What is unity and is it important for Christians? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the first church.
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).”
Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit (the Helper) to His disciples after He left. They were to wait and pray. Notice the circumstances when they received the Holy Spirit: they were together in one accord. They were gathered together in the same location sharing the same heart, the same love for God, and the same trust in His promise. Before we can be filled we must recognize our emptiness. By gathering together for prayer in obedience, these disciples were doing just that. They recognized they did not have the resources in themselves to do what they should; they had to rely on the work of God.
“…then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind (Philippians 2:2).”
“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed (Amos 3:3)?”
“With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2-3).”
This humble, forgiving attitude towards each other is both the catalyst and the fruit of unity in the Spirit. We have to endeavor to keep this unity–we do not create it. God never commands us to create unity among believers; He has created it by His Spirit. Our duty is to recognize it and keep it.
We live in an individualistic culture. There is a tendency here in America for people to be isolated. But as a church, if we want to minister to each other, or reach the community around us we have to be united.
Coming together as a body on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights is about more than just attendance. First of all, it’s about being obedient to the Word of God (Hebrews 10:25). Secondly, it is about encouraging and ministering to each other (1 Thessalonians 5:11). But thirdly, it is about uniting as a body in a spiritual sense, so that God can move among us.
In this season of our growth, God has placed this burden of unity on my heart. It is not something I can schedule on the calendar. My prayer is that our body of believers would begin to understand (through the Spirit) the importance of unity. And that the Holy Spirit would do a supernatural work among us.