Preserving the Unity of the Faith
Launch your study by reading Ephesians 4:1-6. What does verse 3 urge us to do? Unity is a big topic to the Apostle Paul. He saw it as a sign of maturity for the body of Christ to become one in faith, Ephesians 4:13. Discuss in your group some simple ideas for unity in Christ’s body and list them here:
The call to the hard work of unity is upon us all. It was hard work even for Paul and his apostolic sidekick Barnabas. They had a spat about ministry that drew them apart for a while, Acts 15:36-41.
Preserving Local Church Unity
Galatians 3:26-29, Dealing with “categories”
- Look closely at the categories of people listed here. Did God see His people in those categories? What categories do we tend to put each other into?
- How would the Lord expect each group to treat each other when they gathered for worship? (Just imagine slave and free, rich and poor, male and female, Jew and Gentile in the same confined space worshiping Jesus.)
Colossians 3:12-15, What do do about disagreements
- If you have a complaint against someone in your fellowship, what are you to do (verse 13)?
- How do we go about “putting on love” (Verse 14)?
1 Corinthians 12:4-11, The variety of gifts
- The Corinthian Church had some problems. Maybe the greatest one was division. They divided over who baptized them (1Corinthians 1:12, 13), over communion practices (1 Corinthians 1:17-22), and elevating one spiritual gift above another, (1 Corinthians 12:27-31).
- The answer to these disagreements is to acknowledge that each person is a part of the ONE body and that each has a gift as given by God. The greatest gift is the gift that blesses the body of Christ the most.
Jesus looks at us today as one church in many locations. He loves every one of them and desires to see each fellowship flourish as an expression of His love to the town or city each one is planted in. Pray that our fellowship will express His love as a united front.
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.