Thursday, November 3, 2016
Unity In The Spirit
A Song of degrees of David
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3)
Over the years as a pastor, I have been amazed at the number of families which do not get along. Some of them get into a fight every time they get together, while others just refuse to speak to each other. Most of the conflicts arise over who is going to get their way. Sometimes it develops because fo the attitudes of the father and mother toward each other, teaching the kids to be disrespectful and unkind to each other. Other times it results from the parents playing the children against each other favoring one or the other.
The New Testament speaks a lot about Christians being a family, and developing a proper relationship to each other. In Luke 8:21, Jesus said, “And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” Those of us who have believed in Christ and obey him are his family. Because we are family, Jesus told us, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” in John 13:34-35.
One of biggest causes of conflict in a family is when one of the brothers or sisters begins to boss the others around. Jesus forbade such behavior in the church, in Matthew 20:25-27. “ But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” We are not to lord it over our fellow Christians. Matthew 23:8-10. “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.” We are to be equals in the family.
In Ephesians 4:1-16 tells us to put forth some effort to develop and keep unity in the church. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Just as the parents in the family play a major role in developing a proper attitude between the children, the Church leadership plays a major role in teaching the Christians the truth and how to get along in the church. It is critical that the leadership have the proper attitude themselves. Conflict between Christians is an indication of an unspiritual condition, according to I Corinthians 3:3-4. “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?