Grace Protestant Reformed Church

The Church’s Unity

Date: AM
Text: John 17; Lord's Day 21
Psalters: 349, 24, 133, 370
Series: Heidelberg Catechism (2016-18)
  1. The idea.
    1. It is a spiritual unity.
      1. The one Church consists of all of the elect from the beginning to the end of the world.
      2. Its unity is expressed in the figures:  flock or fold (John 10:16), temple or house (Eph. 2:20-22; I Peter 2:5), body.
      3. The Church is united by election and by having the same Spirit, Lord, baptism, hope, God and Father (Eph. 4:4-6).
    2. The unity of the Church is something for which Jesus prayed:  “that they may be one, as we are” (John 17:11).
  2. The basis and character of the church’s unity.
    1. Its basis is not found in the Church itself, but outside of it, in Jesus.
      1. It is the unity of election in Christ, the one and only Head of the Church; “those whom Thou has given Me.”
      2. It is a unity of life: the one life of the risen Lord pulsates in every member.
      3. It is a unity accomplished by the one Spirit, Who unites every elect to the one Head (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:3).
    2. This unity is characterized by a beautiful diversity, not monotonous identity.
    3. This spiritual unity is established by Christ alone and not by humans.
  3. We are called to manifest the Church’s unity.
    1. It is to be manifested through God’s name (John 17:11), i.e., with a unity of truth (objective faith).
    2. Correctly understand true ecumenicity (Oct. 31, 2010 issue of the S.B.).
    3. We are explicitly commanded not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25).
    4. We are to “endeavor (exert every effort) to keep the unity” (Eph. 4:3). We keep the unity of the Spirit by...