Read for This Week’s Study: John 11:51, 52; Eph. 2:13-16; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Eph. 4:25-5:2; Rom. 14:1-6; Acts 1:14.
Memory Text: “Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” (John 11:51, 52, NKJV).
Last week we studied how unity is made visible through a common message, centered on Jesus as Savior and on the truths of Scripture to be emphasized in the time of the end. We are who we are because of the message that God has given us and the calling we have to spread it to the world.
This week, we focus on the visible unity of the church in its expression in the day-to-day lives of Christians and the mission of the church. According to Jesus, the church does not simply proclaim God’s message of salvation and reconciliation. The unity of the church itself is also an essential expression of that reconciliation. In a world surrounded by sin and rebellion, the church stands as a visible witness to the saving work and power of Christ. Without the oneness and solidarity of the church in its common witness, the saving power of the Cross would hardly be apparent in this world. “Unity with Christ establishes a bond of unity with one another. This unity is the most convincing proof to the world of the majesty and virtue of Christ, and of His power to take away sin.” - Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1148.