Summary: It takes the church, coming together in unity, with a common vision, a common mission, relinquishing our individual rights, in order to see things happen for the Kingdom.
In one of the Peanuts specials, Linus is reclining on the floor watching television. Lucy walks in and says to him, “Change the channel right now.” Linus says, “I was here first, why should I change the channel?” Lucy holds up her hand. She said, “You see these five fingers? Alone, they are nothing. But when I curl them into a fist, they become a weapon that is a terrible thing to behold.” So Linus gets up and changes the channel. The next thing you see is
Lucy reclining on the floor watching television, and Linus is over at the side looking at his hands, and he says, “Why can't you guys get together like that?” That is what Paul is talking about in our text for this morning. Of course, he’s not advocating violence as a means to an end. But, he is spot on talking about what it takes to make an impact for the Kingdom of God.
It takes the church, coming together in unity, with a common vision, a common mission, relinquishing our individual rights, in order to see things happen for the Kingdom. The question is, how do we do that?
1. Accept the Bible as my source of authority.
Hidden in this passage of scripture is one of the greatest verses in the Bible about the character and nature of the Bible itself. Look at verse 4 again. “For everything that was written in the past [that means the Old Testament] was written [look at these four things the Bible does] to teach us, so that it gives us endurance and encouragement of the scriptures
so that we might have hope. That's what the word of God does. You know what the basis of my unity with you is? It is that I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and you believe that the Bible is the Word of God. That is the basis of our unity, because we are using the same source of authority. Listen to me. You don't have to believe exactly what I believe about the Bible. Please hear me now. Every word of this Bible is inspired. But I'm not going to stand up and tell you that every interpretation I have of the Bible is inspired and perfect. You may disagree with me on certain points of interpretation of the Bible. I believe certain things
about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and as long as you believe He is coming back, you may not believe those same details I do. You know what? I am going to love you, accept you,
fellowship with you. I'm not going to say, “Get out of here,” as long as we both say the Bible is the Word of God. But hear me. If you come to be a part of our church and you say, “The Bible is just a book of history, just a book of fairy tales; it is not supernatural, the Bible is no different than a novel,” there is no unity between us.
You know why?
That is one of those essentials where we cannot compromise. The Bible itself says in verse 4,
“Everything that was written” [not just parts of it], What does the Bible say about itself?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Every word of this book, God breathed on it and God breathes through it. It is alive. If when you read the Bible, particularly the OT, do you go, “Boring”? you have not discovered the keys to understanding the Bible. A number of years ago, I came to some keys for the OT that made it come alive to me. The first key that opened the Bible to me was to know that ALL the Bible is about Jesus. Not just the New Testament. ALL the Bible. Genesis through Revelation, it’s all about Jesus.
Here is what you need to know. You see, the truth of Jesus is enfolded in the OT; it is unfolded in the NT. The gospel is concealed in the OT; it is revealed in the NT. The NT is in the old contained; and the OT is in the new explained.
You may think you need to read the Bible like a novel, starting in Genesis and going all the way
through and then study the NT. If you really want to appreciate and understand the NT, you must get a grasp of the OT first. It is all about Jesus. I say that because Jesus said it. He said to the Pharisees, “Search the scriptures. For these are they which do testify of me” (John 5:39).