Unity: Do Not…
All right well before we get into the sermon for today we have some missionaries here and because you know we all we often think of Phoenix as the center of the universe but we're actually kind of tucked away in the southwest corner of the United States and so whenever missionaries come to visit people here in the United States if they're able to come through Phoenix we're glad that they're able to come visit us so so Dean put I OG Come on up again and chief are here they are missionaries with things to commission in South America and South Africa. That's why he's here. And I know you know a couple people in our church she says Sarah Kincaid spent some time with you in South Africa and also rich and Linda Watts were on a mission trip not the summer but the last summer and they were able to spend some time with you and their dear kind of coming through the United States and so while they're here just like this is a great time for them to introduce themselves and let us know what kind of ministry they have so.
Thank you sir good morning.
It's an honor to be with you to Smalling My name is Dean.
We have in recent days and I'm going to present to you a thirty minute Power Point in five minutes so.
Make sure that you are with me that's South Africa
That's our picture my name is Dean my wife there is Sheba we have two kids City and she did as we are up a die how guess we are missionaries of things look on mission in a county called South Africa South Africa is right there in the bottom part.
The Green Collar country down there southernmost tip of the continent of Africa facing up to one ticklish on the left An Indian Ocean on the rights.
What happened pressed the wrong button.
All right a South Africa with nine provinces we are based in the smallest province of how thing that's a very small province right there but that's the most heavily populated province Pretoria is there and then you honey is also there METRO Do you have this burg has twelve million people and we are based in one of the cities of Johnnie's bird.
Of We have fifty five million people about. Not a ten percent are white. And then we have about eighty percent Christians but that's not the Christian that we know in the Bible you know it's not the biblical Christian that we know just a matter of comparison of the South Africa we have we kind of compare with major counties South Africa is one eighth the size of United States a third the size of Europe twice the size of France over three times the size of Germany if you're familiar with takes us multiply takes us by two that's the size of South Africa it is the America in Africa for so many reasons we have Internet we have highways we don't have a lot of any modest but we have Mercedes bins and B.M.W.'s too we've got almost everything.
We would like to share to our daily weekly monthly and yearly ministries. Monday is our day off that's very important for us you will know why but choose day that's OUR a time we are teaching our kids in the morning of just day until Friday morning our kids are wonderful students and we are their teachers Cydia is nine she dishes of five they're kind of six months behind with their studies with a lot of trial. Bling that we are doing right now but I think they are doing good study wise Tuesday evening we have a Bible study in a place called Hamann scrawl about one hour drive north of Pretoria in a factory and then wins the morning we have a Bible study in a company in a business capital of Johnny's burg in a company called it to him solutions. And that guy there in the middle with what is that color gray he is second year in our Bible School and he is the leader of the Bible study group in the evening we have a Bible study among professionals in a place called Box board we have a wonderful group of bikers and engineers and lawyers and C.E.O.'s that are attending they are young and rich and we are sublists the be able to work with these wonderful group of young people first day we have a Bible study in Pretoria very mixed congregation there we have British Darts and mixed race as you call them but they are colored as we call them in South Africa plus Filipinos of course on Fridays we have a Bible study in seven homes and one factory we rotate obviously there's only one Friday and saving homes are trying to kind of host our Bible studies and so it's fun is just so excited to see people wanting to horse Bible study or Bible study groups.
Those are some of the families we are having bible studies every Friday and then we have our pastoral and workers' training ministry our Bible school we have three Bible schools one in Vox bird one in to be song and one incision will be in it's of this Bible school we have three or four teachers that are teaching the. Students there just really about fifteen A students in each of the branch those are students when they come together for special occasions. And then we are printing our own books we used to receive some books from our things the commission office in Indianapolis but you know to see in books it's very expensive plus to receive books in South Africa we have to pay so do double fees and we don't have funds for that well we are so blessed that you know some of the Grace writers are very generous enough to give us permission to print their books for free so my wife she is the one doing the printing and a book binding pray for her she's tiny little woman there but she is very strong we have come ministry also we have sixty to seventy young people that we are working with every May and then we also have a come on come on five minutes only
And then we have a national conference for two years we had a hard time breaking through eighty people attending a conference but last year we have three hundred that's just amazing growth that we experience and we are so proud of what the Lord is doing through our ministry we have youth conference every June sixteen and then we have missions conference this is the time of the year that we just got there are pastors together and we think and talk and discuss about how we can expand our work in South Africa we have leadership summit we believe in. Iron sharpening iron type of principle we have out roots programs we have a good number of women they are going to hospitals and sharing the gospel they are to the patients we also have You'll find out rich and.
