Essentially One: Striving for the Unity God Loves

Essentially One: Striving for the Unity God Loves

by Jonathan Lamb


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Across the barriers of race, class, culture and denomination, Christians are united through the transforming power of the gospel of grace. Yet instead of walls dismantled and alienations healed, churches are often characterised by ugly division, narrow tribalism and painful fragmentation. In a world characterised by growing social division, hostile identity politics and polarised cyber tribes - all compounded by shrill voices on social media - the author unfolds the profound biblical vision of true unity, founded on the redemptive purposes of God to create a single new humanity. This book provides crucial help for handling differences and overcoming division, calling for attitudes and behaviour that portray Christ-like character and reflect true Christian community.

Applying key biblical texts, it addresses practical issues of handling conflict, managing change, using words wisely, avoiding tribalism, strengthening partnerships and building counter-cultural community in the local church. Urging us to make every effort to promote godly unity, this is a thoughtful yet passionate call to remember that we are essentially one - for the sake of God’s honour and the credibility of our Christian witness in a fractured world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783599110
Publisher: IVP
Publication date: 08/18/2020
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 5.43(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jonathan Lamb has worked in leadership roles with UCCF and IFES and as Director of Langham Preaching. He is an author and Bible teacher, and now works as Minister-at-Large for Keswick Ministries, travelling internationally in Bible teaching and training roles.

Table of Contents

About the author xiii

Acknowledgments xiv

Introduction xv

Part 1 Joining God's Mission

1 Christians United: 'I now realise … that God does not show favouritism' 3

Acts 10

2 Worth the effort: God's mission and our motivation 13

Ephesians 4:1-6

3 One new humanity: understanding our identity and belonging 26

Ephesians 2:11-22

4 The heart of unity: 'that they may be one as we are one' 36

John 17

Part 2 Difference and Diversity

5 First things first: 'not all doctrines are created equal' 49

Acts 15

6 Living with difference: 'let us stop passing judgment on one another' 63

Romans 14:1 - 15:13

7 Christians Incorporated: 'each member belongs to all the others' 76

Romans 12:1-16

Part 3 Confronting Challenges

8 Managing conflict: 'I opposed him to his face' 91

Philippians 4:1-3; Philemon; Galatians 2:11-21; Acts 15:36-41

9 Productive change: complaint, change and community 104

Acts 6:1-7

10 Division and discipline: 'warn them as … a fellow believer' 113

2 Peter 2

Part 4 Changing Our Attitudes and Behaviours

11 One in mind and heart: 'have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus' 127

Philippians 1:12-2:11

12 Mind your language: 'speak truthfully … for we are all members of one body' 139

James 3:1-12

13 Everyday unity in the local church: four essential priorities 152

Acts 2:42

14 No more tribalism: 'you are all one in Christ Jesus' 165

Galatians 3:26-29

15 Working together: 'as each part does its work' 182

Philippians 1

16 One hope: 'a great multitude that no one could count' 196

Revelation 7:9-12

Notes 205

Copyright acknowledgments 219

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