September 16, 2018

“One Anothering”: Unity

Preacher:

These are my bodyguards.

Yeah. Bodyguards you know are two thousand the teen is it is a significant year in my life and they didn't dawn on me until as I was going through specific events this last year for instance you kind of stuck up and you were how did in your life where you're you ask yourself the question has that much time really gone by is it really been this much time well back in May It reminded that I have now been graduated from college for twenty years you know you talk about ten year reunion twenty year from high school and now twenty years a graduate from college twenty years ago and and it dawns on me that I have I have been out of school longer than I was in school you know the first part of your life you're in school and then you go to college and I think my earning get out here and and I've been out longer than I was in so I kind of made their realization in May and then just a few weeks ago August twenty eighth Chris and I celebrated twenty years of marriage and and.

She deserves the applause as you know usually And I think it is that much time really gone by Although I'm twenty years and I think that's a fair accomplishment but nothing like sixty stand in Charlotte celebrated sixty August twenty third I think that this character thank you note of applause.

I'm one third of the way to where you guys are only got three more years to go I think that's fantastic and then it didn't it didn't dawn on me and tell last week or this week our camera was saying wait a second to Chris and I've been married twenty years and I began my first church three weeks after we got married and so I looked at the calendar and it dawned on me that today this Sunday the third Sunday in September is when I began my pastoral career twenty years ago. Yes.

And. You know you never know how long a career is going to last but if you think of it in terms of the standard forty years I just I'm realizing that I'm I might be halfway done with my career or just just some really sobering thoughts some very interesting thoughts and I've kind of had some time to reflect on that but this last week I definitely tried to remember what my very very first Sunday as a pastor was like and I have some vague memories I do remember that I wore a suit and tie because I wanted to put on a good impression for everyone and I was in Michigan not in Arizona I remember that I was both scared and excited and I also remember that I was full of optimism and I had a whole bunch of ideas that I wanted to implement in the church and that's typical of a twenty four year old college graduate you know all these ideas that you want to implement and and also it's weird to think that in just a few years from now I will have been a pastor for a longer portion of my life than I have not been a pastor so I'm kind of this weird stage of my life but as I reflect on the reasons why I wanted to go into ministry in the first place those those reasons are still true today and the main reasons are because I really believe that this is true I really believe that God wrote these words through all those authors I really believe that God created the heavens and the earth I really believe there's a heaven and… and I believe that the only way that you and I and the rest of the world can have any hope of having eternal life is because he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross and raised him back to life I believe all of those things even more so today than they did twenty years ago and I still believe the world around us needs to know this so I'm signing up for another twenty years well soon as he went out because you never know what what you're the future holds but on the last Sunday was an unusual Sunday for the White family we were here a church we decided this is kind of a last opportunity for us to just get away and spend some time as a family and so we went to San Diego we had a great time most of us spent a lot of time in the ocean I think Kyle Jackie and I were in the Pacific Ocean for probably about ten hours I mean we were in there jumping a plane in the ways we had a great time but we woke up on Sunday morning and it was just weird because we were at church and pile and Jackie were like This is weird it's Sunday we're not a church I go yeah I know this is really where this almost never happens and so Chris and I were talking about this and I honestly believe with the exception of West Coast Grace you can't Sundays that each of my kids could probably count on one hand how many times they have not been any sure on a Sunday morning for their entire lives.

