Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  13 : 11
Subject: Disunity; Unity; Peace; Conflict; Fellowship

God has created some enduring and mighty things, like the mountains, the sea, the Sun and Moon. While in Viet-Nam I looked up one night and saw the moon and I thought to myself, “That is the same moon my wife and little baby girl look at every night from the other side of the world.” It made me feel near them. Then I thought of something more profound. That moon is the same one Jesus looked up to see almost 2,000 years ago. It is the same one Abraham looked up to see over 3,000 years ago. If the Lord tarries, it is the same one our grandchildren and great-great grandchildren shall view 100 years from now. What causes that Moon endure? It works in harmony with the sun, stars, planets and even the earth itself. God made the moon to work in harmony with other things within our solar system, so it endures.

God has created some very fragile things, too. Think of a snowflake, how very tiny and easily it can be destroyed.  Surely a snowflake is one of God’s most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together. Those fragile crystals of ice can pile up several inches or feet deep. They can bring a 5,000 pound car or a 30,000 train engine to a complete halt, as long as they stick together!

God has done something like this in the creation of His church. He has made up a mighty army of enduring quality, yet we are a fragile creation easily crushed if we fail to stick together. Yes, I know that the Church, with a capital “C” shall prevail against the gates of hell, but a local church can close its doors if the people fail to remain steadfastly united. In fact, more than a hundred churches a month close their doors for good within our Southern Baptist Convention acorss America. Sure, twice that many new churches are started as well, but that is no excuse for so many churches experiencing death.

Paul knew this issue was a problem and had it in mind when he wrote to the Corinthian church. Today I want us to look at the need in every church for unity and cooperation.

Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 13:11: “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Now some may wonder why this sermon is being preached to us today, especially since we are not experiencing any disunity. For that, I know that we all thank God. Many are saying, in fact, we are experiencing the most unified days in the recent history of this church. True, but leads us to think about two things.

i. First, when a church is doing well the Devil isn’t happy.

Satan will not let us go on this way without trying to disrupt our fellowship. We must be aware of his devices and be prepared to rebuff him at every turn. Can we really expect that Satanic forces are going to sit by and allow the great joy we are experiencing to go on unchallenged? We will rejoice in the peace, unity and effectiveness we are experiencing, but we will not remove spiritual guards from the gates and towers of our hearts.

ii. Second, I believe in PST.

What is that? Preventative Spiritual Therapy! We must treat the cause rather than the result. For example, almost everyone in this room has had some type of inoculation in your lifetime. Why have an injection when you aren’t sick? Prevention is the best cure! So, I want us to look at this subject today and continue our wonderful life of unity in this fellowship.

So, let’s look at unity in the following ways…

I. Something Unity Does Mean

What is unity? What does it mean for a church and her members to be unified?

A. Same Deficiency (all sinners)

First, we are all unified because we all have the same deficiency. Every one of us is a sinner. Some people outside the church look at us in the church and think that we represent ourselves as better than others. That is a lie – an outright lie! There are two organizations that I know of that you have to admit you are bad to get into. The first is the Hell’s Angels and the second is the church. To be part of a church, I must admit that I am a sinner, and that I admitted to my sin, repented of my sin and trusted Jesus for my salvation. I must state clearly that I have trusted Jesus to forgive my sins and to redeem me from them. That is not the act of someone who is acting better than anyone else! Every saved person has admitted that he or she is no good!

We read in Isaiah 64:6,

"But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away."

Note that we are "all" like an unclean thing. Everyone of us has sinned so that even our "righteousnesses" (our best good deeds) are like filthy rags. We are united in our uncleanness! Each of us in the church, truly in Christ, has admitted that and we must not ever forget it! When we are aware of our alikeness in our sinful nature, we will put aside pride and selfishness and turn our eyes upon the One who redeemed us. That leads to the next thought...

B. Same Deliverer (Jesus)

Acts 4:12: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

John 14:6, “…no man to Father but by me.

As I said, every person in this church who is truly saved is unified in the sense that we all have the same Savior. Jesus alone saves and we all came to Him in the same manner to obtain salvation and redemption. What better unifying force than that of Jesus! Gazing upon Him with eyes of love will keep any Christian group from gashing at each other with knives of hate.

C. Same Divinity

Thirdly, we are united in the fact that the divine Spirit of God lives inside every Christian. The Spirit of God is the Lord Himself dwelling in us. We are “one” body because we have the same Holy Spirit sealing us, leading us, helping us and empowering us.

1 John 4:13: “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

Romans 8:9: “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

2 Corinthians 12:18: “I urged Titus, and sent our brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not walk in the same spirit? Did we not walk in the same steps?”

D. Same Destiny (Heaven)

Fourthly, we are united in the fact that we have the same destiny. We are all going to the same heaven. I don’t care who you are, how much education you have, how much money you have or lack, or what side of the tracks you come from, if you are a Christian, you are going to the same heaven. There will be no snob hill in glory! So, we are united in our destination.

Luke 13:29: “They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.”

1 Thessalonians 4:17: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

There is an old joke about a Methodist arriving at heaven's gate and being ushered in because he had fully trusted in Christ for his salvation. The angel took him to his room and told him that he was at home in heaven, but he needed to be very quite. When the Methodist asked why he needed to be quite, the angel said, "There are Baptists next door to you and they think they are the only ones here!" Well, to be sure, every person who has trust Jesus as Lord and Savior will be in heaven together. We ought to be unified here because we are certainly going to be unified there!