Of course we love the older people we go to them seeing and share the gospel to them and then from time to time we go out to places where we have church planting projects and then there we share the Gospel we also share our material bliss things feeding program with the kids and sharing the gospel to the perience we have give ministry where we click some. Things you know food and share them to our outreach programs we have a gospel truck this is our mobile stage we park the truck in communities meet noice loud music you know and then print the gospel there after that we go it's a mobile stage we have doing services every three months we call our churches together about four churches coming together for feel still we also have church planting our family planted in two thousand and six our church in Kempton Park and then in twenty fifteen we planted a church in Boksburg and then before we went to the Philippines in two thousand and eight of. January we planted a church in Pietermaritzburg.
We have kids ministry my wife is helping with the Sunday school and we have video ministries also we love to call it Grace T.V. sounds very fancy but it's actually you know aspire writhing pirating or duplicating others who have the video ministries but you know it's cool I think I have to stop right there
I don't want to steal time. If you want to know more about our ministry we have a table outside we have prayer cards.
Like this one and then we have a brochure also and we have told our recent news leaders and if you want to connect with us with e-mails we have a sign up people are there you know we appreciate the time we really appreciate and we are praying that the Lord will continue to bless it's one of you sir also just thank you.
If you'd like to get some information from them we got a table set up back there but it's always nice to have missionaries come through here and I think it's healthy for us because sometimes we get so wrapped up and think that nothing happens outside of North Phoenix but God does it work in different parts of the world and so it's it's healthy and it's good for us to hear what God is doing in South Africa and South America too he's you know he's doing stuff everywhere but.
There are good my slides are up there now too also it's kind of nice has passed from I talked about in the next coming weeks several weeks we're going to be doing some stuff over at Eagle Ridge Elementary School and so I think that's good for us as well because you know just having moved here I think our tendency might to think about how we as a church are doing but we're here to serve the world around us and so what a great opportunity we have to get into the neighborhood and to do that through Eagle Ridge Elementary School so it's a great way to kind of get our minds off of ourselves and into the calling that God has for us and if there's anything in life that helps a human being get their eyes off their own self and on to other things it's being the parent of infants Amen parents of infants can you agree with that you know becoming a parent changes the way that you view the world a parent of an infant will walk into any room and they will immediately start scanning our you know what is in this room that my child will put in their mouth or what is in this room that my child will stick their hands into or or stick their fingers into and they're always scanning a room looking for different threats that can harm their child.
