Sabbath: The Unity of the Gospel
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Read for This Week’s Study:

Gal. 2:1–141 Cor. 1:10–13Gen. 17:1–21John 8:31–36Col. 3:11.

Memory Text:

“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2, NKJV).

Protestant reformer John Calvin believed that disunity and division were the devil’s chief device against the church, and he warned that Christians should avoid schism like the plague.

But should unity be preserved at the cost of truth? Imagine if Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, had in the name of unity chosen to recant his views on salvation by faith alone when he was brought to trial at the Diet of Worms.

“Had the Reformer yielded a single point, Satan and his hosts would have gained the victory. But his unwavering firmness was the means of emancipating the church, and beginning a new and better era.”—Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 166.

In Galatians 2:1–14, we find the apostle doing all in his power to maintain the unity of the apostolic circle in the midst of attempts by some believers to destroy it. But as important as that unity was to Paul, he refused to allow the truth of the gospel to be compromised to achieve it. While there is room for diversity within unity, the gospel must never be compromised in the process.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 15.

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Sabbath: The Unity of the Gospel — 8 Comments

  1. Did anyone read the suggested bible texts? I read all of them including a chapter or two before and after and I must say, it was enlightening. A similar technique was suggested for the book of Galatians last week.

    I would love to hear what my brothers or sisters have to say about the readings. This guy Paul was the Truth... Are we able to say it as it is, in love but yet still be effective?

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    • Yes, reading before and after suggested selections is very helpful.

      But I think we'd better remember that Jesus is the Truth. Paul knew Him well and that gave Him a strength of character He would not otherwise have had. :)

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    • Although this issue of unity is challenging there is no issue if guided by the Holy Spirit that cannot be resolved. What we must beware of is handling matters in our own way and not by the written Word and counsel that God has given. Truth will always prevail . The question is "Will Christians allow Truth to prevail when disunity may result? May God help us to seek Him earnestly in these situations.

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      • Inge, insightful as usual.

        Shelly, I love the way you phrase that response. A question to about resolution of conflict through the Holy Spirit. Can everything truly be resolved? Maybe a definition of resolved my help answer my question. ;)

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  2. I believe we are living at the end of time. If the wheat and the tares are to be separated as we get closer to the second coming ... How can we expect unity in the church today?

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    • Leigh, you raise a very real question. It seems to me that the phrase “church unity” in Christianity almost becomes an oxymoron. For instance Jesus said, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12:51-53 NKJV). And Paul doesn’t make it any better, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you’” (2 Cor 6:14-17 NKJV).

      Paul clearly teaches that we are not form alliances with the world but the question also extends to the tares within the church which Jesus complicates further by the parable of the wheat and the tares, “The servants said to him,`Do you want us then to go and gather them up?' But he said,`No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn"'" (Mat 13:28-30 NKJV). So there is to be some sort of unity involving them as well.

      While we are to separate ourselves from those in open rebellious sin (1 Cor 5:9-11) we are unable to judge the majority of the tares and shouldn’t involve ourselves in a witch hunt in order to cleanse the church. Jesus didn’t disfellowship Judas, Judas left the church voluntarily (see 1 John 2:19). Only God can properly separate believers from unbelievers.

      Even among the wheat there is to be a diversity within unity where we should give freedom of opinion and ministries (2 Cor 3:17) within a general doctrinal structure. I believe the Seventh-day Adventist church has a good balance in this area. Even though there will always be those that wish to rigidly control that diversity by lording it over other church members the real Christian will always seek unity in the bond of love where ever possible (Rom 12:18).

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