What creates unity and maintains fellowship?

For the last 5 months I have been studying and teaching 1 Corinthians, Paul’s letter to a dysfunctional, divided, immature, selfish and immoral group of churches.

One general recurring question that continues to resurface as I study is, “what creates unity?” or “how do we maintain fellowship?” If a church started by Paul in a city that he spent more time than any other, except for Ephesus, could end up with so much dysfunction and disunity, how do we avoid their problems?

In 1 Corinthians Paul addresses their specific problems and questions, which address many issues that we face in our contemporary culture. So, though a difficult book to study, it covers a broad range of important issues—central is the need to for unity in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10-11).

There are many contemporary books that address the “what?” and “how?” of developing fellowship with many good recommendations and programs. But I think this quote from A. W. Tozer has the most important challenge.

Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshippers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity- conscious” and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God: Updated Edition (Kindle Edition, 2015 Kindle Locations 1002-1005, Aneko Press). (First Edition 1948, Christian Publications).

Whatever our personality (introvert or extrovert) or whatever our background, age, gender and preferences, unity—which the Lord designed the church to possess and demonstrate His Glory—is created and maintained by each individual tuning their own affections towards God. Which allows us to be other-centered not seeking our own advantage and it allows us to see people the way God, leading to loving them the way God does.

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