Steve Schappell-My Blog

Saturday, May 14, 2016

United We Stand (Part 1 of 2)

I recently watched the latest Captain America movie with my son at the local theatre. I am a self-confessed science fiction and comic book movie fan. I have most of the Marvel Movies on DVD and was looking forward to this latest movie. Captain America: Civil War, was in part, about taking a united group of individuals, and through different circumstances, causing division.
I wanted to explore this idea in another way, talking about Unity in this post, and Division in the next post. I have some scripture verses to help us along. I have asked myself, “What is Christian Unity?' How can we stand together? What things can we do that show the world that we are different.
Let's start with the most recognized verses regarding the Unity of the early Church, Acts 2: 42-47.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Now, I have heard that his represents a form of Communism. In part, because they were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to anyone in need. They ate together. I don't believe this is true. I have read about Communism and from the definition, it is not the same thing. I think that the early believers were moved into helping each other. The ensure that no one was hungry. That the believers had a place to stay, eat and sleep. They prayed together and worshiped. They had gladness in their hearts and had Unity. This small. But growing group of believers were recognized by others, as being different. Giving of themselves so that others would be taken care of.

How can we as believers show that Unity today? How can we show that we are different? Jesus can help us with that. Let's look at Matthew 25: 35-40
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I believe that we can help other believers—whether in our church, or in the community. We can also help those who are in need. Donate our time and talents to causes that let others know they are loved and that God loves them.

When my wife was going through Chemo, we needed help with meals. People from our church stepped up with meals and help. We did not ask for it, but we learned that people wanted to help in some way. This was a blessing to us. In the same way, we can help others—give to a local Christian ministry in your town. Volunteer at a food bank. Be involved in prison ministry. They are many things out there.

There is a song that says. In part: “They'll know we are Christians by our Love.” Well, the world is looking to us to see if we do what we say. We call ourselves Christians, but we are often self-absorbed, or following the pattern of this world, that where is no distinction between us and the rest of the world. Maybe in giving of acts of service—our time and talents—we can truly show the love that is in our hearts. And if more of us did that, there would be a Unity that would be visible to others.

God calls his people to live in unity with one another, so it is important to make every effort to live together in harmony with other fellow believers. Here are some other verses about Unity in the body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-13
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Colossians 3:13-14
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any one of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And above all these virtues, put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.

Go God gives each of us different skills to work together for different works of service. In part, to build up the Body of Christ, but also to learn to become mature Christians in the faith, and use that knowledge to spread the word to others by our actions and deeds. In the Trinity, there are (3) separate parts: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—each with different gifts, but working together in Unity. Also, we need to forgive each other (More in Part 2) And we are to put on Love.
We have heard that God is Love. He showed his love for us by sending his Son to die on the Cross for us. He loves you and me. Love is the glue that binds us together. We show Unity in the body and to others around us when we show Love, by what we say and do, and how we live our life.
As believers, we can stand United...but we can also be Divided....

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