Summary: Using Board Games as a jumping off place we looked at our Christianity.This sermon deals with unity.
The Games People Play – Uno
1. As Christians, we have a responsibility to maintain unity in the Church.
A long time ago, a little child in an African tribe wandered off into the tall jungle grass and could not be found. The tribe searches all day, but could not find the little boy. The next day the tribal members all held hands and walked through the grass together. This enabled them to find the child, but due to the cold night, he had not survived. In her anguish and tears, the mother cried, “If only we would have held hands sooner.”
2. Brethren, I hate to say this, but over the years our fellowship has not held hands very well. In 1865, The Baltimore American, which was one of the leading newspapers in the country, said that the churches of Christ were “the fastest growing religious group in America.” And over the next 100 years, our fellowship continued to experience rapid growth—for in 1965, the church of Christ had an incredible 2,500,000 members.
3. However, at our present time, our fellowship is in decline. Resent demographics show that the church of Christ has about one and half million members. Our fellowship is in decline.
4. Why is our fellowship in decline? I believe the number one reason is because over the years our fellowship has not maintained unity.
a. In (Jn. 17:21), Jesus earnestly prayed that believers “may be one.”
b. Instead of being one, our fellowship has divided or split on such issues as:
(1) Bible School Curriculum.
(2) Whether or not to support orphans homes, & missionary societies.
(3) Lord’s Supper (some demanded that only one communion cup be used).
(4) Kitchens in the church building.
(5) The role of the Holy Spirit.
(6) Dancing, card playing, swimsuits, Shingle colors for the building and Bible interpretations.
5. When will the divisions stop? When are we going to realize that our lack of unity is destroying the church that Jesus purchased with His own blood.
WE MUST HAVE UNITY IN THE CHURCH.
I. GOD EXPECTS US TO MAINTAIN UNITY.
1. Here are some passages that instruct us to have unity.
"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" (Rom. 15:5-6).
"I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought" (1 Cor. 1:10).
2. Just like a family must have unity to survive & prosper, the church must have unity to survive & prosper.
Jesus once said, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mk. 3:25). If a church is divided against itself, it will not stand!
3. Let me offer several reasons why I believe that some churches divide.
a. Churches divide because of selfish ambition. (Who’s Greatest In The Kingdom)
(1) In (3 John 9) we read about a man named Diotrephes who wanted to control the church. In fact, the Bible says that “he loved to be first."
(2) We see time and time again the Apostles fighting over who are greatest in the kingdom.
(3) Churches divide over men who are hungry for power and control. They want things their way, and if they don’t get it, they start causing problems.
Several years ago, a man in a church wanted to be an elder. However, he was not qualified. Since He couldn’t be an elder, he along with several other people, left and started their own church so he could be an elder. That split was all about selfish ambition.
b. Churches divide over believers boasting in certain men.
(1) In (1 Cor. 1:12), the church was being divided because several members were pledging alliance to different preachers. Some said they followed Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and Christ. They were dividing the church over human alliance.
I have heard that some churches have split because some members liked the preacher, but others didn’t. We must understand that our only alliance must be to Jesus Christ. We must not divide over human favoritism.
c. Churches have divided because false teachers have turned others from the truth.
(1) In (1 Cor. 15:12), there were some false teachers telling Christians that Jesus was not raised from the dead. They were in essence telling the Corinthian Christians that their faith was useless. So Paul wrote chapter 15 to explain that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. And in (v. 14) Paul said, “and if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”