Summary: This sermon examines the unity of the church and the importance of our Christian testimony to the culture we live in.
Title: United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Date: November 4, 2007
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
Introduction: This Tuesday is Election Day here in Kentucky, and I encourage those of you who are registered to vote to get out and cast your ballot. I personally believe it is not only our constitutional right to vote, but that it is our Christian responsibility to do so.
I must admit that I am concerned about our state and our nation. There are so many issues that are dividing us right now. On the state level there are issues like Expanding Gambling; Liquor by the Drink and Domistic Partnerships.
On the National level there is “Immigration reform; Social Security & Healthcare reform” and of course the most polarizing issue right now is the War in Iraq. I’ve never seen our nation so divided before.
Our forefathers knew how important it was to be united, after signing the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Franklin stood up and said, “Gentlemen, now we must all hang together, or surely we shall all hang separately.”
Our forefathers that founded the Commonwealth of Kentucky also understood this, which is why they chose to put the words, “United we Stand, Divided we Fall” on our state flag.
Jesus certainly understood this. In Matthew 12:25 He said, something similar when he said, “Every Kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
Of course Jesus knew that this would be true for the Church as well. In the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He was arrested Jesus was praying for His Disciples, and for us when he said, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one- as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them, and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and tht you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:20-23 (NLT)
Illustration: One Sunday morning, a Pastor was sharing a “Children’s sermon” with the children of the church. He was talking to them about the importance of loving one another and getting along with one another. He used the passage of scripture that I just read to explain to the children that God wants us all to be one. After he told them this, a three-year-old girl who always listened very carefully to the Pastor’s children’s sermon, and usually had something to add to it, raised her hand and said, “BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE ONE. I WANT TO BE FOUR!”
Unfortunately, some churches don’t want to be one either. In fact, throughout history, ever since the church was established Christians have had trouble getting along. Perhaps no one was more aware of this than the Apostle Paul. He went all over the known world, preaching the gospel and starting churches. To His credit once Paul started a church, he didn’t just forget about them. Instead he did his best to keep in contact with them and help them deal with whatever issues or problems that came up.
In His letter to the churches that were located in the Roman province of Galatia; which was located in the Northern part of Asia Minor. Paul warned all of these churches about the dangers of arguing and fighting among themselves. Listen to what he sold them in Galatians 5:15. He said, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Illustration: I’ve already mentioned that the War in Iraq is one of the most divisive issues in America right now. It’s very unusual if a day goes by that we don’t hear about an IED or roadside bomb exploding and killing one or more of our brave soldiers.
But if you remember things were different during the First Gulf War, our soldiers fought the Iraqi army and in a matter of days completely destroyed Saddam’s elite Revolutionary Guard. Throughout that war which only lasted a few months our military suffered very few casualties.
In fact one of the most disturbing things that we have since learned about that war was that the majority of our troops weren’t killed by roadside bombs or enemy fire. Instead they were the victims of what is called “friendly fire.”
Friendly fire is a term used to describe an incident in which a soldier is mistakenly shot or killed by his own army.