The Means and Nature of Unity
Ephesians 4: 2 & 3 (NKJV)
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The focus and theme of our church this year is UNITED. Where people are united, there is unity. The definition of ‘unity’ is to be united or joined together as a whole. Since young, I’ve heard the word ‘unity’ being commonly used in many places such as in school, church, army, family and workplace. However, have you ever considered what the means of unity are? How do we be united? What is the nature of unity?
Today let us first learn the means of unity. To walk in unity, we need to follow the teachings of Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:2. He teaches us to walk in all lowliness, gentleness, with long-suffering and bearing with one another in love. Many a time, there may be certain negative connotation when we think about lowliness. However, let’s look at lowliness from the perspective of what God says in the Bible. It simply means to be humble and to walk in humility. As such, to be united as a church or as a family, pride and arrogance have to take the back seat. Next, Paul teaches about gentleness. Gentleness can be in action, speech and behavior. But more importantly, one should be gentle in spirit. One who is gentle in spirit will willingly sacrifice his or her personal rights, self-serving gains and desires the purpose of God and His kingdom.
The final aspect of the means of unity is to be long-suffering and bearing with one another in love. Even before we knew God and were still sinners, God loved us. He loved us so much that He sent His one and only begotten Son for us. We ought to be Christ-like and love like how God the Father and Jesus the Son do. Likewise, we ought to follow God’s example of forgiveness in Hebrews 8:12, where He said: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Therefore, as we are patient, forbearing, forgiving, all these are to be out of the love that God has first shown to us.
Is there someone whom we have not expressed the means of unity to? Perhaps it is because of a tinted lens which we have been wearing. A lens that judges others based on their race, nationality, education level, income or position. Or, are there people whom you have yet to forgive? If there’s a yes to any of these questions, or if the Holy Spirit reveals to you any aspect of your attitude or behavior that isn’t in line with the means of unity, change now! Renew your mind with the Word of God. Take off those tinted lenses. Start loving all the people around you, just as how God first loved you.
The next aspect is the nature of unity. This can be found in Ephesians 4:3 which says: “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit…” The word “endeavoring” is in continuous tense. It means to keep on doing it continuously without ceasing. Paul teaches us that the church is to “keep” the unity of the Spirit. As Christians, we need not create the unity of the Spirit. God is the One who has already created it. We are commanded to continuously and unceasingly keep this unity. This unity of Spirit is only found in Jesus Christ. Hence keeping the unity of Spirit in our River family is so important. At the same time, this unity of Spirit ought to be also shared with friends who have yet to believe Jesus. It’s equally important that we live out the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them all that the Lord has commanded (Matthew 28:19 & 20). When one doesn’t know Jesus, he or she is separated from God. By sharing the Gospel with the people, we give them an opportunity be united with our God. Let this be a goal for you this year, to evangelize, win and disciple someone for Christ.
Come, let us pray.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I give thanks and praises to You. I receive the teaching of Your Word and let it be deeply ingrained in my heart. I thank You for the unity of Spirit that has been created by You. I live my everyday life to keep the unity of Spirit and practise the means of unity. I surrender my attitudes, thoughts and behavior to You. Let every part of me live to apply the means of unity within both my physical and spiritual families. Thank You, Father. In Jesus most mighty and powerful Name I pray, AMEN!”