In John 17 Jesus prayed for the unity of the church. His prayer clearly shows us the critical importance of unity in the church – that we be one.
And one of the primary reasons that he gives us for the vital importance of unity has to do with our witness or testimony to truth of the gospel. In v.20-23 He says,
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
So our unity (or lack of it) makes a huge difference because the world is watching.
A watching world takes notice whether or not we are one. We are either demonstrating the reality of the gospel through our unity, or we are giving the world more ammo for their skepticism and unbelief by our lack of unity (or outright division).
No wonder the Lord Jesus told us that the distinguishing mark of His disciples would be that we love one another (John 13:35).
So remember that our relationship with one other in the church also has an impact on our relationship with those outside of the church. It even affects our ability to share the gospel effectively.
May we be one, that the world may know that Jesus is Savior and Lord!