Introduction: In most of our lessons in this series, we discussed
what we could do to be more unified. Is there a “grace” aspect to the
question of unity? Has Jesus already handled the problem? Has He
done what is necessary for us to be unified? Let’s dive into our
study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Unity in Jesus

    1. Read John 11:45-48. The members of the Sanhedrin
      considered Jesus a threat. Why? Why would He cause the
      Romans to take away their nation? (Read Acts 1:6. Jesus’
      disciples, even after three years of teaching by Him,
      believed that He was going to set up an earthly kingdom.
      The Pharisees believed it too, and thus thought the
      revolution would destroy their nation.)

      1. If they believed Jesus was the Messiah, would the
        Jewish leaders have this same view? (No doubt they
        thought the true Messiah would defeat the Romans.
        This tells us one of two things. First, the Jewish
        leaders did not consider Jesus to be the Messiah.
        Or, if they did, they had the serious problem that
        Jesus did not endorse them.)

    2. Read John 11:49-50. Why does Caiaphas say that Jesus must
      die? (So the nation will not be destroyed by the Romans.)

      1. What is the irony in this? (The nation was destroyed
        by the Romans not too long after that.)

    3. Read John 11:51-53. Why does this text say that Jesus
      died? (To bring the people together and make them unified.
      Caiaphas spoke correctly, he just did not understand the
      full import of what he was saying.)

      1. How does Jesus’ death bring unity?

    4. Read Ephesians 2:11-14. What additional light does this
      shed on the idea of Jesus bringing the people together by
      His death? (He brought the Gentiles together with the
      Jews. He destroyed the “dividing wall of hostility.”)

    5. Read Ephesians 2:15-16. What other hostility did Jesus
      reconcile – other than between Jews and Gentiles? (He
      reconciled us to God!)

      1. How did Jesus reconcile us to God? (He abolished the

      1. What do you think this means – the statement that
        Jesus abolished the law and regulations with His
        flesh? He just threw them on the scrap heap and
        burned them up? (Read Matthew 5:17-19. Jesus explains
        that He fulfilled the law. That is, we do not have to
        keep the law to be saved, because Jesus already did
        that on our behalf. That is the way in which He
        “abolished” the law and regulations. That is how He
        reconciled us to God.)

    1. Read Ephesians 2:17-18. What is our point of access to
      God? (The Holy Spirit. Notice what this verse says: Jesus
      reconciled both Jews (“those who were near”) and Gentiles
      (“you who were far away”) to God. We all need
      reconciliation to God and to each other. Jesus is the way
      in which this unity is achieved through the Holy Spirit.)

    2. Read Ephesians 2:19-22. To what does the Bible compare
      this unity among Christians? (To a house! This gets back
      to the word picture we recently studied in which we
      learned that members collectively constitute a “temple.”
      This is a temple in which the Holy Spirit lives.)

  1. Gospel Unity

    1. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-19. If you are a Christian, what
      is your message? (One of reconciliation!)

      1. What reconciliation are we presenting? (Jesus
        reconciled us to God – “not counting men’s sins
        against them.” What great news this is!)

        1. Does reconciliation bring unity?

        2. Would this include the message of reconciling
          Christians to each other? (If we are reconciled
          to God, why would we not be reconciled to each

    2. Read Romans 14:1-3. How does gospel unity apply in the
      practical day to day events of life? (We realize that God
      is the Judge, we are not.)

      1. This past week, I preached at one local church for
        the first time. On one hand I was impressed by the
        spirituality of the church, and wondered if my own
        local church needed to improve in that area. On the
        other hand, I noticed that this church suggested that
        we use the Thanksgiving time (an American holiday) to
        promote the gospel by talking about our good diet.
        Who is the “weak faith” person in our text? (The one
        with the limited diet.)

    3. Read Mark 7:14-23. What does this suggest about marketing
      the gospel through what we eat or don’t eat? (It suggests
      that this is not how we should do it.)

      1. What does it say is the true battle front for
        spirituality? (Our mind!)

      2. Let’s look at this from a practical point of view. If
        you want to attract new members based on diet, you
        would hold cooking classes, right? What would you
        hold if you wanted to improve minds? (Perhaps you
        would hold entertainment classes. You might suggest
        ways for the family to have fun without a screen
        being involved.)

    4. Read Romans 8:5-8. What does this suggest is the best way
      to improve our thoughts? (Having our mind controlled by
      the Holy Spirit, as opposed to it being controlled by our
      sinful nature.)

    5. Read Romans 8:9-11. What does this suggest instead of a
      cooking class? (A class on the Holy Spirit!)

    6. Let’s get back to the message of unity in Romans 14. Read
      Romans 14:13-15. How does this tell us to handle
      disagreements about diet? (It tells us to avoid creating
      problems. Don’t pass judgment, and don’t flaunt the fact
      that you have a different view.)

      1. I’ve been a vegetarian for over fifty years. I recall
        during the early years how hard it was to eat well
        when I was traveling in rural areas. This morning I
        read a complaint that “vegans are as bad as
        homosexuals, they won’t keep quiet.” Think about that
        complaint. Apparently it is now popular in some
        circles to be a vegan! We say that people should not
        define themselves by their sexual views – it seems so
        odd in the abstract. Is it just as odd to define
        yourself by your eating habits? Does the Bible
        (Romans 14) condemn that as being judgmental and

      2. Consider the related bigger issue – should we
        evangelize on what makes us different?

    7. Read Colossians 3:12-14. What does this suggest promotes
      unity? (These virtues combined with love. Love “binds them
      all together in perfect unity.”)

      1. If I described someone as being compassionate, kind,
        humble, gentle, patient and forgiving, would you
        expect that person to evangelize on the basis that
        they worshiped on a better day, had a better diet, or
        had a superior understanding of the future?

    8. Read Matthew 3:1-2, Matthew 4:17 and Acts 2:38. John the
      Baptist, Jesus and Peter evangelized by calling people to
      “repent” – to change their attitude! To turn away from sin
      and turn to God. Doesn’t this suggest a superior
      understanding of how to live?

      1. Let’s continue with the message of Peter. Read Acts
        2:40-41. What is Peter saying about people being
        corrupt? Isn’t he suggesting the people should come
        out of corruption and into the light of the gospel?
        Isn’t this a suggestion that the people are corrupt
        and Peter is not?

    9. Are you now totally confused about how to evangelize?
      About unity? (Read Ephesians 5:8-14. God calls us to point
      out the difference between light and darkness. He approves
      calls for repentance, for that is what Jesus did. At the
      same time, Jesus calls for love and compassion, and He
      calls for us to avoid disputes over minor matters.)

    10. Friend, Jesus reconciled us to God the Father. His grace
      gives us unity with God. The compassion that Jesus showed
      to us we should show to others. Will you ask the Holy
      Spirit to guide you in calling the world to repentance? To
      guide you in showing love, compassion, and humility
      towards others?

  2. Next week: Unity and Broken Relationships.