Calvary Road Baptist Church

“LIKE-MINDED”

Philippians 2.2

Let’s do a bit of a word study. Let’s look up four verses in the book of Acts. In Acts 1.14, describing the church members in Jerusalem before the day of Pentecost, we read these words: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” The important word for you to take note of is the word “one accord,” the Greek word being omoqumadon. Now, read Acts 2.1 with me: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Again, we have our Greek word omoqumadon. Looking at Acts 2.46, we read: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” Amazing. Before the day of Pentecost, on the day of Pentecost, and now after the day of Pentecost, the common thread that runs through the experiences of those first church members in the Jerusalem church was this word omoqumadon. They were observed to be of “one accord.” Even later on, as the great revival that began on the Day of Pentecost continued, the Jerusalem church members continued with “one accord,” our word omoqumadon. Read Acts 5.12: “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch).” I suppose the Greek word omoqumadon is Luke’s favorite word to describe what we usually think of when we refer to unity being observed. Usually translated “one accord,” the concept of omoqumadon refers to an observed result, not to something which is actually done. To put it another way, the fruit of unity in your behavior is not something you do, but is rather the result of something you do. Unity, then, which is an inner quality that produces an observable “one accord” in a people, which is an inner quality that produces an observable spiritual characteristic called omoqumadon, is the symptom of other things.

With that groundwork laid, turn in your Bible to Philippians 2.1-4, where I have insisted that Paul calls upon the Philippian church to strive for unity. Let’s stand and read this passage together:

1      If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

2      Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

3      Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4      Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

May I further refine your understanding of unity? While it is true that I have told you that Paul urged the Philippians to strive for unity, we should now understand the concept of unity well enough to grasp the truth that unity is not really something you can strive for, something you can accomplish, something you can do, or something you can actually see. Unity was exhibited by the church at Jerusalem’s “one accord,” their omoqumadon, which is the natural byproduct of other things. At this time, and with the next message, the Lord willing, you will find out what internal unity, which is displayed outwardly as omoqumadon, is the byproduct of.

Let me point out to you that the word omoqumadon, so favored by Luke, is not used by the Apostle Paul in Philippians. We see the English phrase “one accord” used several times, but that phrase does not in Philippians translate omoqumadon. However, though Paul does not use the single word that best describes unity on display, he does deal with the concept of unity. Recognize, then, that if Paul’s instructions in Philippians 2.1-4 are obeyed, the result with be unity on the inside, displayed as omoqumadon on the outside. Taking a look at the way you should behave, we see that Paul’s effort to bring about unity is set forth in four parts. First, he told the Philippians what his expectation of them was, in verse 1. These are the normal blessings that should accrue to every church member at Calvary Road Baptist Church. Next, there is Paul’s exhortation. This is the imperative, the command, the directive to “Fulfill ye my joy.” Not that he didn’t have joy because of those sweet and precious people, but he wanted joy overflowing. And we learned last week, his was not a selfish demand, but a demand related very directly to sinners coming to Christ as a consequence of the unity that would result if his promptings were heeded.

Today we find out what Paul meant by “Fulfill ye my joy.” “Fulfill ye my joy” is a somewhat abstract phrase. It is a statement that is a bit nebulous. If Paul stopped right there he would fit perfectly into the pseudo-spiritual mold of Southern California spooky Christianity. You have no doubt heard these guys. They are mystical. They speak in words and phrases that cannot be pinned down to analysis and accountability. Thankfully, Paul did not engage in that kind of pretend spirituality double talk. Following right behind his true, but somewhat abstract, command to “Fulfill ye my joy,” Paul provides an explanation of what he means. His explanation of “Fulfill ye my joy” is “that ye be like-minded.”

“Oh. Paul wants us to all be like-minded. Now, I understand.” Do you understand? “Sure. I know what Paul means, now. He means that each church member should have exactly the same thoughts. He means that our minds should be exactly alike.” Are you sure that is what Paul means? Are you sure? Remember, God made each of us to be uniquely different, with respect to our spiritual gifts and our intelligence. And, within certain limitations, God actually wants us to have different kinds of personalities. I do not think God wants, and I do not think Paul thought that God wanted, for us to think exactly alike. Like-minded certainly means that some things about our minds have to be common among us, but not necessarily all our thoughts. To further illuminate our understanding of what he is referring to when he explains that church members should be like-minded, Paul elaborates by describing for us the essence of like-mindedness in a church, and by providing some wonderful examples of like-mindedness in a church. When church members are like-minded the result will be unity in the congregation.

