Author: Ron Graham

Challenge and Change

Christian Unity
—Christ’s prayer, Paul’s plea, God’s plan

The following is another sermon that I prepared more than forty years ago, and have preached many times over the years (I don't remember how many). Now I'm giving it to you, so you can preach it too. For it's really not my sermon, but the Lord's, because it comes straight out of scripture and has the force of his authority behind it.

There are three places in the New Testament that strike our minds with great force on the problem of division among professing Christians. One is Christ's prayer for the unity of believers. Another is Paul's plea for Christian unity. The third is God's plan for that unity .

1 Christ's Prayer for Unity

"I pray for those who will believe in me... that all may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I in you. May they also be one in us, that the world may believe..." (John 17:21).

Jesus did not pray for something impossible or unnecessary.

We should not take part in anything that prevents his prayer from being answered. We should not belong to schisms or denominations that divide believers, nor wear their divisive names. We should be simply Christians; and we can be. Let us not hinder the prayer of Christ in any way, but work to ensure that he did not pray in vain.

Before we can become united we must become untied from all that divides.

2 Paul's Plea for Unity

"I appeal to you brothers, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another, that there may be no divisions among you" (1Corinthians 1:10).

We notice that this heartfelt plea was made on the local level to a local congregation, not to a synod or council. Unity must begin at the local church level by each local church first settling the internal strife that divides one member from another, and then breaking down the external denominational fences that divide the congregation from other congregations. Christian unity will never come from uniting denominations. You can tie two or three tomcats together by their tails, but that won't get unity.

Let us feel as strongly about Paul's plea as he did, and do our best to ensure that Paul did not make his plea in vain.

3 God's Plan for Unity

"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is...

(Ephesians 4:3-6)