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Sermon #3311

Character of Unity

A Sermon on Church Unity from Romans 12:5-6


Romans 12:5-6 ESV KJV
so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; (ESV)

Sermon Description

What guides and keeps a church unified? How can the church encourage unity among its members? In this sermon on Romans 12:5-6 titled “Character of Unity,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains there are two elements to preserving the unity of a church. There is a spiritual unity that can only be brought about the Spirit of God and there is a necessary fundamental agreement of doctrine. While agreeing in the area of doctrine, it is also important to remember that the church body was created for a specific purpose. It ought to function in a living and active way together as many members of one body. The church must be using her gifts otherwise she is failing as a church. Dr. Lloyd-Jones cautions the listener to beware of their church falling into two extremes when it comes to being active: on one hand, activism or over busyness tires the body and wears out its members. On the other hand, hyper-paralysis, where the individual members are only worried about themselves, causes the church to be perpetually inactive and unhealthy. The activity of the church must be consistent and in conformity with the mind of the head, which is Christ Jesus, as he instructs in Scripture.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The church is meant to be active and living. If it is not active, there is something wrong.
  2. The activity of the church is Christ's activity, not the church's activity. The church cannot organize a revival or add to its true membership. Only Christ can do that.
  3. There are two dangers for the church: activism (busyness and forgetting the true nature of the church) and hypochondriasis (excessive self-examination and worrying about one's spiritual state). The true position is to be healthy and responsive to Christ.
  4. The church's activity should be consistent with Christ's thinking and mind. Examples of violations of this principle include: forcing people to convert at swordpoint, the church starting wars, church-state alliances, and using social entertainment to maintain the church.
  5. The church is meant to preach the gospel, not just maintain an organization. Revivals come through God, not human effort.
  6. The church's unity is a living, functioning unity. The church is an organism, not an organization. Its unity must include the mind and thinking.
  7. The church's activity comes from Christ, the head, not itself. The church must be sensitive and responsive to Christ's leading.
  8. The value of any individual's contribution is how it benefits the whole church. Individual parts of the body have no meaning on their own.
  9. Individual Christians should be content with the role Christ has given them in the church. What matters most is Christ's functioning through the whole body, not any individual's exploits.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.