What is the essence of being like-minded? Like-minded does not mean our minds are identical in every way. However, they are alike in three very important ways. Let us look at them in turn as Paul has listed them and then look at the illustrations of like-mindedness next week. Unity is the result of a decision by each one of us to be like-minded in three areas of life and practice: First, you and I must choose and decide to have the same love. Since we could never agree on who or what to love if the decision were left to us, we must decide to love who and what God’s Word tells us to love. And this we can do, because love is a decision. Three things: First, you must decide to love God. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment,” Matthew 22.37-38. Second, you must decide to love your neighbor. “And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself,” Matthew 22.39. Third, you must decide to not love the world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” First John 1.15. My friends, once you have decided to love God and love your neighbor, but not love the world, we are well on our way to “having the same love” and being like-minded. Second, you and I must choose to be “of one accord.” Let me remind you that this is not our word found in the book of Acts, omoqumadon. The word here translated “of one accord” is a word that may very well have been coined by Paul himself, since it is found nowhere but in the New Testament during Paul’s lifetime. The word is sumyucoV. The word yucoV is the Greek word for soul, and the preposition sun means with and together with. So, you are taking strides to be like-minded when you love God, love your neighbor, and do not love the world, and when you decide that your soul and the soul of the other church members are together, are joined. It is when you start looking on other church members as being with you on the same team. It is a decision that you make that concludes, “We are in this thing together no matter what.” Third, to be like-minded you and I need also to be “of one mind.” Now, remember, lest it slip from your thinking, Paul is not advocating mindless uniformity here. The one mind he is advocating here is not that we each have identical thoughts, but that we each establish for ourselves an identical spiritual goal to focus our minds on.

Philippians 3.12-15:   12     Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

13     For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

14     Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

15     That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.

No saved person this side of heaven is perfect and without sin. However, every saved person can and should do this one thing; follow after Christ and strive to be Christ-like in your service to God.

Church member? You and I cannot attain unto spiritual unity. That is something only the Holy Spirit of God can work out in our church, blessing us with the unity of the Spirit.[1] However, as individual church members, you and I can obey God and fulfill our personal responsibilities toward that end. Have the same love. Love God and your neighbor, but not the world. Be of one accord. Decide that your soul is together with other church members, that as far as you are concerned, we are in this spiritual struggle together. And be “of one mind.” Press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God which you have in Christ Jesus.[2] Set your spiritual sights high. Settle for nothing less than the spiritual best. Decide where you are going to stand, Christian. Decide whether or not you are going to stand with us here at Calvary Road Baptist Church. When you decide, decide to stand up for Jesus.

SERMON:

Unity is such a wonderful thing. Unity is such an important thing. Unity is such a critical thing. And I am sure that everyone in the world is in favor of unity in the abstract. However, what about unity in the concrete? How about where the rubber meets the road? Are you willing to stand united with other members of this church when the going gets rough? You are? How about when your husband or your wife says, “If you continue attending that church I’m divorcing you?” Anticipating such an attempt to leverage a believer, Paul wrote, “if the unbelieving depart, let him depart.”[3] How about when your son or your daughter declares, “I’ll never go back there, and you can’t make me”? Unity in the face of such unforeseen challenges can only come from God.

Let me speak to those of you here this evening who are not saved. You are here, perhaps for the first time, or maybe you have attended our church for years. In either cause, it is time this issue of unity, which Paul urged for the Philippian congregation, be dealt with. You need to know some things about unity in a church.

First, THE CALL FOR UNITY

Let it be understood by one and all that the call for unity in the Bible is not a call that is extended to all who profess Christ. The claim that God wants one and all who profess Christ to be unified is a false claim of the ecumenical crowd to justify their spiritual compromise and their refusal to obey God by separating from wickedness and unbelief. When rightly understood, the call to unity is a call to obedience within each church congregation that will result in that church having spiritual unity. Let’s quickly look at the call for unity by the Savior and by the Apostle Paul.

