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Form 3 CRE Notes On Unity Of Believers
Grade/Class: Form 3
Term: Select Term
Document Type: PDF
TOPIC 2: UNITY OF BELIEVERS
Introduction: This refers to the oneness of those who have faith in Jesus Chris. The early Christians lived in unity as demonstrated in the following ways:
(i) Prayed together.
(ii) Shared meals.
(iii) Shared property.
(iv) Celebrated the Lord’s super.
(V) They met to receive apostolic messages/instructions.
The New Testament has used several images/analogies to illustrate the unity of believers
i).The people of God (1st Peter 2:9-10)
In the New Testament, the people of God are those who follow Jesus Christ and his teachings.
Peter refers to Christians as God’s chosen race, royal priesthood and a holy nation.
Christians have been chosen to proclaim the kingdom of God in the world.
Christians from different background are united with God through Jesus Christ.
Through baptism, Christians are set apart and share in the resurrection of Jesus Christ Christians have received God’s mercy through repentance.
(ii) The body of Christ (1st Corinthians 12:12-2, Ephesians 4:1-12)
Paul uses the analogy of the human body to demonstrate the unity of believers.
Christians form the many parts of the body of Christ, each with different functions to perform just as the human body does.
The believers are the body of Christ which everyone should work for the total wellbeing of the church.
Through baptism, believers become members of one body of Christ all empowered by the spirit of God.
The different gifts should be sued to enrich the church and glorify God.
Christians share the same rights and privileges as members of one body.
Christians should remain to have the following virtues i.e
- Patience in order to promote unity.
Christians should be concerned with the welfare of others.
He encourage Christians to live in unity because they are bound by:
(i) One body i.e. universal church.
(ii) One spirit, which dwells in the church.
(iii) One Lord, Jesus who is the head of the church. 14
(iv) One faith in the Lord.
(v) One Baptism.
(vi) One God who is the Father.
(iii) The vine and the branches (John 15:1-10)
- God is the vine dresser/ Jesus is the true vine.
- The followers of Jesus Christ/Christians are the branches.
- The unfaithful Christians are the unfruitful branches which are cut away/destroyed.
- Christians are related to God through Jesus Christ.
- The unfaithful Christians /fruitful branches are pruned so as to produce more fruit.
- For us to continue bearing fruit/doing good stuff if they remain united to Christ.
- Through Jesus Christ, all Christians are joined to one another.
- Christians should rely on God for all providence.
- Love is passed on to the Christians from God though Jesus Christ.
- Christians should keep/observe God’s commandments.
(iv) The Church (Ephesians 5:21-32)
The church refers to the Christian community. The members comprise people drawn from different social and cultural backgrounds who recognize the Lordship.
(i) Paul illustrated the unity of the church using a divine marital relationship
(ii) Just as wives were subject to husbands, Christians should be subject to Jesus their Lord.
(iv) Christ is the head of the church just as husband if the head of the family.
(v) Just as husbands love their wives so did Christ love the church and gave his life for her.
(vi) Just as marriage is supposed to be a permanent union so is the union between Christ and Christians.
(V) The bride (2nd Corinthians 11:2, Revelation 21:1-12)
The metaphor has the following points to note:
(i) Christians are the bride married to Christ.
(ii) Christ is the divine bridegroom who seeks his bride; the Christians to enter into a covenant relationship.
(iii) The marriage would be life-long union where would be neither suffering nor death.
(iv) Christians should prepare themselves to receive Christ who will return for his bride, the church.
(v) During the final establishment of the kingdom, God will take all believers (bride) to the new home, heaven where they would live in unity and love.
(vi) Christians must obey God and do his will in order to be rewarded eternal life.
WAYS OF PROMOTING UNITY OF BELIEVERS IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY TODAY
(i) Preaching love and forgiveness to one another.
(ii) Organizing inter-denominational prayers.
(iii) Reconciling warring parties and encouraging agreements.
(iv) Forming ecumenical movement i.e grouping of different churches i.e. National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK).
(V) Promotion of Youth movement/groups in schools and other educational e.g. Christian Union (C.U) young Christians Students (Y.C.S)
(vi) Encouraging and promoting dialogue among people in the society.
(vii) Condemning customs and practices which Threaten unity in a society.
(viii) Living exemplary live for other people to copy.
(ix) Promoting the socio-economic welfare of the society through
Employment Creation Provision of social amenities
Providing relief aid providing charitable services
(x) Avoiding actions that may disrupt peace and unity.
(xi) Exposing those intending to cause disunity.
Causes of disunity in the church in Kenya today.
(i) Formation of splinter group.
-In some churches, members of the congregation get divided because some prefer certain leaders to others.
(ii) Misunderstanding of the use of spiritual gifts.
Christians may differ on the cause of spiritual gifts i.e speaking in tongues and performing miracles.
(iii) Discrimination against some members of the church.
- It could be based on economic status and manifestation of spiritual gifts, tribe, race or gender.
(iv) Settling dispute in civil courts.
- Some churches have differences and leadership wrangles to the extent of taking each other to courts of l Law. This creates disunity while disputes should be settled within the church.
(V) Misuse the freedom of worship.
Some people have abused this right by breaking away from their mother churches to form splinter groups. Some of them may not be doing so for the purpose of evangelizing but for self-interest.
(vi) Administration of Sacrament.
- The attitudes towards sacraments vary from one church to another e.g. Baptism some churches practice it through complete immersion while others through pouring of water on the forehead.
(vii) Differences in the belief of resurrection.
- There are different beliefs of the state of the resurrected /dead and in the manner and nature of the resurrection