For more than thirty years, Ingleside has been a remarkably united church. Across those three decades, we have learned some important truths about prizing and protecting our unity – some of which probably ought to be highlighted again now.
“Why”, some will ask, “does our church need a fresh reminder of what the Bible teaches about unity? Is there some problem or issue?” Thankfully, the answer is no.
To my knowledge, our church remains strong and united with high levels of harmony and trust. And, for that we need to give thanks to God!
So, why address the question of unity? I would suggest at least three reasons.
The first is because we continue to add many newcomers to Ingleside. Consider, for example, that over just the past five years (from December 31, 2015 to December 31, 2020) our membership has grown by 569 people. That’s a lot of new people to get up to speed on how we stay united!
The second reason to talk about unity is because of the turbulent times in which we are living. Division, discord, and polarization are at high levels all around us, and everyone is feeling extra pressures and new challenges related to the pandemic. So, our current situation makes it all the more important for our church family to understand and reaffirm the ways that we “are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28b, ESV).
The third – and perhaps the most important – reason to discuss the dimensions of our unity is rooted in a pattern we see in Scripture. Even a cursory look at the New Testament reveals that teaching and exhortation related to unity ought to be a part of the regular spiritual diet of every healthy congregation. Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote to the various churches.
To the church at Rome -> “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5, ESV).
To the church at Corinth -> “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10, ESV).
To the church at Ephesus -> “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)
To the church Philippi -> “. . . complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2, ESV).
Why does the message of unity appear again and again? It’s because every church, including the church called Ingleside, needs periodic teaching about unity to combat the drift toward division that is rooted in our old, sinful nature.
So, over the next few weeks, I hope you will join me here in the weekly Pastor’s Blog for a fresh look at some basic biblical teaching on unity. Unity in the church is good for us and brings glory to God!
I’m grateful for your partnership in the gospel and am convinced that the best is yet to come!
Your Pastor and Friend,