SUBTITLE: UNITY IN THE CHURCH
Let me just pretend to be Jeremiah for a moment and stand at the gates and make an observation or two. (Jeremiah 6:27) You decide if it is from the Lord or not.
Whether you have won or lost, have you considered that there is a judgment involved here? And if there is a judgment, could it be that God is judging us for not relying upon Him? (1 Peter 4:17)
Ray Stedman back in the ’60’s made a great observation when he exegeted 2 Corinthians 10:5 and said, and I’m paraphrasing, “in the church, we pattern ourselves and decision making like they do in Washington D. C., to our shame.”
This is not rocket science my friends. We say, “well, if I were running the show. . .” or we say, “well now that I am running the show. . .” And I don’t see that in Scripture. I’m not saying, “don’t be involved.” In fact, I believe that whatever your involvement, you should do it with excellence, because you are doing it as unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:23)
The truth is, this disunity has given me an opportunity to speak openly, on a subject that I have only nibbled at for a number of years, Unity In the Body of Christ.
Let me switch gears now, from the SBC to the church in general. AND, I’m NOT speaking about the world, I expect the world to act like the world. It is the Body of Christ which concerns me.
And I want to ask you, Does the Body of Christ, and its lack of unity concern you?
THE POLITICS OF DISUNITY
Consider recent elections: November 2016, November 2012, November 2008, November 2004, etc., and of course, now at the SBC Annual Mtg, June 2018, the same thing has happened. What am I talking about? The evil one’s ability, by his deceit, to stick his hook into our mouth, and let his AGENDA, his schemes, designs, devices, plans, intentions, etc. drag us ANYWHERE he wants us to go. I see this happen regardless of which side of “the-win” we are on.
Again, I am NOT talking about the SBC in particular, although the shoe surely fits. I am speaking to the Body of Christ, as a whole, especially as it is impacted by our politics.
We have nearly ZERO unity within the church today! And I believe the reason is real simple, “Our Pride!”
THE REALITY OF DISAGREEMENTS
My focus is not whether we’re Republican or Democrat, whether we’re a Calvinist or a non-Calvinist, nor whether we speak in tongues or not, or immerse or sprinkle.
My focus and concern is your identity, and whom, or what, it is in. I am grateful that the evil one’s deceit has finally placed a spotlight on this. We are not finding our identity in Christ.
Let me tell you what I see in politics, both in the church and in Washington D.C.
Our pride causes us to see “bad-people” associated with, what we believe are “bad-ideas.” And on the flip-side, our pride has blinded us to feel attacked by people because they disagree with us. Our pride takes our eyes OFF what we have in Christ, and places it ON our theology, our politics, our differences, our disagreements, our, our, our. Do you see the problem?
Friends, Our Pride. . .
Has caused us to put our identity in our ideology, rather than in Christ.
It doesn’t matter the issue! We constantly prove that we in the church are no different than the world. Just look at our focus! Just look at what comes out our mouth from our heart. (Matthew 15:18) And if this be true, then why would ANYONE want our Jesus?
UNITY IN THE BODY
My goal is not to change your mind on your ideas, political or theological. The Holy Spirit has your address and He will contact you if and when He wants to. (I suspect He already has, but that is a message for another day)
My goal is not to win an argument with you. My goal is that we would have unity in the body, in the midst of disagreement. Does that last statement seem oxymoronic to you? At first glance you may think so, but I think God is big enough to allow unity in the midst of disagreement, but only when WE SUBMIT ourselves to Him, without us playing the Holy Spirit for others.
You want an action point to prove my seemingly oxymoronic statement? I’ll give you three:
- Start thanking the Lord for your opponent. (Ephesians 5:20) Forget about “why” you can thank Him, for him. Just start “blindly” doing what He says to do.
- Go to the Lord and ask Him where YOU have not followed His Son, relative to your opponent. (Romans 15:5) I’m not saying reach out to them and become their buddy, just do what He says to do in this verse. And,
- Accept the truth that your “opponent” is not your opponent, for your struggle is not with flesh and blood. (Ephesians 6:12) This will become an unwelcome barometer for you.
Let me put this last statement (point #3 above) into terms that we can ALL understand. I say this all the time when I am in churches, so my wife knows that I preach the following, okay! I always say, My wife is nearly perfect. She really is. There are only a couple of things I want to see “fixed” and they aint a big deal. She even agrees! Nevertheless, I have had to come to the disappointing conclusion that the reason my wife is wired the way she is has to do with God. You see, God knows there are things in MY LIFE that I WOULD NOT DEAL WITH if Naida were “fixed.”
Do you know why those people are in your life that you disagree with? Remember, God already has their address and He knows how to fix them if and when He wants to. They are in YOUR LIFE so that you will deal with YOUR ISSUES and rely upon God to deal with everyone else, which may include Him using you, but not at the cost of unity in The Body.
Again, I’m not saying don’t get involved, and I reiterate, whatever you do, do it with excellence.
BACK TO JEREMIAH
Let me finish this by metaphorically standing at the gates of our churches, as Jeremiah did in Jerusalem long ago, and say what I think Jesus would say, in light of John 17:21, “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. I’ll bring that up in a couple of sentences. The way they will know that I came from the Father is if you have unity. And you DO NOT have unity. No wonder people do not want Me as their Saviour. They know you, and they see the disunity, in your home, in your church, in your denomination! Why would they want to be a part of that? They already have that kind of disunity in their world, every day of their life!”
My friends, go back to my three action points above. I believe they will change your life for the rest of your life.
#Unity #Pray4Unity #UnityInTheBody #UnityInChrist