I think part of that is because obviously their dad is a pastor that kind of plays into it another thing is we've been really fortunate that they don't get sick very often which is good for your fortunate for a family that's an in a past pastoral family but I was just thinking about this that they were like This is so weird that we're not a church and they didn't like the fact that they weren't a church and so whether I was a pastor or not something that I want to do is I want to instill in my children the importance of making God a priority in their lives and part of that is being involved with a group of believers and God calls that we call that church and so what we're doing here this morning this is God's idea for us to come together and be part of a local church together last week Steve McDonald I'm very lucky to have someone like Steven Pastor Mike so if you few other people that I can call in if I'm going to be out a talented to preach for me and he kind of introduced my series and I'm really kind of starting today and I don't I listen to the sermon and I can remember the exact words he used but you said something like my new series is on how we can one another one another so this is the new series that we're going through on one another in each other and you have heard me talk about this year the last year previous years you've heard me talk about our mission as a church we always need to understand why we exist we exist to develop committed followers of Jesus Christ through the teaching encouragement of God's word staff that is why we exist you've also heard me talk about our values for us to develop committed followers we need to practice certain things are for values as a church is viable center preaching and teaching we all believe that this is true and so we open up our Bibles we also value discipleship and we also value faithful service and our fourth value is what we're going to be talking about for the next several weeks and that is healthy relationships and so a few weeks ago I did a kind of a mini series on the negative side of relationships and that is of going through that four week series on the bait of Satan how Satan will use us being offended with each other to stir up the wrong emotions that will lead to sometimes will ultimately lead to the breakdown and the deterioration of some healthy relationships but what I want to do for the next several weeks is I want to stay focus on how we can have great healthy relationships with one another both inside and outside of the church and the way that we do that is by practicing all of the one another commands that we find in God's word.

I'm getting used to the slides here I got all the slides for you today so hopefully you enjoy this the word the Greek word for one another is a singular word in the Greek it is the word loan and it's a hundred times one hundred times are going to find this in the New Testament and all of that seventy six times it's translated one another and so if you have a can court instead you go to Bible Gateway dot com if you use a certain study method like Joel Titus and since the new school the Sunday you can just type in one another and you're going to get about one hundred different references seventy six are translated one another twelve are translated themselves three yourself and there are nine just miscellaneous translations of this creek word and the night the thing that I like about Bible study is when you study them you can kind of put them into groups and of all the one another's You can kind of classify them into three mean categories thirty percent of the time when you find the word one another the words are the commands are focused on how we can have a unity with each other thirty percent are on the love that we are supposed to have with each other fifteen percent are on the humility that we're supposed to show each other and twenty five percent are just miscellaneous things like greet one another be hospitable to one another judge one another don't judge one another things like that and so what I want to do is for this sermon series I want to start with the unity section the thirty percent that deals with the unity that we're supposed to have to the one another commands and the reason why I want to start with unity is because that's where we should start because that's where Jesus started and I was I was studying this I noticed that with unity these verses all tell us that we're there and there are some things that we are to either be to not do or to do and you see this on the screen up there and so to start this one another series off what I want to do is go to the prayer that Jesus prayed on the night before he was betrayed to see why unity is so important to God and why it should be important to us so let's open our Bible says John Chapter seventeen.

And let's read a portion of Jesus high priestly prayer.

Now you know you go there I was telling us lies now you go back to. All the all or all of this lie that's part and I'm going to have a portion of John seventeen up there but I want to start off a little bit sooner so John seventeen verse six John seventeen verse six it's all I want you to understand this is where Jesus was in the garden of guess somebody and if someone is if there is some words that you're going to pay attention to that someone says on their deathbed that's when you really pay attention because someone is going to say the most important things on their deathbed especially if they know that that's one of the final things that they're going to say and so these are the things that Jesus is praying to God the Father literally before he's crucified and so let's begin just reading in your own bias John seventeen versus Jesus praying to the Father and he says I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world yours they were and you gave them to me and they have kept your word now they know that everything that you have given me is from you for I have given them the words that you gave me and they have received them and have come to know them to know in truth that I came from you and they have believed that you sent me I am praying for them and they show something interesting I'm not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me for they are yours all mine or yours and yours or mine I am glorified in them and I am no longer in the world but they are in the world and I am coming to you and he says Holy Father keep them in your name which you have given me that they may be one even as we are one so on the night before Jesus prayed he's praying for his disciples to Peter James John all of those all those men and he's praying God make them one.

Have them be united with each other just like I am united with you the Father Son and the Holy Spirit and let's jump ahead to this passage in verse twenty.

In verse twenty now Jesus starts praying not for just his disciples but for everyone else who is going to believe and that includes you and me today so I do not ask for these only but also for those who will believe in Me through their word that they may all 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 the glory that you have given me I have given to them that they may be one even as we are one I in them and you in me that they may be perfectly one so that the world may know that you sent me and love them even as you love to me.

