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G. Its unity.
1. Locally - cf. 1 Corinthians 1,3, and 12.
Let's look now at its unity. 85 out of the 114 usages of the term “church” in the New Testament refer to the local congregation. I cited several references out of multiplicity of references in the New Testament. Now the day when you're here most people talk about unity. They're talking about unity among or between religious groups and denominations. New Testament does not know anything about that. Its references of unity, its admonitions of unity are almost exclusively the unity within local churches. That is what unity must begin. Here in the Southeast Christian Church and every local church exhortation of unity is that which is found within the local church. That is the best here. But all these local churches of all of the empire were one. They're united. How can you explain such a phenomena in environment of our experience today? All of these churches scattered all of Roman Empire were one. How and why could that be?
2. Yes all were one, how and why? Cf. Ephesians 4; John 17:17-21; etc.
The answer is found in the fourth chapter of Ephesians where Paul admonished to them never maintained the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Then it goes under to tell and give the platform upon which such a unity that can be maintained or sustained. He says, "For there is one body, even as there is one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." And as long as the early Christians of all these local churches respected the divinely given platform for unity, oneness prevailed. And they took the Roman Empire by the storm.
Many times people say about Jesus' prayer, John 17:17-21 was a prayer in utility. It was an idealistic prayer. Oh no, my friends, in that very prayer, that great intercessory prayer which Jesus uttered somewhere between the upper room and Garden of Gethsemane in the presence of disciples he gave the means were by this unity for which prayed in John 17:17-21 can be made it possible. Go back with me 17th verse, Jesus was praying for disciples this and says, "Father, sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Then dropped down 20th verse, He says, "Father not only for these do I pray, but also for all men who shall believe on me through their word whose apostles were which word is truth." That could be the basics. "Therefore, Father, they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” The means to be unity for which Jesus prayed is the acknowledgement of the Word of God as the only final authority.
3. They were one in all five of the aforementioned characteristics.
So they were one in all six of the aforementioned characteristics.
4. All taught and practiced the same thing. That which joined them to Christ automatically joined them to one another. Thus God’s eternal purpose was being accomplished – the world’s restoration to fellowship with God.
All practices same things. They're joining them in Christ automatically join them to one another. Notice. If you read your New Testament, you do what they did on Pentecost, one and the others did. And you read same New Testament, and you do the same thing that you read in all the conversions, you do the same thing that which was joining each one and you to Christ would automatically join in one another. Unity by great nature, first of all, must be vertical and then in admirably it becomes more desirable. So that is unity which we pled.
The history of the Restoration Movement is primarily a history of the search for the New Testament church and the endeavor to restore it with Christian unity prevailing as a consequence. When one examines the method of the restorationists, he notes that unity was their original objective. In their search for a means to this unity, it became their conviction that the only scriptural and thus practical basis was through a recognition and acceptance of the Lordship of Christ and the authority of His Word and a restoration of the church revealed therein in its doctrines, ordinances, and fruits.
Today many make unity their exclusive objective and resort to other than scriptural means of attaining it. They are concerned with unity first and truth second.
To appreciate the significance of the Restoration Movement, it is essential that there be pointed out that which is to be restored and why. In light of the fact that our world is clamoring for unity and more and more deploring the sin of division and that this is purportedly being fulfilled in the modern ecumenical movement, Brethren, it is imperative that the world be shown that this is the most feasible, the only practical and scriptural means to unity; that the return to scripture as normative has practicality and validity for today.
We're going to conclude this statement here tonight. But tomorrow night we're going to discuss what went wrong with the church. What went wrong with the Church? The great apostasy of the medieval period of our world history, you might want to study your outline and preparation for tomorrow night. We will go in the more elaborate discussion, many the things you find cited and hopefully we also tomorrow then treat the subject road back. And we deal with Protestant Reformation, Luther, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin, King Henry the VIII and many these others. And where are the various denominations came from and why they came in existence? That's tomorrow night, what went wrong with the Church and the road back. Shall we have a word of prayer?
Thank you Father for revealing yourself to us. We're such simplicity and unclarity. How grateful we are Father you created within us compassion, honest, searching out of truth. And we pray Father that as we study together, our hearts will be open and will become acquisitive as those brilliant ones Paul commanded having more noble than those in Thessalonica. May we be like them to search the scriptures daily to see what are these things. Be so. To that. and bless our discussion tonight. We ask in Jesus name. Amen.