On this Memorial Day weekend we take our time, thoughts and prayers to remember the great sacrifices that so many gave on our behalf. Many men and women answered the call to serve together to protect our nation and preserve freedom and liberty. Today, as Christians, we turn our attention to the Apostle Pauls appeal for us to serve together in a spirit of unity and steadfastness. During the time of his writing to the Philippian church there was danger of disunity which threatened them. That danger still lurks today for every healthy church, marriage, family and nation. We are called to serve together but find at times we can hurt, annoy and offend each other, and we all can face the temptation to quit or disengage from each other. Paul will speak to us on what unity is, the causes of disunity, why unity is important and how we can attain it.
What is Unity? (v 2) Unity is being like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Causes of disunity? (vs 3, 4)
1) Selfish ambition (self interest)
- Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned only with ones own interests.
2) Vain conceit me above you
- An exaggerated opinion and excessive elation or pride of ones own abilities, importance. Vain glory. (Gal 5:26)
Why Is Unity so Important?
1) Better increase for our labor (Eccl 4:9-12)
- We get more accomplished when we cooperate together.
- Living life together in unity brings companionship and intimacy, not isolation and loneliness. We are stronger together.
2) We better reflect Jesus Christ (Php 2:5-11)
- We adopt Christs attitude of unselfishness, servant hood, humility and obedience.
- As a disciple I become like Jesus. I give my life to Him, and that means becoming a foot washer, a humble servant like Jesus.
- Our love and unity will let the world know Godâs love for them. (Jn 17:23)
3) It brings Gods blessing (Php 2:9-11)
- James 4:6 God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
- James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
- God is able to bless us according to His timing. (1Pe 5:6)
4) Christ is lifted up, not the individual (Php 2:10-11)
- Jesus said, And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. (Jn 12:32) Salvations!
- People come to know Christ personally and give Him the glory that only He deserves. Only Jesus can bring salvation, healing, deliverance and freedom, not any individual.
How do we get unity?
1) Walking in Humility
- Unity in any situation is corporate humility. With all of us being humble, we will have unity and its impossible for us not to get along.
- With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph 4:2-4)
2) Encouragement in Christ
- The fact that we are all in Christ should keep us in unity and develop us as a spiritual family. (Eph 4:15-16)
- Keep our focus on Christ so thatâ¦
- We know our own calling and purpose, our part of the body.
- We see the needs of others, not just our own needs.
- We see the church as a body, as a whole, which brings into focus our mission as a church.
- We are to encourage the person in despair and strengthen the person whose strength is failing. (Heb 12:12-13)
- Commit yourself to service and avoid isolation. You will be a blessing to someone. We serve together. Wash feet. And love people.
3) Walking in Love
- Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
- Love covers all offenses. (Pro 10:12)
- Keep short accounts with each other. Value relationships over issues.
- Do not be quick to assume, criticize or judge
- Be a good listener. Communicate well to avoid misunderstandings.
- Avoid gossip, jealously, strife, bitterness.
- Jesus said Love your neighbor as yoursel (Mt 22:39)
- Love is a decision, a choice. I can love you even though I dont feel like it. (1Co 13:4-8)
- Walk in the love of God and in the Spirit, not in your flesh.
- Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
- Fruits of the flesh: enmities (deep-seated, often mutual hatred), strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions