“It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”
I think this is one of the most popular things we as Christians like to say. Yet, we do not live life like we have a relationship with our Creator and we don’t treat others as if they are important in this relationship.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Over the years I have seen “Christians” treat other Christians like trash. And said Christians are often worse to the lost world.
We talk about how many people we have in our church, how many baptisms we had in the year, how many buildings we can build, and what the youth group did for “fun.”
None of these things are bad… but they all over shadow our purpose. We bring kids though the baptismal waters like herding cattle, but we don’t stop to help the same children in their day to day lives. If it’s a “bad” kid, we ignore them completely and simply state that they will end up _________________, shrug and move on. We “pity” their life. But do we get on our knees and pray? Do we see the situations and try and take action? Or do we just ignore it and not try at all? Leaving that person in the cold, in the dark… feeling shunned and alone.
My heart is burdened and hurt by what I have seen and experienced.
It is only by God’s grace I have not left the church myself.
Satan has successfully torn us to shreds. We fight over clothes, music, Sunday schools and Bible studies. Instead of going to the Bible… we just fight. Instead of loving and being an example, we fight. Instead of prayer, the most powerful tool of a Christian… we fight. We have lost the mind of Christ so much so that the unity seen in Acts 2:1 is lost in today’s church.
A couple months back, I sat in a church listening while two preachers have a discussion. Unity amongst the believers has been on my heart and the hearts of many around me. As I listened one of the preachers said something about the lack of unity… he barely got his thought out and was cut of by the other saying that “each church has a different calling…” and continued along this thought process pushing aside the problem that the churches are not working together and instead of helping each other, we are fighting each other. My spirit recoiled and I went home thinking about what I had just heard. If you know me, you know I don’t just spit something out when I disagree… I think about it, sometimes for months, before I will know my own thoughts and feelings and if they line up with Christ. I had so been burdened by the lack of unity and then so shocked by one man of God’s complete disregard for the other man standing there and his heart for unity that it has taken quite a while for me to come to this conclusion. I went home and prayed. What else could I do? I realize that each church has different strong suits. So does each Christian. So what about unity?
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
“Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
Here we see that there are different “gifts,” but all these gifts come from the same “mind.”
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
NIV says it like this:
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:”
Jesus Himself prayed for unity amongst His people. He wanted us to have His mind and be one with Him and with God.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
This doesn’t mean we do the same things the same way. We will see things others don’t. God will show us something and then we may share it with someone else, but it is our job to follow through. Unity means having the same mind and the same goal.
“ Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This is our goal. We will all have a different role to play, but most will not work with someone else because, “they don’t do it the way I think it should be done.” Well thank God for that! He doesn’t give us all the same gifts to share the same way! We are different, but we can be unified in Christ! Unity is not a cookie cutter!
So, in closing let me say that the problem is not our programs, or the size of the church. It’s not the money we have or the money we don’t. It’s not what you wear to Sunday services or what music is playing. The problem is that the church is not being the church to the church… and if we can’t be the church to each other, how will we be the church to a world destined for hell? How will we, if we are not one in Christ, stand against the devil and the storm of tribulation coming to our Body and our nation? How can we love, if you do not love each other?