Category Archives: Unity in the Faith

Diversity Is An Opportunity To Grow, Not Divide

There are Christ followers from all races, backgrounds and walks of life. When we come to know the love of our Savior we all come carrying different sins, burdens, and past experiences. This is why Christians can be so different in their perspectives on some things. Some people come to faith after being raised in Christian homes, yet others come to Christ from total absence of any religious background. We have Christian’s who grew up poor and had families that struggled financially but others had a two parent family and had a fairly good up bringing.

The beauty of it is Christ does not discriminate and judge any of us by social status, IQ or family background. When we get saved and come to know the love of God we all however do bring the same thing, our sin and need for Jesus Christ and God’s love.

We do have the bond of the blood of Christ that holds all true Christians together though despite our differences. We need not divide but whomever we may be and whatever our circumstances are we are called to love our brothers and sisters in the faith.

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – Jesus.

So the Christian who has been blessed with much has a golden opportunity to share with the brother or sister who has little. Also the one who may not have much in the means of financial success is still loved by God as well and through God’s Spirit living in them can still be rich. We all have spiritual gifts to build up the Church, the fellow believers and family of faith. In Christ Jesus we will not lack any resource or bit of strength we need to do God’s will and serve his family.

Philippians 4:10-20 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

God has blessed us all to be a blessing. Praise the Lord for this since he has given us all something to use to enhance the lives of others who are in need and by doing so the World that is seeking answers may find the same joy, the same love, and the same faith that we have and burn with zeal for!

Black, White,  Rich, Poor, Male and Female.

It’s not about being white or black, we are American’s and all of our lives matters.From conception to death! All lives matter to God. And to all of us who know the Lord, we are God’s children and I see way to often people segregate themselves from other believers who are different. We should not!

Ephesians 4:3-4 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

God is a God of peace not divisions, true love bears the burdens of another. Christ has called us to love eachother and bear one another’s burdens! And it is not politicians or the government that is going to accomplish this, it will be Christ inside of us.

When Politics Divide Christians.

Christians can at times see things differently and God has burdened each one of our hearts with different things. Scripture should always be the finale authority on any given issue for a Christian but sometimes we won’t always see eye to eye on certain things. Certain issues are black and white, but others are somewhat more difficult to discern. We should not let this divide us though and as we all know, political opinions can sometimes do a great deal of dividing.

Jesus said in Mark 9:50- “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

What is the saltiness he is referring to? It seems to suggest in the text peace. Webster’s dictionary defines peace in these terms, and I think this is the definition that best fits:

b : a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity
How on earth can we influence the world if we cannot even be at peace with one another? What example does this send to a lost world seeking answers?

Paul and Barnabas encountered a bit of a situation in Acts 15, the situation unfolded in these events starting at verse 36-41
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,
38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Paul seemed to want to do the wise thing, yet Barnabas leaned more on the side of the gracious and compassionate thing. Is wisdom bad? No. Is compassion or grace bad? No. Have you ever met Christians who are gifted and excel in the area of mercy, while at the same time others are more bold and courageous and able to exercise tough love? Why is that, well, the Bible says that when we have received Christ as Lord and Savior we all received certain spiritual gifts according to the Holy Spirit’s descretion

Romans 125 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Now we are all called to serve and contribute to the needs of others and show mercy as well, but some Christians are especially gifted in certain capacities. Some are great teachers and can expound upon and bring out the rich meaning of scripture, some Christians are great and saying uplifting and edifying words of encouragement, others are blessed with material goods and find great joy in giving and yet others make excellent leaders! The point is not all believers are the same, but they are loved the same and bought with the same blood of Jesus that we all were.
What if a Christian strays from a Biblical principle though? What if what he/she is believing is clearly not scriptural? The prescription for this is:

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load.

“Carry each other’s burdens” as well as “Carry his own load” This could possibly mean that we should help a struggling believer without in our minds exalting ourself above them as “more spiritually superior”

Jesus said, “
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

It continues on to say in verse 10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

We must be careful as Christians not to try to help others with an attitude of superiority but rather love and gentle compassion. It is never a wise idea, or most of the time, to confront another’s sin while you are angry. Unfortunately, I’m a class example of how this does not work to well. We need to go into a situation 1.) in genuine concern for the person, not with a “holier than thou” attitude and 2.) Make sure we are not guilty of the same thing we are trying to correct them on!
God set us free from sin so we can serve him as Lord, but not just that, but also so we can lead other’s to his freedom.

Galatians 5:3 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

“biting and devouring” wow! Striking analogy for how we can tear one another apart in angry disputes. Sometimes we do not like the way another Christian thinks or acts or their opinions, and if it is sin, Lord willing, we should address that issue but if they don’t want to hear it then we must remember that we won’t be the final judge of any person, and God will evaluate us also. This should keep us from getting too self righteous or arrogant but rather cause a healthy amount of fear.

Romans 14:12-19 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.

(Sometimes the things we feel like God has not forbidden for us are different than what he has forbidden for some, so we need to be careful to not carelessly say, “Oh God’s okay with that.” The perfect example is music, some Christians have no problem with a lot of different types of music bands but some Christians feel like God does not want them listening to screamo-heavy metal or rap. That is really an issue of conscience and is between them and God, and we should not try to tell them or pressure them into doing something they might feel guilt over. Another example is alcohol, although the Bible condemns drunkeness as sin, some Christians feel it is ok to have a glass of wine every now and then and others do not. Paul clearly spells out that it is sin to cause someone to do something they consider sin.)

