1. Unity or disunity?

A. The Lord wants us to have unity:

                Psa.133:1                How good & how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity

                1Cor.1:10                I beseech you...that there be no divisions among you, but...be perfectly joined together in the same mind

                2Cor.13:11              Be ye of one mind, live in peace; & the God of love & peace shall be with you

                Phi.1:27  Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together

B. What He thinks of disunity:

                Pro.6:16,19             These...doth the Lord hate: (they) are an abomination unto Him: he that soweth discord among brethren

                Jam.3:14,15            But if ye have...strife in your hearts, glory not....This descendeth not from above, but is devilish


2. How to work at keeping united:

                Eph.4:3   Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit

A. Have the Word as a unifying standard:

                1Cor.14:37              Let him acknowledge that the things I write are the commandments of the Lord

                Phi.3:16  Let us walk by the same rule...mind the same thing

                1Thes.2:13,14        Ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye ...became followers

B. Be agreeable & likeminded:

                Rom.15:5,6             God...grant you to be likeminded one toward another... that ye may with one mind & one mouth glorify God

                Rom.12:16              Be of the same mind one toward another...condescend to men of low estate

                1Cor.1:10                I beseech you...that ye all speak the same thing

                Phi.2:2    Be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind

                (See also Acts 2:46; Phi.4:2.)

C. Be at peace with fellow-workers:

                Rom.14:19              Let us follow after the things which make for peace, & things wherewith one may edify another

                Col.3:15  Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which ye are called in one body

                1Thes.5:13             Be at peace among yourselves

D. Have love & concern for one another:

                Pro.10:12                Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins

                Rom.12:10              Be kindly affectioned with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another (See also 1Thes.2:7,8)

                1Cor.12:25,26         There should be no schism in the body; but the members should have the same care one for another

                Eph.4:16 The whole body fitly joined together...maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love

E. Be kind, gentle & courteous to one another:

                Eph.4:32 Be ye kind...tenderhearted, forgiving one another

                2Tim.2:24               Not strive...be gentle unto all men, patient

                1Pet.3:8  Be ye all of one mind, having compassion...love as brethren, be pitiful (sympathetic), be courteous

                1Cor.11:33              When ye come together to eat, tarry one for another

                (See also Pro.18:24)

F. Take people where they're at:

                Rom.14:1                Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations (See also Rom.14:2-21)

G. Avoid offending people:

                1Cor.10:32,33         Give none offence, neither...to the church of God.... I please all men in all things

                Pro.18:19                Brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city

H. Be careful what you say:

                Pro.17:9b                He that repeateth a matter separateth very friends

                2Tim.2:23               Foolish questions avoid...they do gender strifes

                Tit.3:2     Speak evil of no man...gentle...meekness unto all men

                (See also Jam.3:16,17; Eccl.5:2.)

I. Control your temper; be slow to speak:

                Pro.14:29                He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding

                Pro.15:1  A soft answer turneth away wrath

                Pro.15:18                He that is slow to anger appeaseth strife

                Pro.25:8  Go not forth hastily to strive [with thy neighbour]

                Phi.2:3    Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory

                Jam.1:19 Let every man be...slow to speak, slow to wrath

                (See also Pro.3:30; 26:17.)

J. Humbly discuss disagreements with elders:

                1Tim.5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father

K. Sort out "oughts" before doing anything else:

                Mat.5:23,24            First be reconciled to thy brother, then...offer gift

                Mk.11:25                When...praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any

                Jam.5:9   Grudge not one against another, lest ye be condemned

L. Avoid being partial or playing favourites:

                1Tim.5:21               (Not) preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality (See also Jam.3:17)

                Jam.2:1   Have not the faith of Jesus...with respect of persons

M. Value peace above selfish interests:

                Rom.14:19-21         Let us follow after the things which make for peace

                Rom.12:18              As much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men

                (See also 1Cor.6:7; Phi.2:4.)

N. Share unselfishly with others:

                Acts 4:32               And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart & of one soul...they had all things common

                (See also 1Cor.10:33; 2Cor.8:9.)