I remember that time in our lives when our kids were that age it's kind of fun to look at pictures and it's kind of you know get reminiscent but I'm really glad I'm past that stage because it was exhausting it was really tiring being a parent of infants but as a parent I think all. Of us can say this our desire is for our children to grow up and to become mature and so as they grow up what we do is we look for the threats that are in their life and we hopefully try to remove them so it doesn't harm them were God's desire for us after we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and we believe that he died on the cross for our sins and rose back from the grave God's desire for us is that you and I are united as one with each other and that's what Jesus prayed for on the night when he was crucified let me just read for you this is actually think this is in your bulletin on the front cover of the the inside of the bulletin this is from John seventeen verses twenty to twenty one this is what Jesus prayed the night before he was betrayed the night before he was crucified and so Jesus prays and John seventeen twenty 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 all be one just as you Father are in me and I in you that they may be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me and so this prayer from Jesus on the night before you is betrayed is huge it tells us that as you and I are united with each other it tells the world the truth about Jesus Christ and so last week I began another series on one another in one another maybe that's a phrase or a catch I'm probably not but I like to think that it might and on what what this is based off of the Greek word Ali wrong and this Greek word is found over one hundred times in the New Testament seventy six times it is translated one another and so were picked out some of those that were going to be looking at twelve times its translated themselves three times yourself in the nine miscellaneous random and then when we put these into groups and this is kind of how I'm kind of structuring these. Next several sermons thirty percent are about unity and so that's what we're going to do right now we're talking about the unity of the one another versus thirty percent or about love fifteen percent about human humility and twenty five percent are random miscellaneous and we'll look at a couple of those I'll pick out a couple of those but when we're dealing with the passages on unity I notice that there were three subgroups there are verses that tell us that we are supposed to be a certain thing is to be united with each other there are verses that tell us of there are things that we're not supposed to do and there are things that we are supposed to do in order to maintain unity with each other and last week what we did is we looked at the verses that talked about the things that we're supposed to be for going to be united with each other we should be and we looked at three things we need to be patient gentle and we need to be the Body of Christ we need to be members of the body and when we're talking about patience patience is how we handle conflict internally patience is not allowing our emotions to gain control over ourselves us what patients needs or at least part of what patients means gentle means how we handle conflict X. turn only it's like we don't blow up on other people that's gentleness and then to be the body simply means to say I have a role within this functioning organism called the Body of Christ and I need to be an active participant and not say to the other members of the body I have no need of you and so that's what we need to be in order to join or to enjoy the unity that God has given to us well today today's messages on what we should not do so that we might maintain the unity of the spirit and a passage that we looked at last week is kind of an overarching passage especially for the section on unity would be if Eason's think it's going.
Maybe not go back if Eason's chapter four verses one through three and there it says I there for a prisoner for the low. Ordered you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness and patience those were points from last week varying was one another in love in verse three it says Now we all you and I should be eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace so what I want to do for this morning is look at three things that we should not do in order to help us maintain the unity of the Spirit and what I want to do is I want to kind of look at this from the standpoint of a parent looking for the threats that might threaten their child's safety and so let's take a look at this three threats the Bible teaches us about that can destroy the unity of the Spirit and so the first threat is this first point in your message is this the first threat that kind of threatens to destroy the unity is confusion. The first threat is confusion and by that I specifically mean having confusion over the truth of God's word specifically regarding the truth because if we think about it it's this right here it's God's unchanging. Undeniable word that unites us to one another this is the truth that unites us together if there is no truth in this world then alternately life is survival of the fittest but there is a truth that unites us together I want you to turn your bible says John chapter six. I'm going to just put up one a verse right now but I want you to look at a lot of the other portion of John chapter six and John chapter six this is kind of where we get this point from in John chapter six Jesus says to his disciples he answers them and says Do not grumble among yourselves so Jesus says Do not grumble among yourselves and yourselves is the Greek word Ali launch this is one of the times when we get this word for one another or yourselves and so Jesus says Do not grumble among yourselves the word grumble think all of us kind of those we know what this means it means to. To murmur or to mutter or or to say something under your breath you know who's really good at saying stuff under their breath teenagers. It's like when you tell your teenager clean your room or do the dishes and they go on a room clean my room and that's grumbling that's murmuring that's muttering and Jesus looked at His disciples and says Do not grumble among yourselves or what in the world is Jesus talking about here the context of this passage is very important today you're actually in to get a this is a bonus right you're going to get a church history lesson off this passage so turn here to John chapter six if you're not there already and this passage is the context this is after Jesus had fed the five thousand so what happens to people after you give them free food what do they want more free food and so they're following up to Jesus after he had given them free bread and then i give me some more bread and so Jesus takes this as an opportunity to teach them a truth about himself and we get into this very hard difficult teaching especially for them at this time so let's look at John chapter six beginning in verse forty one.
