Unity Because We Need It
Unity Because We Don’t GOT it
I am spending a lot of time in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah lately. While it was specifically written to the Israelites, I believe that it gives us some interesting “jumping-off” points that we can apply to our lives.
Please hear me when I say that I’m not being critical toward either political party or various theologies, even though I have strong beliefs myself. I am being critical towards us, in the church, us that are saved, that are NOT IN UNITY with one another simply because we think differently than others.
Look, they may baptize, or pray, or vote, or look different from us, so instead of getting off our soapbox for a few minutes, we choose #DISUNITY.
Remember, we are the problem, when it comes to lack of unity, not the world! The world is acting like the world. The problem is us, the saved, the church. We are acting like the world. And that has got to change! Let me confess to you, I’m talking about me as well as you. When I use the word “you,” I’m using it in the Southern sense “y’all,” which includes me.
We have prayed 2 Chronicles 7:14 for years that God would fix Washington DC, or Nairobi, or Mexico City, or Tegucigalpa, depending upon where you live. But we have completely ignored the first clause in that verse, which is humbling ourselves before God. We can point out the ills in everybody else’s life but we refuse to talk to God about the sin in our life.
To my shame, I know that I sure do. And I don’t think I’m that much different than many of you.
Here is an article that I read today and it prompted this post. What caught my heart was the end of the post and the reference to Christians:
The article above made me think about what the future portends for Christians. And I believe that WHATEVER is in our future will directly tie to the issue of unity, and specifically, the current disunity that we have in The Body.
Friends, WE HAVE the opportunity, the GREAT opportunity, and, I believe, responsibility, to demonstrate UNITY IN THE MIDST OF DISAGREEMENT, which the world does not have the ability to do, or to flesh-out.
In the article above, Dianne Feinstein (now considered too conservative for the democrats to support) is quoted as believing that Christians are “unfit for public office.”
But she isn’t the only one who thinks Christians are ineligible for public office. I remember some 10 or 12 years ago listening to Neal Boortz on the radio when he said, “If you believe the earth is only 6,000 years old you should not be allowed to vote.” I remember this clearly because I immediately called the radio station, was put on hold for 45 minutes, and when Mr. Boortz came on the line he said, “I don’t care if you ever listen to me again and hung up on me.”
By the way, I have reached out to Neal Boortz and will put his response below, if he responds.
(Insert Neal Boortz’ response, 500 words max)
But are these two folks the only two who think this way?
Again remember, the purpose of this post is to advocate #ChurchUnity within the body. I am NOT WRITING THIS so that you can focus on how you’d “change other people’s minds.” This is NOT about winning an argument, this is about unity within the Body of Christ that we are SOOOOO LACKING today.
Look at the radicalization of attitudes in our world, such that, we see people in Great Britain tearing down bus advertisements (https://www.facebook.com/FranklinGraham/posts/2013195845403253) because they don’t want others to hear Rev. Franklin Graham talk about hope.
Again, this is the world, and we expect that from the world!
I’m concerned that in the Church we are just as obstinate.
If you know the Mission Statement for Common Thread Ministries, “Rebuilding the Foundations of Prayer” from Psalm 11:3, you may know that the reason this is our Mission Statement is because I believe that things are going to get much worse before Christ returns. You may have even heard me say that “if your prayer-life is not solid, when things get worse, you will cave.”
I told you that I have been spending a lot of time in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, and again, while this was written to the Israelites of old, I fear there are solid applications for us today.
God, speaking to Jeremiah says:
“. . . They will cry out to me, but I will not hear them.”
Jeremiah 11:11b (HCSB)
And then three verses later we read that God tells Jeremiah:
“As for you, do not pray for these people. . .”
Jeremiah 11:14a (HCSB)
Remember, that God is talking about His chosen people in the two passages above. Nevertheless, While I DO NOT THINK that God has said this to us yet, is He getting ready to?
Have we SOOOO DROPPED THE BALL that we have been asked to carry, that what portends us is, and should be, scary?
Remember, my SOLE-REASON (you may want to say “soul-reason” and I’d agree), for writing this is to point us to unity in the Body of Christ!
What Are You Thinking
So, here is my question to you, as you have read what is above, what has been going thru your head? My experience tells me there are two responses that the majority of us have had.
1. Oh, those stupid people, why can’t they. . . Or,
2. Lord, my heart hurts for the church.
Are you getting “ramped-up” to convince everyone else you are right and they are wrong? Or is this “ramping-up” merely reinforcing that you do NOT want to engage with others?
Are you wanting to prostrate yourself before the Lord and ask Him for endurance and encouragement, for a spirit of unity, as you follow His Son (Romans 15:5)?
There is an entire message here, on Romans 15:5-6, but I will refrain from it.
Make The Main-Thing The Main-Thing
Beginning with those in The Church that disagree with you.
And what is the main-thing?
Jesus made it clear, and it HAS TO BEGIN with us. In John 17:21 (His high-priestly prayer) He said, “The way they will know that I came from the Father, has NOTHING to do with your ability to parse doctrine. The way they will know that I came from the Father, has NOTHING to do with love (which He brings up 2 verses later). The way they will know that I came from the Father, has NOTHING to do with your politics! The way they will know that I came from the Father, is if you have unity.”
And Baby We Do Not!
I could be way wrong on this, but here is my bottom line. Expect God to say to us what He did to Jeremiah, if we continue this constant salvo of pointing our fingers at others, including, and especially, fellow Christians.
We have no more for time for petty differences! There’s a reason people do not want our Jesus and it is because that know us! They see our lack of unity!
And if our lack of unity is a sin, then we have so many sins that we can’t see over them (Psalm 40:12).
Let me briefly say something that may sound to you like I am speaking out of the other side of my mouth. If you are in politics, remember that you are to work as unto the Lord, and not unto man. And whatever you do, do it with excellence because it is the Lord you are serving (Colossians 3:23-24).
Because of our arrogant choice to NOT BE IN UNITY, if He hasn’t already, I fear that God is getting ready to tell us what he told Isaiah, “I will not listen to you anymore. I don’t care, even when you raise your hands towards me or how often you pray” (Isaiah 1:15). Or maybe God is getting ready to say to us, when we pray, like He said to Moses, “Stop talking to me about this subject!” (Deuteronomy 3:26b).
What subject you ask? ANYTHING! If we refuse to be united with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I don’t think God is interested in listening to ANYTHING we have to say!
What Church Unity Looks Like
Church unity is best understood by looking at a foundational point of the Christian’s existence here on Terra Firma, namely, that this is not our home! Just look at Hebrews 13:14 and 1 Peter 2:11.
The truth of these two verses, and their impact on #ChurchUnity came home to me recently when I thought through Colossians 1:5 where we are told our “hope is in Heaven.”
When our hope is NOT IN HEAVEN. Where is it?
That’s Right: When our hope is not in heaven, our hope is on things here, on earth. How foolish and how selfish we are!
I believe that when our focus is on the things of the earth, our selfishness does not allow us to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21).
Does this short discussion of #ChurchUnity remind you of the passage that says, “deny yourself?” (Matthew 16:24) Well it should.
Unity In The Body
This is what the Lord requires of us.
Turn Him down to your peril, and to OUR peril, as a Body.