Summary: What is the source and power of a unified church? The Bible gives us a beautiful explanation in Ephesians. All eyes focused on Jesus!
Church Membership - I love the Church of The Nazarene.
Do I believe that we are the only true church? No!
Do I believe that we have every doctrine interpreted with 100% accuracy as the Lord intended? No!
Am I a peace with and in agreement with how the Church of The Nazarene interprets the Bible? Yes.
If we are in disagreement with the Word of God would we be humble enough to admit it and receive correction by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God? I hope so!
Unity in the church is not only important, it is the desire of the Lord Himself!
Let me give you an example of church disunity …
Here is a true story about the Presbyterian church splits in the little town of Centerville, Ga., — population of around 5,000 people. It all started with one original Presbyterian church that had an internal conflict around 1911 over whether to take up the offering before or after the sermon. The splitting-off church became the “Centerville Reformed Presbyterian Church.” Just four years later another church split occurred over whether to have flowers in the sanctuary or not. The church that split off was renamed “Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church of Centerville.”
A total of seven more splits happened between 1915 and 1929 over various issues, and by 1931 the latest addition was named “Third Westminster Trinity Covenant Presbyterian Reformed Church of Centerville.” More church splits occurred between 1931 and 1975 over the conservative/liberal bifurcation within that denomination.
Since 1975 a few more church splits over various issues has brought the total number of church splits in that one town for that one denomination to 48 — apparently a record. The last one was over whether or not it was a violation of the Sabbath Day to check your email on your personal computer. The church split over that “issue” — some folks left the Second Street First Ninth Westminster Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church and renamed their new church:
“The Presbyterian Totally Reformed Covenantal Westminsterian Sabbatarian Regulative Credo-Communionist A Millennial Presuppositional Church of Centerville.”
I’m not making this up folks, the truth is often stranger than fiction. A teaching elder (Paul Davis) in the PTRCWSRCCAPCC was quoted as saying “I think we’ve finally got it right now, we have a church with 100 percent doctrinal purity. We’re up to 6 people on Sundays now — I know that numbers are not important, but we’re hoping to grow a little more.”
We laugh at this but it really should make us cry!
What is the cure for this? Well, let’s take a look in God’s Holy Word!
Ephesians 3:14 - 4:16 (to be read from the Bible with the congregation reading along - as you read along - expound on various aspects of what the text is revealing and how it impacts the church - this of course is high-level and digging deep into the text could take weeks. I did this without really referencing other passages and it took about 15 minutes. The awesome exaltation of the Lord at the end of Ch. 13 was also used as the benediction at the end of the service.
Examples of some things I brought out can be found at the end of the sermon.)
What an awesome description of the church, the body of Christ, with Jesus as the head of the church.
That is BEAUTIFUL!
At various times we have been asked by church leaders to submit a five year goal for Crossroads and to tell you the truth I usually write something down and send it in but my hearts not in it.
If they were to ask what my goals really were for Crossroads they would be:
1) To know Christ better, personally and as a church family
2) To know more and more of the Word of God, personally and as a church family
3) To walk faithfully in the path set before me according to the Word of God and the guidance of His Holy Spirit, personally and as a church family
4) To grow in love for the Lord and others, personally and as a church family
There is a saying attributed to D. L. Moody but it actually did not originate with him but with an evangelist named Henry Varley.
This is an accounting of that discussion:
During the afternoon of the day of conference Mr. Moody asked me to join him in the vestry of the Baptist Church. We were alone, and he recalled the night’s meeting at Willow Park and our conversation the following morning.
“Do you remember your words?” Moody asked.
Varney replied, “I well remember our interview, but I do not recall any special utterance.”
“Don’t you remember saying, ‘Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to Him?’ ”