Christ’s Contribution to Unity


PrayerSo, Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors, and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-14).  Thank You, Lord, for our spiritual gifts by which we can all work together to Your honor and glory.  Thank You for the example of the Trinity, where everything works together in unity with a spirit of cooperation and common effort. We thank You for this message in Your word, which gives us a templet for the unity that You desire from us.  Help us to take your example and express it in our lives and our community.  Amen.

Main Scripture: Read Philippians 2:1.

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy (Philippians 2:1).

Associated Scriptures:

So, we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Romans 12:5, ESV).

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it (1 Corinthians 12:27, ESV).

I have given them the glory that you gave Me, that they may be one as We are one I in them and You in me so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me (John 17:22-24).

Correlative Quotes:

This unity of which Paul wrote is not one which the Christian needs to create, but one which already exists and must be diligently preserved (vs. 3). It is based upon our sharing life in one body, the universal church, the body of Christ. We possess one Lord, that is, one Supreme Commander, one common faith (one system of fundamental truth) held by all Christians, and one baptism[1]. – Bob Deffinbaugh

Jesus’s famous statements in John 17 are rooted in the profound spiritual unity between the Father and the Son, and with those whom God has chosen out of the world (John 17:6-21). Note the witness to the world is that the disciples are in the Father and the Son so that the world might believe. This is vastly more — deeply more — than being related through a common organization.[2] – John Piper

True visible unity will occur only as professing believers study the Word of God together and refuse to compromise on the gospel. We should seek to build bridges with other professing believers where we can, but never at the expense of God’s truth.[3] – R. C. Sproul



The introductory statement by Paul in Chapter 2:1 was meant to be reassuring to the Philippian church.  Paul needed to encourage them.  He was about to deliver an exhortation to the members of the church. 

Paul was deeply concerned about maintaining unity within the Philippian church.  He knew that unity, humility, and joy within the community were critical to the church, and did not happen automatically, even among the most mature Christians.  Today, as in Paul’s time, believers need encouragement to be united, humbled, and motivated. That is why Paul, in verse 1, felt a need to encourage the church at that juncture. 

The word translated “If” in verse 1 didn’t indicate a supposition on Paul’s part.  Instead, it spoke of a very strong confirmation of the truth.  The word “If” could be translated as “since,” meaning “because.”  Because there is confidence, comfort in love, union with the Spirit, sympathy, and grace in Christ, be unified.

Paul was not writing about abstract concepts in verse 1 of Chapter 2.  He was describing realities.  He had explained their relationship with Christ and the joy that they received from the Holy Spirit in great detail in Chapter 1.  Acts 13:52 says: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”

  1. Encouragement: Philippians 2:1: “if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ.” God’s children find encouragement in our relationship with Jesus. Philippians 1:6 teaches: “being confident in this”, our position in Jesus gives us confidence.  Romans 6:8 (NKJV) explains: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”  Romans 6:8 (NKJV) explains: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”  In Jesus, we have forgiveness from sin (1 John 1:9), the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7), answers to prayer (John 15:16), the hope of peace on earth (John 16:33), and eternal life (John 10:10). 
  2. Comfort: Philippians 1:8: “For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” We find comfort in Christ’s love for us. We see that comfort in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 when Paul writes: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.” We are comforted so that we might comfort others who are in need.  That comfort comes from the Spirit.

The Spirit provides comfort from emotional pain, physical pain, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, depression, worry, and fear just to name a few.  His love is unending.  All these benefits come from one act of love, the crucifixion.

  1. Fellowship with His Spirit: Philippians 1:27: “that you stand fast in one spirit.”

Our Spirits are joined with His Spirit. We have this possession as a gift of our salvation.  We see that the Holy Spirit establishes our estate before God (1 Corinthians 2:13).  Our position, disciple, is established by the Holy Spirit who lives in us, works in us, provides for with us spiritually.

The Holy Spirit helps us interpret scripture.  He also provides us with the fruits of the spirit.  The Spirit directs our prayers to God (Romans 8:26).  He is there to convict us when we fall short of His expectations (John 16:8).

  1. Singleness of mind: Philippians 2:1-2a: “if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded,”

Our Lord gives us Tenderness and Compassion.  He has always had compassion for His own.  Psalm 103:8 (NASB) says: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”

Summary Statement:

Jesus has us His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and fellowship.  His desire is that we would live and work in harmony.  His gift, the Holy Spirit, gives us gifts that allow us to work together in unity.  Working together in unity is a joyful experience. 

Lessons within the Lesson:

Give an example of a time when God encouraged you.

At what point have you felt God’s comfort?

What does it mean to us to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit?

How do we achieve fellowship and how do we keep it?

[1] Bob Deffinbaugh, Christian Unity (Ephesians 4:1-16), Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, copyright 2004,

[2] John Piper, What is Christian Unity, By John Piper. Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, © Desiring God Foundation. Source:

[3] R. C. Sproul, Christian Unity, Fair Use Authorization, Section 107, of the Copyright Law, © 2015 Ligonier Ministries, devotionals/christian-unity/.