Doctrinal Unity

Many professing Christians are perfectly willing to admit that they have little or no interest in doctrine. They enjoy speaking and hearing of the story of Christ and the grace of God that was shown in His sacrifice. They desire to learn how to deal with the problems of life and how to be a good moral person. But there is less interest in doctrine because, allegedly, doctrine divides us. So they want to ignore doctrinal differences and unite on the basis of our common faith in Christ. This is the old “unity in diversity” mentality.

When we speak of ignoring doctrinal differences, what exactly does that mean? This may be a little hard to define, but things like the work, worship, and organization of the church would be considered matters of doctrine. Teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage would be doctrine. How the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian would considered doctrine. It seems as though almost anything that has the potential of causing division among those who believe in Christ is labeled as doctrine.
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Unity in the Ephesian Church

Unity is one of the predominant themes of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In the second chapter, he wrote of the unity between Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-22). Historically, there was hostility between these two groups, but Jesus came and “made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall” (Ephesians 2:14). They were reconciled in “one body” (Ephesians 2:16). Earlier, Paul indicated that this body is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Jesus did not establish a church of the Jews and another church of the Gentiles. He built one church (cf. Matthew 16:18). All men who will be faithful to Him “are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

The fourth chapter also addresses the subject of unity. Paul instructed the brethren to be “diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). He wrote of one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father (Ephesians 4:4-6). A few verses later he mentioned different “offices” in the church (Ephesians 4:11) that were in place for “the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). The goal of this was that we might “attain to the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13).
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Jesus Christ: Prince of Peace

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

There are many terms and titles used to describe Jesus throughout the Bible. A few are found in the passage above. Isaiah, in prophesying of the birth of the Messiah, spoke of Jesus’ wisdom, power, deity, and eternality. But notice the last name – “Prince of Peace.” Jesus is the one who would bring peace. After His birth, the heavenly host proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14).
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Being of Christ

When Paul wrote his first letter to Corinth, he wrote to address and correct various problems and misunderstandings the brethren had. He talked about such topics as the acceptance of a fornicator (1 Corinthians 5), corruption of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11), abuse of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14), and misconceptions about the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). The list could continue. But the first problem Paul addressed, which was also in some way tied to the other problems, was that of division. Some were claiming to be “of Paul,” some “of Apollos,” some “of Cephas,” and others “of Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:12). In reality, they all should have been “of Christ.” They probably understood that to a certain degree, but still wanted to claim allegiance to these other men. This demonstrates that they did not really understand what it meant to be “of Christ” since Christ is not divided (1 Corinthians 1:13). Let us see what we can learn from Paul’s correction of them here as we strive today to be “of Christ.

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, ‘I am of Paul,’ and ‘I of Apollos,’ and ‘I of Cephas,’ and ‘I of Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

For this study, we will see what points we can draw from this passage as it relates to our being of Christ.
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