O. Return good for evil:

                Mat.5:44 Love your enemies, bless them that curse you

                Rom.12:21              Overcome evil with good

                1Thes.5:15             See that none render evil for evil...among yourselves

P. Retaliation forbidden:

                (See Lev.19:18; Pro.20:22; 24:29; Rom.12:17,19; 1Pet.3:9.)


3. The fruits of unity:

A. Working together for a common goal:

                2Ki.10:15                Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thine heart? If it be, give me thine hand

                Amos 3:3               Can two walk [or work] together, except they be agreed?

                Mat.18:19,20          Where two or three are gathered in My name (Jesus), there am I in the midst of them

                Acts 2:14               Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice

                Phi.1:27  With one mind, striving together for...the gospel

B. There is strength in unity:

                Eccl.4:9,10              Two are better than one...for if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow

                Eccl.4:12 If one [a foe] prevail against him, two shall withstand [the foe], & a three-fold cord is not...broken

                Judg.20:11             The men [army] were gathered against the city, knit together as one man

                1Sam.14:6,7            Jonathan said, Let us go over. His armourbearer said, Behold, I am with thee according to thy heart

                (See also Neh.4:16,17)

C. Good fruit of united outreach:

                Acts 2:1,2,41         [Believers] all with one accord in one place [were filled with the Spirit, witnessed, & 3,000 souls were saved]


4. Unity of believers in Jesus:

A. Jesus' prayer that we be united as one:

                Jn.17:11,21             That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, & I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us

                Jn.17:22,23             That they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, & Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one

B. We should be one body, working together unitedly:

                Rom.12:5                We, being many, are one body in Christ, & every one members one of another

                1Cor.12:12,13         All the members of one body, being many, are one body (See also 1Cor.10:17)

                1Cor.12:27              Ye are the body of Christ, & members in particular

                Eph.2:22 Ye are builded together...through the Spirit

                (See also Eph.1:10; 2:19-21; 4:11,12; 1Cor.12:4-16.)

                Col.1:17,18             (Jesus) is head of our body (See also Eph.4:15,16)

                (See also 1Cor.3:9; 2Cor.6:1.)

C. Jesus' Spirit gives us peace with one another:

                1Cor.14:33              God is the author...of peace, as in all the churches

                2Cor.13:11              Brethren...live in peace; God of peace shall be with you

                Gal.5:22  The fruit of the Spirit is...peace

                Eph.2:14 He is our peace...hath broken down the wall between

                Col.2:2    Your hearts comforted, being knit together in love

D. There should be no divisions because of race or sex:

                1Cor.12:13              Whether Jews or Gentiles...(we) have been all made to drink into one Spirit

                Gal.3:26,28             Neither Jew nor Greek...male or female: for ye are all one in Jesus

E. Or social or financial status:

                1Cor.12:13              Whether...bond or free, (we) all have been made...one

                Gal.3:28  Neither bond nor free...for ye are all one in Jesus


5. Causes of disunity:

A. Pride & lust:

                Pro.13:10                Only by pride cometh contention

                Pro.28:25                He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife

                Jam.4:1-3                Whence come fightings among you? From your lusts

B. Not walking in the Spirit:

                1Cor.3:3  Ye are carnal: there is among you strife & divisions

                Gal.5:19-21             Works of the flesh: Hatred, wrath, strifes

C. Ill feelings & hatred:

                Pro.10:12                Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins

                Pro.16:28                A froward man soweth strife, & a whisperer separateth

                Pro.26:24                He that hateth dissembleth with his lips

D. Envy & jealousy:

                Rom.13:13              Let us walk honestly...not in...strife & envying

                1Cor.13:4                Love...envieth not; Love vaunteth not itself

                Gal.5:26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another

                Jam.3:14,16            If ye have bitter envying...in your hearts, glory not. For where envying...is, there is...every evil work

                (See also Pro.14:30; 27:4; Gal.5:19-21; Tit.3:3.)

