Maintaining Church Unity

  • November 05, 2018
Monday 05

Philippians 2:1-2

Churches all around the world experience brokenness. Christians are divided over a whole range of things, such as whether the service should be contemporary or traditional. Paul points out that unity is crucial to achieving our purpose. So how is that possible when a disagreement arises?

It all depends on what the difference of opinion is about. The fundamental tenets of the faith (for example, that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins and rose again) are not negotiable. However, if the dispute has to do with a nonessential issue—such as a hair-splitting interpretation of doctrine—some prayerful discussion in love is acceptable, but believers should not let it cause division. In cases like this, a consensus is likely to leave some people disappointed with the results. Yet both sides should be willing to accept differences without strife.

Years ago, I was at a rural Southern church whose congregation was divided into obvious sides. The factions were essentially separate churches. Instead of addressing lots of fringe issues, I simply began to preach the Word. Over time, people who hadn’t talked to one another in years began to unite. Why? The church is the body of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:24), so He can bring us together.

People selfishly believe their preferences are better than others’ opinions, and in human strength, there’s nothing we can do to mend our differences. But it pleases God when we sacrifice our desires for the greater good of a unified church. And obedience ultimately gives greater joy than getting our way.

Bible in One Year: John 12-13

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1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

1 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.

3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said,

5 Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people? "

6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.

7 Therefore Jesus said, Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.

8 For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me."

9 The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.

10 But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also;

11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.

12 On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel."

14 Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written,

15 FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY'S COLT."

16 These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.

17 So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him.

18 For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.

19 So the Pharisees said to one another, You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him."

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast;

21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, Sir, we wish to see Jesus."

22 Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus.

23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

27 Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, `Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

28 Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came out of heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."

29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, An angel has spoken to Him."

30 Jesus answered and said, This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.

31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.

34 The crowd then answered Him, We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, `The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"

35 So Jesus said to them, For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.

36 While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light." These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.

37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.

38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?"

39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again,

40 HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM."

41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.

42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;

43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

44 And Jesus cried out and said, He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.

45 He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.

46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.

50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,

3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,

4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

6 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, Lord, do You wash my feet?"

7 Jesus answered and said to him, What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter."

8 Peter said to Him, Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."

9 Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head."

10 Jesus said to him, He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. "

11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, Not all of you are clean."

12 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, Do you know what I have done to you?

13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.

14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.

17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

18 I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, `HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.'

19 From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.

20 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."

21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me."

22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.

23 There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.

24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking."

25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus' bosom, said to Him, Lord, who is it?"

26 Jesus then answered, That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him." So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, What you do, do quickly."

28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.

29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, Buy the things we have need of for the feast"; or else, that he should give something to the poor.

30 So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

31 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;

32 if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.

33 Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, `Where I am going, you cannot come.'

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

36 Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered, Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later."

37 Peter said to Him, Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You."

38 Jesus answered, Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.

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Publish Date November 20, 2018
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Addressing God as "Father" reminds us that He is close, caring, and protective.

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