C.A.C Sunday School Manual For October 11 & 18, The Unity Of Brethren. Lesson Seven : Topic – UNITY OF THE BELIEVERS
CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH WORLWIDE
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
THEME: THE UNITY OF BRETHREN
UNIT TWO: THE CHURCH ERA
October 11 & 18, 2020
TOPIC: UNITY OF THE BELIEVERS
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
Innumerable good, great and godly things happen when believers are united in the Lord. A three-fold cord is not easily broken (Eccl. 4:12).
Paul, no doubt, was writing to the Ephesians’ church that comprises both Jew and Gentiles with the possibility of divisions, strife and discord among them. God knew the greatest need of the Church when He sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples on the day of Pentecost to bring the different languages and peoples together under one influence and a unifying common language (Acts 2:1ff). This is necessary because we cannot be united in the flesh and experience God just like the people did at the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). Uniting under the power of the Spirit ushers us into the family of God, in one faith, one love and one baptism — one purpose (Eph. 4:5). This keeps believers in one affection, confidence and love and not in split of factions and parties like those that we have today (1 Cor. 1:10; 3:3; 11:18).this also produces in us the fruits of righteousness and sanctification; uniting men and women through a common Spirit and purpose as the bride of Christ. By this, we have access to supernatural power through spiritual gifts for the advancement of the gospel. Again, the church would only be peaceful if it is controlled by one Spirit, like the American-Indians spoke of peace as “chain of friendship.”Do you want peace? Be one with Christ and the brethren!
Devotional Bible Reading For Week One
Mon. 5: Endeavour Keeping Unity Of The Spirit (Eph. 4:3)
Tue. 6: Edification Brings Unity Of Faith (Eph. 4:13)
Wed. 7: One God, And Father Of All (Eph. 4:6)
Thur. 8: Our God is One (Gal. 3:20)
Fri. 9: One Bread, One Body (1 Cor. 10:17)
Sat. 10: Oneness Of The Trinity: Believers’ Challenge (Jn. 10:30)
1. Believers in Christ have the same Father and are led by the same Spirit. Why should we not be united?
2. We are not united because many believers are still being controlled by the flesh and this is occasioned by lust of the world and the things that are in the world (1 Jn. 2:15). Don’t be held by them!
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Gen. 11:1-6; Psa. 133:1; 1 Cor. 11:16-34
AIM AND OBJECTIVES
AIM: To show the importance of unity in the body of Christ and the evil of division among believers, to the spread of the gospel.
OBJECTIVES: At the end of this lesson, it is expected that readers should be:
i. able to show that right from inception of the Church, the Holy Spirit was given to empower and unite people of all races in the Lord Jesus Christ;
ii. more ready to endure persecution of any kind and make positive use of it to the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ;
iii. more resolute in using their differences positively to enhance relationship with Christ and one another; and
iv. able to show leadership as opportunity to serve God and humanity, rather than being served, or worshipped.
TEXTUAL SOURCE: MARK 10:35-45; ACTS 1:8; 2:1FF; 7:54FF; 8:1FF; 1 CORINTHIANS 3:1-4
You are welcome to the seventh lesson in this series. Meanwhile, the sixth lesson bordered on the topic, UNITY OF THE CHURCH. We discussed the prayer of Jesus for the early apostles and all other believers. The fulcrum of the prayer is UNITY, that we might be united with God and one another. We also looked at how we can shame the devil in his attempt to cause disunity among God’s people, from time to time. May we be enabled by the Lord’s Spirit to do the needful from the perspective of God, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is the seventh lesson that talks about the UNITY OF THE BELIEVERS, even in the midst of the enemies of the gospel roaring everyday. This is obviously sequel to the previous lesson. Thanks to be God, the King of all nations, who has made the plan for the redemption and salvation of the depraved humanity, to bring those who believe in the atoning work of Jesus to His Church on earth, in preparation for eternity with Him. Those He brings into His body are the believers. Believers in what? The atoning work of Christ, done once and for all, and that has permanently, totally, completely and absolutely sealed the devil’s fate, for as many as accept this work.
God is not pleased with division and tribalism that have crept-in into the midst of believers, today. Regardless of the racial, financial, language, colour, vocational, etc. differences that are naturally characteristics of the entire humanity, God still expects us to be united as believers in His only begotten Son, Jesus. How is this so, and what are His expectations? This lesson is God’s tool to help us answer these.
May His Spirit quicken us to be better believers of His, as we study His Word, here. Amen.
INTRODUCTION TO EACH DIVISION
This lesson is divided into 2 sections, 1 and 11. Each of the sections is further divided into A and B.
DIVISION I: THE POWER OF UNITY AT INCEPTION:
In part A of this division, we shall be looking at how and why the gospel spread abroad. When the Church started, the disciples were in unity of prayer, which gave birth to the incoming of the Spirit upon them to spread the gospel to all lands and among all people. In part B, we shall consider the impact of persecution in the spread; how wind of persecution blew on the complacent Church and scattered them abroad.
