Summary: The Lord’s church must be united!
INTRO.- United we stand, divided we fall. Where are those words found in scripture? Who said those words in the Bible? NO ONE SAID THOSE WORDS IN SCRIPTURE. They are not found in scripture.
Jesus said something similar but not those exact words.
Matt. 12:25 “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”
Every kingdom, city, country, home, church, etc. divided against itself will be ruined or will fall.
UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL. Who did say these words? People have attributed these words to Patrick Henry, Abraham Lincoln but neither of these men said these words. They may have quoted them, but neither of them were the author of these words.
These words were actually penned in a song by a man named John Dickinson in what is called “The Liberty Song” (1768).
“Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand, dividing we fall.”
Later George Pope Morris, the journalist and poet, quoted these words in 1853.
ILL.- It’s been said that when our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin stood up and said, "Gentlemen, now we must all hang together, or surely we shall all hang separately."
The church, the Lord’s church, Jonesboro Christian Church must hang together. WE MUST BE UNITED IN SPITE OF DIFFERENCES. But that sad truth is, many of our churches have not hung together or worked at unity.
ILL.- A man asked the preacher, “How many active members do you have in your church?” The preacher said, “They’re all active. Half of them are working with me and half of them are working against me.” AND THIS DOES HAPPEN IN SOME CHURCHES.
ILL.- Here’s the title of a newspaper article in the 1960’s: “PREACHER TURNS OTHER CHEEK, GETS POKE IN EYE!” A preacher and his church got into a real fight. Guess where this took place? New Providence Baptist Church, Blytheville, AR. Nearly unbelievable!
ILL.- The following question was asked: “When you have fifty people all of different opinions, what do you have?” Someone replied, “A BAPTIST CHURCH.” It could be any church.
Even though people have differences of opinion about many things or many subjects, they must work together as best they can to woo and win the lost world to Christ.
John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The Lord’s church must be known for her love, not her feuding and fighting.
ILL.- Maxwell Perkins, editor, once wrote, "One of my deepest convictions is that the terrible harms that are done in this world are not done by deliberately evil people... They are done by the good people--by those who are so sure that God is with them. Nothing can stop them; for they are certain that they are right.”
One of the reasons for fighting and feuding in our churches is that certain people think they are always right about everything and they become very legalistic about it. “It’s my way or the highway!” What a terrible attitude.
Instead of fighting, warring, arguing, and criticizing, we must work at building the church. We must work at building up one another, not tearing one another down. We must eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive. We must focus on the positive, instead of the negative.
ILL.- Here’s a couple of examples of what I’m talking about. Wayne Smith preached at the Southland Christian Church in Lexington, KY, for forty years. He worked very hard to keep his church from splitting. He said they had many opportunities to split but never did.
One time while Wayne was away one of the associate ministers preached the morning sermon. He essentially told the church that if anyone was a member of any Lodge that they could not go to heaven. Wayne said that next week, “all hell broke loose.”
Wayne had a talk with the associate minister and then they went to call on a number of families in the church who were obviously offended and tried to make peace. Apparently, they did.
ILL.- Another time a family came forward during the invitation time and placed their membership with the church. The family had a little girl who held a Cabbage Patch doll. Wayne said, “That’s an ugly looking doll.”
Wayne said later, “Why did I say that? I don’t know. It was really dumb.” (And of course, this just shows how we should weigh our words before we speak, or think before we speak).
Later that week Wayne went to see that little girl to try to make up with her. He said he took her four large candy bars. Her father said, “CAN YOU BRING THEM EVERY WEEK?”
Wayne Smith definitely had the right attitude. He wanted to mend an offense and make peace in the church.