What I want is for to day just the significance of this prayer to sink in on the night before Jesus died he prayed that you and I the true believers and followers of Christ would be one and what happens when you and I experience Oneness Jesus says is the world sees the truth about Jesus when they see us as followers of Christ being one united with each other it says something to the world about the truth about who Jesus Christ is so our oneness is very important and our unity with each other is very important so what does that look like you know what is it where how do we how do we do this well next week we're going to look at the things that we should not do so that we will be united with each other then after that well what are the things that we should do but for day what I want to do is focus on how we can experience unity with each other through the things that we need to be

if we're going to be united with each other you and I need to be certain things and I'm going to share with you two things today are two two main points so we experience unity with one another when we are gentle and patient. When you and I are gentle and patient you and I experience unity with each other I want you to turn your Bibles to a fusions chapter four and I was in Joel's Sunday school class this morning and and early on I thought oh no where is he going with this he stole like the next ten minutes of my sermon you're going to hear so those of you are in the Sunday school class this is going to be a review and I was sitting behind calling sites for today I'm like you know you're stealing my sermon and she goes review is good or so and we're going to be talking about patients today and that's what is Sunday School classes on so there's at least twenty of you that really need to learn about patients in your life but here any fusions for this is a passage where Paul is talking about the unity that you and I are supposed to have with each other it's talking about the ones of the face and he writes this to us and so we're going to kind of break us apart we're going to study this portion of Scripture if he's in chapter four beginning in verse one

Paul 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 and stop there for a second the calling to which you and I have been called is to be children of God That's our calling and now explains what that looks like first to

with all humility and gentleness and patience bearing with that here's our rig required all alone bearing with one another in love eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Now you'll notice in this passage in verse two specifically there are three things that we are that are mentioned that we are supposed to be we are supposed to be humble gentle and patient and I've only included two of those for this morning because fifteen percent of the one another commands are about unity so I'm going to save unity for our for humble for for another time but in verse three it says that we are to be eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace so you and I are supposed to be eager and zealous to be united with each other and to have that bond that the Holy Spirit gives us and so Paul is telling us as believers that among us there is this unity of the spirit in the bond of peace that we were to maintain and when we experience the unity of the Spirit Well what happens in the world sees the truth about Jesus and again in verse two it tells us what our role is in maintaining the unity of the Spirit tells us that we need to do three things be humble gentle and patient and these three character traits really help us to be united with each other and and this sort of makes sense because when you look at the opposites of these words like we kind of did this morning you realize that the opposite of humble gentle and patient is going to lead to disunity among people I mean the opposite of someone who is humble is very prideful Is it easy to be one with a person who is full of pride no prideful person gives us the impression that they are more important more valuable than us or is it was it easier to be one with someone who is not gentle maybe the the opposite of gentleness is God's wrath or a roughness where usually don't feel safe around someone who is acting that way the opposite of patients there's actually one hundred some odd mantra in this for patients but one would be impatience or.

Irritation and when someone is acting that way towards us and kind of pushes us away and so humility gentleness and patience it really draws people together and as I was going through this and I was preparing this not knowing that Joel was going to steal my entire sermon this morning.

Two of these maybe you'll notice are two of the fruit of the spirit. Gentleness and patience are two of the fruit of the Spirit and then he adds in humility and and sometimes as I'm starting a passage of Scripture I always wonder why Paul or whoever the author was why they use very specific words and and that's the joy of being a pastor and starting your all this is why those specific words were used to describe the situation of the setting Well what I did is this week I went back and I reviewed some of my notes on the qualities of the fruit the Spirit because we went over those one by one and this morning as Joel is introducing this Sunday School class and he says we're going to go through the fruit of the spirit I'm thinking oh great I picked two of the nine odds are in my favor and he picks patience and so but that's just showing how it works but English is five twenty two for those of you who are familiar with this passage is to reduce it says but the fruit of the Spirit is love joy peace of patients kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness and self-control and so why is it that when Paul wrote a fusion chapter four he did think Chapter four verses one and two but when he wrote a fish in chapter four talking about the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace why did he pick out the force in the quality of the fruit of the Spirit to talk about how we need to have that in order to maintain unity why doubt that many of you are going to remember all of these qualities but you might remember Sunday school class this morning some of you but the interesting thing about patience and gentleness is these two qualities were linked together of the nine they're almost like opposites opposite ways of responding to the same situation so let me give you a definition a brief definition we're not going to spend the whole morning talking about this brief definition of patients and and patients is talking about someone who has long tempered or the area able to suffer along in a situation and when you and I need to exhibit patients or we need to be patient it's because we're experiencing either a situation that causes us to be impatient or we're experiencing most of the time people people who are causing us to be impatient and so especially without in a region of the definition of patients that I read to you back when we did this as a part of the sermon series on the through the Spirit and uses one of my favorite words so you might remember the word maybe more than the definition but we talk about patients dealing with patients of people patients is this the ability to put up with the weaknesses and the foibles you knew those coming before you bills of others and to show forbearance towards them without getting quickly irritated and angry enough to want to fight back so another way to think about patience is Patience is the ability to not take offense.

