Let’s Stay United
You know I must say I'm up here and I'm looking out at the congregation and seeing everyone together in one service it's really great it's really good for us to be kind of back together as a family and you know the two services it was a means to an end and you know it accomplished what we were trying to do it was an ideal but I think we learned some valuable lessons from it but it's it's really good to us to be back together again well in two weeks we're going on a journey. Or about five miles that way and the steerer going to be things that are different although the most important things are going to be pretty much exactly the same same Jesus right same Bible say musicians same preacher same people for the most part same purpose all those things are going to be the same but with this change of location it's going to signify sort of like the end of one chapter in our church's history this will be the fourth location of the church has met at Georgia the barn Union hills and now twelfth Street Church and so we'll be talking about this for years to come the way when did that happen was it at the Union Hills Church or the church so something new is about to happen and as we go on this journey I think all of us want to arrive safely at our destination right but I really want to make sure that we survive the journey there and when I say the destination I mean we're going to be there after next Sunday will move and physically we're going to be there but we're going to have several months of transition of getting to know what it's like and where do we do this and how do we do this and where are these things found in we'll get there but I want to survive the journey because we're going to go through a lot of things in the meantime so I kind of feel like I'm the dad looking at the family saying we're going on this trip and so here are the rules for us to go on this journey and so that's how we're going to talk about today because we're going to be in a state of transition for a while it's so important for us as a church to be very. Committed to being united with one another.
I'm sure everyone here has probably been with some group of people or on some team that works really really well and it's exciting you are able to see how effective and powerful a group that works together can be what you think of about a group that you can identify with in your past that it's been like that it might even be like a sports team.
The thing that probably came to my mind is when I played soccer in college everyone seemed they had their own unique role they had their own position and if everyone did their job the team would succeed in thrive or maybe maybe you were on a with a group of people that you worked with and every one they got along really well they knew what their job was they didn't overstep their bounds and everyone worked really effectively or maybe you worked on a project with some other people it's it is wonderful and it's a blast to work with a group of people that work effectively and work together and in order for that to happen certain things must take place and so I want us to look at a few Bible passages today there are new teachers about unity and what it looks like and the first one I want you to turn to is the fees chapter four.
Here and if he's in chapter four the first several verses are about the ones of the face of things that unite us but Paul shares with his readers here and this is the importance of being united so it's Rediffusion chapter four and will begin in verse one.
It's funny how you read passages from time to time but if you know you're about to experience something kind of means a little bit more to you and so hopefully all of you you'll really see how important it is for us as a church to put this into practice if he's in chapter four beginning in verse one.
Paul says to them he says I therefore a prisoner for the Lord urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness with patience bearing with one another in love and eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. You know when any group is maintaining a unity it is a powerful testimony and voice to the world and I'm sure I hope I hope everyone here no matter how long you've been at this church wants for what verse for three says to happen we are all eager for there to be unity of the spirit in the bond of peace I think all of us want that in every hour of our lives how many of you want unity in the bond of peace in your marriage we all do right how many do you want that in your family how many of you want that in the place that you go to work how many do you want in the place that you go to church the people that you fellowship with and so we need to be eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace and verse two tells us how we need to act in order to have this unity we need to act with a verse to with all humility and gentleness and patience so that we are bearing with one another in love.
Those words are very important and powerful really didn't have to put those into practice Psalm one hundred thirty three one says Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity and so for this morning what I want to do is I want to give us three very specific ways that we as a. Church can maintain unity and if we do these three things if we treat each other these ways with the unity and there with the humility and great gentleness of patients then I think we're going to stay united So let me give you three things OK the three things that we need to do for the next several months especially the first thing that we need to do is we must focus on our purpose. We as a church exist for a very specific reason and we can't get sidetracked we have to know why we exist and you know what our purposes because all through October and November we talked about our purpose as a church Our purpose is our mission statement which is we exist to develop committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching and encouragement of God's word and so that's why we exist that is our purpose and we can do that anywhere the location doesn't matter we can and we have been doing it here on union hills and we can certainly do that at twelve street and if we moved somewhere else if it wasn't sure we could you know wherever we want we exist to develop committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching charisma of God's word but if we lose sight of our purpose then problems are going to arise aren't you to all open your Bibles to Genesis Chapter eleven. This is a great story and every time I read the story I wish there were more details in fact I think I was sure there are more details in every story in the Bible but Genesis Chapter eleven this is talking about a time in human history where people were reunited they were extremely united The only problem is they were united and their purpose was to promote themselves and not to honor God and so let's see how God responds to their unity so Genesis Chapter eleven beginning in verse one
Genesis eleven verse one says.