E. Favouritism & partiality:

                Acts 6:1 There arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected

F. Self-exaltation & desire for leadership:

                Num.12:1-15          [Miriam & Aaron rebel against Moses, desiring power]

                Num.16:1-35          [Korah rebels against Moses, desiring leadership]

                Lk.22:24  There was a strife among them, (who) should be greatest

                Acts 20:30             Of your own selves shall men arise...to draw away dis ciples after them

                Gal.5:26  Let us not desire vain glory, provoking...one another

                3Jn.9-11  Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them receiveth us not

G. Arguing over minor doctrines & theorising:

                1Tim.6:3-5a            Knowing nothing, doting about questions & strifes of words, whereof cometh...strife

H. Bitterness:

                Heb.12:15               Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, & thereby many be defiled

I. Anger & a quick temper:

                Pro.15:18                A wrathful man stirreth up strife

                Pro.29:22                An angry man stirreth up strife, & a furious man

J. Repeating things we know we shouldn't:

                Pro.17:9  He that repeateth a matter separateth very friends

                Pro.26:20                Where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth (See also Jam.1:26 )

K. Inability to stop arguing:

                Pro.20:3  It is an honour to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling

                Pro.17:14                The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water ...leave off contention


6. What disunity results in:

A. Not being able to work together:

                Amos 3:3               Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

                Acts 15:36-40        Contention so sharp [between Paul & Barnabus] that they departed asunder [& went separate ways]

B. It destroys God's work:

                Mat.12:25               Every house divided against itself...shall not stand

                Mk.3:24  If kingdom be divided against itself...cannot stand

                (See also Num.32:1-7)

C. Longstanding divisions:

                Pro.18:19                A brother offended harder to be won than strong city

D. Creates sectarian divisions & man-worship:

                1Cor.3:3,4               There (are) divisions...For one saith, I am of Paul; & another, I am of Apollos

                (See also 1Cor.11:18; 3:21-23.)

E. Backbiting & rumours:

                Pro.16:28                A whisperer separateth chief friends

                2Cor.12:20              I fear...lest there be backbitings, whisperings

F. Opens the door to every kind of evil:

                Jam.3:16 For where...strife (is), there is confusion & every evil work


7. How to deal with disunity:

                1Thes.5:14             Warn them that are unruly

A. When it's just between us & a fellow worker:

                Pro.25:9  Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; & discover not a secret to another

                Mat.18:15               Tell him his fault between thee & him alone

                Lk.17:4    If he trespass 7 times in a day, & 7 times a day turn again, saying, I repent...forgive

                1Pet.4:8  Charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins

                (See Mat.18:21,22)

B. When there is a division in the work, let pastors & elders

                settle the disputes:

                Acts 15:2               When (they) had no small dissension, they determined (to) go to the elders about this question

                Acts 15:7,12          When there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, & (spoke). Then all the multitude kept silence

                Gal.6:1    If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one

C. Let it pass if it's not an important disagreement:

                Rom.14:2,3             One believeth that he may eat all things: another... eateth [only] herbs

                Rom.14:4-6             One esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike


8. Excommunication:

A. Excommunication of those who cause division:

                Pro.22:10                Cast out the scorner, &...strife shall cease

                Mat.18:15-17         If he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen

                Rom.16:17              Mark them which cause divisions & offences...& avoid

                1Cor.5:11-13          With such an one no, not to eat...put away wicked

                2Thes.3:6               We command you...that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly

                1Tim.6:3,5b            If any man teach otherwise, & consent not to...the doctrine...from such withdraw thyself

                Tit.3:10   An heretick after first & second admonition, reject

                2Jn.10,11                If any...bring not this doctrine, receive him not

                (See also 1Tim.6:3-5; Jude 12a.)

B. Partial excommunication:

                2Thes.3:14,15        If any obey not...have no company with him...yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish as a brother


9. Restoration to fellowship:

                Gal.6:1    If a man be overtaken in a fault...restore [him]

                2Tim.2:25,26          In meekness instructing those...that they may recover

                Jam.5:19,20            If any of you err from the truth, & one convert him

                (See also Lk.15:11-24 re: return of the prodigal son)


10. When contentions & disputes are necessary:

--To refute false doctrine or serious wrong behaviour:

                Jude 3     Ye should earnestly contend for the faith

                Jn.7:43    There was a division among people because of (Jesus)

                Acts 15:1,2            "Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot be saved." Paul ...had no small dissension & disputation with them

                Gal.2:11-14             When Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face...I (rebuked) Peter before them all

                1Tim.5:20. Them that sin, rebuke before all that others may fear


Important chapters on unity: Psa.133; Jn.17; 1Cor.12; Eph.4; Rom.12.



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