John 17:20-26 – Unity
If you read my last blog you were encouraged to meditate on Paul’s appeal in 1
Corinthians 1:10, “that they agree with one another so there may be no divisions
among them, and that they may be perfectly united in mind and thought”. It
should be noted that his appeal is, “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. It
wasn’t just so there would be peace and quiet, but that which our Lord had
prayed for would be fulfilled, and so bear witness!
We now look at what was the underlining cause of the “quarrels” among them,
and we find it was a form of first century denominationalism. For some said they
followed Paul, others Apollos and others Peter, and then those who claimed the
high ground, we follow Christ.
Have you read, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done
again; there is nothing new under the sun”. Ecclesiastes 1:9
If Paul was writing to the Church of your city today he could well have penned
the same words of appeal with subtle changes such as. Some of you say you
follow Luther, others Calvin, others Wesley, or maybe Booth or Parham or
indeed a myriad of others spiritual leaders who established Christian
Paul asked a short but searching question that is just as relevant today as then,
“Is Christ divided”? The great indictment on the Church is our
misrepresentation of Christ to the world.
I would like to point out something Paul had said to them in 1 Corinthians 1:7
just prior to his appeal for unity. He said, “…you do not lack any spiritual gift”.
Remembering that we are reading a letter where the apostle is addressing
numerous issues, let’s look at 1 Corithians 3:1. “Brothers, I could not address you
as spiritual but worldly – mere infants in Christ”. Paul again attributes this to the
quarrels and disunity as afore mentioned. So twice at the commencement of a
long letter he takes them to task over the issue of disunity.
We can further conclude that spiritual gifting is no guarantee of spiritual
maturity. And although not on topic it is worth stating that spiritual gifts or
gifting were not a consideration for Paul in the directives for the appointment of
elders and deacons, but rather spiritual maturity evidenced by character.
We will further explore what Paul had to say to other churches on the matter of
unity. But please answer Paul’s question and what it means practically for us
today as Christians, “Is Christ Divided”?