Summary: Churches split and experience strife for some of the most ridiculous reasons. Sermon 3 in the One Anothers Series teaches three important ways for a church to experience sustained oneness of spirit.
Be Likeminded One with Another
Message 3 in “One Anothers” series
September 22, 2013
TEXT: Philippians 2:2 – “Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
We are in a series on the “One Another” commands and teachings in the New Testament, instruction that helps a church function in peace and harmony.
• First we saw that we are “members of one another” and as such, we all have a function and a role in the body of Christ and in a local church body, so we should get on with it!
• Second, we saw that we are to “love one another” and that means not simply talking or singing about it, but actually showing love in tangible, real ways through ACTION.
Our text today tells us that we should be “likeminded with one another.”
One of Satan’s primary strategies to combat the effectiveness of local churches involves creating disunity and discord among its members.
Illus. – I’ve heard of churches splitting over the most ridiculous, trivial things.
• I once read about a church that split over whether to use Charmin or White Cloud toilet paper in the bathrooms. (Now there’s a tissue…I mean issue…for the ages!)
• Another church split over whether to use 75 watt or 100 watt light bulbs in the church during the Energy Crisis back in the 1970’s.
Someone has accurately said, “To live above with those we love, oh, that will be Glory. To live below with those we know, now that’s another story.”
One thing that strikes me about the New Testament is that it doesn’t hide the fact that there were problems in the early church. Yes, in the book of Acts, we read of one advancement after another. Yet hand-in-hand with advancement and victories, there was also CONFLICT:
• In chapter 6, there was discord over perceived unfair treatment of minorities and neglect of the widows. – This led to the selection of the first deacons.
• In chapter 9 we read of dissension over allowing the new convert Paul (who had previously been a persecutor of the church) to minister in the church.
• Acts 11 tells of disunity over Peter winning a gentile to Christ.
• And in chapter 15 we’re told of doctrinal disagreement and a personal clash between Paul and Barnabas over Barnabas’s nephew, John Mark.
The key thing to see is that disagreements and problems WILL arise in a church. The question is first: are these problems dealt with and resolved? and second: HOW are they dealt with and resolved?
It’s vitally important that God’s people seek to live together in unity and accord. Discord and disunity will turn the lost away from Christ.
Jesus prayed in John 17:21 – “…that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” What will help the lost to believe that God sent Christ?—Harmony among God’s people.
So—how can we have unity at Grace Baptist Church? Let me share three steps to being likeminded, or in one accord, in Grace Baptist Church:
I. NUMBER 1, REALIZE THAT THERE CAN BE NO TRUE UNITY WITHOUT AGREEMENT ON BASIC DOCTRINE.
Biblical unity is first based on the basis of agreement on the key doctrines of the faith. If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, you obviously cannot have unity with someone who denies that central, cardinal, distinctive truth of Christianity.
It may come as a surprise to you that the word “unity” is only found three times in the New Testament, and in TWO of those—both of which are in Ephesians 4—Paul was talking talking about unity concerning DOCTRINE.
Amos asked, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3), to which the obvious answer is NO. There must be agreement on basic doctrine before there can be true unity in a church.
II. THE SECOND STEP TO BEING LIKEMINDED IS THIS: WHEN SOMEONE COMMITS A PERSONAL TRESPASS AGAINST YOU, FOLLOW GOD’S ORDAINED STEPS OF MATTHEW 18:15-17.
What I’m about to share with you is one of the most important truths for a local church to hear, so listen very carefully.
When someone in a church offends you, generally speaking, God wants you to quickly forgive and let it go, and not be prickly and sensitive. The writer of Proverbs says, “He who covers a transgression seeks love; but he who repeats a matter separates very friends.” (Proverbs 17:9)
What sometimes happens when someone says or does something that offends us is that we don’t just let it go, but we go and gossip to someone about it. Folks, that’s just plain sin! If you can, just let it go and forgive-and-forget and go on as love demands. There are just too many really important things to be concerned about than to nurse personal offences.