I was extremely touched and moved as I was preparing for these sessions on the topic of Unity. It makes perfect sense to me now on why our unity, our togetherness, our fellowship and community matters to God.
The Gospel is a mystery, and as we dedicate our lives to learn, discover and live out the Gospel we realise that there are so many facets to it that we still haven’t uncovered a large chunk of it. We will only understand it fully when we will meet our Lord in heaven.
The Gospel transforms us into a new being every single day, it demolishes the lies that have been spoken to us through generations, it destroys all the ungodly patterns of the world that has manipulated our hearts and minds, it breaks all the bondages that have held us down from living in freedom.
And it gives us a new outlook towards life, new meaning to our existence, new purpose to pursue, peace in our relationships, joy in our inner being.
Unity in our heart – unity with God and unity with one another is one such facet that I believe stands at the core of our Christian belief. Without true unity we are aimless, useless, powerless and our life is meaningless.
And therefore, Unity matters.
In the last two sessions, we learnt what true unity is and how should it look like amongst the redeemed children of God, who are called by his name for his glory.
In this session, we will learn and discover why and how God uses our unity with Him and with one another for His Glory. The passage we will be looking into is Ephesians 3:1-13
In these passages we see Paul as he is referring to the Gospel is using the word mystery, he says in verse 3 ‘the mystery was made known to me by revelation’, verse 4 he refers to the mystery as ‘the mystery of Christ’.
In verse 6 he reveals that the mystery is ‘that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.’
The believing Jews in those days claimed and believed that only they were the lucky ones to whom the God of the universe chose to revealed himself, and only the sons and daughters that were born from the lineage of Abraham, Issac and Jacob were the true recipients of the grace of God that was revealed through his son Jesus Christ.
And Paul, though he was a Jew, in these passages is claiming to have received the mystery of Christ through revelation that, it is not just Jews who are called to be partakers of Gods grace, but also the gentiles, the entire human race who are not a direct descendant of Abraham.
He is saying that they too are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. And in saying that he also referring to everyone who is sitting here in this room. None of us sitting in this room come from the bloodline of Abraham. It was because of the mystery of the Gospel revealed to Paul that started a movement which spread like a wildfire and even reached India through Apostle Thomas.
What does this tell us?
This tells us that God is on a mission, mission to save and redeem his called ones from across all nation, tribe and tongue, who will all one day stand before him in glory and worship him in spirit and in truth.
But we also see a pattern in his pursuit to accomplish this task. He first revealed himself to a certain nation and a certain people group, and as he proclaims the good news of the Kingdom of God to them, calling them to repentance and belief through the life, death and resurrection of his son Jesus Christ. Uniting their hearts to himself and to one another by the power of the Holy Spirit, he then uses their lives, their communities to then reach out to the nations.
Jesus says to them in John 13:34-35 “34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
It is God’s perfect plan to unite our hearts to Him and with each other, but we also see the larger picture where God uses our unity and love for Him and for each other to call more like us into his Kingdom.
At this point, I want to introduce you to two words that will help us see our placement in God’s grand plan of calling and saving the nations to himself.
The two words are micro-community & macro-community.
Micro community is the smaller group of like-minded people, people who share the same belief, same values, same goals, same pursuit – In our case, it is our faith communities – people who identify themselves are children of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ.
For eg. My micro-communities are firstly, my immediate family (wife & children), my extended family members who share in the same faith, my church family, our homeschooling community of Christian parents, my other smaller circle of Christian friends with whom I share life.
Macro community is the larger group of people, who are also part of our lives. Who may not be like us, or may not believe the things we believe, may not have the same values as we have – people group who are yet to know the truth of the Gospel.
For eg. My macro-community are my colleagues in my office, family members who are not yet believers, friends from my college with whom I occasionally hang out, larger group of homeschooling community that consists of people from all faith and religion, people in my neighbourhood/society.
In the book ‘Church turned inside out’ by Linda & Allan, they write
“God has placed us in both these communities for his glory, and disregarding or failing to take advantage of God’s design to place us in meaningful communities of relationships (both micro & macro) can result in living an uninspired and isolated existence, never fully entering into what Christ intended for us, and failing to discover the incarnational lifestyle of Christ”
Jesus, fully satisfied with his micro-community with Father and the Holy Spirit left his heavenly glorify to preach and pursue the macro-community of foolish, arrogant, sinful people like us to restore us back into our real family.
As Paul is now fully integrated and nourished by his micro-community of Jesus followers continues to write “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[b] God, who created all things,10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Paul, even though fully content in Jesus and the community of believers, realises that God has a greater plan and purpose for his life, that extents out of his micro-community and reaches out to his macro community.
Brother & sisters, this togetherness we enjoy is good, is nourishment for us, is life-giving. This is a very important aspect of our Christian growth, and therefore we shouldn’t ignore this coming together. It has to be pursued whole-heartedly and with 100% commitment.
Therefore, coming regularly to church service & on time, worshipping as a family of believers, feeding on Gods word and fellowshipping is important. Healthy marriages are important, God honouring parenting is important, Christian friendships are important. But once we are fully nourished, satisfied and healthy we also have to reach out for the greater goal, and that is influencing our macro community, reaching out to the ungodly and unsaved people whom God has placed in our lives.
Sadly, there are many Christians who don’t value communities and lead lonely lives, they seem passionate to do Christian work and Christian ministries but hardly see them doing life with another believer, just as Jinson shared with us.
And some Christians believe that they have to isolate themselves from the world, they regularly come to church, sing songs, read the Bible, but feel safe to stay away from their macro community for various reasons. They might not be comfortable going for a party with their friends, walk into the bar, hang out, invite them home, go to their home. As Allan & Linda says “disregarding or failing to take advantage of God’s design to place us in meaningful communities of relationships (both micro & macro) can result in living an uninspired and isolated existence, never fully entering into what Christ intended for us, and failing to discover the incarnational lifestyle of Christ”
I don’t believe that’s a bible way of living a purpose-driven life.
Jesus was found sitting with drunkards, adulterers, tax collectors, prostitutes, and if we think we are not like them, we are good people, then I would say we are the filthiest, self-righteous, dirty pigs as well, no better then those with whom Jesus fellowshipped. But he came for us, and he saved us. Washed away our filthiness and presents us perfect before His father in heaven.
As Christians, we are on a mission, and we have to live it out faithfully.
Here are some ways in which we should participate in Gods mission as we enjoy Unity with God and with each other:
- Allowing our micro-community to influence our macro community – When people see the way we love & cherish our wives, the way we bring up our children, the joy-filled community lives we live among our brethren should stand out and speak for itself.
- Inviting them into our micro-community so they can experience God’s love and providence in our lives and ask questions about our faith.
- Watchfully using our freedom in Christ to be able to put ourselves in their context, making friendships, loving them, caring for them. Not feeling fearful or show reservation in going out with them on a party, walking into a club or bar if necessary, etc
- Finally, and most importantly, as Paul writes in verse 8 “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,” – Faithfully preaching and sharing the Gospel with them.
Unity is Gods agenda to join our hearts to Him and to one another in communities for the purpose of reaching out to a wider audience. Let’s not miss it.
Group discussion Questions:
- Is there anything specific that God spoke to you this session? What was that?
- What are your micro & macro communities Gods has placed you in? Name them?
- Where do you see yourself failing in committing to your micro-communities?
- How do you think God wants to use you in your macro communities?