Did Jesus and Paul not like unity? Controversy followed them everywhere! Didn’t they know that if they quit preaching, the truth the adversary would likely have left them alone?
There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:4-6)
If you’re new to this discussion, we’re talking about dropping extra-Biblical baggage in order to be more effective and enjoy God’s best. We are not advocating keeping some perfect pattern as a way to earn our way to heaven, nor are we saying that traditions are an automatic condemnation.
An environment that promotes personal and collective growth is one where people are free to try and free to fail. A body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest.
When all of the parts of the body are set in motion and they are not overly criticized when they make mistakes, their confidence grows and they begin to take all kinds of initiative. Ten people coming up with ideas and pushing them is infinitely more productive than one person pushing ten people to carry out his ideas.
When managing people, whether children, adults, or yourself, it is wise to know that you normally only get what you expect. Low expectations produce low results. High expectations, in spite of some inevitable disappointments, produce much better long-term results.
Expectations largely determine the quality of fruit that will be produced by the body. These expectations should not be arbitrary, but the question should be asked, “Whose body is this and what are His expectations?” With this in mind, here’s a quick overview of Ephesians chapter four about how God expects the saints to build the body in unity:
First, we are implored to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. This is defined as walking with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, and being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
The saints are to be equipped the for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
We are to lay aside our former manner of life, be renewed in the spirit of our mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. The key for all of this to work is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:6-8)
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Gal 5:13-16)
If the saints do not learn how to walk by the Spirit, they will carry out the desire of the flesh. God’s principles of transformation and freedom in Christ must be understood and taught. Otherwise the saints will be a bunch of immature, nitpicking, backbiting pew-packers who need a resident babysitter.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1 Cor 3:1-3) For this reason I have sent to you Timothy… (1 Cor 4:17)
God expects us to send preachers out to start new churches and help immature churches. If this is not even on our roadmap, we will never arrive. As long as a church has the expectation of always having a ‘minister’ to build the body, the saints will never develop the maturity God expects.
Immature Christians are unable to build the body in unity. Worse are fleshly minded church-goers who have no expectation of growing up to be body builders. They hire a preacher to do that job. These expectations produce people who are devoid of the Spirit and incapable of walking in a worthy manner.
Expecting Christians to warm the seat of a pew once or twice a week is a long ways away from expecting them to take up their cross daily and follow Jesus. He sacrificed everything as an example for us to follow. Woe to those who claim to love God, but deny Him with their lives; hypocrites who sprinkle a little Bible on their manmade traditions. The name of Christ is smeared because of them.
Why not join the spiritual revolution and experience unity as a result of transformation and camaraderie?
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! (Ps 133:1)