Summary: Christians and churches must find their common bonds through the grace of God and the work of Christ because what unites us is far stronger than what divides us
November 16, 2003
How many of you have played the board game Tribond?
Tribond is one of those board games that you either love or hate. The object of the game is to move all three of your pawns into the home base by answering a series of questions. Each of the questions asks what the three items mentioned have in common.
For example: a card might list tree, car and elephant wanting the answer that they all have trunks. The game can either be fun or frustrating but the key to winning is figuring out what the common bonds of various items.
The same is true for the church. if we are to ever find victory to the fullest; we have to discover our common bonds and make that our focus. Anything less is not acceptable.
One of the things that truly impressed me about this church was the fact of the great diversity that exists here. Some of you might not see it this way but your church is very diverse.
There are some of you here who have been a part of this church for over a decade and there are some who have been attending for just a few months. There are those who are older and there are infants in the nursery. There are those who have been long time Christians and there are those who have just recently given their life over to Christ. This church is diverse.
If you look at the various backgrounds that exist here there is even more diversity. There are those who have always been Wesleyan or Pilgrim Holiness. There are those who come from a background in the Methodist church. There are some that come here from the Nazarene church or other holiness denominations. There are others who come from the Baptist church, Church of Christ, the Lutheran church and the Catholic church just to name a few of those that people have mentioned to me. This church is diverse.
We also come from a variety of occupations. There are full time students construction workers, police officers, stay home moms, management personnel, steel workers and those who are retired. All of this merely scratches the surface of the great diversity that exists within this church. I think that I have made my point that this is a diverse church.
Those things that make us different also make us stronger. Our differences give us the ability to pull from so many different talents and abilities as we have the need. However, this can create some interesting challenges; with all of this diversity, unity can be a truly difficult feat to accomplish.
So how can a church with this much diversity experience true unity that we need to accomplish greater things for God?
We need to remember that the things that unite us are far more important than the things that divide us.
If we focus on our differences, our focus is on each other. if we focus with unity, our focus is on God – Author Unknown
As believers, we are united by seven common bonds. Please open your Bibles to Ephesians chapter four. We will begin with the first verse and finish with verse six.
I. We share a common body
This does sound a bit strange but it is true. When you placed your faith in Christ, you became a member of a new body. The church is meant to be a visible representation of Jesus Christ in this world.
In practical terms, the church is to be the witness for Christ where the rubber meets the road. We are meant to show Christ’s love to the unlovable, reveal Christ’s forgiveness to the unforgivable and radiate Christ’s light in the midst of darkness.
Just as the church cannot be invisible; so each Christian is meant to have a visible role in the ministry of the church. When Christ can be seen in you and through you; that is when you can truly make an impact for His kingdom.
What are you doing to make Christ more visible in your life?
II. We share a common Spirit
There is only one Spirit within the church and it is by the work of the Holy Spirit that the church moves and lives. The Spirit spans division and pulls together diversity.
The same Spirit that seeks to guide me, also seeks to guide you. The same Spirit that seeks to convict me of sin, also seeks to convict you of sin. The same Spirit that brings sanctification in the lives of others, also seeks to bring sanctification in your life.
The problem is that too often we become led by our flesh and what we want rather than by what the Spirit desires. It is during these times that we get ourselves into the most trouble spiritually.