The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians:
But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace…He put to death their hostility (Eph 2:13-16)
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love… There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:1-5)
When reading the book of Ephesians recently these Scriptures stuck out to me concerning the unity of believers. Paul was writing speaking of the unity needing to be between Gentile believers and Jewish believers. And also the attitudes we as believers should have. I believe this is very much applicable for the church today as well. We make such a big deal about stuff that’s so unimportant. For instance, some may root for the biggest and best team and stick to fellowshipping in the confines of “their people”. Sometimes if we aren’t careful to really love each other how we ought to we allow division between fellow brothers or sisters in Christ to grow based on where we go to church or which leader we’re under or what denomination we are. When its clear Christ destroyed any barrier that dis-unifies believers with His blood. We are to root for Christ’s team. Not our church’s team. Not our denomination’s team. Not our leader’s team. Not even our own team. Even when we are called to fellowship in a new place we need to exude the attitude Christ had toward one another.
The direction in the Great Commission was to not only bring people to the saving knowledge of Christ but also to disciple them in obedience to Christ (Matt 28:18-20). I believe if we’re really living in obedience that we’ll learn to love as Christ did. To show love for one another means do as Christ said. We are to love God with everything in us and love one another as we love ourselves (Matt 22:38-39).
In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord…From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part (Eph 2:21, 4:16).
Every joint contributes in the building of the body as they are actively building up themselves in ‘agape’ love. This is a tender love that is Supernaturally built up. This doesn’t say only to take place within our individual churches that we are a part of. Don’t get me wrong. There may be a time when God calls you out of a church fellowship to build you up and make you stronger in Him. But I think there’s an issue of the heart that’s really revealed when we have our noses stuck up to one another because of our differing beliefs. We should make it our aim to love as Christ taught. The Bible says that we are to be built up as Romans 12:2 says by renewing our minds with God’s Word. Jude says in his book in verses 20-21:
We are to build ourselves up in our most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.
That word ‘build’ means to build upon. That word ‘faith’ means our reliance upon Christ for salvation. To ‘keep’ means to hold fast, keep, or reserve. ‘Love’ here is also agape love. This kind of love is a deliberate choice a person decides to have. This is the same kind of love expressed in the early church in Acts when speaking of the communion and brotherly affection that took place. We see in Acts what happens when brothers and sisters unite in Spirit and truth. The Holy Spirit does amazing things because He’s welcome in unity. And if we really understand faith as Jude intended when writing this book, we would express a love for one another that is an affectionate love only grown by great fellowship with God. Everything is expressed by our building upon our faith in Christ and what He’s already accomplished.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… (Eph 4:29-30)
Pursue unity with your fellow brothers and sisters because we’re in this battle together. We aren’t fighting against each other for power or popularity. We’re fighting the most important battle of our lives. We want the world to recognize Jesus as Lord. See our unsaved family and friends become a part of the family of God before its too late. The only way we will be effective is if we join forces and fight as one. I want to encourage you to encourage each other and really check you’re own attitude. See if there’s any pride you’re stumbling over that keeps you at a distance from other believers in other places of fellowship. And ask the Lord for His grace to get that out of your inner man so you can be the most effective in building up the Kingdom of God, instead of building up the kingdom of self.
To close, I want to mention a really close friend I have that we go to different churches but over the years since we’ve become friends we’ve done as Proverbs says and that’s sharpen one another in our faith. She’s very different from me. We’ve grown up in different churches, both raised in different types of cultures and in fact we’re both different countries, and we’re different ages. She’s mature in things I am just now learning to understand. I appreciate the differences between us because she can correct me when I’m off base and vice versa and we can also encourage each other in a sisterly way. I’d prayed for a friend like this and God brought her into my life. We need to break out of our bubbles and yearn for friends who will add to our lives, not just tell us what our itching ears want to hear. This is my challenge to you this day. Fellowship with other believers and welcome one another in the love of Christ.