The Savior’s call for unity came in a prayer He offered up to His heavenly Father. John 17.21 is part of the Lord Jesus Christ’s prayer, prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. In that prayer, praying for His disciples among other things, the Lord Jesus Christ uttered these words: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they all may be one in us.” Thus, the Savior asked His Father to bestow unity. Therefore, when anyone interferes with a church’s unity he interferes with God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul’s call for unity went out to a number of congregations. To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “Now I beseech you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”[4] In Galatians, as I mentioned last week, Paul showed, in chapter 2, that unity must take a second seat to doctrinal purity.[5] To the Ephesians, in Ephesians 4.1-3, Paul wrote these words:

1      I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

2      With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3      Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

And, of course, to the Philippians, Paul wrote Philippians 2.1-4, which we read earlier. Thus, unity is something which is shown in scripture to be of vital importance to a congregation, with only doctrinal truth being more important. That is something church members ought to think about the next time they think about moving, when they think about transferring, or when they contemplate being disloyal and unfaithful in their church attendance. My unsaved friend, how is unity accomplished by running hither and yon? When people who claim to be Christians will not settle in and serve God no matter what in their church, they are not demonstrating to you the scriptural notion of unity. I am truly sorry for that.

I AM SORRY, BECAUSE THERE IS SUCH A TREMENDOUS NEED FOR UNITY

Let me show you the need for unity.

First, by way of explanation. Unity is of great importance to a church because unity that is expressed portrays an underlying spiritual reality that is most important. For unity to exist certain things must be had in common. Most importantly, people with spiritual unity are people who have been saved from their sins, are people who have Jesus as their Savior, and are people who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. When unity does not exist, there can be all kinds of claims about being saved from sins, about knowing Jesus Christ, and about being indwelt by the Spirit, but there is no observable and verifiable proof. The unity of this congregation is what attests to the reality that this congregation is a group of genuinely saved people. This, in turn, gives rise to more effective efforts at seeing sinners saved. Think of it. When a church is unified the Spirit of God is not grieved, the unsaved who witness the unity are more easily brought to Christ, and the normal obstacles that you encounter when you have a multitude of people engaged in a single effort are greatly minimized. When a congregation is not unified they are not focused on the task at hand of winning the lost, they are distracted by disparate goals and objectives that are less important than the goal Christ has charged them with meeting, and confusion results.

Unity is so important that efforts to protect unity need to be illustrated. Romans 16.17: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Paul is writing to Christians he had never met, and being so bold as to instruct them to avoid those among them who disrupt unity by divisive behavior or unscriptural teachings. Think of these people. The Apostle Paul urged them to remove from their midst anyone who threatened their unity. The military understands this principle. Street gangs understand this principle. Why do not so-called Christians understand this Biblical principle? Because many are fakes and frauds, that is why.

Titus 3.10-11:   10     A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

11     Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

The word “heretic” in this passage refers to someone who has gathered to himself a group or a clique within the church. It is someone who disrupts unity. After confronting the person and trying to persuade him to stop doing that one time, two times, the third time he is to be rejected. He is to be avoided. How important is unity? It is so important that divisive behavior within a church cannot be allowed. To allow that kind of behavior in a church cripples a church and hinders our efforts to see people saved. Of course, the ultimate unity breaker is when someone sins against you directly, personally. It is hard to maintain unity in a church when someone has done you wrong. Therefore, listen to what the Lord Jesus Christ has to say about restoring your relationship with someone who has wronged you, reestablishing the ground for unity with the one who has sinned against you, Matthew 18.15-17:

15     Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16     But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17     And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Unity is so important that a member’s failure to deal with sins that disrupt unity will result in that member being removed from the church. Of course, he is always invited to attend the preaching services, but disregard for the importance of unity does not go unpunished. Unity is that important.

LET ME CONCLUDE BY DEALING WITH THE OBSTACLES TO UNITY

There are really two categories of obstacles to unity.

