Kingdom Principle: Unity in diversity is found in the expression of our identity.
|Isaiah 9:1-4||Psalm 27:1, 4-9||1 Corinthians 1:10-18||Matthew 4:12-23|
I spent 3 months at a CrossFit Box… often I left there thinking this is completely impossible, and at the same time I knew it was critically important for my health and transformation. (I stopped at three months with an ankle injury from soccer, but have continued the training on my own – my confession “I need to return”, finances say – something else) The call for the Church to be in unified is also completely impossible and critically important yet it is made possible by the Cross and our being fit for the Kingdom.
A few summary thoughts:
- The Post: Jesus, Horseshoes & hand grenades lays the foundation understanding how the Kingdom of God can be close and at hand, but yet missed by so many…
- Unity of One(self) is required before there can be unity of two (persons). If you are not unified within yourself, as in the concepts of spirit, soul & body… and with your IAM – Identity, Authority & Motivation – you will struggle to find unity with others…. You must be at Peace, before you can bring Peace. Reconciliation requires Revelation (see last week)
- Unity must be a centered-set concept based in the power of prayer…. There is Darkness, but we focus on the light, not the distance from the light. Christ is the Light and our Center. Darkness always moves away from the Light. Jesus’ call to follow –does not establish a bounded-set approach – you are not in-verses-out, saved verses lost…. Rather you are following, in order to be sent…. There is constant movement in the Kingdom.
- Movement in the Dark – is difficult, dangerous and disastrous. We are to move in the light as we are to be the light. Where there is division, dis-unity and discord – darkness prevails. The way to overcome the darkness is 2LAF in the power Christ, even if it looks like foolishness to the world.
Paul’s Call to the Church to:
- Agree with one another
- Accept No Divisions
- Be perfectly united in mind and thought (judgment/purpose)
1. To agree with one another is not a call to remove diversity or to resolve all issues of difference. It is a call to agree on unity & identity. Identity is found in Christ alone. (Galatians 1:1,10, 2:20, 3:26-28, 4:6-7 5:24-25, 6:14), unity is found through Christ alone. (Ephesians 1:10-12, 4:1-3, 11-14) Therefore if one is in Christ, and has the light of the world in them – affirm what you see. Find the Roots of the Spirit and focus there… If there are no roots, let us not judge, rather let us seek to disciple and model, such that the roots can be established in love – such that the Fruit of the Spirit will grow. (Ephesians 3:14-19) When you can see the Work of the Spirit – There is the rally call for Unity.
2. To have no Divisions, one must never accept divisions as common place or normal. This is the call of reconciliation, to which the Church is called to be ambassadors of such peace. (2 Cor 5:18-20) To simply take the stance that division is not allowed is to seek affirmation (def.) rather than to allow defamation. (def.) This desire to put down and remove divisions is not possible in the flesh, for that matter, it is the flesh and nature of fallen humanity to destroy one another (John 10:10, Romans 6:17-23) But this call for restoration is rooted only in a work of the Spirit established by the Blood of Jesus in the act of Forgiveness. To have no Division is to seek Forgiveness in all areas of Dis-Unity & Discord. As Saints, it is not by our actions that we are made Holy, but by the Blood of Jesus. As the Bride, we have been washed in the blood and affirm the power of transformed that is is available for others. Paul reminds us all of this in his confession that he is chief among sinners.
3. Finally to be perfectly united in mind and purpose is not a call to remove those who “disagree” as expressed in point #1. Rather it is to demonstrate and proclaim our call to move in pursuit of the Light. This pursuit requires all the resources afforded to the body. This is also not a call to avoid discipline, but it is a call to accept the weaker person of faith. (Romans 14:15-23) This call to be united is a call that can only be made in movement and in community. All this is explained elsewhere by Paul as the unity and identity of the body: (Romans 12:3-8, 1 Cor. 12:11-13:4, Eph. 4:14-16)
The foot is to be a foot, the hand is to be a hand. When the foot says “I am a foot”, and the hand says “I am a hand”, then the foot can say to the hand, “you are a hand, and I see that you are different than me” – this is to be in agreement with one another. Where the foot tries to be a hand or vice versa, we have a problem, or where the hand says to the foot, “I am superior because I am a hand”…. We have the erosion of unity and the roots of division. Therefore diversity is not a liability to unity. In fact without diversity no true unity can be enjoyed. But where division is allowed, unity cannot survive.
For the body to be in movement, both the foot and the hand play a role in balance. When the mind calls out to walk, if the foot says “no” or the hand says “no”…. there no longer is unity. The call here is not to cut off the hand or the foot, (Matt 5:30) the call is to be without sin. To be without sin is to be washed in the blood, and to be washed in the blood is to practice forgiveness above all else. The most difficult aspect of this is seeing that forgiveness must be applied to both parties, both the foot and hand need forgiveness not simply the “one” that appears to be the problem. This movement of both parties is a matter of reconciliation. Most often – the foot is willing to forgive the hand, from the foot’s perspective, that the hand did something wrong. All the hand needs to do is repent and ask…. But very rarely in that same situation is the foot willing to acknowledge they themselves are in need to forgiveness sin for their judgment is that the hand’s sin was primary or worse. (Matt. 7:1-4)
Drawing it all together – Christ alone is the Light of the World. And yet, Christ has come and given his life, that we too can have the Light of Christ in us. Where this light has come, we are to see the very likeness and purposes of God in others. Might we come to Jesus , rather than coming to any conclusion about another; Might we follow Jesus, rather than telling Jesus or others what needs to happen next, Might we be ready to be sent out, rather than sending others away. The Church need not be afraid!
- Might we seek His face, for in this we will listen and love
so that that Christ will be glorified in our lives…
- Might we seek His face, for in this we will affirm and accept
so that Christ will be glorified in others lives…
- Might we seek His Face, for in this we will seek to be forgiven and to forgive
such that the bride will be pure and holy and Christ will be glorified in the world…
This call 2LAF will take you to the edge of the Kingdom. Revelation Precedes Reconciliation. Last week focused on Revelation, this week focuses on Reconciliation.