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Church Study Guide: Unity Part 1




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Heb 10:24-25 Study Guide Church Part 4 Unity

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IIA. What is the/a Church supposed to do? How do you see the NT church(s) carrying out that purpose?

Jesus brought the Father glory by obeying Him; we individually bring the Father glory by obeying Him. We corporately bring the Father glory by obeying His instructions for the Church. Jesus is the Head of the church. He communicates His will for the church through His Holy Spirit. The Spirit communicates His will through the Word of God objectively (in direct commands as well as principles), and subjectively (debatably), when the occasion warrants.

1. What’s Biblical unity and its purpose?  Understanding unity’s purpose as well as the specific mandated practice in the NT can help us define it. Jesus prayed for our unity/oneness (as Jesus and the Father were one) in John 17 as a means of {glorifying God by} authenticating belief in Christ to the world. It should come as no surprise to a mature laboring Christian that Satan would seek to thwart God’s purpose of glorifying Himself through a unified church, by undermining, confusing and counterfeiting Biblical unity.

2. What things should NT believers be unified about? Does the NT give any indications of the standards for our unity?
Can a liberal leaning (errant Bible, creation myth), charismatic, Roman Catholic amillennialist who believes in Jesus as a suffering Savior and that the purpose of the church is to win the world so Jesus can return, have the kind of unity the NT specifies with a conservative Greek Orthodox dispensational inerrantist who believes in Jesus as Savior and Lord and that the purpose of the church is to glorify God by faithfully making reproductive disciples?

Is there anything wrong with saying let’s agree to be unified on the important stuff and agree to disagree on anything else? Should we just say let’s have unity on our areas of common agreement? Or let’s be unified on the things that are important to us? How many does it take to agree to disagree?  See/Study the outline from Spring 2000 Retreat “Ephesians 4: Biblical Unity”

I. We are to Walk in Unity as We Follow Christ to Glory

II. We Build Unity as We are Equipped to Minister and Build the Body by: Learning the Truth, Living the Truth and Loving others with the Truth.

III.  We Maintain Unity as we Walk in the Light of a Renewed Mind and New Habits, for the benefit of others

A quick review of the NT teaching on unity reveals some surprises for those who look at things from the world’s perspective. Unity is not uniformity of likes and preferences. Unity is not found by searching for the lowest common denominator, but rather agreeing to understand and embrace God’s standards and practices.

Eph 4:2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3  endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…13  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God
Phil 1:27 that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
Jn 17:21  "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. 22  "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23  "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.
Acts 2:1…they were all with one accord in one place. 4:32…those who believed were of one heart and one soul…had all things in common.
Phil 2:2  fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3  Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Rm 12:16  Be of the same mind toward one another…Do not be wise in your own opinion.

1 Cor 1:10 that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Js 3:16  For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
1Pt 3:8 all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
Col 3:15 let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Phil 3:16 to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.18  For many walk (as)…enemies of the cross of Christ:
Rm 15:5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6  that you may with one mind/accord and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. How should issues of non or dis-unity be resolved?

B. How are NT believers to relate to each other in the context of a local church? Why?
1. Look up the one another passages (Strongs #240) as a start to get an understanding of how NT believers related to each other.
2. Who is the “another” in the “one another passages”?  Why is the church called a Body? What are the implications of that description?
3. What priorities should a church have? What priority should your involvement with other members of the Body have?
4. Why do most churches have membership classes and covenants of membership?  Are they Biblical?
5. Is God more pleased with a Christian who is part of a church than one who is living independently of others?”
6. How should a believer who is following Christ as His disciple, relate to carnal Christians, who are following their own desires?