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Devotional - week of June 22, 2008


CHURCH UNITY GUARANTEED

 

...  fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Philippians 2:2

 

Unity among believers is possibly the most prominent theme of the letters of the New Testament. Philippians 2:1-8 is perhaps the most thorough treatment of the theme.

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The words, “fulfill my joy” imply the grief Paul has experienced because of broken fellowships in churches. With the words “by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” Paul reveals the type of unity he has in mind. What he calls for is impossible for people walking in the flesh.

 

However, in verse 1, Paul describes the high quality of life that can result in the type of unity he appeals for in verse 2. He writes:

 

…if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy … Philippians 2:1

 

“Any consolation in Christ” says that when one lives out his union with Christ, he will encourage the other members of the church. “Comfort of love” indicates that God’s love in one’s heart makes him a comforter to others. “Fellowship of the Spirit” speaks of a unity created by individual members living Spirit-filled lives. The words “affection and mercy” indicate an attitude of God-given concern and forgiveness for other members of the church.

 

Verses 1 and 2 can be summed up in this manner: if the Philippian believers are encouraging each other by living out their union with Christ, being filled with God’s love for each other, being filled with the Holy Spirit and being filled with a God-given spirit of affection and mercy for each other, they can be “like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

 

All of the qualities mentioned in verse 1 are the result of a church living out her union with Christ. These qualities are a guarantee of church unity.

 

Because a church in unity honors God, brings joy to all of her members and sends out a powerful message to the lost, we need a continual emphasis in our churches on the theme of living out our union with Christ.