Now the whole earth had one language in the same words and as people migrated from the east they found the plane in the land of China are in settled there and they said to one another Come let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly and they had brick first stone and be mutant bitumen for mortar and they said then they said Come let us build ourselves a city and tower with its top in the heavens and let us make a name for ourselves lest we disappear lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the children of man had built and the Lord said this is interesting listen behold they are one people and they have all one language and this is only the beginning of what they will do and nothing that they propose to do now will be impossible for them now that's a very interesting very fascinating I think some day we're going to know exactly what we're God was talking about I'm sure they probably are technological advances that you know we probably don't give them credit for we're seven Come now let us go down and they're confused their language so that they might not understand one another speech so the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth and they left off building the city therefore its name was called Babel because there the Lord confused the languages of all the earth and from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth so it's interesting very fascinating idea of a specific time in human history all people said hey let's work together to do something great for ourselves they were united and God said wait a second your purpose is not according to my purpose and so I'm going to scatter you and disperse you all over the face of the earth you look at this and you think you might get confused you know is God against us being united not at all as long as our purpose is in alignment with God's purpose and that the thing that Jesus prayed for on the night that he was betrayed was that all of God's followers all. The followers of Christ are going to be one that just like he is with the father when he read for you from John seventeen and this is Jesus in his high priestly prayer in the garden against somebody the night before he was betrayed this is John seventeen beginning in verse twenty Jesus praying to the Father and he says I do not ask for these only speaking of His disciples but also for those who will believe in Me through their word that they may be one just as you Father are in me and I knew that they also may be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me so Jesus praying God take my children my followers and make them united in one because soon as they are united and they are one with each other then the world will know the truth about who Jesus Christ is and so that's God's desire God's desire is for us to be united and for our purpose to be in alignment with God's will and as we look at God's Word we know many different times it says God's will is for this him for that but I want to remind us of one of the very specific is that God's will is and this is found in first of the two for it says this is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth that's God's will that everyone come to a knowledge of the truth and it's so interesting how when God's children are united that speaks to the world and it really reveals that truth and so the way that we will stay united as a church really begins with us agreeing that our purpose as a church is first and foremost All right so can we do that as we do this as we move we are doing this but our purpose is not changing at all we exist to develop followers of Jesus Christ All right another way that we stay united is by choosing to lift each other up this church leads to be a very positive place where people are growing in their face and being lifted up I want to look at a couple passages to talk about this core to Romans Chapter fifteen.
Romans Chapter fifteen beginning in verse one.
Romans Chapter fifteen beginning in verse one.
It says We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves let each of us pleases neighbor for his good to building him up for Christ did not please him self but as it is written the reproach of those who reproached you fell on me for whatever was written in the former days was written for instruction that through the endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope you know we have our mission statement and this is one of the passages that kind of supports our mission statement we exist to develop committed followers of Jesus Christ in the teaching encouragement of God's word and if you picked up on this but that's what this verse says that we are encouraged through the Scriptures Now verse five talks about every Our interaction with each other this is me the God of in durance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord with Christ Jesus that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ therefore welcome one another as Christ as welcomed you for the glory of God.
Verse six in this passage is extremely important to God Look at this again God is desiring for us with one voice one united voice to glorify Him and that only happens. As one voice if we do what verse two says was to says Let each of us pleases neighbor for his good to build him up you know this is one of the best ways to promote unity among people and that's to build each other out and the wonderful thing about that is it's our choice we get it choose to do this once you go to another passage in Feagin chapter four.