First, obstacles to unity are sometimes found in a believer’s life. The two most notable examples of disunity that come to my mind are both connected to the Apostle Paul. The first occurred when Paul, Barnabas and young John Mark went on a missionary journey to plant churches and carry the gospel to the lost. On that journey John Mark demonstrated his immaturity and lack of mental toughness by quitting when the going got tough and hightailing it back to mommy.[6] Paul was so disturbed by John Mark’s behavior that he was willing to part company with his side kick Barnabas rather than take John Mark with him on a second journey.[7] It took the better part of 20 years for John Mark to win back Paul’s trust of him. However, John Mark worked and won back Paul’s trust.[8] The second example that comes to mind is the Corinthian congregation. My, how divided they were, and for what was essentially the same root cause of John Mark’s problem, spiritual immaturity. Listen to Paul’s rebuke of those divided church members in First Corinthians 3.1-3:

1      And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2      I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

3      For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Did you notice verse 3? Envying, strife, and divisions is behavior that immature Christians are fully capable of, but which is characteristic of what kind of people? Unsaved people. Therefore, my unsaved friend, when you see a church member who does not display behavior that suggests real spiritual unity, you are observing someone who is either spiritually immature (Christians do sin), or someone who is lost. Unity is that important.

Finally, obstacles to unity are always found in an unbeliever’s life. Think about this, my unsaved friend: Unity means something held in common. It is more than just agreeing with someone about some things. It is actually having certain things in common. Since you are not saved, you do not have those things which are necessary for unity. That is why you, as Jude 19 says, separate yourself from the church, because you are sensual and have not the Spirit. That is why, as First John 1.19 says, “They went out from us, because they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us.” Maybe you would protest saying, “But I believe in God.” Sorry. Not good enough. James 2.19 informs us that the devils believe in one God, and they tremble. Believing in God isn’t quite good enough. The Apostle Peter points out that saved people are those “who by him do believe in God.” In other words, unity can exist only with those who by faith in Jesus Christ believe in God. Let me put it another way. If my sins have been washed clean in the blood of Christ, so that I am now become a partaker of the divine nature, so that I and God are now one, how can real unity exist with you who are still separated from God by your sins? Make no mistake, my friend, you are separated from God by your sins. God hates your sin, and He will not allow you into heaven so long as your sins are not forgiven. You need to be saved from your sins. You need to be delivered from that which you are a slave to. You need to be cleansed from that which defiles you. And only Jesus Christ can do that for you. Do you need proof that you need to be saved? Listen to First Corinthians 6.9-10:

9      Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10     Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you need proof that you can be saved? Then listen to the next verse, First Corinthians 6.11:

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Amazing, isn’t it, how cheapened and degraded the concept of spiritual unity has become? Out in the world of fake Christians, spiritual compromise and unbelief is passed off as unity. However, the only thing Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, John Hagee, local the ministerial alliance, and channel 40 have in common is their disobedience to the Word of God. There is no spiritual unity there. Not in the Biblical sense. Spiritual unity is rightly displayed in a congregation like Calvary Road Baptist Church, and can only exist among folks who are truly saved. Only the saved are reconciled to God through faith in Christ.[9] Only the saved have been forgiven all their sins.[10] Only the saved have been washed clean in the blood of Jesus Christ.[11] Only the saved are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God.[12]

Do you explain your lost condition away by convincing yourself that you are saved, but you just don’t like unity and commitment to a church? You’d better be careful. Disunity is a sin that, in the Bible, seems to be successfully and rather quickly dealt with in the lives of truly saved people. The only kind of people who seem to demonstrate long term disunity in the Bible are lost people.

My unsaved friend, you need to be saved. And it’s when you are saved, if you are ever saved, that you will begin to see how important unity in a church really is. Not before.



[1] Ephesians 4.3

[2] Philippians 3.14

[3] 1 Corinthians 7.15

[4] 1 Corinthians 1.10

[5] Galatians 2.11-21

[6] Acts 13.13

[7] Acts 15.36-40

[8] 2 Timothy 4.11

[9] Romans 5.10

[10] Acts 5.31; 13.38; 26.18; Ephesians 1.7; Colossians 1.14

[11] 1 Corinthians 6.11; Ephesians 1.7; Hebrews 9.14; 1 Peter 1.19; 1 John 1.7; Revelation 1.5

[12] Romans 8.9



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org