A favorite Peanuts comic shows Linus watching TV. His sister, Lucy, demands he change the channel. Linus asks her, “Give me one good reason I should change the channel.” Lucy responds, “I’ll give you five… one, two, three, four, five!” as she takes pulls in each finger to make a fist. Linus quickly replies, “Why didn’t you say that in the first place?”
Some people make getting along difficult. But life is more enjoyable when we get along. Whether it be in our marriage, family, work, neighborhood, or country life just seems to be better when we’re working together. But sometimes personality conflicts disrupt the unity. We’re different and those differences divide.
So how do you find unity in diversity? How can we unite? You must have something in common. In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul emphasizes the Holy Spirit. I discovered 3 principles of the Holy Spirit and unity.
The Holy Spirit empowers the Gospel.
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified… and my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power…” (1 Corinthians 2:2,4)
When Paul arrived in Corinth he had a simple and basic message – the Gospel. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. reminds us that the Gospel is the message that Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected according to the Scriptures. Though simple, the gospel message is powerful because the Holy Spirit uses the Gospel to change lives.
In 1 Corinthians 1 Paul encouraged Christians to unify around the cross of Jesus Christ. All believers have accepted the message of the cross because of the moving of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes believers have feelings of insecurity in sharing their faith. But the power of the gospel does not depend on the skill or charisma of the speaker. It flows from God’s Spirit, convincing persons of the truth. When people are truly converted it is not through you it is through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit brings each of us into the same family. It is by the power of the Spirit that we have been unified into the body of Christ. Regardless of whether we get along or not, we are unified.
The Holy Spirit lives in every believer.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (1 Corinthians 2:12)
The gospel is not clearly understood until the Holy Spirit opens a person’s heart to receive it. Paul calls the gospel a “mystery” (1 Cor. 2:7) until the Holy Spirit reveals it.
Then, those who receive Jesus as their personal Savior are given the Holy Spirit as a continual help to understand God. The Holy Spirit will reveal many things to a believer. Since all believers have the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will help unify believers.
As a magnet attracts metal, the Holy Spirit will attract believers to each other. Many times I have attended a church as a guest and left feeling like I had known them a long time. That is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Billy Graham told a story of a minister who visited another country. He heard someone singing a hymn. He recognized the tune, but didn’t understand the words. So he stopped the man and tried to communicate that he was a Christian. Not being understood, he sang the same hymn in his own language. Realizing the tune, they embraced one another as brothers in Christ. The Holy Spirit will unify believers.
The Spirit of God will reveal the Word of God to unite People of God.
“These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[d] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:13)
The Holy Spirit inspired God’s Word (2 Peter 1:21) and now illuminates God’s Word so we can know God’s mind. Since every believer has the Holy Spirit, every believer can have God’s wisdom as the Holy Spirit reveals it in God’s Word.
The “natural man” (1 Corinthians 2:14) is a person in his natural condition, without the Holy Spirit. The ‘natural’ person has not yet received Jesus as Savior. So, they do not have the Holy Spirit and cannot understand God’s Word. Spiritual things are meaningless, irrelevant, and foolish.
Those who are “spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:15) have the Holy Spirit. As they give Him control of their lives, they grow to understand God’s wisdom and Word more every day.
Before salvation, a person can appreciate the beauty of the Bible. But they miss the intent. After salvation, the Spirit will illuminate the meaning and value of the Bible, making personal applications.
As believers mature and learn God’s Word, they begin to believe the same thing. As minds unite in belief, they unite in behavior.
Together, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Paul speaks of this as plural. We must link closely with other fellow-believers in the body of Christ. The “mind of Christ” is essentially a corporate experience. No one knows it all. But together, we can know the “mind of Christ”.
Rather than struggle on our own, we need to work together. We are better together.
Herman Edwards was the recent football coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. He said, “The players that play on this football team will play for the name on the side of the helmet and not the name on the back of the jersey.”
I hope you are playing for the name of Jesus, not your own name. Let’s do this together.