Patience is the ability to not take the bait of say patience is the ability to say OK I feel all these emotions starting to to raise their ugly head in me but I'm going to be patient meaning I'm not going to let my emotions have control over me so that's what patience kind of means to have control over your emotions gentleness is kind of the same a little bit a little different dynamic gentleness is the ability to handle those situations without aggression so patience is having control over your emotions gentleness is having control over not taking vengeance over the people who are making you impatient

so patience is the internal way to respond gentleness is the X. term a way to respond let me kind of read this definition of this description of gentleness to you that I read probably a few weeks ago a few months ago. But gentleness shows itself when I have learned the Christ like way to respond to conflicts quarrels rejection unfairness or harsh words against me is not with bluster and self defense not with harsh or aggressive words now with angry gestures and facial expressions but rather with softness controlling my tongue and my temper and so when we are patient we're controlling our emotions when we are attacked or irritated it's the internal response but when we are gentle we are choosing not to retaliate when we are attacked or irritated that's the X. terminal response and so Paul says in order to maintain the unity of the spirit we need to be both we need to be patient and we need to be gentle with each other control your emotions control your response and then he adds humility in there because only a humble person is able to be both gentle and patient probably to some extent and when we are those three things gentle patient and humble we can experience with each other this unity of the spirit in the bond of peace you know and you see how this can all work together that's why Paul wrote a fusion is food for vs one in two he's wanting us to experience that unity so if we're going to experience unity we need to be patient we need to be gentle and having control over our emotions and our responses Well it's the first portion the second portion of the our sermon this morning is is this the second point is this we experience unity with one another when we are being the Body of Christ you and I will experience unity with each other when we are when we be the Body of Christ our next passage this morning is in Romans Chapter twelve. Romans Chapter twelve this is a is a passage we're going to spend a lot of time and there's a lot of one another commands in Romans Chapter twelve but I want to look at just a few verses here beginning in first for Romans Chapter twelve beginning in verse four and this is kind of telling us a part about part of our identity as being a child of God that we are a part of the Body of Christ so Romans Chapter twelve beginning in verse four

he writes for as in one body we have many members and the members do not all have the same function so we though many are one body in Christ and individually members one of another having gifts the differ according to the grace given to us let us use them and then he goes on to talk about all the different gifts that we can use in the body so when we experience unity with each other we experience that when we be the Body of Christ and obviously this has kind of a functional aspect of it but I want to kind of this to get at this big picture idea of this you know today the title that we put on God's people today is the Body of Christ we are the Body of Christ and we in other churches we make a distinction between the body of Christ the nation of Israel the nation of Israel were Abraham's physical descendants the body of Christ are Jews and Gentiles who coming together to make one new identity that we have with God However what I don't want to do is I don't want to miss out on the obvious reason why God uses this title to describe his people for today it's not just to make a distinction between us and what happened in the past I think God uses this phrase to describe his people today because a body does stuff. A body it functions a body lives a body interacts with the world around it the body can accomplish tasks and projects and if you read their first Corinthians Chapter twelve that's another great passage we're rolling in a look at just one verse really quick on that it talks about how there's all these different parts of the body and each of us is a member of the body we've been assigned a part of the body and you get through a point where someone might say wait a second even though I might be a part of the body I think that I'm fine all on my own I can do the Body of Christ thing without anyone else's help in the verse twenty one Paul writes of First Corinthians twelve he says the I cannot say to the hand I have no need of you nor again the head to the feet I have no need of you it's kind of ridiculous you know in our body our bodies would say that to the different members of our body right but you know do you realize that within the Body of Christ people say this to the body all the time

