When word of various sins—some quite severe—taking place in the church in Corinth reached Paul through a believer named Chloe, he penned a letter to admonish the church to be holy. Paul addressed what are probably the two most severe sins first and last. First, he rebuked the church for its open and willful disunity. Last, he corrected the church for failing to uphold the doctrine of resurrection.
Sadly, disunity continues to be a sin plaguing the church today. We see its rotten fruit all around us, especially on social media. While we might not be able to do much to address the broader issue of disunity today, we can do much to address any disunity or preserve unity in our local churches, or at least our kids ministries and individual groups. A united church is what we should present to our kids and what the watching world needs.
As we consider this week’s session, here are two key principles to remember:
Our Unity Is Rooted in the Gospel
Unity does not mean sameness. We can be united and different. We can be the same and not united. Our goal, then, must not uniformity. After all, God is the author of diversity.
He created different types of animals for a reason. He created different color flowers for a reason. He created different seasons for a reason. Diversity reveals God’s beauty and creativity.
We should welcome diversity—ethnicity, cultures, and perspectives. We should not be threatened by these, nor should we feel superior or inferior based on any.
When it comes to unity, there is one thing—and only one thing—that truly unites us: the gospel. Other things might unite is in part, but they are all secondary at best. The one thing that bonds us together was one, no matter what, is the work of Christ. All of our sins have been forgiven and removed because of Christ Jesus. We are declared righteous with the same perfect righteousness of Christ imputed to us. We are all children of God, equal with one another. This is the source of what unites us.
Our Unity Is a Demonstration of the Gospel
A united church is important for the church itself. We are to be a source of love, comfort, encouragement, accountability, and support. We are a family. And as such, we want to be a healthy family.
But as important as that reason for unity is, it might be secondary. A united church does not exist just for its own good, but for the good of our communities.
We have to be clear that our calling is to verbalize the gospel. We have to tell people the gospel of Jesus Christ. But we are not just to tell the gospel, we are to show it too. The gospel displayed strengthens the gospel spoken.
Unity is at the core of the gospel, which is why unity is so important for us to display. Think about it. The gospel is about our broken relationship with God restored through the work of Christ. It is also about our broken relationships with one another restored through the power of Christ. In Christ, we are once again able to live our created purpose as image bearers of God—being in loving relationship with God and others.
This is why division is not just a hindrance to the gospel, it is antithetical to the gospel. A divided church doesn’t just obscure the gospel, it negates the core of its message. The watching world does not need a church that looks the same; it needs a church that looks very different but stands in unbreakable unity around the gospel that we share.
If a choir is singing in great harmony, it’s not because they are singing the same parts; it’s because they’re adding their part to the same song. It is the goal that produces the unity. Unity is not sameness. Unity has to do with same purpose.” — Tony EvansTony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations (Chicago, Il: Moody, 2009), 337.
Tips for Teaching this Week’s Session
Every week, Karen Jones and I offer guidance to help you as you prepare to teach every session of The Gospel Project for Preschool and Kids. Listen in as we discuss:
- The big idea of the session
- Any areas of caution or requiring additional prep time
- What we hope God will do through this session
This training is available on Ministry Grid, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.