God's vision for the world was for the world to be united in worshipping Him alone in all truth and spirit. He chose us as disciples first to be united and then to unite others to Him so as to have a unity in faith, unity in understanding his character, nature and grace, unity in having a godly standard of living. We have many biblical examples of families who were united in purpose of doing God's will. There is Lydia and her family, Priscilla and Aquila, Cornelius' family, Philip and his daughters, Timothy and his mother and grandmother etc. In this lesson, wer are going to learn how to be united in purpose in different areas of our christian life, from a few of these biblical examples.
1. United in godly image
1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment.
2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
23Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along.
24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends.
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.
45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.
46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,
47 "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."
48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
Cornelius and his family were great examples of a family who were godly. When they invited their relatives and friends for the Bible discussion, people were ready to come because of their godliness. They saw a God fearing devout family and knew they would gain something. How is your christianity as a couple, as a family. Are you known as God-fearing? Will people come to your house saying here is a godly couple or family? What kind of an image do people have of you?
2. United in hospitality
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.
25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.
26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
Priscilla and Aquilla worked together. Even in hospitality they were together. It was not as if one wanted hospitality and the other partner was grumbling.
Are you united or are you grumbling - oh! we are spending so much money? I am tired after the day's work, I don't want to give but take rest? Are you united in willing to bear the sacrifice?
Paul, Silas and Timothy came suddenly to Priscilla and Aquila's house, thereby disturbing their privacy but they did not grumble.
They were not disunited in their willingness to sacrifice their food, money, time even to the point of putting their life in danger because of their contact with a person like Appolos. They were whole-hearted in bearing the sacrifice together.
Both of them were together in welcoming people home, Priscilla interacting with man and not shying away.
Do you as a husband fellowship and interact with the woman, do you as a wife interact and fellowship with the men?
Do you talk to the person as a couple, find out about that person's life as a couple or is there only individual impact?
3. United in reaching and teaching
Priscilla and Aquila studied the Bible with Apollos together (v26). He was their family fruit and so they had a dual impact in teaching the Bible together.
who are you reaching out to as a family? Do you pray that your family can have a fruit together. Take every opportunity to invite people as a family (even your young ones can become fruitful before they become christians. Won't that be wonderful).
4. United in support
Priscilla and Aquila supported each other in everything - from evangelism to baptism.
Practically if the wife wants to go out and evangelize, husband should volunteer to stay back and take care of the kids and other errands and vice versa.
don't be selfish in dumping every household job on one person but help each other to be victorious.
Take turns in doing the morning chore so that each of you can get time with the Lord.
5. United in contentment
Wife should not nag husband about not having worldly possession, in the process of loosing out on the purpose.
Worldiness like why are you wasting time or money when your partner is focused on the Lord's purpose will only bring disunity.
One partner cannot decide to serve God and the other serve money. Both have to be content and in that way you will spread an atmosphere of contentment in your children.
6. United in righteousness
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.
2 With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.
6 Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
8 Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price."
9 Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
This is one family we would not like to imitate. In every way they were united but in an unrighteous way.
How are you in your righteousness as a family. Do you call each other higher or do you compromise with each other's sins.
Do you have an iron sharpen iron relationship as a family?
7. United in prayer
Here we see that the disciples and their wives and their children went to the beach to see off Paul and companions.
Before departure they all knelt down to pray. These disciples and their families were accustomed to praying together quite often.
It was not something they hesitated about. Prayer is something that bonds families together. Make it a point to have family devotionals, quiet times together.
Before asking an important decision where the whole family is concerned make sure to give it to God in prayer.
Teach your children to pray before meals, before they venture into a new field, when they are discouraged, scared or face trials or temptations, pray as a family before going to bed.
8. United in sincere faith
2 Timothy 1:5
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
In this passage what stand out is the incredible example grandmother Lois was to her daughter Eunice and she in turn was an example of sincere faith to her son Timothy.
As an elderly person in your family do you exhibit that sincere faith that inspires those young ones around you.
Are you bold in your convictions, not being slanderous but challenging the young ones to be godly. Are you examples to your grand children.
If you are a grand child who is more spiritual, you or your grandmother / grandfather. If you are not, why are you not imitating their example like Timothy did.
We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are never alone. We are always with a family. If we want to have an impact on other families we have to be united in the family to be purposeful.