1997-08-15 - Unity Without Compromise
I have written about this before, but I feel led to write about it again. Christ felt strongly about peace among believers. Oneness among us is evidence of God among us. It validates our witness.
John 17:20-23 (NRSV) "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, 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 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
For sure, we are not to condone false doctrine. In fact, we must confront those who are spreading UnBiblical teachings.
1 Tim 1:3 (NRSV) I urge you, as I did when I was on my way to Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine.
However, we do need to be as united as possible with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
Eph 4:3 (NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Unity is conducive to God-pleasing worship:
Rom 15:5-6 (NIV) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We can agree on the essentials -- the "$100 issues," to quote a Christian counselor, and let the "nickel issues" go. We need to pick our battles carefully, as I am sure many of you parents have learned. We can get so caught up in debating the nonessentials that we don't spend enough time focusing on what the church is about -- worshiping and serving God, serving our fellow man, evangelism, missions. So next time we are at a committee meeting, or talking with or about our fellow Christians -- and be careful that all "talking about" is edifying and not gossip! -- if we are disagreeing about something, how about stopping to think "Will this make a difference in eternity? Is this important to Christ? Will basic doctrine be compromised if we do it their way?" Most likely, the answer is no.
Dear Lord, please help us have the unity You wish us to have. May we pick Your battles to fight, and only Yours. In Jesus' name, amen.