Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (KJV).
As believers in the Body of Christ, we are called upon to maintain or guard with all diligence the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. In order to maintain the unity, we must be in agreement with our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Head of the Body, which is the Church (see Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:15). Just because a number of believers agree on something, it does not necessarily mean it is of the Spirit. In fact, if what they agree on is contrary to the Word of God, it is not in the unity of the Spirit. True unity will absolutely line up with Scripture. This is especially true when it comes to doctrine. We must remember there is only one doctrine of Christ, but there are also doctrines of men and devils. Traditions of man make the faith of God null and void in man’s life. While doctrine is one element that has been a cause of contention amongst believers, other things have caused rifts. Much of which is rooted in pride.
To begin with, nowhere in Scripture do we find the phrase, “unity of the body.” Nevertheless, the Body is called to be one in Christ Jesus. Unity comes from the Spirit, hence, “the unity of the Spirit. When the body tries to unite itself, it becomes the head. Meaning, man will incorporate man’s ideas in what a unified church should look like. Often these ideas somehow evolve into some form of democracy, where everyone has a vote; nonetheless, “the majority” rules and Jesus has no say in many instances. Ironically, on some occasions, the Lord may send someone to reveal His wishes, only to be overruled by the majority. The fact is the Church is supposed to be Theocratic in nature. That is to say, God rules. Not to be confused with man ruling man with some iron fist, while claiming God is behind it. The book of Acts reveals to us that Jesus gave commandments to the Church through the Holy Spirit. There was no voting involved, just agreement with the Lord. There we find that the people of God sought the Lord in prayer in order to find out what His will was for them. Often, the Lord revealed His will through the apostles and prophets, while the Spirit bore witness to those present. They agreed with the Spirit, but again, they did not take a vote. How often have we heard someone say in a church service, “Don’t you want to be part of a church that . . .” (fill in the blank), or “I want a church that . . .” (again, fill in the blank)? The question is how often do we hear, “What does Jesus want?” Truth be told, in numerous meetings, carnality showed up instead of the Spirit. People wanted what they wanted, and everyone present gave their “two-cents worth.” Many agreed to disagree, but none agreed with the Lord. How does that fit with the unity of the Spirit? How many of those meetings had any real spiritual significance in the relation to the Kingdom of God?
1Corinthians 12:12-18 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him (KJV).
The Lord has specific place in His Body (the Church) for each of us, and it is where it pleases Him. A key to finding that place is surrendering to Him. For example, some people “church-hop” because they are looking for a church that pleases them, instead of where it pleases Jesus. They might stay with a particular congregation for a season, so long as it suits them, but the moment their flesh is no longer pleased, they are gone. If they humble their selves before the Lord, He will lead them to where they belong. While the flesh may not always be pleased, He will be. A gathering of believers operates the best when everyone present submits to the Lord. When each person finds his particular place that God has in mind, it will be the perfect fit. That does not mean the flesh will like everything that goes on or is said; however, the flesh is supposed to be crucified anyway. The bottom line is what does God want.
James 2:1-9 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors (KJV).
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should have equal love for each other, regardless of social standing in the world. Titles, status, money or its lack, should have no bearing in the way we treat one another. Not only does this pertain to treating one with great wealth better than those less fortunate, but the reverse is true as well. In other words, we cannot love the poor while failing to love the wealthy, and be considered equal. Similarly, the Lord, not who’s who in the community, should determine leadership. For example, in some congregations, those who hold high positions in the community are asked to be involved with leadership, regardless of their spirituality. They base their criteria upon worldly success, instead of spiritual maturity. That does not necessarily mean that those who are successful by world standards are unspiritual or immature. However, those congregations are looking at outer appearances instead of what is in the heart. Whatever differentiates people in society should not cause division in the Church. On the contrary, our differences should cause us to have a greater sensitivity to each other’s needs, whereby we are all treated equally. If were to look in the book of Acts again, we would see that the believers had all things in common, and no one lacked because of the care they had for each other (i.e., Acts 2:41-47; 4:33-34, et al.).
1Corinthians 12:19-27 And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. So the church, which is the body of Christ, is made up of many, having different gifts. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular (KJV).