Recap: This week’s Summer Playlist song was “Together” by for KING & COUNTRY. It reminds us that if we fall, we will fall together… and if we rise, we will rise together. Those words are more Biblically true than we could imagine. In John 17:11-16, Jesus bets the farm on the Church coming together as one in unity. This week Pastor Josh reminded us that our unity is ultimately around the supremacy of Jesus (Col 1:16-18) and our unity is possible because we are family (Hebrews 2:11). In a culturally toxic and divisive world, with many difficult issues to address, we can rise above the noise, without heaping shame on one another, and demonstrate unity in Christ to a watching world.
Scripture: John 17:6-26; Colossians 1:16-18; Hebrews 2:11
Icebreaker: Would you rather lose all of your money or all of your pictures?
- In John 17:16, Jesus declares that we as Christ-followers are not of this world. What does that mean to you? Does knowing this shift your perspective of things happening in our world? How?
- Describe unity. What is needed to achieve unity? Must we all have the same opinions on every topic to be united? Are there strategies we can use to create unity? What are they?
- Are there any conflicts in your life with family, peers, co-workers, or people you go to church with? How can we learn to walk in unity, especially in the body of Christ?
- In a world where there are so many differences, how can we be unified? What resources has God given the church for unity?
- God has given us exactly what we need to be united in Him, however, our greatest obstacle to unification is our very own attitude. What attitudes must believers cultivate in order to be unified?
- Read Philippians 2:3. How can we love others – especially those we might disagree with – more than we love ourselves?
Digging Deeper (A Personal Study)
As Christ followers, we know true unity among believers already exists because of the mighty work of God, but we must work hard to preserve it.
Philippians 2:1-4 reads, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Paul wrote this letter to the church of Philippi because he could see the threat of division. He knew individuals had their own earnest passions and their beliefs truly mattered to them, but that enthusiasm could cause friction with someone else’s enthusiasm. So this letter was written to caution them; to urge them to maintain their unity in Christ.
“…each church today has the potential of disunity over such things as ethnic culture, church culture, doctrinal differences, personality differences, and personal preferences. Disunity is something the church must be aware of and wisely labor against.” [Bible.org]
Are there any conflicts in your life with family, peers, co-workers, or people you go to church with? How can we learn to walk in unity, especially in the body of Christ?
Think about your own personal relationships and what binds you together. It’s typically what you have in common. Any love, respect and enjoyment you have for them and with them outweighs your differences. It must be this way as Christians then, too. What we share in common – our love for Christ – is the greatest commonality we have.
In a world where there are so many differences, how can we be unified? What resources has God given the church for unity?
Paul answers this in verse one when he explains that God gave us encouragement in Christ, comfort from Christ’s love, fellowship with the Spirit, and tenderness and compassion.
God has given us exactly what we need to be united in Him, however, our greatest obstacle to unification is our very own attitude. What attitudes must believers cultivate in order to be unified?
Paul tells us to be like-minded – which literally means “to think the same thing.” When we have the mind of Christ it will be easy to be unified. Philippians 2:7 describes the mind of Christ as that of a servant. Jesus came to earth to serve others, and He did so in a huge way! This is the mindset we need to focus on. Do we expect others to serve us? Do we get frustrated or feel disrespected when someone treats us like a servant? Have we ever said, “I don’t mind serving at church but don’t expect me to do it every week?”
This week, how can you cultivate the attitude of a servant? How can you begin to care more about others than yourself? How can we make Philippians 2:3 our focus? How can we love others – especially those we might disagree with – more than we love ourselves?