Wednesday, February 18, 2015

the body needs unity

Sometimes, God really lays something on my heart and I cannot ignore it. I have tried to not write this post, but I know God has really wanted me to study this and put it in writing. So, I began by going to the word of God. I know many of these scriptures, but there is more that I had not put together before.  I love how God opens the word when you really listen and ask for his understanding.
So I began to look for scripture on the body of Christ.  I realized quickly that our definition of the body of Christ as seen today and what God really wants for his body is not matching up.  There are some great problems or illnesses in the body of Christ and I dare say, God is not pleased. 

At this point I will share some of what I found and say I weep for the body of Christ.  We are in the midst of illness and need healing. We are in the midst of great pain and unable to function properly as God is calling us to do.  God is not pleased and is grieved.

So, here are some scriptures to back up my statements. Please pray for God to give you understanding as you read these as well. 

 Ephesians 4:1-6 says, As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

John 17:21 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.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Ephesians 2:19-22 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Psalms 133:1  Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity.

Romans 12:10  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

1 John 4:20 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

So, in light of all these scriptures, I hope you see a theme.  God called us to be one body, be of one mind, one spirit, one baptism, one faith, one Lord. There are many more scriptures, but I start with these.  Study this out for yourself.  Search the scripture.  See what God has to say first. Pray for understanding of His word.

There are so many divisions in the body of Christ.  We have all kinds of reasons for not fellowshipping or not loving others in the body of Christ.  First of all, we limit the definition of the body of Christ.  Some say, well, they don't believe like me, so they cannot be in the body of Christ.  Well, they don't do this and this, so they are not in the body of Christ. Jesus told the disciples that whoever is not against us, if for us (Luke 9:49-50).  How often do we think we are the only right ones?

God does not want division in his body.  He wants unity.  He wants us to love one another.  In John 13:34-35 he says that they will know we are his disciples by how we love one another.  There is to be a mutual love between those of the body of Christ.  We are to really love one another, even if we don't agree.  Disagreement, should not mean we stop loving one another.  When we hate or harm a brother or sister, we cannot love God. That is serious business. That goes against God's command. 

Who is in the body of Christ?   
Those who have repented and become a follower of Christ.  If Jesus has saved them, we cannot decide they are not in the body.  It is just like when my parents brought home my baby brothers and sister.  I had no choice in who they were or how they do things.  They are still my brothers and sister. We may not always see eye to eye, but I love them no matter what. Jesus defines the body of Christ.  He looks on the heart of man and he knows who is in the body.  By their fruit, you will know them. (Matthew 7:16) We can recognize believers when they preach Christ, serve Christ, and bear the fruit of Christ.  We have no say otherwise.  We cannot determine who gets to be in the body, Jesus determines that.  He does not say, we will always see eye to eye, but he does say, love one another, bear fruit, serve one another.  

God is calling his body into unity.  He is calling his body to love one another.  There are a lot of petty differences that have caused great divisions.  In Corinthians 12, this was addressed. There should not be any schism in the body.  That is like cutting off a piece of you body and trying to function without it.  When you look at the human body, it is made up of little tiny cells. These cells make up all the different parts of the body and function together. The cells in the heart are not functioning the same as the cells of the skin.  They are still part of the same body.  The cells of the skin cannot cast out the cells of the heart just because they can't agree to do things the same way.  That causes disfunction and problems.  That is cancerous and destructive to the body. 

God uses the example of the body, because it is the best demonstration of a great number of things working together with one purpose.  When a person decides to do something, like put a bite of food into his mouth, all the different parts of the body must coordinate, act and move as one. If the even one part does not cooperate, it would be hard to get that bite of food into your mouth.  Have you ever had an injury that kept you from functioning the way you normally do?  The body of Christ has that problem right now.  There are many who do not want to recognize others as part of the body. There are those that do not want to cooperate with others, with whom they do not agree. There are those that actually choose to argue, spew forth hatred and destruction to others.  That should not be! That is destruction of the body! That is not of God! That is the enemy destroying the very body of Christ!

Have we really allowed the enemy to use our self-will, self-pride,  haughtiness, and self-importance to cause destruction of the very body of Christ?

There is an answer: Praying and digging into the word of God.  If we even claim to be a part of the body of Christ, we really need to get on our knees and begin to repent for this terrible sin of the body.  We need to call on God to restore the body of Christ. We need to ask for his help in loving others in the body.  Ask for his help in recognizing the body and understanding their role in the body of Christ.  We can no longer operate as usual.
2 Corinthians 7:1 says Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. We need to be eager to maintain the the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Rather than writing someone off as different, or not in agreement, we need to demonstrate true love to them.  If we have more understanding than they do, we should not just dismiss them as lost. We have got to love them.  If we love them, there can be true respect and understanding.  That is when the body can work together, sit together, study the word together, bear fruit together, and operate together to share the gospel.  When Priscilla and Aquilla came across Apollos, they did not dismiss and criticize. They loved him as a brother and were able to sit with him and expound the scriptures to him more perfectly.  That is what God wants for his body, not argument about the word of God.  There may discussions and understanding at different levels, but God wants us to work together.  There should always be unity in the essentials of the word, but liberality in the nonessentials.  We should never separate and argue over something that does not really matter to salvation. If it is coming to that, it is time to pray, pray together for understanding, time to go to God and allow His Spirit to lead both parties. It is time to love each other.

God is revealing that he is not pleased with the division and separation in the body. God is not pleased with the hatred seething against one another. God is not pleased with the lack of love for one another. God is not pleased with the lack of unity.  God is calling his body to be one.  God is calling his body to act together to accomplish His purpose. God is calling his body to love one another, in spite of differences.  He is calling His body to come together in unity so the power of the Holy Ghost can be revealed. We have a purpose and a calling that needs to be fulfilled. We are out of the will of God at this point.  We need to operate as one body.  The bible says that the glory of the latter will be greater than the former (Haggai 2:9) We are not there yet.  For the body of Christ to truly be effective in its purpose of witness, love, meeting the needs of the world around us, we need to understand it only comes from working as a  unified body.  May we all come together as one body, perfected and working as the Lord directs.

Please join me in praying for the unifying of the body of Christ.  It is past time for the body of Christ to perform its duty. We have been lacking for too long. Those that are lost see nothing we can offer as long as the body of Christ is sick and ill.  Let's heal the body and move forward as one in the Spirit.  Let's really get hold of the will of God and put it into action. Not just in word, but in deed.  Let actions bear fruit. Let maturity in the Spirit come forth. Let the will of God be done in His body.  May we be unified in the name of Jesus.

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