Here are a few notes on a series of talks by a gentleman called Alan Baker.
Recognise God’s Desire for Christian Unity
God’s purpose is to reconcile us in Christ:
Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:10
Jesus prayed for our unity:
I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me. I have honored my followers in the same way that you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one. I am one with them, and you are one with me, so that they may become completely one. Then this world’s people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me. Joh 17:20-23
Know The Power of Unity
When people work together, their capacity to achieve is greatest:
He said: These people are working together because they all speak the same language. This is just the beginning. Soon they will be able to do anything they want. Genesis 11:6
Unity results in:
It is truly wonderful when relatives live together in peace. It is as beautiful as olive oil poured on Aaron’s head and running down his beard and the collar of his robe. It is like the dew from Mount Hermon, falling on Zion’s mountains, where the LORD has promised to bless his people with life forevermore. Psalm 133:1 – 3 (A song for worship)
Q. Isn’t unity is a spiritual thing.
A. Yes, but it has a physical manifestation
Q. Aren’t we already one?
A. Why, then, did Paul say:
Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Ephesians 4:3
Q. But isn’t it impossible?
A. Possibly, but that does not mean we should not try. Progress is possible.
Q. There are limits (e.g. only amongst penticostals), aren’t there?
A. John 17 says “All”.
Q. Can’t unity only be achieved through sovereign work of God in revival.
A. Unity leads to outpouring of the Spirit, not the other way around.
Q. Isn’t it a lowest-common-denominator fudge?
A. No, it is based on love and honesty. It is a matter of the heart, not doctrine.
Q. What about doctrinal issues?
A. It is loving people despite differences.
Take Action to Achieve Unity
From Ephesians 4
- gentleness (power under control)
- bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit.
Christ encourages you, and his love comforts you. God’s Spirit unites you, and you are concerned for others. Now make me completely happy! Live in harmony by showing love for each other. Be united in what you think, as if you were only one person. Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross.Phi 2:1-8
Ask these questions:
- What is on your heart, brother? (Interest factor (v4). 2 visions – yours and mine)
- How can I serve you brother? (Servant factor (v6) 2 needs – yours and mine)
- What do you need from me, brother? (Death factor (v8): 2 crosses – Jesus’ and mine)