Oneness in Christ

October, November, December 2018

Want to learn more about Oneness in Christ? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.

Lesson 1: Creation and the Fall (Genesis 1-3 & 11)
Unity seems to be a word that has fallen out of popular favor. Diversity is the popular word of today. Like many current trends, it is a concept that has turned traditional thinking upside down. The motto of the United States is "Out of many, one." Diversity is supposed to progress to unity according to this motto, not the other way around. Is this traditional concept also a Biblical concept? Does God desire us to be unified or diversified? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and find out!

Lesson 2: Causes of Disunity (Deuteronomy 28, 1 Kings 12, 1 Corinthians 1)
Why does God give us His laws? Is it a test to see if we are "good enough" to be saved? Or, good enough to be in a right relationship with Him? Many people think that, but that is not what the Bible teaches. Deuteronomy 4:5-8 tells us that God gives "decrees and laws" to make us "a wise and understanding people." God gives us His directions in life to bless us with a superior life. Living well brings glory to God and to us. Let's dig into our study of the Bible and learn more about God's laws and unity!

Lesson 3: "That They All May Be One" (John 17, Mark 9)
Do you seek glory? Are you what they call a "glory hound?" When you watch a sports team, and one player seeks all of the glory, do you think the team is unified? The way of the world is to seek personal glory. But, you may be surprised to learn that being a true Christian also brings you glory. Let's dive into our study of the Bible to learn more!

Lesson 4: The Key to Unity (Ephesians 4, Romans 14)
A lack of unity can be painful! At a church camp this weekend, a friend threw a football to me. I had to run to catch it, and just as I was getting my hands around it, my foot caught on the ground. Instead of falling forward on my face, I tucked in my shoulder, hit the ground, rolled and came up - still holding the football. It looked pretty good for an old guy like me. But, there was a failure of unity. My foot let me down, and my left shoulder took the kind of force not normally connected with typing! That night was painful! I'm still suffering the consequences. Let's explore what the Bible teaches us about unity in the body of Christ!

Lesson 5: The Experience of Unity in the Early Church (Acts 1-5, 2 Corinthians 9)
When you want to accomplish a task, do you look at how people have done it in the past? Or, do you look for innovative ideas to help you do it better? It seems that we often ignore the lessons of history. This week our study is about the mix of power, wealth, and unity in the early church. What lessons can we learn from history? Let's dig into our Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 6: Images of Unity (1 Peter 2, 1 Corinthians 12, John 10)
How many times do you say "Picture this?" Or, "let me paint a picture of what is happening?" These are not paintings or photographs, rather they are word pictures that help us understand a concept. That is our study this week. What word pictures in the Bible help us to better understand unity in the church? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

Lesson 7: When Conflicts Arise (Acts 6, 10 & 11)
Are you like me? Have you been in a church where you experienced conflicts, and also been in a church where you experienced unity? What made the difference between those churches? When I was first married our church was split along theological lines. In many respects that was good because the dispute was over grace. It was good to have members carefully consider that issue. Our next church was split along racial lines. There was no excuse for that dispute. My current church is unified and my prior church was relatively free from conflict. The Bible records several conflicts in the early church. Let's explore them to see what we can learn about resolving conflict in the church!

Lesson 8: Unity in Faith (Matthew 25, Hebrews 6 & 8, Acts 4)
When I think about those who are currently my close friends in and outside the church, their views are very similar to mine. However close our agreement, in each case there is also at least one area of disagreement. An exception is my wife, and even with her I can think of a topic on which we might disagree, but, of course, I would have the wrong opinion. Sometimes we do not realize the extent of disagreement with friends because we only have superficial discussions. This past weekend, a friend of mine was greatly surprised by my views and I was surprised by his. The discussion made me feel bad and consider whether we should have stuck to superficial subjects. The old saying is that "iron sharpens iron." Isn't disagreement helpful in shaping your thought? Or, should we avoid discussing areas of disagreement? Let's jump into our study and see if the Bible sheds any light on this issue!

Lesson 9: The Most Convincing Proof (John 11, Ephesians 2, Romans 8)
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!

Lesson 10: Unity and Broken Relationships (Philemon 1, Matthew 18)
How do you deal with broken relationships among fellow church members? Do you just avoid those church members? Do you try to reconcile with them? Do you try not to think about it? Our lesson this week is about trying to heal broken relationships. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

Lesson 11: Unity in Worship (Revelation 4 & 14, 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 15)
The title to our lesson makes me smile. If there is an area in which we have all sorts of disunity, it is in worship. Some churches have two services with two different styles of worship, just so everyone will be happy. Isn't worship something deeper than just style? Is style sometimes a smokescreen for more important issues? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about worship!

Lesson 12: Church Organization and Unity (Matthew 28, Ephesians 5, Matthew 20)
What is your picture of unity in the Church? What should be the goal? We look around us and find all sorts of different churches. If different churches form the "big picture," why would we expect something different in the "small picture" of our local congregation? What about the "medium picture" of our denomination? Should we modify our definition of unity in the Church? Is it enough that we are all under the leadership of Jesus? Let's open our Bibles and see what it has to teach us!

Lesson 13: Final Restoration of Unity (John 14, Revelation 21, Isaiah 65, 1 Corinthians 15)
We have hope! The best thing for discouragement is believing that things will get better. We have discussed unity in this series of lessons, but the best news is that we will be unified when we get to heaven. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn what a great place heaven will be. I believe our feelings of love and gratitude towards God will take away any division. Let's enjoy a vision of the future!

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Would you like to help us share the Bible Study of the Week with others? At present, the Bible Study of the Week can be read in ten languages: Bosnian, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. We welcome serious volunteers who are willing to spend the time each week to translate the lessons from English into another language. We are particularly interested in having the lesson translated into Portuguese. Please contact us if you would like to volunteer to translate.