Says So the Jews grumbled about him because he said I am the bread they came down from heaven they said is this not Jesus the son of Joseph whose father mother we know how does he now say I have come down from heaven Jesus answered them this is our verse do not grow among yourselves because they are just talking and they're just they're not listening to what he says he says to them no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him and I will raise them up on the last day it is written in the prophets and they will all be taught by God everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to me not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God He has seen the Father and so this is the truth that Jesus is teaching them he says that he is the bread he is the bread that came down from heaven that He is the Bread of Life. Did Jesus literally mean that he is the bread that people are going to literally eat in consume with their mouths Well of course not what he was talking about is that he is the fulfillment of something that came before he is the fulfillment of the manner that God sent in the wilderness for the forty years when the Israelites wandered the wilderness they would wake up they'd walk out of their tents in the morning and there were some do some substance on the ground white flaky substance and it was manna and you guys know what man of means it literally means what is it and so they looked at the stuff on the ground they said What is it and that's man and so they ate that for forty years and so Jesus teaching them. They did for overall command. So specifically he's talking about the manner that was in the wilderness but even more specifically he's talking about that he is the bread and the wine that it's taken during the Passover meal during the feast of unleavened bread so when Jesus said these things to the disciples they didn't know what at that time that that's what he was referring to but we do today because we can look back in scripture but this is how they responded to the truth when Jesus was teaching this to them so let's just keep reading us verse forty seven.
Truly truly I say to you whoever believes this believes has eternal life I am the bread of life your father is it the manna in the wilderness and he died this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat of it and not die I am the living bread they came down from heaven if anyone needs of this bread he will live forever and the bread that I will give for the life of this of the world is my flesh.
The Jews then disputed among themselves saying how can this man give us his flesh to eat so Jesus said to them Truly truly I say to you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has. Eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day for my flesh is true food in my blood is true drink whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him as a father sent me as a living father sent me and I live because of the Father so whoever feeds on me he also will live because of me this is the bread that came down from heaven not like the bread the father's ate and died whoever fees on the spread will live forever Jesus said these things in the synagogue as he taught at Kopra when many of the disciples heard it they said this is a hard saying or a hard teaching who can listen to it but Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this he said to them Do you take offense at this now this subject in this passage here in John chapter six in particular has caused great confusion over the first thousands of years in church history and I want to give you kind of a brief church history lesson and my final semester Grace Bible college I took a church history class it was probably one of my favorite classes that I ever took there and of all the things that I remember the best it's this subject how many of you know the three main differing views on communion what the bread and the wine represent so you probably do well the three main views are transubstantiation consubstantial nation and the memorial view there will be a test you better write this down no I'm kidding transubstantiation means it's the thought that the bread and the wine literally transform into the actual blood and body of Jesus the concept of you a similar they don't take it out far they believe that the the presence of Christ is in and around and over and through the elements of the bread and the wine and the moral view is that when we take the bread and we drink the juice now we're just doing this in memory of him Protestants generally hold to. The memorial view we hear Grace problem church hold a memorial view usually the Lutherans hold to the concepts and view you know who hold to the transubstantiation view the Roman Catholic Church that's what they believe now do you know when the Roman Catholics started to hold this position now this is kind of a church history this is the bonus year you don't have to pay for this I'm going to give you this bonus while in church history I remember this I remember his name because it's the coolest name ever but there was a monk named rad BURGESS That's a cool name right Brad birders and this monk was generally looked at this thought had been around and it's impossible to pinpoint exactly when the Roman Catholic Church adopted this view but he is the one who's kind of officially given credit with making this the official formalized view of the Roman Catholic Church and it happened in the year eight hundred thirty one.
