Last week we looked at a negative example of unity. We have all likely been in the center of such a situation – people aren’t getting along. The fellowship is broken.
Fellowship and unity are linked. Can you have unity without fellowship? Or fellowship without unity?
Let’s consider our best example of a perfect church (and it still wasn’t perfect). This would be the church Jesus started during his earthy ministry.
In our earliest post we defined unity as “oneness, total agreement.”
Was the first church in total agreement about everything?
A quick look at their first business meeting will show that a vote was taken. They cast lots to see who would be numbered with the eleven apostles.
Was it a unanimous vote? If it wasn’t a unanimous vote does that indicate disunity?
So many questions. And I leave them unanswered.
Because I want you to consider them in your own mind. Answer them.
By the day of Pentecost, any lack of unity had been resolved. The church “were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). And the Holy Ghost descended. God blessed their gathering.
After the influx of new members that day, the unity continued. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple” (Acts 2:46) reflects this assumption.
Why? How could they be unified in a church of over 3,000, when we struggle to get 30 people moving in step?
Because unity doesn’t mean “they all thought and acted exactly alike.” Instead it means “they all God was working and they wanted to be part of it.”
One of the best examples of what makes a church successful is Acts 2:42. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, an in prayers.”
Note the second thing they continued to do with the new members, brought them into the “apostles’ fellowship.”
The first church spent time together. Everyone was encouraged to be part of the action. As the apostles spent three years in the company (fellowship) of Christ, they now became the mentors in fellowship with the new believers.
Ever notice how spending time with someone teaches you 1) what you have in common and 2) what you disagree about.
The same is true in church. We must spend time with those people to discover these things. The important thing to remember is the ONLY area in which we must be unified is the doctrines of God’s Word.
We don’t have to all like football (thank you, Jesus) or listen to country music. We don’t all have to dress the same or vote the same in elections.
In 1 John 1:7, the beloved apostle makes it clear that even our fellowship is only based on the things of God. “If we walk in the light, as he (God) is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Notice fellowship is based on having a relationship with Jesus Christ (being redeemed) and walking with God (keeping his commandments). If we are saved and following God, we will automatically have unity with every other person who is also saved and following God.
This sounds impossible, I know. Next week, there’ll be a little checklist to discover if we are truly in fellowship with God – or not.
Next Week: Fellowship Test