband and wife

 

The Church is to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29)

 

 

Man and woman are created in the image of God

(Gen. 1:27)

 

Jesus Christ came before the Church (Col. 1:18)

 

“Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (1 Tim. 2:13)

 

 

“. . . He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head,
He gave up His spirit.”
(Jn. 19:30)

 

“And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam.” (Gen. 2:21)

 

 

“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (Jn. 19:34)

 

“He took one of His ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.” (Gen. 2:21) Blood must have flowed out from the wound of Adam’s rib area.

 

 

The Church of God is purchased with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28)

 

“Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman,” (Gen. 2:22)

 

 

God brought the Church to Christ (Col. 1:12-14)

 

and He brought her to the man.” (Gen. 2:22)

 

 

Jesus Christ “is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18;)

 

“the head of woman is man” (1 Cor. 11:3) “the husband is head of the wife” (Eph. 5:23)

 

 

The Church must be submissive to the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:23-24; Col. 1:18)

 

Wives must be submissive to their husbands (Eph. 5:22-24; 1 Pet. 3:1)

 

 

The Lord Jesus Christ “loved the church and gave Himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25)

 

“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies.” (Eph. 5:28, 33)

 

 

 

The  Lord  Jesus  Christ’s  Prayer  for  the  Unity  of  Christians

 

From the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ we can find three basic principles for Christian unity.

 

1.  Unity in God’s Name  “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You.  Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name.  Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” (Jn. 17:11-12)

 

     The Father’s eternal name is “YAHWEH” – “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex. 3:14-15).  God’s name “I AM” – “YAH” is to be praised (Psm. 68:4).  The Lord Jesus Christ said He came in His Father’s name (Jn. 5:43).  “YAHSHUA” is the name to be used for salvation (Isa. 12:2).  The international name of “YAHSHUA” is “JESUS” (Mt. 1:21).  “JESUS is the only “name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

 

2.  Unity of all Christians in One Spirit   “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”  (Jn. 17:20-21)

 

     The Lord Jesus Christ was praying not only for the Christians who had lived during His time on the earth, but also for all Christians who believe in Him through their word, which is for all ages including the present time and the future.  The reason for Christian unity is to witness to the world that Jesus Christ is sent by the Father.

 

The Lord’s prayer for the unity of the Christians does not mean they only agree amongst themselves, but more importantly they must be in complete agreement with the will of the heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is divine unity.

 

3.  Unity for the glory and love of God   “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (Jn. 17:22-23)

 

The Lord’s prayer for the unity of His Disciples was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when God poured out of His Spirit to establish the Church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-4).

 

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:46-47).

 

 

Unity  may  be  achieved  amongst  the  Christians

 

On the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God was poured out on the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ there was only one church.  According to the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2002," there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world today. "Over half of them are independent churches that are not interested in linking with the big denominations." 

 

The "Encyclopedia of American Religions" lists 1,588 religious denominations, sects, faith groups, organizations, etc. Some are currently operating in North America; others are defunct but have been recently active. The vast majority of them consider themselves to be Christian.  Many of these groups believe that they are the only true Christian church and do not consider having fellowship with other groups, thus making it extremely difficult to achieve unity of any kind.

 

In His prayer for the unity of His disciples our Lord also prayed to the heavenly Father: “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (Jn. 17:16-19)

 

One thing is certain and that is the Lord Jesus Christ is returning for His Church.  He wants to “sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:26-27)

 

The prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ will certainly be fulfilled.  There will be a church that meets His requirements when He returns.  The word of God gives us a very clear direction as to how Christians can achieve unity, and that is to be sanctified by the truth.

 

Unity  of  the  Spirit  in  the  Bond  of  Peace

 

There are seven essential truths to be kept by all Christians in order to achieve unity (Eph. 4:3-6)

 

1.  “There is one body” (v 4)

2.  and one Spirit,” (v 4)

3.  just as you were called in one hope of your calling; (v 4)

4.  one Lord” (v 5)

5.  one faith” (v 5)

6.  one baptism” (v 5)

7.  one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (v 6)

 

Most Christian churches believe and accept these seven essential truths, but they differ in their interpretation of the “one faith” and the “one baptism”. 

 

“One faith” refers to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles.  “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)  “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)

 

“One baptism” is briefly described in Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38 and Romans 6:3-8. 

 

Throughout the centuries several good Christian men have made attempts to unite the Church of God and all of them have a common purpose, direction and goal.

 

In essential things have unity,

In doubtful things have liberty,

In all things have charity (love).

 

We can certainly use this slogan in our efforts to have unity with all other Christians.

 

Unity  of  the  One  Church  in  the  End  Time

 

Referring to the workers in the End Time the Lord Jesus Christ said: “So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, but few chosen.” (Mt. 20:16)  Just like the Church in the First Century the condition of the Church in the End Time is described as having equal opportunity of salvation and God's blessings for all the people of the world (Gal. 3:26-29)

 

26.  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

27.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

29.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

 

 

May God bless you

 

 

A sermon based on this article was preached by Paul Wong

to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on April 1, 2006

 

For comments please write first to: arkpw@sbcglobal.net

 

Paul Wong is a Christian minister and the President of ARK International.
His ministry also serves as an architectural service company in Houston.
The ARK Forum on the Internet is international and non-denominational.

 

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