Summary: When a lost person comes in the doors of this church, they sit down and they look around and see a thousand Christians in here singing praises to God. That has an impact on them because with one heart and one voice, we are glorifying God together.
I would like to acknowledge a very special guest who is here today. It is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is here. He said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m right there in the midst.” Choir, thank you for singing to Him. There are songs that we sing about Jesus and those are good, but that is absolutely one we sing to the Lord. Please open your Bibles now to Romans 15.
Today I want to show you what the word of God says about the beauty of unity. The reason I’m preaching on that is simply because I preach through the Bible verse after verse, and this section is all about the beauty of unity.
Many of you are aware that this past year the State of Minnesota elected as their governor a professional wrestler, Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Some of you are also aware that just recently he caused some waves by some comments he made in a national magazine where he said, “Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak minded people who need strength in numbers.” First of all, organized religion: That’s an oxymoron, actually. I’ve never seen any organized religion. If he is talking about religion in terms of that effort of man to try to find God, I would tend to agree with him. But if he’s talking about what I call the real Christian life, having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I disagree with him violently. But I don’t want to fight him. If it is indeed a crutch, if Jesus is a crutch, my response is, “Give me two of them,” because He is more than a crutch to me. He is life, and I need him desperately.
Isn’t it sad so many people think the Christian life is just some religion? He also says, “They seek strength in numbers.” I admit I’m guilty of that. I love to come here every Sunday and gather with numbers of people who love and who worship Jesus the way I do. You know why? Because the Bible says that expresses the unity of the body of Christ.
Would you look with me here in Romans? I really want us to turn back to 14:1 and read that verse before we go to 15:1, because 14:1 introduces this whole subject. “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters” (those nonessentials in the Christian life that Christians so often argue about).
Now, having said that, turn on over to 15:1-6, and let’s pick up with the text today, because he continues this discussion. “We who are strong,” you see, Paul considered himself to be a strong, mature believer; of course, that kind of strength is relative, because we are all weak, compared to God. “Ought to bear, [that word means carry] with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself, but as it is written: [here’s a quotation from Psalms 69] ‘The insults of those who insulted you [meaning God] have fallen on me.’ For everything that was written in the past [that means the Old Testament] was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures, we might have hope.”
Then Paul breaks out in a prayer. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I. GOD’S PRINCIPLE OF UNITY
This morning I want to talk to you about the beauty of unity. I’m going to talk about two things. First of all, I’m going to talk about God’s principle of unity. I don’t want to spend much time on the topic of unity, because secondly, I mainly want to talk about how I can promote unity in my church. First of all, let’s talk about unity. Let’s learn three things about unity in the Bible.
1. Unity in diversity is beautiful
It is so beautiful, because we are such a diverse people. We act differently, look differently, and have different temperaments.
When you find all different people, like we have here at Green Acres Baptist Church, living together, loving together, one in Christ, that is what makes unity beautiful. That is why the Bible says in Psalms 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity!”
I really like the Peanuts cartoon strip. In one of my favorites 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?”