Sermons

Summary: To help bring unity among believers

May They Be One

Acts 11:1-18

Baptist Churches in America have divided and split off until there are hundreds of Baptist denominations. The Christian faith has some 33,830 denominations. That’s an awful lot of diversity! On the one hand, with that many approaches, there should be something for everyone. On the other hand, it’s possible the word denomination might actually break God’s heart. The

Latin origin of de- means “apart,” while nominare means “to name.”

Denomination literally means “to separate by naming.” As far as I can tell from the Scriptures, only one name should matter: Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords

In John 17:20 – 23, Jesus prayed an amazing prayer for his disciples. . . and for us: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Jesus said 4 times in 4 verses that he wanted his follows to be one.

As long as there have been imperfect people in imperfect churches there has been division. When a group of people could not get their own way they formed a new church or denomination. Thus we have something for everyone.

The New Testament makes it clear that God wants unity in our churches. If we are more concerned about the will of God and less about our own will then unity will flourish

There are two ways of being united -- one is by being frozen together, and the other is by being melted together. What Christians need is to be united in brotherly love, and then they may expect to have power.

John 17:11 and now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

1Co 1:11 For some people from Chloe's family have told me quite plainly, my friends, that there are quarrels among you.

1Co 12:25 And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another.

1Co 12:26 If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness.

1Co 12:27 All of you are Christ's body, and each one is a part of it.

In Chapter 11 of the book of Acts there arose a problem with Christian Gentiles and the Christian Jews. The Christian Jews thought that the gospel was for them alone and dare not take it the Gentiles. Their Jewish background had taught them that all Gentiles were unclean. And if they came in contact with a Gentile that would render them unclean and would need to go through a cleansing ritual before they could go the worship.

Now the problem that came up in Acts 11:1 that the apostles and other believers had heard that the Gentiles had become Christians. They had received the word of God. This did not set well with some of the Christian Jews. Many held that if the Gentiles wanted to become Christians they must first become Jews through circumcision.

Now, Peter went to Jerusalem; those Jewish Christians begin to criticize him for allowing uncircumcised Gentiles to receive Christ. This was a big problem. They had not become Jews first. They confronted Peter asking why he went to the house of a Gentile.

I. Here is a case of conflict in that early church.

. A. The Jewish Christians begin to argue with Peter verse 11:3

1. Arguing will not solve the problem

Have you ever settled an issue by arguing about it? Have you ever settled an argument with your spouse by having the last word?

2. They dealt with the problem to the satisfaction of all concerned.

I am happy that we have had very few conflicts in this church but when they do happen

B. How are we going to deal with conflicts in the church?

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