Eight hundred years after Christ said this the Roman Catholic Church officially took this view now this subject is probably best taught in a Sunday school class and so I'm not going to say too much more on this but I use this as an example to show how important it is that we study God's word diligently so that we can know the truth accurately in this passage in John chapter six Jesus was revealing to us that he is the fulfillment of things that happened before specifically the manner that came down from heaven during those forty years and also that he is the Feast of Unleavened Bread he's the fulfillment of that and the wine and the bread that's taken during the Passover meal that is the truth that unifies us to him that unites us to him and us to each other so when we come to something that might be hard to understand at first we shouldn't do what the disciples did in John chapter six and mumble and grumble and just throw our hands up in the air and say I can't understand this I'm just going to forget about it it's worth our time in our effort to study God's word so that we can know and understand the truth. So confusion is a threat towards our unity because when we get confusing might say ah just forget it you know if you were to see some of the little kids running around here and you were to pin him up against the wall that be fun but anyway if you were to ask them if you were to ask them what is second term of the two fifteen say most of them would be able to tell you because this is a No one a verse that we say every single night second Timothy two fifteen says do in this is this is the verse that a want to is based on out of the King James version but the N.A.V. says do your best to present yourself to God A worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth A W A N A stands for approved workman are not ashamed so that's where I want to comes from second term of the two fifteen this verse is teaching us be a student of the word study it so that you can know the truth because the truth is what unites us to God and it also unites us to each other well I know I took kind of all long way to get to this point but trust to maintain the unity of the spirit we can't just give up on studying God's Word if it gets hard it's the truth and it unites us to each other so this is the first threat to unity that you and I might face and that is confusion but we need to continue to study so that we know the truth now the second threat to unity is competition. Second threat to our unity with each other is competition and this is when we look at another member of the Body of Christ as someone who is potentially standing in our way preventing us from getting what we want you can turn over in your Bibles to go look at a couple verses out of there also put this up on the screen if you like to look there but Ingle ations chapter five verses thirteen to fifteen. The should be kind of a refresher we spent several months English and speculation chapter five thirteen to fifteen says. For you are called the Freedom. Brothers only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh but through love serve one another for the whole was fulfilled in one word you shall love your neighbor as yourself in verse fifteen here is here's our passage for today this is what this means but if you bite and devour one another yours are one another word watch out that you are not consumed by one another. The opposite of unity or seeing ourselves as one with each other would be to see ourselves as competition with each other and if you go in the Bible you see all throughout Scripture even from the very beginning people are living in competition with each other we see that with Cain and Abel we see that was Sarah and Hagar we see that with Esau and Jacob with Rachel and Leah we see this with Joseph in his brothers we see competition everywhere and competition will destroy unity and so here we have in this passage glacial as five actually I think it's kind of ironic we just look at a passage where Jesus tells us to eat His flesh and then Paul is in this passage telling us to not eat each other so obviously those kind of symbolic or Jesus was saying but this is what these words mean the by devouring consume bite we all know about it means it literally means to sink your teeth into something but metaphorically it means to wound the soul of another person when we bite them or wounding their soul to devour means to just literally chew and swallow something but metaphorically it means to reduce the value of another human being we're devouring them we're kind of reducing them to nothing and then when something is consumed there's nothing left you consume the meal it's gone and so Paul says that we are to not do this to someone that we are united with you not reduce them to nothing. So why do we do this why do we do this to each other well go back to verse thirteen I think that kind of answers it in the middle there it says Only do not use your freedom as an opportune. Ready for flash. In other words don't use your freedom to elevate and separate yourself from other people so that you get what your selfish desires want where you go a little bit further in chapter five and Paula tells us why or at least one of the reasons why we tend to be competitive with each other and this is found five twenty six elations five twenty six he says let us not become conceded provoking one another envying one another conceded simply means that you do you want the attention you're desirous of glory any of your reading from the King James Version your version might say let us not become desirous of vain glory glory that is just vanity there's nothing to it. The provoking means to irritate when we grow up in a house with siblings we really learn how to provoke each other very well right I have three sisters and my little sister was the best it irritating in provoking me she drove me crazy now I'm now living with my sisters anymore so we get along great but I also was there I did a good job provoking my older two sisters but you know that's what little brother supposed to do but then also says envying envy is when you want what another person has envy and jealousy are very similar jealousy is when you feel like you're entitled to what another person has that you should have that too but envy is when you just want what they have and all of these actions and these thoughts they lead to the opposite of unity the sort of kind of pit us against each other and we see each other as competition therefore we are told to not do them.