DIVISION II: THE FAILURE OF THE CHURCH:
In part A, we will examine the altercations the Church is experiencing over belief and worship patterns. We will see how denominationalism, modernism and unmanaged Church proliferation are tearing the Church more than uniting it. Part B discusses another failure from the Church, that is, the leadership tussle we are experiencing among denominations which is occasioned by selfishness, over-ambition, tribalism, etc. Was CHRIST.
I. THE POWER OF UNITY AT INCEPTION
A. THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL
B. THE LORD’S TOOL: PERSECUTION
II. THE FAILURE OF THE CHURCH
A. SQUABBLES OVER BELIEFS AND WORSHIP
B. STRUGGLE FOR LEADERSHIP POSITION
I. THE POWER OF UNITY AT INCEPTION (Acts 1:8; 2:ff; 7:54ff; 8:1ff)
The disciples of our Lord, Jesus Christ, were very united in spirit, thoughts, and focus, and this inevitably led to the quick spread of the gospel. Unity among Christians is the key to great exploits for God’s Kingdom on earth.
A. THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL (Acts 1:8; 2:1ff)
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
i. When the Church started in the time of the Roman Empire, they were in the unity of prayer and doctrine of Jesus, our Lord, which was based on love (Acts 2:42ff; cf. Matt. 22:34-40). And this helped spread the gospel fast enough.
ii. Acts 2:1-4: At Pentecost, Jesus fulfilled the promise of the Holy Spirit that He had made in Scriptures like John 20:22-23 and Act 1:8. On that day, empowerment and the establishment of the Holy Spirit? That believers might be empowered to spread the gospel, i.e. the good news of Christ’s birth, lifestyle, suffering, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and anticipated return. The power of the Holy Spirit would facilitate the quick spread (Acts 1:8).
iv. The Church is not limited to a particular country. It comprises all believers in Christ across the globe. Since the same Holy Spirit binds us together with the love of Christ, it becomes more easier to unite in fulfilling the Church’s major commission — the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18ff; Mk. 16:15ff).
v. vv. 4ff: To show that the essence of being anointed with the Holy Spirit and Power as a result of the unity of believers (v.1) is to make Christ known to the world, as the believers were in one Spirit and voice, Peter stood up, preached and thousands were converted.
vi. Acts 12:5ff: The church earnestly prayed for Peter’s miraculous release from prison and the result thereafter is a further proof that the early Church were very United. Personal prayer of faith works, but nothing can be compared with corporate fervent prayer of a united Church.
B. THE LORD’S TOOL: PERSECUTION (Acts 7:54ff; 8:1ff)
Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word (8:4).
i. 7:54ff; 8:1ff: The early Church and its leaders were becoming complacent in Jerusalem, forgetting why the Holy Spirit had come upon them. They seemed satisfied with administering the small group of believers there (cf. 6:1-8), but God has a better programme for them, and for us today —- evangelism and missions.
ii. To fulfill this, He employed a tool, though difficult and painful — persecution. He raised persecutors like the young but dangerous Saul against them. Thus, they were scattered abroad. After all, He didn’t want them to just sit down in Jerusalem, in the first place.
iii. 8:4ff: The wind of the persecution blew Philip to Samaria with the gospel. There was much joy in the city by the preaching of the gospel. The joy in the city obviously implies the coming together of the several people who had believed and accepted Jesus’ lordship—unity of believers.
iv. God allowed the blood of the martyrs to be shed to fertilise the seed of the gospel. He still allows it today. The gospel can never be killed. It has always been from generation to generation that the more the church and the gospel are being persecuted, the more grounds they gain for Christ.
v. In fact, persecution have come to unite Christians the more. When Peter and John were persecuted in Acts 4, they returned and reported to their co-believers. It kept them unified the more, such that they prayed so hard and heaven was drawn down.
vi. The spate of persecutions globally today should unify believers everywhere in doing the Great Commission and seeing the gospel triumph over all its enemies.
viii. Acts 1:8: Without God-ordained persecutions, Christians today would have been limited by self, to stay at Jerusalem, forgetting the need to also take the gospel across to Judea, Samaria, and all over the world. We probably would not have had missions and missionaries who take the gospel far and wide the globe today.
1. Unity brought the fulfillment of Christ’s promise of the Holy Spirit. It also helped the 120 believers to all agree In Spirit with the preaching of Peter that raked in thousands to the Kingdom. Unity is indispensable!
2. The zeal for the gospel must always be in us, even in the face of trials and tribulations.
WORK TO DO
What is the cause of persecution of the early church, and did God know about it?
SUGGESTED ANSWER TO WORK TO DO
i. One of the causes of the persecution of the early Church was to fulfill the prophecy and mandate of Acts 1:8.
ii. The early Church were already complacent and comfortable with sharing the gospel only on their immediate environment — Jerusalem. In fact, it was like they were not ready to leave Jerusalem. The City had become their comfort zone that they were not ready to part with. Something must push them out to the other cities and villages for the gospel s sake (Acts 8:1-4), hence the persecution.
iii. God moves in mysterious ways. His ways and thoughts are not the same as ours (Isa. 55:8-9). So, He can use anything and anyone to carry out His plans.
iv. Yes, God knew about it. In fact, He orchestrated and designed it to fulfill His own will.