(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Sin divides. Always has. Always will.
The church is not immune from divisions that come as a result of sinful people coming together seeking the forgiveness and love of Christ at the cross.
In fact, if you have been in a church for any length of time, you probably have experienced some sort of division over some issue that could be a serious doctrinal straying from the Bible or a matter of opinion over paint colors in the church remodel.
Or perhaps you are or know someone who is staying away from the church because of the division or “politics” in a church. So indirectly divisions in the church divide someone not even in the church from the church.
Satan loves it when a “biblical community” is a divided community.
It’s no wonder the Scripture encourages:
Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
A biblical community works to maintain unity…true unity.
So how do we build a true peace in the community of believers? Here’s a few thoughts to reflect on.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Pride easily creeps into our hearts and can affect how we interact with others. Sure we may say a friendly “Hello” or we may smile as we pass by an individual, but we can think, “I would never want to hang out with them.” Pride can come up when we look down on how others parent their children. Pride can come up when we look at how others are dressed and make a judgment about them. Pride rears its ugly head when we think our ideas are better than someone else’s. Pride comes up when we wonder why no one said thank you for financial gifts or volunteer effort that was given.
And division happens inside my heart with someone else or the church as a whole.
So the Apostle Paul says, “Be completely humble.” A biblical community is filled with people who are humble. Humility realizes that its about Jesus, not them. Humility seeks to understand someone’s situation and seeks to help, not judge. Humility serves with the satisfaction it is done to the Lord and doesn’t need accolades from others. Humility realizes that what makes us all the same is we are all sinful people in need of the forgiving, saving work of Jesus and we are just grateful to gather together around the cross.
Impatience. How long do we have to put up with so and so’s behavior? How come that person can’t get on board with the rest of us? Why does that person always speak negatively at meetings? Why can’t they give up that addiction? How many times do we have to financially help that family? And the list goes on. We want everyone to be at the level of Christian living we are at (assuming we have “arrived”…hmm, pride…) or do things the same or think the same and we become impatient when it doesn’t happen. And Satan loves it.
So the Spirit says, “Bear with one another in love.” I’ll add, “…just as Jesus has born with you in love.” Think of how many times we do the same sin and need forgiveness. Think how slow your mindset has been to transform into the mindset of God. Think of how long it has taken to you to overcome a pet sin of yours…or how you still fall for it? The point is the patience of God is deep and his love for you is wide.
So…we get to share and live out that love with one another. Yes, at times it is hard. At times it doesn’t come easily.
But we go back to the cross and see the humble service of Jesus and the patient love he has shown to us.
Satan hates it when we are humble, patient and loving. The Spirit loves it.
And that’s what a biblical community does.
Apply: How are you prideful, impatient, or unloving? Repent and ask the Spirit to show you how to be humble, patient and loving.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your humble, patient love for us prideful, impatient people. Help us to be the same to the people in our church family and the community around us. AMEN.