Summary: The Angels Proclaimed that there would be peace on earth, Jesus prayed for peace in the church!
Central Church of Christ
December 10, 2000
PEACE ON EARTH, AND IN THE CHURCH, PART ONE
Luke 2:1-15. It was the mission of Jesus to save lost humanity, build a family of believers, and and those believers into the world to spread the greatest message ever heard. Jesus prayed for the unity of those believers, and taught that they should exercise love for each other. John 17:20, 21 “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.” John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." A key purpose of this love was to show the genuineness of the message of Christ in our lives. Today we want to present two messages: “Peace on Earth, And In The Church”. In many books of the New Testament there are encouragements to get along, encourage one another, and overcome disputes. God knew that we would face challenges.Fallible human beings at times do not treat one another as they should. God calls for peace in the church!
I. WHEN PEACE IS ABSENT…
A. Progress is halted! Efforts at reaching the lost are effectively stopped. There is no joy in introducing someone to the church.
B. Other Sins Find A Presence. Other Christian’s character is damaged (Galatians 5:15 “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”). Bitterness can lead one to disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:14-18)
C. Members Become Discouraged. Those who are not a party to the division are disrupted in their relationships, become discouraged, can become inactive, and perhaps be lost forever. Those responsible for division destroy souls that Jesus loved and died for.
D. As a result, God condemns division!
II. THINGS THAT ROB THE CHURCH OF PEACE
A. Selfish Ambition. A dogmatic spirit – seeking to have one’s own way without regard to the rights or wishes of others in matters that are of no special consequence is sin. For those who are spiritually minded, this is not desired. III John 9, 10.
B. Rule of Opinion. There are areas of expediency, where the Bible gives a command but no direction as to ‘how’ to fulfill the command.(For example: “Sing” –we sing four-part harmony – yet singing a single melody line would be as scriptural. “Teach” – the methodology of teaching is left to us.) Matters of judgment and opinion: we should gracefully adjust ourselves to the conditions. Our customs and traditions are not matters of faith. When we make them matters of faith, we will surely rob the church of peace.
C. Unscriptural Rebellion. No doubt at times we will all differ with the elders as to a matter of policy or action in areas of opinion. When we proceed to work up sentiment against the elders we can be sure that such an activity will lead to division. Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden…”