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Archive for the ‘unity’ Category

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. – Colossians 3:11 (ESV)

. . . but Christ is all. . .

Essentially, Christ is all that way we need.

  • He Complements Us:  For all that we are, Christ is the perfect fit for who we need to become.  He is complementary to us in that He offers us something that makes us function better as people of faith.
  • He Confirms Us: Whatever we might doubt or be unsure about, He is our answer.  He gives us confirmation of what is expected of us and what we will not be condemned for despite of how guilty and unworthy we truly are in accordance to his laws, decrees and statutes.  Despite all of that, He still calls us His own, His flock, His dear children.
  • He Completes Us: We need only look to him to fill the emptiness in our lives.  The voids and flaws are no match for His perfection.  Where we have shortcomings and failures, He comes in and completes us.  He makes us whole.  With Him as the head, we are able to strive towards maturing to “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” a perfect man (Ephesains 4:13, KJV).

. . . and in all

The all that we see here is one with a focus on the parts making up a whole, as in totality of each and every part coming together as one.  In essence, Paul said this in a few different ways.

To the Corinthians. . .

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. . . As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. (12:14, 20, ESV)

To the Ephesians. . .

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith,one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (4:4-6, ESV)

To the Roman. . .

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (12:4-5, NASB)

Beyond the emphasis on the body of Christ as a whole made up of many members or parts, there is continual evidence of the Scriptures providing us with more confirmation of our unity in Christ.

There is logic and reasoning that may have some to say that this is too touchy and feels phony, but let’s step back for a moment and evaluate the entire concept with both wisdom and discernment.  Let us look objectively at how this is laid out in the Scriptures, in particular in the New Testament and especially in the letters to the churches.

Gnostics and others like the Hellenists have reason to give heed to their feelings.  They have their own rationale for why they accept the labels that mankind has placed upon the very things that were to be so simple that we have somehow complicated and almost perverted into something else.  It makes sense to some of these folks to embrace something other than what was meant to exist as among us.  Concepts like love, unity, joy and compassion become mere words, losing their strength as concepts for Christian living.  They do not carry the same value when action words lead to little or no action and the descriptive words and phrases no longer fit the description within the profile of a Christian.

So, if logic stands to reason, then we face a sad truth that our very reason for being in Christ is endangered as we try to make Christ make sense in accordance with our own human reasoning.

What is irrational becomes totally rational.  What makes little or no sense is all the more sensible.  What is seen as off beat and way out there becomes our personal mantra of faith, hope and peace.  After all, He is our peace.

 


There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galat
ians 3:28 (ESV)

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. – 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NIV)

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith – Galatians 3:26 (NIV)

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility – Ephesians 2:14 (NIV)

 

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. – Colossians 1:28 (NIV)

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But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.- 1 Corinthians 12:31

Paul speaks of a more excellent way.  He does not say it to disregard the gifts provided by God.  He says it as means of teaching others.  He says it as a way to share how believers can show the love of Christ with others and not simply get caught up in the diversity of gifts within the body.

We are all part of a body called to function together.  As we function together as one body, we must be certain to function in a way that allows us to see how God can manifest what He has for us among us. 

We can see the diversity of gifts on display among us, but we are better off seeing God’s love on display among us.  By doing so, we show our compassion for one another and edify one another through the proper usage of our gifts.

God is good to us.  We at least ought to be good to one another due to His love that we share with one another.

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But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.- 1 Corinthians 12:31

Paul speaks of a more excellent way.  He does not say it to disregard the gifts provided by God.  He says it as means of teaching others.  He says it as a way to share how believers can show the love of Christ with others and not simply get caught up in the diversity of gifts within the body.

We are all part of a body called to function together.  As we function together as one body, we must be certain to function in a way that allows us to see how God can manifest what He has for us among us. 

We can see the diversity of gifts on display among us, but we are better off seeing God’s love on display among us.  By doing so, we show our compassion for one another and edify one another through the proper usage of our gifts.

God is good to us.  We at least ought to be good to one another due to His love that we share with one another.

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But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.- 1 Corinthians 12:31

Paul speaks of a more excellent way.  He does not say it to disregard the gifts provided by God.  He says it as means of teaching others.  He says it as a way to share how believers can show the love of Christ with others and not simply get caught up in the diversity of gifts within the body.

We are all part of a body called to function together.  As we function together as one body, we must be certain to function in a way that allows us to see how God can manifest what He has for us among us. 

We can see the diversity of gifts on display among us, but we are better off seeing God’s love on display among us.  By doing so, we show our compassion for one another and edify one another through the proper usage of our gifts.

God is good to us.  We at least ought to be good to one another due to His love that we share with one another.

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 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I  have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. – Genesis 9:12-13 (NIV)

So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” – Genesis 9:17 (NIV)

God has a way of showing us things.  We might have taken them for granted, but they have real meaning beyond the surface.  There is more to them than what we might think or imagine with our natural minds and our natural eyes.  We have to see that our very own nature can cloud our spiritual discernment at times.  God has meanings that appear as mysteries to us.  He wants us to come into a certain level of understanding, especially when it comes to our covenant with Him.

What does that have to do with coffee? I was talking about covenants with God, right?

We can have coffee and a covenant.  We can sit down and have fellowship.  We can bond over the very things that seem so normal and mundane.  We can have fellowship in His Spirit and through His Spirit.  Since we have His Spirit, we can share such fellowship together.  It is by His Spirit that we have such a bond of peace and unity

We can sit down and have a cup of coffee, entering into a covenant of communion with other believers.  We can enter into a covenant of friendship and spiritual unity.  We can take normal things like a simple cup of coffee and make it into more than just a cup of Joe.  We can truly engage in fellowship under the blood covenant that we have with each other through Christ’s shed blood.

You can have a covenant with a brother or sister in Christ.  That’s real.  In fact, that is necessary.  Yet, our covenant starts with a spiritual sign.  It is no longer flesh cut away.  He has cut away at our hearts.  He seeks a spiritual sign among us nowadays.  Our covenant with Him through His blood allows us to have a binding covenant with other brothers and sisters in Him.

1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

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We are all one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future.
– Ephesians 4:4 (NLT)

One body…

Paul later states in the following verses that there is only one Lord, faith, baptism and God and Father.  That’s simple.  That’s it.

We are not called to become a divided body of Christ.  We are to live as a unified body of Christ.  That was what Chuck Colson was speaking of in his book The Body.  Rick Warren said so when he stated in The Purpose Driven Church: “It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.” 

We are one body.  We are to exist together as a single, united force of faith.  We are to go forward in faith together in His name.

Let’s stop getting trivial with traditions.  Let’s keep others from guarding the gates and doorways, keeping people away from the house of faith and playing God.  Let’s be mindful of what we have allowed to divide us and work on building bridges back to the unity.

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46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:46-47

Christian churches are known for their fellowship.  In fact, it seems like there must have been a daily potluck of sorts after Pentecost in Acts 2.  We see the early church had a common faith that led to a communal fellowship.

In days like today, we need to come together in a similar fashion.  Think about ways that your congregation can share with one another in the joyous fellowship of Christian love and unity.  Let it be casual and comfortable.  Make it just a gathering that allows you to break bread and share praise and praise together. 

Have every family bring a dish with a message of praise placed near it.  Display the messages prominently so that all can see them.  People will not only praise Sister King for her potato salad but also for overcoming the challenge of losing her husband in faith.  They won’t only see Brother Gilbert as an excellent Sunday school teacher but a mighty good barbecue cook as well.  Fellowship together, sharing your praise for the Lord as one.

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