One in Christ
Read Philippians 2:1-2 (ESV)
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
What does Biblical unity look like?
Abraham Lincoln famously quoted Jesus when he said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Lincoln was seeking to unify a nation divided over the issue of slavery. He wanted the United States to unite for a common goal—freedom and equality for all people.
But in its original context in Mark 3:25, Jesus said this quote to refute the teachers of the law who accused Him of being possessed by demons while He was driving out demons. Jesus exposed the faulty logic of that claim. He said, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come” (Mark 3:23-26, NIV). Jesus’ point was that Satan wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything if he was fighting against himself. He would ruin his own mission and thwart his own efforts.
The same principle applies in the context of the church and unfortunately, Satan himself understands how to exploit it. Satan can limit the effectiveness of the ministry of the church if he can just keep the church fighting amongst itself.
That’s why, in today’s verses, Paul urges the believers in Philippi to be united rather than divided. Yesterday, he reminded them that he was involved in the “same conflict” that they are in. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all on the same team and we are all engaged in the same battle against evil. We have the shared mission of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Paul is saying that since we are all suffering for a common goal, which is to glorify Christ, then we should all be “of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord.” As we continue to read Philippians, we will see that there were specific threats against the unity of the Philippian church. One threat from the outside was the presence of false teachers seeking to infiltrate and cause problems. But there was also a threat from the inside—some in the church were disagreeing with one another. This lack of unity concerned Paul so much that in Philippians 4:2, he calls out two women by name and pleads with them to get along!
Paul’s vision for the church to be unified was not just his own vision. Jesus prayed for unity among His disciples in John 17:11: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one” (NIV).
Friends, it can be easy to let disagreements cause division in our churches, ministries, friendships, and homes. But this is not God’s will for His church. We have been called to unity. Remember that we are all engaged in the same conflict and we are on the same side. We are fighting the same fight! So rather than fighting against each other, let’s do as Paul says and be of one mind.
Jesus, there are so many things that seek to cause division among believers. I pray that You would work in us to unite us. Protect us so that we may be of one mind, sharing one love—Your love. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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