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.
Fruit is the natural (or should I say supernatural) byproduct of a life connected with the Vine and controlled by the Spirit.
What’s been coming out of you lately? Discord, jealousy, dissensions? Or love, joy, peace, patience?
[Hebrews 12:14] Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
[Romans 12:18] If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
There is an increasing effort to unite humans around man-made ideals. Remember this back in 1985?
[We are the World]
There comes a time when we heed a certain call, When the world must come together as one
There are people dying and it's time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all
We can't go on pretending day by day, That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
We are all a part of God's great big family, And the truth, you know, Love is all we need
We are the world, we are the children; We are the ones who make a brighter day so let's start giving
There's a choice we're making, we're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day just you and me
Humanistic unity is centered on:
1. We all live on the same planet…we are the world
2. The false notion that we’re all God’s children
3. It’s up to us to make this world better…we are the ones to make a brighter day
4. We will save our own lives
Remember the tower of Babel? [Genesis 11:4] Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth (which is what God commended).