Christians, last week we talked about not needing to compete against one another in ministry or within our church. Today I would like us all to step outside of our own church walls. One thing that God keeps impressing on me is: As Christians, we are all on the SAME TEAM!
I currently live in a small farming community in Southwest Iowa, where the most numerous thing we currently have is churches. A quick google search showed me 14 churches (within the city limits) in our little 5,000 person community. There are 6 unique banks, 6 different gas stations and two different grocery stores. The banks, gas stations and grocery stores are in respective competition with each other. They represent a company higher up, they have different interests, different board of directors, different CEOs. To get more business they have to figure out how to compete, or get a competitive advantage over the others in their community.
It should never be like this with the churches. We have one CEO: God. We have one corporate objective: To love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, then to love our neighbor as ourself. Our mission is the same: To spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. To save lost souls. To be sober and vigilant for Jesus’ return.
We have different Pastors, we have different personal convictions, we have different doctrine, but we are ON THE SAME TEAM. Do you realize when we get to Heaven, there is not going to be different buildings that say Methodist, Baptist, Non-Denominational? (Not picking on these three, I grew up in the first two, and associate with the third now, but I love them all the same). Heaven is a conglomerate of the body of Christ. We will all be there together, with all TIME and personal INTERESTS removed, where we just have the COMPLETION of God’s will and no competition.
The enemy has strongholds within the CHURCH at large. If he can keep us divided, if he can keep us looking at doctrinal differences we will never step out together and effectively reach the lost and hurting. Recently in Omaha, NE, my mother-in-law’s church, in association with my parent’s church and 50 plus other churches united under the banner ‘Everybody Wins’. The idea is essentially that when people are fed, when homeless are helped, when the lost are found, and when we come together and function as THE CHURCH, everybody wins. They had 4 weeks where the same message was spoken at all of these churches and the focus was on our similarities instead of our differences.
The biggest pressing I feel on my heart of late, is for unity in the body of Christ. I understand the differences, I have my own preferences, I adhere to a certain doctrine, I have my personal convictions, but those should never stop me from partnering with anyone from any other church to do the acts that Jesus commands us to do. To help others, to serve, to love. If people recognize that God the Father is the Creator of All, that He sent His Son to die for our sins on the Cross, and that whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. If they have repented from their sins and are following after God, they are your brother or sister in Christ. Whether they sit in the pew next to you, or in a folding chair in the basement of a rented out building, or in a storefront, or a mega-church. We are all on the same team, we all have the same opponent, the enemy, not each other. This is not a new concept, the earliest churches had some of the same issues.
I am not perfect, I have not arrived, but more and more I am able to look at others and look for similarities instead of differences. If their desire is to love and serve Jesus, and my desire is to love and serve Jesus, why can’t we work together to accomplish our goals. Look for opportunities to work alongside other believers, inside and outside of your church. Whether on mission trips, or local mission projects, or community service projects. Just like a good Father, God is never more happy then when His children are working nicely together on the tasks He has set before them. I pray that God unite us, as the Body of Christ, every denomination, every race, every culture, everyone who is saved by the blood of Jesus, to live and to love as Jesus intended, and to be in unity as we all (with great anticipation) await His return, in Jesus name, Amen.
I appeal to you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some of Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: one of you says, “I follow Paul” another “I follow Apollos” another “I follow Peter” still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I Corinthians 1:10-13 (NIV)
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! Psalm 133:1 (NIV)
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all it’s parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. So that there should be no division in the body, but that it’s parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. I Corinthians 12:12, 25-27 (NIV)
From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in LOVE, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16 (NIV) (emphasis added)
Again, we must ask ourselves, do we love the whole church, each and every denomination, regardless of our differences, do we love them? Remember what love is:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
written and posted by Daniel Poggensee | 2016