they might not actually use these words but how many people they got his place within the body have said either they've actually thought these words or through their actions we've said this to the rest of the body I really have no need of the rest of you people do this all the time in going back to the previous passage in a fusion Zz I think a person who would say that that I have no need of you would be the opposite of someone who is humble gentle and patient many parts within a physical body can't function together if they're doing so with with pride and with Rast fullness and with their patients you know I'm going to spend more time on this point specifically in the next two weeks because it really gets into the do nots and the do portions of unity but I hope that the importance of this point will sink in and that is this in order for you and I to experience the unity with each other we need to be the Body of Christ to realize all of us have been placed in here and that we really do need each other and depend on each other to accomplish God's work in our lives you know as I was preparing for this I was just thinking.

God wants us to experience unity with each other but how often do we really experience the whole heart of unity with with one another it doesn't happen very often I've been thinking to myself how many times in my lifetime having experienced unity with with other people whether it's inside the church or outside the church into two times came to my mind and one time is in particular because of what we sell of not celebrated what we remember this last week I saw a post on Facebook.

About nine eleven and The Post said nine eleven was a horrible day but that person really misses nine twelve.

Do you remember what it was like to be an American on the twelfth of September two thousand and one and the thirteen and the fourteen.

I hate I hated for us to go through nine eleven but I have never seen our country so united I vividly remember driving down the streets of Granville Michigan with flags literally on every telephone pole on every street I mean there were no more Democrats and Republicans for at least a couple weeks.

We were one we knew we as a nation we were one and it took some kind of a tragedy for us to to get our minds off all of our selfish things and our prideful issues and we said no we're one. Sometimes going through a tragedy will we create one this with each other another time that I really experienced unity was in my first church I've I've mentioned this a couple times there was a young man forty years old he had the diagnosis of stage four pain credit cancer wife and two kids he didn't have life insurance we barely had health insurance and so we're like what what can we do what we do and he had been at our church for a couple of years but he had been in and a different church for a few years and so our churches got together we said we need to help this family we need to come together we need to help this family and I remember we had in our church building in the old church came in held out we had a silent auction a live auction and I think was a spaghetti dinner and between our two churches we raised in one night over fifty thousand dollars to help this man and his family and it was just so many member being up there looking around and half the people who are from my church half are from the other church but it didn't matter we were there for one reason and that was to support this family that it was just definitely a time of unity that I experienced and to a lesser extent I also I think experience unity on January fourteenth two thousand and eighteen when all of us took three and half hours to move from union hills to here there and there was some unity with that was pretty good. You know it when Paul wrote the New Testament kind of interesting thing for us to consider from our perspective as there were no denominations back then if you were alive you were one of basically three things either you're a Jew you were just a straight heathen and a Pagan or you're a follower of Jesus Christ at that time there were no denominations and I'm not anti denominational you know we're not a part of a denomination we're just an independent church but with everything that is manmade there's obviously some some positives and some negatives but I just I hope the sinks in that listen that we had today if you are a believer in Jesus Christ you are and I am one with every other believer in this world that says the same thing we are one in Christ

but the best thing or the same time is the major benefit of being a part of a very specific local body of believers is you know I have to ask the question well who am I supposed to one another all of these one another commands when you're in a body you look around and say OK it's that person it's that person these are the people that I get to do these one another commands with.

