We are studying some areas where God has grown us as a church body over the past few years. Last week, we looked at our identity and how we must view each other first as children of God and not any other label. There will be harmony in the church when we maintain unity.
Unbelief seeks to undermine spiritual authority. Without integrity, authority undermines itself. In 2 Corinthians 13, Paul continues to write about what Spirit-filled authority with integrity is and does.
Paul finishes the second letter of Corinthians with the goal of protecting the purity of the church, allowing the church to understand what divine authority is, and what divine authority is supposed to do.
Psalm 133 has a simple structure around the theme of unity. In reality, unity is not as simple as it sounds. Our unity is only as good as our Savior; if we lack unity, it might be because we are not in our Savior.
When resolving conflict between Christians, these three areas are necessary to consider: identity, growth, and humanity. Anyone in Christ must be viewed from that vantage point; therefore, we must assume that spiritual growth is happening in their life. The Holy Spirit is never dormant.
1 Corinthians is a letter to a church that found itself in the most influential and cosmopolitan city of its day. Yet this was a troubled church. The church received the gospel, but it was not governed by it. In many practical ways, the church was governed by culturally-derived mottos rather than mature reflection on the gospel and its implications for life.
God’s nature is unity (Deuteronomy 6:4). When we are baptized into Christ, we are one with Him and with each other spiritually (John 17:11, 20-22). David and Solomon both praised the importance of unity among God’s people (Psalm 133:1, Proverbs 6:17-19). Anyone who dismisses the unity God has created and spreads strife unnecessarily is considered an abomination. The job of believers in the church is to maintain the unity of the Spirit in peace (Ephesians 4:3, Philippians 4:2). God’s people love what God has provided and persevere in unity.
God places us in each of our specific contexts for an eternal purpose (1 Corinthians 12:18, Matthew 28:19-20).
Ephesians 4 begins the practical section of the book in which Paul lays out the spiritual maturity necessary to produce godly character. Maturing Christians have the attitude that they have never arrived.
Unity in Christ's body is maintained by more than individual behavior and relationships. It is maintained by having a unified mission.
Spiritual togetherness is another way to say "unity." Believers will be spiritually one as we understand who God is and who we are in Christ. We should not want to live life alone.
Humans need to be together and to celebrate something bigger than themselves. We also need to be together as God's people. We prepare to be with each other, and we enjoy being with our Christian family. Our unity is based on our position in Christ and our disposition produced by the fruit of the Spirit.
Our theme for the year is not just a slogan; it is a practice of our faith. Our church's One Legacy goals for the year are things we have to do together, because that is how God designed the body of Christ to work.
Paul includes two unusual elements at the end of his letter to the Roman Christians. He gives a final instruction about protecting the health of a good church and closes with a 3-verse doxology. (He normally ends his letters with a prayer of benediction.) Though danger was not present in the Roman church yet, spiritual danger is always imminent. He warned the church in Rome so they would be ready.
Where do we find real success and real help in our evangelistic efforts? No Gospel outreach is ever effective unless it is underpinned with the fervent prayer of God's people.
The Gospel will advance from a healthy church. There is nothing sensational or extraordinary about it. It is actually abnormal for a church not to realize Gospel advancement according to Acts 1:8. Rome was not the largest church in the first century, but they enjoyed Gospel influence because they were healthy and unified.
We have been studying Paul's instructions on weak and strong Christians. (See previous sermons on this chapter.) Romans 14:13-23 gives guidelines for considerate people within a church that is unified, healthy, and growing.This is how we maintain unity among Spirit-filled people.
Paul talks about two categories of Christians in Romans 14, the strong and the weak. Every believer falls under one category or the other. Both are assumed to be reverent and growing. Both are instructed to keep themselves in the love of God.
How do groups of believers who are growing at different rates remain considerate of each other in the body of Christ? This is imperative if we are to display the love of a unified family to a watching world!
We have been studying the love Christians should have within the body of Christ (Romans 12:9-16). The pointed commands beginning in verse 13 seem random, but they do flow from what Paul wrote in the verses just before. Love that is holy, relational, passionate in serving and persevering, will be aware in these ways.
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