Paul’s Struggle for the Unity of the Saints

December 4, 1996

“For I want you to know how great a struggle [agony] I have on your behalf … that [your] hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love” (Colossians 2:1).

This was the mighty apostle Paul, the one who was specially apprehended by God with a saving revelation of Jesus Christ that was brighter than the mid-day sun, yet he had this agony. Paul was given more grace than any other New Testament leader or laborer, yet he had this agony. Paul was not inferior to the most eminent apostles, yet he had this agony. Paul made such bold statements as, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”, yet he had this struggle. Paul knew much about contentment, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”, yet he had this struggle. Paul extolled a “peace that passes understanding”, yet he had this struggle. He exhorted others to “rejoice always”, yet he had this agony. Paul made such solid statements of a sovereign God as, “Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth”, yet he had this struggle. What was the struggle? It was not for himself but others — that the saints there at Colossae might be encouraged by being knit together in love.

Disunity is a very discouraging thing. But what strength comes from unity. Like the little wires, all knit together, make the strength of the cable, so it is for the church. Indeed, a true New Testament church is close, real close, just like a piece of knitting. Pastors feel that burden. All true Christians, by nature, feel that burden in some measure. And they are exhorted to “endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” It is not an easy thing. Just like those individual strands of thread, if they are to be knit in, must be pushed this way and that, so it is for the knitting together of the saints. Love requires a lot of giving.

(1949 - 2012)
Bob Jennings began a pastoral ministry in Kirksville, Missouri in 1978 in the church that now meets at Lake Road Chapel. In 1983 he moved to Sedalia, Missouri to pastor a small flock which God had raised up in that city (now meeting at Highway M Chapel). Bob spoke at many conferences both in the United States and Eastern Europe. He also did evangelism outreach on various university campuses over the years. The Lord blessed Bob and his wife Terri with five children. Bob is respected as a godly man by all who knew him, perhaps most by his family. You can find encouragement from his many messages online, and also from his online journal which he kept during his days with cancer. Bob fell asleep in the Lord November of 2012.