“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”John 13:35
Over one hundred years ago, in 1919, the two Dassler brothers started a sneaker company in the small town of Herzogenaurach, Germany. By 1927, they had outgrown their home-based headquarters and moved to a local factory. Their big break came in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where their sneakers were worn by seven gold and five silver and bronze medalists.
After World War II, the brothers had a falling out, and that rift remained until their deaths. Their company split and Adolf and Rudolf Dassler each formed their own rival shoe companies. It divided the town, as well, as almost everyone in the village worked for either Adolf’s new company Adidas, or Rudolf’s new company Puma. The two families would go to separate bakeries, separate banks, and butchers, as well. Although both brands became incredibly successful, had the two brothers been unified, they could have been an unstoppable force in the sporting goods industry.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul exhorts the church to be unified in the faith. Unity is God’s primary instruction for the church. Jesus said to his disciples in John 13that they should have an amazing and unique oneness so that the world would KNOW that they were His disciples. If they had that kind of love the world would see that it was not normal. This is the whole idea of unity in the church: to show a supernatural love.
In John 17, Jesus prayed to the Father that his people may be one so that the world would know that the Father had sent Him. He was saying that the unity of the believers would show the world that this love was supernatural.
If the church is united in the limited power of a human institution, we all know that it is not going to get very far. We have no unity or peace and no real love as humanity. The division began in the garden of Eden, and it has been the same ever since.
The point is this: in the midst of all this disunity and lack of peace and lack of love, there is a group of people who are totally in love with each other, completely one, and absolutely united, then people will take notice! People are going to say: “Humans don’t do that! It must be supernatural. There is no way that humans can accomplish this together.”
UNITY in the church gives the world a reason to believe we are who we say we are and not just another human institution. One of the ways we can do that is by being part of a community of believers in a group setting, like Sunday School, that fosters unity. If we are reaching and ministering to those who are around us, that only helps foster a bond of unity like Christ called us to.
Jason Atkinson has taught the Homebuilders Sunday School class for the last four years. A native of Arlington, son of an evangelist, and graduate of DBU, he and his wife Diane have four children and currently reside in Coppell.