Unity of the believers in the church of our Lord was obvious in the days following Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Those who chose to follow Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah were known by their changed lifestyle, their form of worship, and their belief in the Risen Savior. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47, NIV)
There were no separate groups or sects of believers, following after different teachings within the church. This is exactly the type of unity that Jesus prayed for, as recorded in John 17:20-21. The Holy Spirit-led apostles and preachers spoke the same message of salvation, the same gospel of Jesus Christ to all people and in all places they went. And the Lord added to the church those who took the steps to be saved.
So then, what has happened? Why are there so many different groups of believers, worshipping in different ways, believing different doctrines, and living different lifestyles? Man has interjected his own ideas. Man has substituted lies for the truth. Man has improved the message of salvation by replacing God’s word with his own. Man has determined better lifestyles than what God has ordered. “There is a way that seems right to man, but ends in death…” (Proverbs 14:12, NIV)
The only way that Christians may be unified in Christ is to go back to the truth of God’s word, believe the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ, live the lifestyle of true believers and worshippers of God, and teach and preach the same thing. Seed reproduces after its own kind. The seed of the word will produce Christians. True Christians will want no human creed or doctrine, and will want to wear only the name of Christ. It is our obligation (Romans 8:1-17) to teach others accurately about salvation in the One and Only Savior, to demonstrate the lifestyle of the saved (Romans 12), and the worship and devotion of those who have claimed Him as Lord (Galatians 5:13-26; I Peter 1; Hebrews 4). The Lord will do the adding to his church. Won’t you join me in this pursuit of unity?