And how competitive are you all of us are competitive to some extent some more so than others but I think a good way to gauge if we are being competitive with each other is if we can do what it says in Romans twelve fifteen I didn't write this down it's not on the board but in Romans twelve fifteen it says to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those. Who mourn that's kind of a good litmus test for us to know if we are living in unity with others if someone comes to us and says hey I got a raise in stead of saying well I was going to raise so that is are some Let's go out to lunch you're buying right we can rejoice with those who rejoice and we can mourn with someone who mourns instead of saying one lot of the now going to me but we can genuinely feel united with another human being that's how God wants us to be but competition really is a threat to that So these are two of the threats first is confusion over the truth or we just give up trying to understand it the second is competition and the third threat to our unity is our conversation early quite literally the words that come out of our mouths in James four eleven.
James says interesting this is the brother the half brother of Jesus he grew up living with Jesus but he tells us just the first sentence there he says Do not speak evil against one another brothers do not speak evil against one another how many times has this destroyed the relationship between two people because one person let these evil sinful words harsh critical words come out of their mouth towards another human being and it destroyed the relationship how many times does this destroy the relationship between groups of people and this is why we go to war because of what people are saying you know it's amazing how the unity between people is so affected by our words both what we say and also a lot of times how we say it and this is why we always need to think before we speak ask ourselves the question are the words that are about to come out of my mouth are they going to build me up build up this other person and help me be united with the. Brother or Sister in Christ or is it something that is going to drive a wedge between us. One of my favorite verses and I think this is a verse that everyone should have memorized release underlined in your bible or highlighted on your phone or however you do that but if Eason's for twenty nine such an important verses says Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths but only such as is good for building up as fits the occasion that it may give grace to those who hear.
That's hard isn't it very hard but this is something that we should build a house without and I kind of want to give you all a challenge here this morning if you struggle with any of these three things that we were looking at especially Point number two And point number three being competitive with each other and using words that are are that harmful sometimes the best way to get around that and overcome that is to replace it with a positive habit and so I would encourage you even to do this today to take if Eason's for twenty nine put into practice is there someone in your life that you need to build up with some words it could be a spouse could be children parents could be a coworker could be friends could be someone in this church but maybe today is the day that you can say I want to build my unity was to some other person and so I'm going to let the words come out of my mouth build them up and help create unity between us. Well next week we're going to do is we're going to look at some of the things that we should do and we as we're going through these passages sometimes we see him already but we're going to look at the things that we should do in order to maintain unity with each other but this week we look at the threats and hopefully when we know that these threats are out there were more aware of them and a question that I think all of us should ask ourselves Is this as we're going through our daily lives that we should say is this thought that I'm entertaining right now or the words that I'm about to speak will they bring me closer to another brother or sister in Christ or are they going to drive. A wedge between us it is really hard to be a bystander and watch relationships fall apart between two different people and know that one of these three things is the cause whether they're scum petition where there's misunderstanding there's not a lemon over the truth or there's evil harsh words being spoken of towards each other it's hard to watch that happen and so all of us what we need to do is to do our best to maintain the unity of the spirit the goddess called us to by taking seriously these threats that Stuart threatened our unity was close and Princess God to really help us be aware of these things.
Dear Lord we come before you this morning and I thank you so much for the worship that we're able to enjoy with each other in and that all of us could come and we could sing united around these truths that have been put to music Lord I thank you so much that the diehards could be here and they could share with us their ministry of what's taking place in South Africa and Lord I'm so thankful for the opportunities you've given to us here agrees probably church of Phoenix to to partner with Eagle Ridge Elementary school next door it's just exciting to think of the next year in two years and ten years what kind of ministry we're going to have a maybe some lives that are going to be affected because you you moved us to this location with father this morning as we are talking about the one another commands that you've given to us in your word all hundred of them as we're focusing on the threats this morning I pray that you really open up our eyes as individuals and as a church help us to be aware of any threats that are going on in our lives right now or any threats that are going on in the church at this time or to help us to be aware of them and to do everything within our power and the power that you've given to us through your Holy Spirit to really overcome them because Lord you want us to be one with each other to show the world the truth about Jesus Christ and that's why we exist the father shine your light through us to the world around us as we are seeking to be united with each other and to maintain this unity of the spirit we pray this now in Christ's name Amen.