Now, just think about these unifying realities. The same deficiency, the same deliverer, the same divinity and the same destiny. We are unified in all these ways and that ought to cause us to walk together as one person in the service of the Lord.

But, now let’s look at something else regarding unity…

II. Something Unity Does Not Mean

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

We must not misunderstand what unity within the family of God actually means. There are some people who misrepresent unity and turn it into something God never intended. Unity does not mean that we are all the same. We come from different environments, educations, experiences and have various talents and abilities. We are not alike but we are all important God’s work.

A. Like a Body

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26: For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20  But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

Paul uses the idea of the human body to reveal to us how we are unified as Christians in the body of Christ. We don’t all have the same function or place in God’s work, but each one is important. One part of the human body cannot complain because it is not another, but must carry out its duty in its place. My eye cannot do what my hand can do, nor can my foot do what my ear must do. Neither is better than the other because each one is critical to my wellbeing. In fact, Paul goes on to say that the entire body must work together. When one part of the body is suffering, all the other parts must do their part to carry the load and heal the problem. That is how we are to be in Christ. We are one body in His church, carrying out His work together.

B. Like an Orchestra

Think of an orchestra. There are many different instruments and each one makes its own sound. Some of them are designed to be loud and others to be soft and gentle. When the music is played and one the conductor leads it, the sound is awesome. The French horn, the violin, the kettle drums, the oboe and all the other instruments join as one to lift up a song with beauty and excellence. That is what God expects of us. We are to play our part, led by the Savior, and do it properly. When we do that as we should, God gets the glory and we live in beautiful harmony.

So, unity does not mean that we are all alike, or that we all have the same function. Unity is cooperation within our own place of service, giving respect to everyone else in his or her place of service. What a joy it is when God’s people live in perfect harmony! No wonder the Psalmist wrote, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is / For brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Now, let’s look at one additional element of unity…

III. Something Unity Should Mean John 17:18-23

Satan seeks to divide us, and you can be sure that we work on his team when we are a party to division within God’s church. In the Great Commission we note that Jesus has "all authority" and He told us to go into all the world with the gospel. No one of us can do that alone; it takes the entire body working in a cooperative effort to carry out God’s command. Unity means that we take His commands seriously and place them above our own preferences.

Our Daily Bread recorded the following story of disunity and a return to unity in a particular group of churches. "During World War II, Hitler commanded all religious groups to unite so that he could control them. Among the Brethren assemblies, half complied and half refused. Those who went along with the order had a much easier time. Those who did not, faced harsh persecution. In almost every family of those who resisted, someone died in a concentration camp.  

 "When the war was over, feelings of bitterness ran deep between the groups and there was much tension. Finally they decided that the situation had to be healed. Leaders from each group met at a quiet retreat. For several days, each person spent time in prayer, examining his own heart in the light of Christ's commands. Then they came together.  Francis Schaeffer, who told of the incident, asked a friend who was there, "What did you do then?" "We were just one," he replied. As they confessed their hostility and bitterness to God and yielded to His control, the Holy Spirit created a spirit of unity among them. Love filled their hearts and dissolved their hatred.

When love prevails among believers, especially in times of strong disagreement, it presents to the world an indisputable mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ." (Our Daily Bread, October 4, 1992.)

A. Unity means Answering the Prayer of Jesus

John 17:21 states that Jesus prayed, “ … that 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.” Only when we are unified will the world see Jesus in us and believe upon Him as Savior.

B. Unity means the Answer to Our Own Prayers

In Matthew 18:19 we note that Jesus said, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” Unity is required in order for us to have our own prayers answered. The Lord indicates that special preference is given regarding the prayers of those who pray, work and live in unity. A troublemaker in church is very unlikely to find his or her prayers being answered.

C. Unity means Leading People to Christ

In Mark 2:3 we read, “Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men.” This passage comes from a time when four men found a poor man who was paralyzed to Jesus. The man was not only healed of his disease, he was forgiven of his sin. It all happened because four men worked together. If anyone of the men had been out of fellowship and not held the corner of the mat on which the poor man lay, the task of getting the man to Jesus would have failed. It takes cooperation to do God’s work!

We read in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” These words of Jesus remind us that the major way in which the world will know we are truly His is by the love we show each other. A fighting, divided people cannot reflect the love, grace and power of Jesus to the world. The Lord works through saved people who are committed to Him and to each other. And, just how are we to love one another? We are to love one another the way Jesus loved us – now that is some kind of love that we are to possess in the Lord’s church.


A.W. Tozer wrote, "Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.." (A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God)

Surely all people disagree at times, even people that deeply love each other. Wives and husbands, sisters and brothersr, friend and friend sometimes experience a rift between them. Yet, love prevails where love actually lives. In Christ, we have the greatest love in the Universe and we must reflect that love ever and always. When we focus on Him, our eyes and hearts are all pointed in the same direction.

Now Paul was writing to a divided church and he wanted them to come together. Thankfully, we are not divided, but it is wise to watch for a problem before it begins. To be forewarned is to be prepared. Let us in this service lay down any pride, prejudice or minor thing that might divide us from one another. Let us turn our eyes upon Jesus!