God designed the Church on the pattern of his own character. But today that pattern is twisted and distorted, sometimes beyond recognition. What is the character of God? “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deut. 6:4). “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:8). God is one, and he intended his church to be one. “[I pray] that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21). God is holy, and he intended his Church to be pure, undefiled in faith and in life. “Put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5:13).

How important is it for the Church to be pure and united? The answer is apparent in another question: How important are these characteristics of God? How important is it that God be holy, separated from all defilement? How important is the righteousness of God to his nature? And how important is the unity of the Trinity? How important is love as a characteristic of God? The Church was designed to be both holy and united in love. When it is unholy or disunited, it denies the character of God.

Furthermore, to the extent that the Church loses this basic character of God it loses its power. When either the unity or the purity is lost, the Body of Christ no longer has a right to expect its ministry to be fruitful. A fighting, bickering, divided church projects an image of God that can be expected to turn people away. It is when men see the love that disciples have for one another that they believe. When the Church compromises and becomes hypocritical either in doctrine or in life, the power is drained off.

But this is not all. A disunited church or a compromising church not only denies ...

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