A while back our pastor teached on John 17 and I was challenged by the verses teaching unity in the body of Christ. Personally my husband and I left a church about a year ago and in my younger days I was attending a church during a major split so I have seen how church feuds can really ruin testimonies. We live in a town where there are many, many churches and many of the churches are extremely 'competitive' (the best word I can think of to describe it). I have been challenged to not label a person by the church they attend, but to embrace all fellow believers as we all serve and praise one Lord, one Savior, one God. I found this devotional this morning:
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Unity: God's Will
Dr. Jack Klem, CBTS
It is God’s will that His people and that His church be unified.
God’s desire for unity did not come with the writing of the New Testament. For example, the Psalm writer declared that it is good and pleasant when brothers dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself prayed that His people would be unified as a testimony to the world of the Father’s love and will (John 17:23).
In a similar way, Paul prayed for and exhorted the pursuit and the preservation of unity (Rom 15:5; Eph 4:3, 13; and Col 3:14).
So what is it that keeps us from realizing the will of God in our personal and corporate lives? Why is it that we quarrel or that we struggle with jealousy?
The simple answer is that we are sinners who without a thought pursue status, privilege, and wealth, and who promote ourselves and our wisdom instead of a Spirit filled manner of life.
Unity within a local church can be ruptured by disputes over doctrine or by allegiance to personalities. The church at Corinth is an illustration of a body divided over a misplaced allegiance to personalities.
So what’s the antidote for a dysfunctional church divided over personalities?
The antidote involves defining how God uses various personalities in His overall plan for church growth and development (1 Cor 3:4-6).
Note that according to 1 Corinthians 3:4-5 the key personalities are servants assigned by the Lord with a specific ministry task.
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
According to 3:6 one plants and another waters; however, it is the Lord who makes the body grow and who judges the worth of each servant’s work.
In the remainder of Chapter 3 we learn that not only does God give grace to do ministry work, but He is also the one who destroys or rewards the work, who gives us His Spirit and who placed us in Christ.
Now if we disrupt the God intended unity of a body by a misplaced allegiance to personalities or if we choose to focus on status, privilege, and wealth, the Scripture declares that we are immature children who are worldly in manner of life.
Are you struggling with another brother or sister in Christ? Are you involved in a quarrel? Are you quietly struggling with a jealous heart?
May God help each of us to stop boasting about men and to pursue the things that promote unity.
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In John 17:23 the Lord prays that His people will be unified so that we might be a testimony of the Father's love. How will the world see His love if we, as believers, quarrel and fight and harbor bitterness among each other? I am certainly challenged!