Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Unity and Evangalism

Last weekend, I went on a weekend away with the Christian Union. It was an amazing time of fellowship and a great opportunity to get to know one another better. Along with the compulsory games we also had some really good teaching courtesy of John and Nay Dawson on the topics of Unity and Evangelism.

We learnt about the importance of unity. The fact that it is essential to God’s plan:

“I pray also for those who will believe in me…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…. I in them and you in me-so that they may be brought to complete unity.” Jhn 17:20-21a, 23a

It is Jesus’ desire that we as a church would be ‘brought to complete unity’. However this unity is not at the sake of all else, for instance in John 17:17 we read ‘Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.’ So this is more fundamental than unity; we must be unified in the truth.

So we can not give up the important things for the sake of unity, but there are some things that are not as important as unity and we should sacrifice them for each other, for instance in 1 Corinthians Paul, talking about food sacrificed to idols, says

“Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” 1 Cor 8:13

after he had appealed for unity:

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 1 Cor 1:10

However, reiterating the point that not everything can be given up for the sake of unity, Paul carries on in 1 Cor 15 to state the Gospel, declaring that

“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” 1 Cor 15:2

So we should be unified, but that unity should be in the Gospel. But what is the reason why we should be unified? The reason is found in the first passage from John that we looked at.

“so that the world may believe that you have sent me…..Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Jhn 17:21,23

The reason to be united is to proclaim God’s love, in essence the point of unity is to evangelise. Likewise evangelism doesn’t fully make sense without unity.

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