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Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-8
Hallmarks of Unity
1. Phil. 2:1-2: Due to the spiritual blessings we have in Christ, the apostle appeals to brethren to live in unity among each other (same purpose, motive, harmonious relations and goal).
2. Unity of Christians is a spiritual blessing we have in Christ; It is Scriptural, reasonable and attainable:
a. Basis of unity--God's word; Purpose of unity--Example for world, Jno. 17:20-23.
b. Unity is commanded and described, 1 Cor. 1:10.
c. Unity shows the presence of love, 1 Cor. 13:4-7.
d. Distinct attitudes are necessary to guard unity and keep peace among us, Eph. 4:1-3.
3. Characteristics of unity that enable and enhance unity among Christians, Phil. 2:3-5.
I. UNITY DEMANDS HUMILITY, Phil. 2:3.
A. Unity is Destroyed by Evil Motives:
1. Selfish ambition (faction, asv): “denotes ambition, self-seeking, rivalry, self-will being an underlying idea in the word; hence denotes party-making…derived from erithos, a hireling; hence the meaning of seeking to win followers…” (Vine, II:68). Work of the flesh, Galatians 5:20
a. Lining up supporters, power-plays, cliques ... among brethren.
b. Fruit of envy that produces strife, Phil. 1:16 (Jas. 3:14).
c. Refuse those who are factious, Titus 3:10-11.
2. Conceit (vainglory, asv): “groundless self-esteem, empty pride…adj., glory without reason, conceited…eager for empty glory” (Thayer, 343).
a. Love of preeminence (prideful, condescending), 3 Jno. 9-10.
b. Warned of potential danger, Gal. 5:26, 14-15.
B. We Must have a Sense of “Smallness” (humility, unselfishness), 1 Sam. 15:17 (9:21).
1. “Equality and oneness in Christ involves a relationship in which all are looked up to and no one is looked down upon.”
2. Humility serves and unites in truth, 1 Pet. 5:5.
C. We Must Consider Others Better than Ourselves.
1. To receive each other, Mark 9:33-37.
2. Yield to your brethren before serving self, Eph. 5:21 (Acts 4:32).
II. UNITY DEMANDS THAT WE LOOK OUT FOR THE WELFARE OF OTHERS BEFORE OURSELVES, Phil. 2:4 (3).
A. This is not an Endorsement for being Busybodies, 1 Pet. 4:15.
1. Gossip destroys unity, Prov. 16:28; 17:9.
2. Talk with each other, not about each other!
B. The Interests of Others must be Our First Priority (eliminate selfish pride).
1. Because we are members of same body, 1 Cor. 12:25-27.
2. With the same mind of looking to the best of others, selfish ambition and conceit are eliminated; unity and harmony result, Rom. 12:16.
3. Only then can we help each other overcome sin and go to heaven together, Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19-20.
III. UNITY DEMANDS THAT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST, Phil. 2:5.
A. Christ's Work in Redemption Shows the Mind (Heart) it takes to have Unity:
1. Sacrifice, Phil. 2:6-7 (Jno. 17:5). To be united we must give up pride and be humble to accomplish oneness.
2. Submission, Phil. 2:7.
a. Unwavering commitment to the word and will of God.
b. Unwavering devotion to each other that yields to one another (Eph. 5:21; 1 Pet. 5:5-7).
3. Steadfastness, Phil. 2:7-8 (Eph. 4:2-3).
-Longsuffering, forbearance, love and diligence…mind of Christ!
B. Having the Mind of Christ Eliminates:
1. Pettiness and encourages genuine care for each other.
2. Driving wedges between good brethren; promotes oneness.
3. Speaking against one another; the mind of Christ produces speaking up for each other, Col. 3:13.
-Unity results from the agreement of minds, Amos 3:3; Jno. 10:30.
1. Unity is not an easy task, but it is possible, Eph. 4:1-3.
2. Unity among God’s people is a tremendous blessing, Psa. 133:1.
a. For each other, Eccl. 4:9-12.
b. For the church, 1 Cor. 1:10-11; Eph. 4:13-16.
c. For the world, Jno. 17:21.
3. May God grant us the blessing of unity as we have the mind of Christ to obey Him in all things, Rom. 15:5-7.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: July 8, 2014