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by on September 24, 2012


As a boy, I worked for a carpenter. He told me to cut shingle caps to finish the roof. He made a pattern for me to follow. I cut a shingle using his pattern. Then I cut the next shingle using the one I had just cut for a pattern. I continued this until the job was finished. I always used the last shingle I cut as the next pattern. The last shingle I cut did not look anything like his original pattern. What went wrong?

What is unity? How does a group get and keep unity? The Bible has the answer to this question. For the Christian, the Bible is the pattern by which to live. Those who live by the Bible have a unity that cannot be found anywhere else. That unity is created by Christians all using the same pattern. Here is what the Bible says:

Eph 4:3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ..11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The salient points of this passage:

  • The unity of the Spirit – (not the spirit of unity)
  • The Holy Spirit unites believers in one body
  • Christ gave gifts to persons in His Church for:
    • Perfecting the saints
    • Work of the ministry
    • Edifying the body of Christ
  • So we come to the unity of the faith
  • And the knowledge of the Son of God
  • Unto perfection
  • Unto the stature of the fullness of Christ

The Spirit and the faith provide unity. The gifts and knowledge provide perfection and maturity.

Philippians 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

The only way to have this unity is for each person to follow the same pattern. Different patterns produce different results. The Truth of God’s Word is the only pattern for believers to follow. That Truth is Jesus Christ and His Word, the Scripture.  Truth and error cannot exist together. Truth will expose the error. Truth produces Biblical unity and separates from anything else. Truth, by its very nature, separates from sin and error.

Unity is not always a good thing. There are times when unity is not of God. If it is not unity of the Spirit and of the faith,  it is not of God. We need to refuse unity that unites us to someone or some system that is not of the Spirit and the faith. Micaiah rejected unity with Ahab’s 400 prophets. Nehemiah rejected unity with Sanballat and Tobiah.  Pilate accepted unity with Herod (Luke 23:12). Unity that unites us with God’s enemies will separate us from God.

Unity is the result of a common purpose and a common foe.

The Christian’s purpose is to obey the scripture and live for God.

The Christian’s foe is anything that is not the Truth.

There is only one pattern. It is not me and it is not you. It is not a religious system. It is the Living Word of the Living God. It is Jesus Christ our Lord. Any other pattern will lead you wrong.

Ps 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

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