United

Published April 14, 2014 by

Unity

I hope you are paying close attention. Are you noticing what God is doing in the life of Harvest Pointe Fellowship? In our men and women’s Bible study we are seeing one consistent theme as we dig into God’s Word. That theme is Christianity Unity. As Chris has taught us from Philippians, we have heard one reoccurring theme. That theme has been reaching our community through the demonstration of brotherly love and unity. It is undeniable that God is trying to get our spiritual attention around this principal of loving God and loving one another. Are you paying attention? Are we a unified body who will witness powerfully to this community and to the world?

Christian disunity is a significant problem in the body of Christ. In fact, Christianity has been broken and fractured into so many groups that our effectiveness is greatly diminished.  After all, how are we supposed to teach the world about truth when our “truth” causes us to disagree with each other so much?

George Whitten has said that over the years, he has come to a stark awareness that far too many Christians are more concerned about the chip-on-their-theological-shoulder than they are with expanding the body of Christ.  I have encountered Calvinists who attack non-Calvinists.  I find Baptists who attack Presbyterians, non-tongue speakers who attack those who speak in tongues (and vice versa), pre-tribers battling post tribbers, amil verses premil, etc.  The whole thing is ridiculous.  Sure, we can have differences of opinion and we need to because we are thinkers and we have opinions.  But our differences need to be couched in humility and love.  When these differences of opinion become more important than unity in the body of Christ, then idolatry has crept not only into the church, but also into our hearts. Take a look at Ephesians chapter 4:

“Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,” (Eph. 4:1-7,12-13).

The command to the Church is unity.  But this unity is never to cost us the essentials (Stanley).  The essentials of the faith are what make us Christians.  These essentials are the deity of Christ, the Trinity, Jesus’ physical resurrection, and salvation by grace.  It is our faith in Christ, God in flesh, 2nd person of the Trinity that makes us Christians, not if we believe in pre or post-trib rapture, infant baptism or adult baptism, or praise music or hymns.  Ray Stedman observes that because the same Lord Jesus saves us, it is to Him that we must look while we remember His humility, which is a vital part to being unified in the body of Christ.  We cannot be unified if we are elevating our non-essential doctrines and ourselves into the realm of the essentials.

A humble believer looks at another and says, “You may be right.”  To demonstrate humility is when you consider another more important than yourself.  Humility is when you admit that the Lord is working through another just as He may work through you and that unity is far more important than the pet doctrines we feed and water and use to attack others who disagree with us. Consider Romans chapter 14:

“Who are you to judge the servant of another?  To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.  Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God,”     (Rom. 14:4-6).

Why is unity so important?  Francis Chan gives two reasons.  First, unity means that we are humble with each other, this pleases the Lord, and it brings Him glory.  Second, people are going to hell and they need the gospel.  Should we be so concerned about our non-essential, pet doctrines that we take our eyes off of evangelism and let the souls of the damned slip through our fingers unnoticed or even hindered by our bickering and division?  Should we allow the enemy to sow discord among our ranks so that we are fighting each other instead of him?  Or should we gather our gifts, our talents, our monies, our resources, and direct them towards reaching the lost?  After all, there isn’t a Presbyterian or Baptist, Catholic or Lutheran on the throne of God.

May the Lord have mercy on us and may we fix our eyes upon Him and ask Him to use us, to humble us, and to cause our hearts to elevate the preaching of the gospel to the high rank it deserves, far above our religious preferences, and far above our non-essentials.

Tom Renew

Deeper In God’s Word

Resources:

George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions – Unity Around The King

Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministry – Living Out Unity

RayStedman.org, A Cry For Unity

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