Sometimes the initial beginnings of a church are easier than “the long haul.” Maintaining purpose and maintaining unity requires ongoing maintenance.
It is easy at times to become disillusioned with our churches and believe that other churches “have it figured out.” Rest assured that there is no “perfect” church.
Mathew 12:46 – How is Christian brotherhood different from the other brotherhoods that we see around us?
Ephesians 2:13-22 – This is what Jesus is doing to make a church possible. Jesus is the mediator between God and man, he is restoring relationships between God and man. Jesus is also breaking down the wall between different groups and drawing them together.
John 15 – The foundation to a strong church is strong individuals. In this picture of the grape-vine we also see a picture of the brotherhood. How we respond to our own pruning is a thing between us and God. How we respond to the pruning in others lives is a thing of brotherhood.
1 Corinthians 12 – There are many disconnected parts in a body of believers that are being brought together. God puts us where he wants us to be, in the brotherhood where he wants us. It is good to help other people, it is also important for us to be willing to say “I need you” to a brother. We are designed to build together.
Ephesians 4:16 – The goal laid out here is the growth of the brotherhood through unity. Grace is a personal thing that we receive as we walk with the Lord. As we relate to each other that grace builds a connection… it is through this that the entire church is knit together.
If only the ministry is contributing, the church will grow very slowly. If half of the body is contributing, the church will grow at half speed. If everyone is contributing, the church can grow as it should! A rock pile is not a building. Body parts are not a body. Without unity we don’t have a church.
1 Corinthians 1:10 – There is a large variety of people in each of our churches. Different jobs. Different ways of doing things. How can we all be joined together perfectly with the same mind? Only with an inner attitude change and commitment to God can we come together as God asks us to.
John 17:11-26 – Of all the things Jesus could have prayed he prayed for unity. Jesus set a high standard here that as God the Father and Jesus the Son are one… we, the church, would be one.
Can we submit to each other? Can we honor another persons preferences?
Ephesians 3:10 – Is unity worth the effort? The greatest impact that we can have on the world around us is that we show them the power of God through our unity.
Ephesians 4 – Unity is something that happens on purpose. It isn’t just about “getting along.” How do we respond when something concerns us? How we feel about someone affects how we respond to them.
Mathew 18:15 – Disunity is an open door for Satan’s agenda. The cycle of mistrust can be broken. Ask for clarification and some communication. Check your own heart.
Mathew 5:23 – Who’s job is it to make the “first move” towards reconciliation. If we are called to serve the Lord and realize that we’ve offended someone, we need to do our part to make that right before we serve the Lord.
John 13 – True unity can’t happen until both parties do their part. Insecurity breeds the exact opposite of unity. The towel of service, washing each others feet, is a restorative attitude. If we want a brotherhood that works, the towel is the best place to start. We aren’t too important and we aren’t too good to serve our brothers.
Acts 4:32-33 – Often brotherhood problems are not caused by a great chasm between people, instead they begin with small cracks. It is the responsibility of every one of us in the body of Christ to work to heal these cracks and work towards unity.