I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. – 1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV
A friend of mine, a Pastor continually says that “God loves UNITY”. He says, “Nothing Pleases God more than Unity”. That statement surprised me, and I am not sure if I agree with it, but I do know that UNITY is important to God. And what I know is that what is today representative of “God’s church” is anything but unified. There is no doubt that UNITY is important to God, and it displeases Him when there is not unity in His people. One could say that the reason for the flood was that there was massive DIS-Unity in the world because of the wickedness of man’s heart. It would be a safe starting point to say that God destroyed the earth in the flood because of the lack of unity between men, and between man and God. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was altogether evil all the time. And the LORD regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—every man and beast and crawling creature and bird of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7) In Genesis we see after the flood, there was a new beginning. There was one family, 8 people, the family of the righteous man Noah who God chose to use to ‘start over’, and have some unity. Hear the Word of the Lord: Then God said to Noah and his sons with him, “Behold, I now establish My covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth—every living thing that came out of the ark. And I establish My covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. (Genesis 9:8-13)
Leader, In the Old Testament you can look at those who caused dissention within His people, and notice how God dealt harshly with them. Look at the curse of Ham, that happened not too long after landfall, in the New Beginning. “Now Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. But when he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and uncovered himself inside his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. When Noah awoke from his drunkenness and learned what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan! A servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”’ (Genesis 9:20-22, 24-25) We do not know exactly what Ham did, but it caused DISUNITY among the new FIRST FAMILY and punishment was severe. In the Exodus from Egypt there is an event called the REBELLION OF KORAH. Korah did not like that Moses thought he was TOP DOG, so Korah grumbled and complained about it, and God dealt harshly with him for the DIS UNITY it caused to His people and to Him man, Moses. Numbers 16 lays out the entire story, but let me share the ending. Hear the Word of the Lord: And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men offering the incense. (Numbers 16:31-35) You will see the same thing in the New Testament, God wants UNITY among His people. Jesus Himself said, “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive. (Mark 3:24-26)
Conduit, through the NEW TESTAMENT, you will see many examples of God wanting to create UNITY of the brethren, unity in the Kingdom of God. When the disciples were bickering about who was their Rabbi, or who they followed, or who Baptized whom- Paul wanted to create UNITY. But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Corinthians 3:1-9) Or in the 12th Chapter of Matthew where Jesus united all His church by asking and answering one of His famous questions: “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:48-50) Unity is important to our Lord and our Savior- Jesus, and it should be to us as well. Only God has omniscience. That long word means perfect knowledge. The religious leaders knew scripture, they had it memorized, yet they missed the Messiah, when He became flesh. We are to search the scriptures and we will have to fill in the blanks- because God left a lot of information out of the Word. We must remember the importance of UNITY and quit attacking others who have come to a different understanding of that information that is not clearly stated in the Bible. Let us remember and use this simple concept to create and maintain UNITY among the small REMNANT of what is the TRUE CHURCH. In Nonessential beliefs, we have LIBERTY. In Essential beliefs we have UNITY. In ALL our beliefs, we have CHARITY. Let us battle the enemies of God, our flesh, the World, and those that come to sow disunity in His body. Let us have UNITY as fellow servants of the RISEN KING, as Ambassadors in chains, and as foreigners in a strange land! Look up, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!