The following post has been taken from Bill's encouragement last Sunday to strive to build each other up in the unity of Christ. We hope you enjoy it.
Titus 3:10-11, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” – Unfortunately, we’ve had members stirrup division in the past. They were warped and sinful people and the Apostle Paul says they should be removed from the church.
Thankfully, we don’t have anyone like this in our church right now. The exhortation the Spirit is giving us this morning is not ‘do not stir up division’ but ‘be eager to maintain the unity’.
Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
We’ve been exhorted a number of times about this from God’s Word during this pandemic and subsequent shut downs that have put great stress on our society including Christians and churches. Important questions are being asked and debated every week:
How can we stay safe and keep other people – especially those more vulnerable – safe?
What are the limits of government in a free society?
How can we respond in a way that respects the economic impact of the shutdowns?
There are different answers given to these questions and many more like them. Experts on both sides have different and strong opinions that influence people on both sides. Experts disagree. Humble experts just don’t have all the answers and even the answers we do have are our best guess when we look into the future. What we think we know might be wrong. Experts do not tend to admit when they are wrong.
On top of all of this, we are in a fiercely divided election year. Many say the country has never been this polarized and our society is at a breaking point. It doesn’t seem to me that many people see the value of people who disagree coming together to serve the country.
This is the air we breath as members of Cornerstone Church of Knoxville. It does not change our calling to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Worthy of the One we will be amazed by this morning when we turn our attention to the Gospel of Mark in a few moments.
The Word of the Lord for us today is urging us to live eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit. We are one body. It is a reality created by the Spirit. Maintaining our unity in this atmosphere is how we will shine as lights in the world, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. Were you eager to maintain the unity this week?
Here is how we can demonstrate an eagerness this week:
Do not live for yourself. Do not look out only for the interests of your family. Count others more significant. Consider others; serve others; sacrifice for others. Use your gifts and efforts to help others succeed. Orient your life towards others.
Live humbly. Be gentle and patient with those you disagree with. Bear with them in love. Hold your opinions lightly. Acknowledge you aren’t an expert; admit when you are wrong.
Do things that encourage our unity. Participate in meetings and events. Encourage other members with words that give grace to those who hear. Let no divisive word proceed out of your mouth. No slander; no gossip; no judging the motivations of others.
Most of all, let us pray for unity and revival!