The Holy Spirit has been saying much about unity to the Church in recent years. The Bible tell us that the heavenly Father wants His Church to be one.
Differences don’t have to mean division; on the contrary, true unity is made up of diversity: Unity is not uniformity.
Let’s open our Bible and see what it has to say about the unity of the Church.
1. What is “the unity of the Church?”
The Random House College Dictionary defines unity as “the state of being one single entity; one-ness,” “the state of being combined with others to form a greater whole,” and “having complete accord among persons regarding attitudes, opinions, intentions, etc.”
In light of this definition, the unity of believers (the Church) is the state of being combined (“knit together”) with other believers into one Body (the greater whole), yet each remaining an individual part. Further, it describes the state of being in complete accord with other believers regarding attitudes, opinions, intentions (goals, purposes), etc.
For the purpose of this definition, a believer is one who has received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and continues in faith and obedience to Him. When we speak of the unity of believers, we are concerned with the relationship God intends each of us to have with any and every believer in Jesus.
2. The Problem:
The Bible teaches us God’s intention for His Church is that it have perfect unity (or oneness); but God’s people have rarely experienced this. History is full of strife, warfare, hatred, and division within the Church. Disunity has become such a way of life that most Christians, though they speak and pray for unity, believe that a certain amount of disunity is to be expected. This is not biblical.
Disunity proceeds from our sin nature and Satan promotes it. Satan has divided the Church for centuries because he knows, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” A Church which cannot stand won’t be able to enforce Jesus Christ’s victory over death and Hell and the grave. In order for the Church to effectively apply Jesus’ power to break Satan’s stranglehold on this world, it must experience the unity God has declared.
3. The Prophecy:
“Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand . . . and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms’ ” (Ezekiel 37:19-22).
“Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd ” (Ezek. 34:23).