Discover Unity – October 16th, 2018

Discover Unity

I don’t have a good sense if the ‘Me Too’ movement that has swept the country has also been prevalent across the globe as well. What I do know is that you cannot achieve unity through division. 

This isn’t about ‘Me Too’, the only reason I am referencing the movement is that it is the most recent example of division in pop culture, therefore a relevant reference.

Read on…

Note from Kip,

I’m not sure if that opening to this devotional caught your attention or not. It probably will land me in hot water with some regardless because it is a highly energized issue to be sure.

The only things I will say about the Me Too movement is that there has been wrongdoing going on for too long that seems to be increasingly egregious the closer to the top we get. While I believe it is an issue that must be addressed, I also see where once again, it’s fundamental objective has been hijacked by those who would rather find yet another means to draw a circle around different groups of people and focus on the things that make one group elevated while another group is diminished.

It is the stuff that social justice is made up of. It is divisive.

Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.

For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by members of Chloe’s people, that there is rivalry among you. What I am saying is this: One of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul’s name?

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 (CSB)

Divisions are a corrupting force within a social body. Success is consistently tied to any social structure forging forward toward the same objective.

Something as divisive as war serves as a harsh example where when people come together as one voice a losing tide is reversed and victory is won. The folks ‘back home’ was in the fight with troops during both World Wars. If that had not been the case then the way we live today might be entirely different.

Unity and division are dynamically opposed to each other and they are critical in the outcome of any effort. The greater the unity the greater the power. As unity grows so does the ability to resist opposing forces.

Marriage

A marriage is subject to the same phenomena.  There is an adage ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand.’ And it is very true.

A couple who cannot come to unity on how to bring up their children will inevitably serve to injure the children forced to grow up under the strife of the situation. Even passive-aggressive acts masked as mischievous play between one parent and the child against the other parent teaches a damaging lesson to the maturing adolescent. This makes the children weapons of war and division in a family structure. The structure that by design is meant to be an example of unity.

If a couple is focused on self and each other there is conflict built into the relationship. Quickly this lack of a central objective seeks out other points at which to serve as objectives and examples outside of the marriage. This is because we are imperfect creatures that exist in a corrupt world.

I love this illustration of what God wants to see in a marriage. It’s been around for a long time. It’s really quite simple. When a group of people has the same objective the more energy they focus on achieving their shared goal, the nearer they as individuals draw near that objective, and the closer they become to each other.

This is so simple that we tend to not pay sufficient attention to the structure as it is an essential core to unity. God calls to each of us individually to establish and grow a relationship with Him. Jesus takes this even further and says, ‘I want you to be my Disciple!’

This is to say that He desires that we become increasingly more and more like Him every moment of every day.

If a married couple does this then the more they progress in that objective the more like each other they come and the fewer and fewer discrepancies will arise. To be sure, we are still flesh and bone and as a result, we will never achieve full perfection while we are living in the corruption of the flesh. However, with each step forward in our path to discipleship the closer we become to our mates.

The United Church

let’s step it up a notch.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Psalms 19:14 (CSB) 

The unity model laid out in the marriage section above flows through to both our local churches, the community of churches and the full body of the church which is the Bride of Christ Jesus.

It is when we as believers, maintain our focus on Jesus and not on each other and ourselves that the church is unified.

As soon as one member of this body of believers removes their focus off of Jesus and begins to contrast themselves to others in the church, the cracks in the unity of the church begin to form and the more this focus continues the greater those cracks become divisions to the point where the objective of the church is in jeopardy.

Paul takes a rather low opinion of people that do this.

Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create divisions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned. Avoid them, because such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words.

Romans 16:17-18 (CSB)

Watch out, Paul says!. There are those who are not focused on Christ in your midst. They have a different agenda than serving the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not a competition to see who comes in first. There isn’t a pecking order to the service of one over that of another.

We as part of the Local Body, the Community of believers, and the Global Church all have individual roles that are co-equal components to the function of the church.  We all have the same objective which is to Love and Serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.

Ephesians 4:11-13 (CSB)

If at any point, being the best singer on the praise team, or the go-to person for the activity planning, becomes the focus of our service then we have lost the purpose of our role in the Body of Christ.  We could go on and on about the myriad of divisive elements that could be introduced to the church but it would serve no greater purpose.

This is because there should only be one uniting element that the Body of Christ shares in common, Jesus Christ!

Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Colossians 3:12-14 (CSB)

Love is the glue that holds it all together.

Just as in the ‘marriage model’ above, the love of a couple for each other is the thing that brought them together in the first place. Their love for God binds them together with God. As the bonds with God grows so does their bonds with each other and the more and more inseparable they become. The very same is true of us in the local church, us in the community of believers we should be thriving with, and us in the universal Body of Christ that is HIS Church!

Jesus, as he prayed for us, said this.

I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

John 17:23 (NLT)

Jesus is saying to the Father, ‘Just as you and I are together in this, I am in my disciples’. It’s key to see here that he doesn’t give the other side of the equation directly here. He doesn’t say that He’s into us and we are into Him. Instead, Jesus says, I am into them and I ask that you give them the unity, in other words, that they are also into me!

Why? “that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” It comes down to the effectiveness of our testimony to the Gospel!

If that love isn’t predominate, if the unity is fractured, if we are not showing that we are in Jesus and He is in us then our churches become nothing more than a failed demented social group that exists to serve the self interests of themselves and the clicks they have built up to accentuate the divisions in the body.

It Is Our Calling

Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:8-9 (CSB)

There are an interdependence and a relationship between our unity and our ultimate reward. As we store up treasures in Heaven, those eternal blessings and the blessings we have now been added to an ever-increasing proportion as we seek to love and unify the body of the church.

Jesus established the Church, not as a social group. His Church has a mission and objective. It is to seek and save the lost.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 19:10 (CSB)

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, we are to be His disciples, disciples do what their Master demonstrates and teaches them, we are then to also seek and save the lost. That church you attend shares that very same purpose and it cannot be successful in fulfilling that purpose if it is a house divided.

It is only through the unity of Love for Christ Jesus and each other that we can fulfill the will of Christ.

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!

Psalms 133:1 (CSB)

Set aside the divisions that separate us and unify in Christ, His love, and the understanding of our purpose. Discover Unity!

Blessings,
kip…


 

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