So there's another passage of talks about the importance of building each other up in order to keep unity.
If you Chapter four beginning in verse twenty five.
He's in chapter four beginning in verse twenty five and you've probably noticed in most of Paul's Epistles the last couple chapters he's always dealing with how Christians are supposed to get along and there's this common theme of unity and and getting along and building each other up and we see that again here efficiency for verse twenty five. So therefore having put away falsehood let each of you speak the truth to his neighbor for your all members one of another be angry and do not sin do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil let the thief the longer steal but rather let him labor doing honest work with his own hands so that he may have something to share with anyone in need verse twenty nine let no corrupting talk come out of your mouth but only such as is good for building up as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear you want to make a observation that I made before and this is not make I'm not making a political statement all right and as soon as you say that you think oh no you are making political statement but I'm not. In these last several years have you noticed America is divided and very contentious and if some foreigner were to come from another country not having any Having known anything about the United States and if they were just to watch the news and read the Internet in observe America would they get the impression that we are a united nation or a divided nation politically speaking divided I mean it's obvious and why would they get the assumption that we are divided because we are criticizing each other politics have gone from the point of saying well let's just agree to disagree too if you don't agree with me I hate you and kind of our politics are out a little bit and so was that political environment and I'm sure it'll change and then you know twenty years from now will probably change back and there's their site. Rules and patterns that take place in human history but for the Church the Body of Christ this is our time to shine the world around us should see True Body of Christ Church is not complaining and not criticizing but coming together with one purpose and building up the people in their bodies that's how we should shine as a church in a body of Christ we should be doing that now and I think that we are and we should definitely be doing this in the future and so the time for the church to have a great testimony in America it's not in the past it's even today right now and so that's another way that we stay united so we stay united by focusing on our purpose by choosing to lift each other up and finally this last point that I'm going to share with you is for when number one and number two fail OK. We see a united by handling conflict the right way all right we stay united by handling the conflict the right way when it comes up now for those of you who are on a road trip. What's it like for the people in the backseat especially of their kids how well do they get along right eventually they're going to be yelling and screaming and you know dad Jackie touched me or did Karl did this or you know just as an example using some some names at random as an example you know. Our kids are pretty good you know growing up in one thousand nine hundred four my family took a trip down the west coast from Spokane Washington going to Disneyland and asked for a farm and we were in a station way and me and my three sisters and your touch an inode is horrible but I survived and now I'm an adult now you drive it's a lot better that way but you know and on a on a road trip you know the kids in the back seat or whoever it is they're asking you know when are we going to be there hey can we pull over or can we do this soon can we do that and everyone's complaining. The road trip there's going to be conflict Well guess what guess who is in our church people. And so whenever you get people together there's bound to be conflict on some level so at some point in the next few days or a few weeks or a few months there's going to be a disagreement between at least two people about something going on with the new church and so what's going to happen is we have a lot of decisions that need to be made that's kind of the trick right now we're in a transition time we're a lot of decisions are going to be made decisions about how to do something or where are we going to put this and decisions are going to have to be meeting guess what comes with decisions opinions.
In every single person in here has an opinion about something right well it's a open up another passage to cautions chapter three.
And you're laughing because you know what's true is so true cautions chapter three and so it's nice to just kind of talk about it and get this open. Air This is how we're going to deal with conflict when it comes up cautions Chapter Three beginning in verse twelve.
