The one thing that can unify a church

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

Nice idea.

Would love to watch that Kirk Cameron movie.

But how IN THE WORLD is that ever supposed to become reality in the Church today?

  • How is that supposed to happen within the global collection of Christians from all around the world, speaking different languages, practicing different customs and traditions?
  • How is it supposed to happen among several hundred or several thousand members within a local expression of the church?
  • How is it even reality to think church leaders in the same church, who come from a variety of backgrounds and faith experiences, can be ‘perfectly united in mind and thought’?

Especially in a cultural moment like ours right now, where every post and idea and thought quickly polarizes, offends, and antagonizes?

If I’m just being honest (which I’m really trying to be), to me today – this all definitely feels like wishful thinking. Frankly, this verse was pretty frustrating to look at this morning.

But then I found something that started to put the pieces together for me…

In this particular verse, this is the 10th time the name of Christ is mentioned within the first 10 verses of the book. Paul is setting up his point, which he brings down in verses 11-13.

My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?

Jesus Christ is the one person that has the power to unify the church. He is the only force strong enough to bring His followers together in genuine, authentic unity.

Though we come into it with many different thoughts and ideologies, and though we’re shaped by many different backgrounds, experiences, and journeys… the one thing (in some churches, perhaps the ONLY thing) that unites two very different people in a church together is the person, nature, and work of Jesus Christ.

In other words, we can disagree on a thousand things. But if we can just agree on who Jesus is, we’re ok. 

We can move forward together.

We can respect each other.

We can give one another grace.

We can patiently pace with those who don’t see things from our perspective.

And, we can be ok with the fact that some may NEVER see things from our perspective.

Assuming we’re coming to church together to actually WORSHIP JESUS and…

  • not the pastor,
  • not the worship leader,
  • not the lights,
  • not the stained glass,
  • not the cafe, or the donuts or the coffee,
  • not the woman you’re trying to hook up with,
  • or the job opportunity you’re trying to get,
  • or the insecurity you’re trying to mask…

If we’re actually coming together to worship Jesus, we’re ok.

And we can move forward together.

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