7 Enemies of Unity in the Church:
1. Sin. Gossip, slander, adultery (in the heart or in actions), lying, stealing, and any sin which is practiced and not repented of will rip apart a Christian community.
2. Lack of forgiveness. Holding a grudge and not letting go of past hurts prevents us reaching out and loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
3. Prioritizing secondary issues. Trumpeting your hobby, interest, secondary theological issue, political viewpoint, financial opinion or other value outside of the gospel, will lead to smug, divisive attitudes and prideful, separated hearts.
4. Racism. Thinking negatively about those with a different skin type or culture will breed hostility and evil dissensions.
5. Ageism. Believing that young people are naive, old people are out of touch, or middle age people are too concerned with their families, will sprout the seeds of schism and division.
6. Social/economic snobbery. Judging and putting down others who are poor or rich, stylish or behind the times will kill unity in the church.
7. Intellectual/anti-intellectual elitism. Looking down on those who are poorly educated or on those who are smarter than you will distance individuals from sharing their thoughts with each other and creatively working together.
The Gospel Kills Hostility and Creates Unity in the Church:
1. Jesus dealt with our sin. On the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for sin and rose victoriously over; He takes away our sin and is our life-long eternal remedy. Embracing him as the solution renews our minds, deals with our sins against each and other, and helps us to grow in godliness—which leads to less sinning and less division in the future.
2. Jesus provides forgiveness. Jesus forgives us our sins when we trust and embrace him as our Savior and God. As we have been forgiven much (more than we can ever imagine), we are empowered to forgive others in our community.
3. Jesus shows us what is most important. Jesus lived his life in perfect obedience by the power of the Holy Spirit and lived so that he might die on the cross, restoring humanity (and Israel)’s broken relationship with God. His work of reconciliation of man and God for the glory of God is what is ultimate, and we, like Paul, ought to boast of nothing but the cross.
4. Jesus kills the hostility of racism. Jesus broken down the wall of hostility between the Jew and Gentile, two groups which could not have had more hostility. He made a new humanity in himself, and is redeeming a people from every tribe, tongue and nation (Eph 2:11-22). The diversity is beautiful and unity is ontologically true.
5. Jesus died for people of every age group, and those of every financial, social, and intellectual status: Remembering this creates warmth and appreciation for those who are different from us in the church.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. ESV