Kolache in chapter three verse twelve. It says put on then as God's chosen ones holy in Beloved Listen to this bizarre way to treat each other compassionate hearts kindness humility meekness and patience bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another forgive each other as the Lord has forgiven you so you also must forgive and above all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony the time for us to be patient with each other is now the time for us to bear with one another is now and so again whenever you are put in a situation whether it's a church or a family to make multiple decisions like we're about to make theirs is the conditions are perfect and right for conflict in disunity and usually because a lot of the decisions are not based on what is right or wrong but they're based on opinions and preferences OK I want to share a story with you and enough time has passed that I can now share this story all right this is a story about what happened at my first church in Michigan when we built so came to a point where we had outgrown our little little is a small room and so we built a gymnasium in a sanctuary on the back of our building and everyone was excited and it was exciting to do this and so when you do something in this which you have to do is in order to make decisions you cannot have the entire congregation vote on every item right that would be insane right the parents could you imagine that with your kids having them help with every decision so you put people in charge that are responsible and make good choices in certain areas and so we did as we were doing this to put some people in charge of this area ministry and we put people in charge of that area ministry and there were certain people who were in charge of picking the colors for different things all right and they did a great job and so we had to pick the color for the walls in the same jury for the the chairs and also the carpet and so the person in charge it was a group of people in charge and they looked at all these different examples and they said OK let's pick this and so what they did is they picked gold walls and purple chairs.
You know summer you're responding interesting summer you had of thinking bad cold bad purple All right well guess what there was a group in my church that had that same response and they didn't Hindle it the right way and so what happened is a few people said you know what we haven't seen these colors and and gold gold walls and purple chairs this is we need to put an end to this and so what they did is they got a group of people together and they got each other all fired up and all worked up convinced that whoever was in charge couldn't possibly make a good decision and so I literally got a call about nine or ten o'clock the night before the painter came to paint the walls in the same jury and they were demanding for me to tell them who was in charge and why they picked the colors and why they didn't talk to so and so and these people I was kind of taken back rookie mistake I know better now all right and as I was talking to this individual and I wasn't even the individuals that had the opinion they had somebody else make the phone call I asked this person I said Have you seen the colors will know one of these other people seen the colors will know that well if it is too late they're coming it's ordered it's going to be painted Well guess what the walls were colored painted gold the chairs came in they were purple and he looked awesome elt great in fact after everything was in I did not hear one single complaint from anyone but the color of the walls or the chairs unfortunately there had there's a there's a sad ending to the story that group of people they had allowed themselves to not handle conflict to the point where they basically poison themselves with negativity and about several months right after we moved in they had become convinced that it wasn't their church and they left the church and it's so sad looking back because they missed out on a blessing they allowed themselves to not handle conflict the right way and. They put their preferences over the purpose. I don't want to see that happen again I don't want to see that happen again and this church good thing is the walls are already painted so we're going to be retiring.
But there's going to be an opinion on well this should have been over there and that should have been over here and you know we're we're going to deal with that we're human beings that's going to happen but listen if over the next several months you see something happening that you don't like or you don't prefer I'm serious when I say this everyone needs to stop and take a step back and ask ourselves these two questions Is this a matter of right and wrong I guess is a matter and usually these are not doctrinal issues OK but it is a matter of right and wrong and maybe the best way to judge that is will this decision help us achieve our mission statement does this help us develop committed followers of Jesus Christ or right like for instance give you kind of a crazy example someone might come up and say hey I think we should start selling hard on the church on Saturday and so we're going to ask ourselves a question does this help us develop committed followers of Jesus Christ and the answer is no so we're not going to be selling hot dogs in church on Saturday OK you had that idea sorry we're just not going to do that but if you can say this is yes this is an issue of right or wrong then please speak up and go to the right people and do it the right way OK but if you you realize that there is a decision being made Ask yourself Is this a question of opinion and preference and if it is a matter of opinion or preference then hit all of the right when the best thing to do is to simply go in a loving patient calm way to the person in charge and say hey I have some ideas here they are and then you've just got to back off and let it go you have to do that OK and if you handle it the right way you might give someone some insight that they didn't have before I can't tell you how many times I have had an idea of what I wanted to do at the church and someone came up to me in the right way and they said Hey Will here's an idea want you to sway and then I thought about it and I realize that's a really good idea. Maybe we should and it's an issue of preference and opinion not right or wrong so let's handle conflict the right way I want to go to one last passage Philippians chapter four.
Philippines' chapter four.
Beginning in verse one.
