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.
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.
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
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