Summary: A cry for unity in the local body.
Good morning. How is everyone this morning? Thank each of you for being here. I would like to ask you a few questions this morning. I would like to quote to you some sentences and you tell me if they are in the Bible.
"Money is the root of all evil." 1 Timothy 6:10
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Luke 6:31
"The lion shall lie down with the lamb". I think this one is in an Elvis song
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together; and a little child will lead them.
"Spare the rod, spoil the child." From a poet during the English civil war named Samuel Butler published in 1662
"God helps those who help themselves." Famous quote by Benjamin Franklin
Well, the first 2 are close to being quoted correctly and the others they are good meaningful, inspirational quotes. Does it really matter that we wrongfully misquote or place these in the Bible? I believe it is important to remind all of us here today that what we say, what we read, what we misquote as truth doesn’t simply fall into the abyss and dissipate. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Did you hear that; so many of our words are life and death? Do you believe that? Jesus said in Matthew 12:37 “for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
I want to tell you a story…it is a true story and a story that I am telling as someone with firsthand knowledge of all the details. This story is about someone very special to me. Someone that has been very influential in my life: physically, emotionally, spiritually and especially since entering into Christ’s ministry.
This is the story of a preacher; a preacher that had been preaching for over 25 years and has been serving the same church for over 20 of those years. In those years he had raised his two girls, been blessed with his first grandchild and rejoiced as God had blessed his church with growth and with a united body, that was for the most part, devoted to each other and to its pastor and his family. This church is in a small town where everyone is close or related. This is the type of church that was always eager to come to the rescue of their community and to the members of their church. One day a single disgruntle member of the church happened to be keeping an eye on the parsonage and noticed a vehicle belonging to a member parked in the driveway. It was not that unusual as the vehicle was often there as the owner of the vehicle and the pastor were close friends and often fished or hunted and did upholstery work together. Somehow this day, this observer decided and made the proclamation that the owner of the vehicle was having an affair with the pastor’s wife….and though unfounded that was all it took to start a civil war within this once united and dedicated church. Even after the church learned that there was absolutely nothing to substantiate this claim, the bond of trust…the bond of unity, the bond of friendship was broken and the pastor and his family made the decision to leave. They left the parsonage with no home to move to, they left their business, their friends and their family …not knowing where they were going and not even sure how they would survive financially but knowing that they “had” to move on for the betterment of the church.
You see friends’ words do have the power of life and death in them. Think about it, If your boss instructs you with words to do a certain task, you don’t it, when he says you’re fired… you’re fired. When I umpired girls’ softball whatever call I made in the game, it was binding. When a judge speaks in court, it can have consequences that value in the millions of dollars. If our natural words are so permanent today then how much more value can the words of our Savior be in instructing, healing, and equipping us through His divine spoken permanent words?
Will you please stand in honor of the reading of God’s word?
John 17:1-5; 9-11; 20-23 Unity friends. That is what Jesus is speaking about in each segment of His prayer. Unity with God for Himself as it was before the creation of the earth in the first section, unity for the disciples in the second section, and unity for us as the future believers!