And I've used this passage before and I thought about this passage so many times this is the typical standard happens in every church every relationship ever this happened so let's read what Paul is telling these two wonderful women to do live in chapter four beginning of verse one
is there for my brothers whom I love and long for my joy and my crown stand firm Thus in the Lord my beloved I entreat and I entreat sin chickie to agree in the Lord yes I also ask you to companion help these women who have labored side by side with me in the Gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the book of life and so here Paul calls out two women who had spent years united in purpose and then something came up and it doesn't tell us what it is because it doesn't matter because it happens all the time maybe you wanted gold colored walls and since he wanted gray colored wall who who knows what it is but Paul realized that they had put their preference in again we don't know what it is but they maybe have put their preference over the purpose and Paul wants them to wake up you are focusing on the minor details don't have your preference trump the purpose of the ministry of the goddess called you to. And so that is what I hope that we will do that we will handle conflict well when it arises and I think if we do all three of these things it will help us definitely stay united we need to focus on our purpose we need to lift each other up and handle conflict the right way. Or right now as we are going to close our second to last service here I want to do communion and I want to do communion because this is reminding us of the reason why you and I are truly united so I can have the men come forward.
And we will be prepared to take communion.
And here in our church this is how we do communion if you are a member of the Body of Christ if you place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you have the hope of spending eternity with Him then you are part of the Body of Christ and we welcome you to share in the bread and the juicer presents the body in the blood of Jesus Christ but if you here today and you're just just trying to figure who God is as the elements are passed down you can feel free to just let them go by but as we said we're going to pass on the bread first which represents the body of Jesus Christ and I want to give all of you a time to just think and reflect and a couple thoughts I want to give you to think about and reflect on as you're handing as you're handed a piece of bread and you're holding onto it and you're looking at it it represents it represents obviously the body of Jesus Christ and it's not broken body of Jesus Christ and nothing else in the universe that unites us to God.
And it also unites us to each other.
So here we are as a body of believers thanking him praising God for the forgiveness of sins that we have and it's because. Of Jesus' body that he willingly gave for us so spend time thinking in reflecting on that and praising God for that truth.
Paul writes about that night in the upper room when Jesus is meeting with his disciples and he says privacy from the Lord What I also deliver to you but the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread and we've given thanks he broke it and he said this is my body which is for you do this in remembrance of me.
Father we thank you so much for the sacrifice that you made by sending your son. To die on a cross and give us the hope of eternal life. Right now in the quietness of this moment. As as your church is your body we acknowledge that there is no other hope that we have other than the death of your son.
To be united with you and so Father thank You for this great sacrifice what unites us not only to you but also as you are teaches us to each other or to help us as a church be united in the months in the years to come. A man.
Now as we pass on to the users represents the blood of Jesus Christ.
It represents a promise and specifically for those disciples to represent the promise that God was about to sign the Holy Spirit the new covenant which was in the cup as Jesus said for us today it also represents that God is not done with what he's doing he says Jesus says drink this cup and how I come back and so that is the one hope that you and I have a unites us and so as we take this cup hold on to it and think about the fact that the blood of Jesus Christ is the same blood that saves every single person in this room and the same Holy Spirit that enjoys every single person in this room and gives us the same hope and the same future we are truly one with God and one with each other so let's thank God for this unity.
also says in the same way also he took the cup after supper saying This cup is the new covenant in my blood do this is often as you drink it in remembrance of me for as often as you drink this read this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death and tell.
Your god we proclaim just at this this morning we believe that you are coming back to call us to be home with you forever and I tell that time lord you've given us a great purpose that is to spread the message of reconciliation to the world around us and so father my prayer for us is a church and as individuals as that we will take that calling very seriously that we as a church will you be united with each other in our purpose and that we will lift each other up as we talked about this morning the Lord that will help each other to handle conflict while Laura Dunn has been so excited to see your faithfulness in this church these last forty years and even the last twenty years here at this location and we believe in your faithfulness for future generations at the New Church Lord I pray that we will be a great testimony and that new location and Laura where we pray that you will keep us united throughout this process that is our prayer in Christ and we pray that you can pass the cops to the aisles the men will come by and they'll pick those up. And I mean the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all amen.