Hello and welcome to episode 64 of The Berean Manifesto brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we’re going to take a look at harmony.
Of all the things that are on my mind every day, at the forefront is usually the splintering of the modern church. I know, it’s a completely nerdy thing to have on your mind every day. But, all the same, it’s there. It’s Not really that there are multiple denominations or even lots of churches with different congregations. Done correctly all of that can be the expression of a healthy body of believers. What tugs on my heart strings is the animosity and distrust between the denominations and the churches that make up those denominations.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 it says, “For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and we were all given one Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” It is not for that reason any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” it is not for that reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is; God has arranged each one of the parts in the body just as He wanted.” And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable. And those parts of the body that we consider less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unrespectable parts are treated with greater respect, which our respectable parts do not need. Instead, God has put the body together giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.” In context Paul is actually talking about individual believers and each being equally necessary and indispensable, but churches are made up of collections of believers, and denominations, collections of churches, so the concept is the same. All believers in Christ, we are one body, the body of Christ and should be working in concert together. I get it; I definitely understand where people are coming from. It’s hard to be objective and remember who you are when emotions and perceived “truth” are involved. We have to remember, though, what spirit we are of.
There’s this one event not too long before the crucifixion where Jesus and the disciples are hanging out in one of their favorite spots when Judas shows up leading a large mob of chief priests and elders with swords and clubs. Knowing everything that is about to happen to Him, Jesus goes out and says, “Who is it that you’re seeking?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answer. “I AM,” Jesus tells them. Judas is standing with them when Jesus says, “I AM,” and they are taken aback and fall to the ground prostrating themselves. Then He asks them again, “Who is it that you’re seeking?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they answer, “I told you I AM,” Jesus replies, “So if you’re looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the words He had said: “I have not lost one of those you have given me.” Now Judas had given them a sign: “The one I kiss, he’s the one; arrest him.” So immediately he walks up to Jesus and says, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kisses him. “Judas, my friend” Jesus asks him, “Why have you come? Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Then they come up, take hold of Jesus and arrest him. When those around Him see what is going to happen, they ask, “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” Then Peter draws his sword and strikes the high priest’s servant, Malchus, and cuts off his right ear. Then Jesus exclaims, “No more of this!” and continues, “Put your sword away! All who take up the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and he will provide me here and now with more than twelve legions of angels? How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way? Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?” Touching Malchus’ ear, He heals him. Then He turns to the crowd of chief priests, temple police, and elders that had come for Him and says, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture me? Every day I used to sit, teaching in the temple, and you didn’t arrest me. But all this has happened so that the writings of the prophets would be fulfilled. This is your hour – and the dominion of darkness.” Then all the disciples desert Him and run away.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while then you’ve heard me say it before, I really love Peter. This is definitely my favorite disciple right here; so far from perfect, just raw and real. Here Peter pulls out his sword and cuts off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Peter is serving God and is overcome with emotion and loses all objectivity when this small army shows up and challenges what he believes to be the truth. In exactly the same boat the members of this small army are just as dedicated to serving God and have been overcome with emotion and lost all objectivity because of Jesus. The glaring fact is that everyone here is wrong, everyone except Jesus. All this time with Jesus and Peter is still tripping over himself, and the leaders of the Jewish nation is still rejecting Jesus. If the Jews had received Jesus as their High Priest instead of rejecting Him the end result would have been the same. He still would have been crucified, only it would have been with the objection of the Jewish leadership instead of their support.
Philippians chapter 2:1 & 2 says, “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” We don’t have to be perfect so serve Christ or to be in harmony as one body as The Church. Let us encourage each other in Christ, love one another, fellowship together, have mercy, and unite in spirit intent on one purpose; loving God, and loving each other as we do ourselves.
Until next time…