The importance of unity of the body to Jesus is on my heart. The reason for this is because of the journey God has taken us on through our lives in the church. Over the years Ross has been gifted in worship leading and we have been involved in planting many churches. As a result of being in church leadership we have seen a lot of conflict within churches, and the harm this has caused in individual lives as a result as well as to the witness of the church. Please take a moment to look at these scriptures with me and see if you see what I see.
I should start with our savior Jesus displaying evident zeal for the temple in John 1:17 (quoted from Ps.69:9) and Acts 7:48-51. I am amazed as I meditate on Jesus final prayer in the garden. The passion that our Savior has as He prays for believers before he is betrayed shows us His heart for unity. Jesus prays to the Father for us to be one; that we would have complete unity, for this is how His glory is displayed. (John 17:21-24) Paul instructs the church to have no divisions and have perfect unity in mind and thought. (I Cor.1:10) There are many other scriptural instructions on unity such as Romans 14:19, and 15:5-7 because it is so important to God. It seems to be that to not have unity dishonors our Lord. An Old Testament example of grumbling is found in Numbers 21:4-9 where the people grew impatient and spoke against God and against Moses. Is it impatience that drives our complaints? As a result they were stricken by snakes…gross. God provided a way for their healing by rising up a stick with an image that ultimately was a representation of Christ. Thank God that He, Jesus is the remedy for our sin and when we look to the cross we find redemption and reconciliation (John 3:14-15).
Of course it is impossible to not have disagreements in the church but we have instruction about how to handle this. In Galatians 2:11 Paul confronts Peter to his face because he is wrong about an issue. We are responsible to restore each other when we go astray: we should not simply say you are wrong so I am leaving. (Galatians 5:13-15, 6:1-6) We are guaranteed to have disagreements as we see in Romans 14 we do not live for ourselves but for Christ.... why do you look down on your brother (v 10). To do this is modern day church consumerism. It is saying I haven’t found what I want here so I will go somewhere else.
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? .....Brothers, do not slander one another...(James 4:1,10)
The ideal scenario when we have a disagreement with our body is that we would come together with the part of the body that you have the disagreement with as well as the leadership with the vision of the church and prayerfully discuss the issues that you have. If you are still in disagreement then all who are involved would prayerfully be in agreement that you should find a body of believers with whom you can live in unity with, because unity and Jesus glory are the priority. If we truly want to represent Christ to the world then this is how we should live together.“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Cor 13:13
With love, Tracey
Ministry of Reconciliation