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Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-4
Marks of Unity
1. Phil. 2:1-2 – Due to the spiritual blessings we have in Christ, Paul appeals to brethren to live in unity among each other (we are to share the same purpose, motives, harmonious relations and goal, Phil. 2:2).
2. Unity of saints is a blessing that is scriptural, reasonable and attainable:
a. Jesus' prayer: Basis and benefit of unity, Jno. 17:20-23.
b. Commanded and described, 1 Cor. 1:10.
c. Evidence of love, 1 Cor. 13:4-7.
d. Attitudes necessary to guard unity and keep peace among us, Eph. 4:1-3.
3. Phil. 2:3-5 – Necessary marks of unity that enable and enhance it among us.
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).
a. cf. Lining up supporters, power-plays, cliques, etc. 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. Caused by and companion of selfish pride.
b. Warning 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, 1 Pet. 5:5.
C. We Must Consider Others Better than Ourselves.
1. To receive each other, Mk. 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 (cf. v. 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 to each other, not about each other!
B. The Interests of Others is to 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…the mind of Christ!
B. Having the Mind of Christ Eliminates:
1. Pettiness; 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. To our brethren, Eccl. 4:9-12.
b. To the church, 1 Cor 1:10-11; Eph 4:13-16.
c. To the world, Jno. 17:21.
3. Rom. 15:5-7 - May God grant us the blessing of unity as we have the mind of Christ to obey Him in all things.