Bible · Christian · Faith

We want to be together (Prudential advert – 1992)

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken‘ (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV)

a triple-braided cord is not easily broken‘ (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT).

When we stand together in unity, we are stronger.

Unity, is the coming together and acting as one body, the Church. We are one Church, yet there is ‘approximately 36,000 different denominations and Christian streams [exist] today‘ (One for All – The Foundations, p.37 – M. Duncan – 2017).

We claim to be one, but there are many differences within our worship, our practices etc. that separate us. We let minor things divide us, when all that should matter, is,

We all worship the same God, the creator, who sustains all of life, and who is the redeemer of us all!

An old African proverb states, ‘Where there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you‘. In other words, if we did not squabble with the people around us, and within our own churches,  then we would be working together, and when we are working together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

A cord of three strands, you, me, and God!

Jesus taught about the vine, and said, ‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you‘ (John 15:7 NIV). So if we are working together as a Church, to perform the will of God, then we are stronger, and there is no enmity within, and therefore if we have problems outside of the church, then we take them to Jesus, and they will be dealt with.

We are not on our own, Paul reminded the Hebrew Christians of that fact, when he wrote to them saying that God had said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you‘ (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).

So if we are united, working together for a common aim, and that aim is in line with God’s will, then we can ask for help, and it will come. We will always have God’s help (Hebrews 13:5) and will be able to say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear‘ (Hebrews 13:6 ESV).

Christian unity lies in, ‘our common identity in Christ‘ (One for All – The Implications – p.19 – M. Duncan – 2017).

Ultimately, we may be able to work in unity with the people in our churches and our community, but what has the future got in store?

As we get older, the church will decline unless we do something about it. There will be no unity in the future if there is not going to be a radical shift in the way people think and act.

If you look around at your church, how many youngsters does it have? I have been to churches, where the vast majority are over 60, maybe even over 70 years old; the youngsters are 30-40 years old, or there are only a few younger people aged between 5-30 years old.

Unless we change the appeal factor for the younger generation, the church will decline, and yet in persecuted countries, the church grows at an amazing rate;

persecution fosters a robust Christianity, confident of its faith and bold in its proclamation
(
https://www.christianity.com/church/does-church-thrive-under-persecution.html – accessed 22/06/18)

Out of the younger generation, only 1 in 5 between the ages of 11-18 describe themselves as active followers of Christ, and only just over half of these are regular church attendees and practicing Christians (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/17/one-six-young-people-christian-visits-church-buildings-inspire/    – accessed 22/06/18).

Without growth, in a few generations, there will be no-one left, to be in unity with!

We need to be bold, with our actions. They need to magnetize the people around us. The way we act needs to draw people to God. We cannot be ‘Sunday Christians‘ or ‘Weekend Evangelists‘; we need to be consistent in the way we speak and act.

Tozer is attributed with having said the following;

If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95% of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95% of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference‘ (https://www.christianquotes.info/quotes-by-author/a-w-tozer-quotes/?listpage=2&instance=2#participants-list-2  – accessed 22/06/18).

We need to work together to build the church, and try to get back to the way it was in the New Testament times.

The early believers were amazingly dedicated to Christ, ‘They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teachings‘ (Acts 2:42 NIV).

And all who believed were together and had all things in common‘ (Acts 2:44 ESV). Not only did they have things in common with each other, but they, ‘sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all, as anyone had need‘ (Acts 2:45 NKJV).

And because of this wonderful behaviour, that demonstrated the love that God has for us through Jesus Christ, ‘the Lord added to the church‘ (Acts 2:47 NKJV), but he not only added, but, ‘the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved‘ (Acts 2:47 NIV – emphasis mine).

If we want the church to survive and thrive, we need to behave like the early Christians did, sharing everything we have, our time, our money, our love, our all.

Saved by Grace

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my saviour lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy He gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day, because He lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

And then one day, I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

Because He Lives
Gloria Gaither / Willam J. Gaither

downloadFather we thank you that you are with us daily, and we ask for your help to live the type of lives that can make a difference for the kingdom of heaven. Lord help us to live the sort of life that will make people want to know more about you, more about your love, and more about your amazing grace that saves us. Lord we know that you love us, help us to love others with that same love. Help us to build your kingdom bigger and bigger, so that the church flourishes.
Lord we thank you for everything that you give us, help us to be equally generous with what we do and give for others that surround us.

Amen

 

 

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