THE UNITY OF BELIEVERS

THE UNITY OF BELIEVERS

Refers to oneness of those who have faith in Jesus Christ as their savior.

The togetherness of Christians.

Those who believe in the salvation of Christ and therefore they have new life.   

Believers are like the Israelite’s who were the chosen people of God in the Old Testament. The Israelites were united by the fact that they were united by the fact that they were descendants of Abraham and were recognized by the sign of circumcision. In the new testament they are known by different names.ie, christiansbrethen, disciples,faithfuls,church, the saints.

Due to the fact that this group consisted of converts from various social and cultural backgrounds, it was necessary that they learn how to accommodate and tolerate each other.

New Testament refers to oneness of those who have faith in Jesus as unity of believers.

In the New Testament we are known by different names:

  • Christians
  • Faithful’s
  • Disciples
  • Believers

Christians in the new testament are united through baptism.

They are the assembly of the people of God.

Christians demonstrate unity by holding joint prayer sessions.

Man is made in the image and likeness of God and have common destiny.

Yahweh is the God of all Nations.

Jesus death brought death brought redemption to all.

According to John, God loved the whole world

Jesus sent his disciples to the world to preach.

WAYS IN WHICH JESUS DEMONSTRATED UNITY DURING HIS MINISTRY

  • He chose the twelve disciples from different backgrounds.
  • He fed the five thousands people
  • He healed the centurion servant
  • He mixed with the tax collectors
  • He preached good news
  • He visited women disciples[Marth and Mary]
  •  He invited everybody to Gods kingdom.
  • He ate the last supper with his disciples
  • He died for sinners.

The new testament illustrate the concept of unity of believers using various images or symbolic expressions like;

  1. The body of Christ
  2. The people of God
  3. The church
  4. The bride
  5. The vine and the branches.
  6. The people of God  refer to; first Peter2;9-10

In the Old Testament; the term people of God referred to;

  1. Descendants of Abraham who were Israelites.
  2. They believed in Gods promises to Abraham.
  3. They were circumcised i.e. prerequisite for one to become amember of Abraham and Gods family.

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE;

  • Those who follow God and his teachings
  • Those who have faith and commitments to the commandments of God
  • Those who believe in God
  • They are the chosen race
  • The royal priesthood
  • The holy nation
  • They are special people because God has preserved them Himself. They are chosen so that they may proclaim the wonderful acts of God to the world.
  • Their destiny is no longer of this world but in their eternal home/heaven.
  • They share in the resurrection of Christ by not engaging in evil acts but promoting peace and prosperity.
  • They stand out among others by living righteous life
  • They are united with God through his son Jesus Christ

Ways in which Christians can exemplify the new people of God

  • Helping the needy
  • Being role model
  • Spreading the good news
  • Praying for themselves and others
  • Condemning injustice
  • Sharing wealth with the needy
  • Giving offerings
  • Singing and dancing
  • Forgiving those who offend them
  • Being humble

CHARACTERISTICS OF PEOPLE OF GOD

  1. They are the chosen race
  2. They are the chosen people
  3. Are chosen to proclaim Gods wonderful acts/deeds
  4. They are royal priests
  5. They are a holy nation
  6. They are believers in Christ

VII.They have the responsibility of declaring the mighty works of God.

Christians are followers of Jesus Christ and form a corporate identity as being divinely chosen;

  • They are united with God through Jesus Christ who died on the cross so that they could attain salvation.
  • They commit themselves to God by believing in Him and devoting their lives to Him.ie leading holy lives
  • They preach the word of God to all people and call people to repentance as they baptize them
  • Being a holy nation they strive to lead holy lives as they have been called to serve God
  • They are Gods owns people because he chose them by sending His own son to die on the cross and redeem them from sin bondage

THROUGH JESUS CHRIST DEATH, GOD INITIATED ANEW COVENANTAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS PEOPLE.

THE BODY OF CHRIST REFER; first corrinthians12;12-27,EPHESIANS4;1-12

St Paul uses symbolism of body of Christ;

  1. The church is the body of Christians
  2. Each part is essential to the proper functioning and growth of the body.
  3. Each person is important  in the body of Christ
  4.  Christian’s depend on each other and works in the unity for the common good of each other.
  5. Members of the church have been called to serve in several church ministries. Ie pastors,teachers,evangelists and prophets.

THE BODY OF CHRIST

  • Believers are members of the church.
  • Believers have been baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit.
  • The function of each believer is necessary for the well-being of the church
  • Different members have been blessed with different spiritual gifts which should be used to enrich the church and glorify God.
  • Believers share the same rights and privilege in the body of Christ.
  • Just as human body is one with different parts Christian should remain united.
  • Believers should lead their lives according to their call with lowliness, patience, meekness and  eagerness to maintain the unity of the spirit.
  • They are encouraged to have virtues which promote unity among themselves; ie humility. Gentleness and patience.

Noteby:

Elements of unity centered on the trinity of God; that should exist among believers are;

  • One body which is the universal church
  • One spirit that dwells in the church.
  • One baptism
  • One God and father of all nations
  • One lord Jesus Christ who is the head of the church.

Question ;how can Christian’s preserve the unity of believers?

Find out what Christian’s share as the body of Christ.

How Christian’s can apply/exemplify unity of believers.

  1. As one body they are to unite and and use their abilities for the welfare of the church. Ie.evangelize, prophecy and preaching.
  2. The body of Christ is made up of different parts just like our physical bodies are made up of hands, ears, mouth, stomach etc.
  3. Some parts may be prominent and much of the work they do is not always obvious, but we cannot undermine their importance.first;corrinthians12;13
  4. There is no division among Christian’s since all members of the body of Chris are one, if one member suffers, then everyone suffers.

THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES; john15:1-5

Old testament.

In the Old Testament God was the vine dresser while the Israelites were the vine. God had planted the vine [Israelites] and God looked after her Israelites very well but Israelites did not produce good results.

New testament.

Jesus Christ used analogy of the vine and branches to bring importance of unity of believers.

God is the vine dresser while Jesus Christ is the vine and Christians are the branches.

Christians are encouraged to bear fruits by remaining faithful to Christ.

God as the gardener breaks off the branches that do not bear fruits.

Christians who fail to be faithful will be pruned and thrown in the fire and burnt, just like the           dead branches are thrown into the fire…..john15:2

Christians should remain faithful {united in Christ}

Christians should love one another as Christ loved them.

Christians are expected to obey Gods commandments; just as Christ was obedient to his father.

 Jesus Christ links all Christians to God and therefore they should abide in Christ as he is the only way they can bear good fruits.

QUESTION; Discuss lessons that Christians learn from teachings of the vine and branches

THE CHURCH{THE ASSEMBLY OF GOD}  reference Ephesians5;21-32

Abuilding where believers go to worship

Refers to a universal group of believers who profess the Christians faith.

In the New Testament it refers to worldwide community of Christians who follow and believe in Jesus Christ.

  • People who belong to the lord or community of believers
  • Just as husband wife come together from different backgrounds so do members of the church who should live in harmony with one another.
  • Christ has authority over the church just as the husband is the head of the home
  • Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the church
  • Husbands should love their wives the same way they love and care for their bodies
  • The bond that exist between husband and wife is expected to be demonstrated by members of the church.
  • Believers should love one another for the sake of unity in the church.
  • Christians are called out of sins to live as anew assembly of God.
  • Christians are equal in Gods eye.
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