Unity of the Brethren

I woke up with an ache in my heart this morning. I couldn’t shake a heavy feeling that seemed to hang over me. I went about my morning routine, but something was missing… peace and joy. My husband saw me and asked why I looked so unhappy. I hadn’t realized that it showed. It made me stop and search my heart to figure out why I was unhappy. Then the tears began to flow. It was because someone I love, a fellow believer had said some unkind things about other believers.

I don’t believe there is a denomination that has perfect wisdom regarding God and His ways. My experience is that each one appears to have revelation of one or more of the beautiful facets of our amazing and multi-faceted God. For all the revelation each one has I find that it’s like looking at one star in the sky, for the one that we see, there are billions more we don’t see.

Also, within each of those denominations there are believers at all levels of wisdom and maturity. Each one has its men and women of God that have wisdom beyond this world. Each one has the one who hears the message, but doesn’t really get the spirit and heart of God behind the message and makes a fool of themselves and brings contempt from other believers towards a particular denomination.

When I hear a believer say something unkind about another believer or another denomination my heart sinks. There are many things we may disagree on. There may be many differences in how we worship and serve our God. But we have one very important thing in common. No, not one thing in common, One Person in common… Jesus Christ.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalms 133:1, KJV)

Our Father which art in heaven Hallowed be thy name… (Luke 11:1, KJV)

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]. (1 Peter 4:8, KJV)

Don’t look around and see the believer judging you or your denomination. Look within and see where you might not be loving others as He has loved you.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24, Amp)

It Was Love

It was in His eyes.

And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her… (Luke 7:13, KJV)

It was in His words.

…and he said unto her, Weep not. (Luke 7:13, KJV)

It was in His touch.

And he came and touched the bier… (Luke 7:14, KJV)

It was in His actions.

…And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And [Jesus] gave him [back] to his mother. (Luke 7:14-15; KJV, Amplified)

What was it? It was love.

It was love in His eyes, His words, His touch and His actions then, and it’s love in His eyes, His words, His touch and His actions today and forever.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8, KJV)

Let it be His love in our eyes, our words, our touch and our actions too. They will know us by our love (John 13:35).

We love, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19, ASV)

All Things to All Men

Even though I [Paul] am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. (1 Corinthians 9:19-22, NLT)

For although I am free in every way from anyone’s control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ]. (1 Corinthians 9:19, Amp)

…I have [in short] become all things to all men, that I might by all means (at all costs and in any and every way) save some [by winning them to faith in Jesus Christ]. (1 Corinthians 9:22, Amp)

As I read this passage a few days I ago, it stirred something in my heart. I recalled a time when I ministered to a group of ladies. I was surprised when I left my notes and began talking about ‘mean’ Christians. Something that ought never be.

As I began to minister to the ladies after the teaching, a woman came up crying and confessed she was one of those ‘mean’ Christians. All the other women in the class knew her and began to weep with her as they witnessed her transformation from a ‘mean’ Christian to a loving one.

I have met a lot of ‘mean’ Christians in my life. I myself have had my moments and I thank God that by His grace in my life, they are few and far between.

The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:6, that the letter of the law kills, but the spirit gives life. I have seen these ‘mean’ Christians take the Word of God and demand that others behave a certain way, make certain changes, or else. They demand that others be like them and believe like them or they will have nothing to do with them.

Yet in the passage above from 1 Corinthians 9, Paul tells us that he became all things to all men in order to save them. He found common ground and did not separate himself from them.

The letter kills, but the spirit gives life. The letter demands. The spirit loves.

And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many, and they followed him. (Mark 2:15, KJV)

And they followed Him. Not because he judged, rejected, and condemned them (see John 3:17, Amp). But because He loved them. He didn’t go around rebuking them. He did go around rebuking the Pharisees for judging, rejecting and condemning men based on the law.

He didn’t come to judge, reject, condemn or pass sentence. He came to love. And that’s what we as Christians are called to do too.