Summary: How to get along in the body of Christ.
Last Sunday, we talked about the unity in the body of Christ. We see God’s desire for unity throughout Scripture. What made the Jews united was not the color of their skin or the clothes they wore. They were united around one God, one covenant with one set of laws and commandments. By obeying what God commanded, they would look different compared to other groups of people. Soon they would be scattered throughout the promised land, but they would remain a distinct, united nation if they continued to live the way God wanted them to, unaffected by the worldly practices around them.
So it is with the body of Christ today. There is one head, one body, one faith. If we get frustrated with things and move to another church, we’re not leaving the body! If we think we’re avoiding conflict or finding greener pasture by simply moving into another congregation we’ve forgotten our unity in Christ.
You see, our unity must be grounded in the truth of Scripture…
[Ephesians 4:3-6] Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit--just as you were called to one hope when you were called--one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
If our unity is based on a particular pastor, or the style of music played, or the comfort level of the sanctuary’s chairs or pews, or even a particular non-essential doctrine (like pre-trib, post trib, speaking in tongues or not), then our unity is built on shifting sand. If a younger crowd wants a different style of music, conflict arises. If a pastor leaves, conflict arises, if the sanctuary gets a makeover, conflict arises. If a pre-tribber walked into a post-trib church, conflict arises! Why do you think we have so many flavors of churches?
Biblical unity is NOT based on my preferences or desires or opinions, but Christ’s!
[Galatians 5:13-15] You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Do you want to avoid conflict? Serve one another in love. Paul goes on the write, “Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
How do we know whether we’re living by the Spirit or gratifying the sinful nature?
[Galatians 5:19-21] The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
This is the natural behavior of someone satisfying their own sinful desires.
[Galatians 5:22-23] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.