Unity often takes place best with projects and I think it church should always have some projects from time to time where they can be united in purpose and there's a couple things I want to share with you I'm excited about that are coming up in a deals with Eagle road Eagle Ridge Elementary School you know when we first moved here I definitely thought I think the board thought and I think our congregation thought for some reason I think maybe Eagle Ridge Elementary School is going to have something to do with the reason why we moved here and I've been praying I think some of you have been praying that we will have some kind of a connection with the school and we were able to maybe get in there and have an influence on them and if we have an influence on that elementary school it means that we have an influence on this community all around us and so a while ago maybe a month or month or two ago another pastors name is Blake Williams of Shiloh Community Church was just a couple miles away he said hey I know you guys are new to the area I want to talk to you about a movement going on in all of Phoenix that connects churches and schools and like Ah well yeah let's get together I've been waiting to do this so Mike and I we met with him and it talks about there's something that's already in place is called school can act where it connects churches and schools together so that they can have a relationship and they can kind of meet those needs well this last Tuesday there was a meeting and an area wide meeting for all the Paradise Valley schools where they sat down and he came up with a list of projects that they're going to do on. What's the it's called of their love our school day I'm glad that I wrote that down. All the Paradise Valley schools all the Deer Valley schools all the schools in basically all maybe even Maricopa I don't know how big it gets on October twentieth Saturday October twentieth we're going to have something called love our school day and we have been assigned to Eagle Ridge and so they're creating a list of different projects and we're going to get that in so obviously some families and some of the students are going to do this but I want us to have a great showing where we can say to them hey we as a church are united and through our unity you can see the love of Christ and so we're going to participate in this we're going to have some sign up sheets and we're going to be hearing a lot more about this in the coming weeks so if you have nothing going on on Saturday October twenty eighth I heard you to leave the morning open in fact this last Tuesday I met the principal I met the vice principal I met the vice president of the Parent Teacher Association and I was hoping that we're going to have a good connection with the principal you have the best thing about the principal is could use know that I like a college football team where we're talking about that she's a huge Michigan Wolverines fan she lives in Ann Arbor for a while and so we talked it all football for like the first five minutes and I guess my we have an in with the principal of the elementary school Mike McFadden and I are going to go are tomorrow and we're going to get a tour of the facility so I just I'm really excited about the connection that we're already having with them something else we're going to do is Friday November sixteenth they have a carnival every year and so we're going to get as many people that can do this that want to help we're going to go over there and we're going to try to man some of the games and some of the rights and we just want our community to see that the church next door is united and making a difference and one of the ways that they're going to know that we're from the same church is we're making these shirts that's kind of cool respectable church as kind of our logo on there says Phoenix Arizona Alex Escambia he owns a shirt shop and that's probably not the right way to say it but he makes sure it's and so we're going to be making a whole bunch. Of these We're going to let you order them we're going to make them pretty much it costs are going to about ten dollars apiece and so this is not a fund raiser We're not trying to make money off these shirts but they're going to be nice soft try blend we want as many people of you all of you to buy a shirt and especially if we go to the October twentieth as a member sixteenth as a church we want to wear those shirts so that our our neighborhood our community will see that we as a church really want to make a difference here so I'm kind of excited about those those things that are coming up what I want to leave you kind of with a final thought and which is Jesus prayer before he went to the cross he prayed that you and I would be one

not only that you and I would be one but that you and I would be one just like Jesus is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit and that's something I don't think we will ever ever be able to experience or attain in this life but if that was his prayer and that's his priority then we need to make that our priority that we have one purpose you and I have one purpose in this world and that is to proclaim who Jesus Christ is and so we do that and so in order to do what God wants us to do let us be humble and gentle and patient with one another as we are the Body of Christ is close in prayer.

Dear Lord I thank you so much for teaching us these things in your word I'm thankful for even Joel Sunday school class this morning talking about patience and and it's it is good for us to be reminded but Lord of. When we go through circumstances and situations where people irritate us and and there is the possibility of us experiencing disunity Lord help us to remember this is what you've called us to to be patient to be gentle to be humble with other so that we can experience the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace Florida as we study these one another commands I pray that you'll bless us I pray that you put in all of us a sincere and genuine desire to experience this unity with each other the unity that Jesus himself prayed that we would experience the night before he was betrayed so Father I thank you for sending your son to die on the cross for sins raising him back to life so that we can experience Oneness with you but Lord you have called us to make every effort to maintain unity with each other so for these next several weeks as we go through these one or other commands I pray that you'll bless us and help us to achieve just that. Pray these in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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