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Sometimes Christians can though have differences in ideas politically also as to what it looks like to serve God and what the application of this may look like. The Bible commands we help the poor and needy, but the same Bible says, “If a man is unwilling to work he should not eat” Christians also from time to time see differently on, for example, coming across a homeless person. One group might say, “well I’m going to give this person some money, I’m not fully sure how they will use it but I trust God will bless my generosity. If they do use it for the wrong things then I cannot really know one way or the other.” Others may say, “This person might use this money to buy drugs and alcohol, I would rather give to an organization that would provide them with a hot meal and a place to stay.”

Can you see how easy it is to have a slightly different take on a situation. At the end of the day, it is God who judges and weighs a persons heart. We cannot, it is impossible for us to because as people we can only weigh and evaluate what a person does. We can call out sinful choices if their is that manifested but only God can really see what is in an individuals heart.


Ever notice that although the rose is a magnificent flower, it has thorns. Do not just stop loving someone because of first appearances or impressions, because often times the lowly people and poor of this world are great people. God loved us enough to see past our thorns as well. Our thorns of sin, baggage and rebellion. You know what, Jesus still died for all of us despite our thorns, he wore the crown of thorns as he was nailed to a cross for every sin you and I committed. Why? because he saw our worth and didn’t treat us the way our sins deserved. Now let us extend grace to others.


Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.——Jesus taught this powerfully, he also lived it. On one occasion he went into a Samaritin village and they rejected his message and James and John said “Lord shall we call fire down on them?” and basically Jesus said “Shame on you” Jesus loved even those who hung him on the cross in His dying hour, he cried out “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!” Jesus bled the love and compassion of God through his teaching and life. Let us do the same.

Peace among Christians Part 4

When believers vary.

Mark 9:39 ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,

How often do we find ourselves either comparing ourselves to other or criticizing someones way of serving God or sharing Christ? How often do we consider our ministry methods better than another believers?

Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Ultimately God is the final judge on the person. He knows the heart of why someone does thing or the motives there of!

Peace among Christians Part 3

Mark 9:50 ‘Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.’

In Mark 9 we have several things going on that seem entirely unrelated from first glance. Jesus ends up in verse 50 tying it all together.

It first starts in verse 16 when Jesus sees the disciples arguing with the people in the crowd, and Jesus finds out and asks

‘What are you arguing with them about?’ he asked. (Mark 9:16)

Later on we find the disciples again at it with each other, Jesus again asked,

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
(Mark 9:33-34)

The first situation was with the outside world the second was with themselves, if we continue to read we find a third incidence happens when the disciples try to stop someone who is not a part of their group.

‘Teacher,’ said John, ‘we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.’ ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said. ‘For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. ( Mark 9:38-41)

We as believers can find ourselves also doing the same things, arguing with non believers instead of sharing the gospel, arguing among ourselves in our congregations, or attacking other believers in other churches.

We should always seek to be unified and spread the good news instead of quarreling!

SEE Part 4

https://austingeorge.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/peace-among-christians/

Peace among Christians Part 2

Peace in the Church.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Biblical peace can mean two similar yer different things depending on the context. Peace can mean the internal well being even when all else is falling in or apart all around us, because we trust God. But peace also can suggest that we as believers are coming together and living harmoniously with one another, it says here we are members of “one body” That is Christ’s body. We may not always see things the same way but we need to have the same goal in mind to become as a whole fully conformed to the image of Christ!

 

SEE Part 3

https://austingeorge.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/peace-among-christians-part-3/

Peace among Christians Part 1

 

Is Christ divided?

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, 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. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 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.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?

As Christians we are called to be united and although we all have different views and personality differences but we should not divide over them. We are called to “keep the bond of peace” according to Ephesians 3:4 and some of the issues we end up debating and disagreeing on are very fruitless in building the Church up or impacting the lost world around us!

Some churches fight over worship style, preaching format, the issue of whether or not a believer should or should not be allowed to speak in tongues, we see pastors even go ad far as criticizing other pastors. We see believers getting upset and angry with other believers over silly things. An example of this could be whether or not its permissible to have an alcoholic beverage in moderation every now and then. Some are convinced Alcohol is pure sinful and others don’t view it as sin unless it leads to drunkenness. There are many things like this. We know as believers certain things are black and white right and wrong but Romans 14:1-23 gives us some guidelines to follow in the grey areas that are not in clear violation of God’s Word. The basic principle is if what you feel is acceptable in your walk with Christ ends up hindering another believers growth than its better not to do it.

Lets take a look at this second part of the passage:

1 Corinthians 1:12-13 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.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul?

What does this look like in our churches today? Well believers can disagree even on certain Bible teachers, one might think to themselves well “I listen to Pastor John” and others say “well Pastor Bob says this” and yet others say with pride “Your both wrong cause I listen to Jesus and he told me this”

The main goal of the Church both locally and globally is to
1) Glorify God by obeying and loving Christ and each other!
2) Taking the gospel locally and worldwide!

 

SEE Part 2

https://austingeorge.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/peace-among-christians-part-2/