Sunday, March 12, 2006

Unify

Well it seems to be snowing every weekend now. Just a dusting on the valley floor. The mountains have been getting pounded, but within a day or so it is all melted and life is back to normal. So far, it hasn't laid on the street - its been too warm. My tulips are starting to sprout
-NOOOOO!!!! Won't be long till its time to crank up the mowers - happy, happy - Have a great week. - Kirk


UNIFY
Jn. 17:20-23

The short of it:
INTRODUCTION
A. Three words which sum up John 17 - Glorify, Sanctify, Unify
B. Today will will complete the list with UNIFY.
C. Most of us present today grew up hearing that the church should be ONE.
D. In the mind of the American worshipper, different is good. Tolerance is great. Diversity is wonderful!
E. It is the thrust of this lesson to speak of unity the way Jesus has described it.
1. When we fail to glorify, and sanctify ourselves as we ought there is no way to unify as we should.
2. We will notice church unity it in three avenues, theologically, emotionally, purposefully.
I. UNITY, THEOLOGICALLY SPEAKING.
A. It takes help in misunderstanding what Jesus meant.
B. Did the Holy Spirit instruct the apostles to be diverse in doctrine (Jn. 16:13)?
C. How Paul perceived theological unity.
D. No where in scripture are Christians taught:
E. You can know who is going to heaven.
II. UNITY, EMOTIONALLY SPEAKING
A. Jesus makes everyone equal (Gal. 3:24-28) by bringing them into his church (Eph. 5:23).
B. Such structure is designed to build up the smallest of person to help them become great servants of God.
III. UNITY, PURPOSEFULLY SPEAKING
A. We live in an age where we have institutionalized everything.
B. The church serves a divine purpose not the human purpose.
C. When the church is too busy building gymnasiums and touring the world, it cannot glorify, sanctify, educate or help his fellow man.
IV. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
A. How is unity maintained?
B. When we fail to glorify God, and sanctify ourselves as we ought there is no way to unify as we should.

THE LONG OF IT:

INTRODUCTION
A. Three words which sum up John 17 - Glorify, Sanctify, Unify
B. Today will will complete the list with UNIFY.
C. Most of us present today grew up hearing that the church should be ONE.
1. We were taught that that ‘ONEness’ meant every visible house of worship ought to believe, practice, and do things in the same way.
2. Unity in the mind of the 21st century worshipper is not what it was fifty years ago. There was a time when truth could be discovered, change made, and liars debunked. We now live in an age of ‘tolerance.’ It’s not that you must accept another’s views, but you must tolerate their views because they are espousing something different - and different to the world is good.
3. J. Gordon Melton is a Methodist minister with an unusual hobby. His hobby is denomination hunting. He literally scours the country trying to count the number of major denominations in the United States. He has currently identified over 70 major branches which make up over 2,000 denominations.
a. Some of them are very interesting.
1) One of them is "The Church of the Kennedy Worshippers." It is a church which actually believes that it can pray to the late President John F. Kennedy, and can be cured both of congenital defects as well as of terminal diseases.
2) Then there’s "The Church of the Ministry of Universal Wisdom." They look for flying saucers to come.
3) And then there’s "The Church of What’s Happening Now." It’s obviously a more contemporary church.
D. In the mind of the American worshipper, different is good. Tolerance is great. Diversity is wonderful!
1. As Ophra Winfrey said, “I believe that every religion is a way to God.”
2. Bobby Gilstrap makes an analogy about the stupidity of trying to unify the churches theologically. He said, “ IT’S LIKE THIS BOX OF CRAYONS – the crayons are different in color … different in size … different in use … but they all go back into the box together. As Christians (various denom. KW), we may be like different colors … different experiences, different worship styles, different approaches, etc. Some are newer and older colors … spiritually more experienced than others … some are new in the faith. The paper wrapper is peeling off of some crayons: like some believers show the evidence of suffering and pain and others are young in the faith with all the paper still in tact. Yet, with all the differences … all of the crayons fit right back into the box. Any observer can see that they are all together and unified in their task of being crayons. If the crayons refused to take (accept KW) their differences and (you to try) get them back in the box together with the other crayons … well you can see my analogy, can’t you?”
3. The rallying call use to be “Unity in Diversity.” I believe it has changed to “Forget Unity - Tolerate Me.” And so I read of ‘Christian’ worship centers voting on acceptability of women and gay ministers and such silliness whether the man is the head of the house or not. They vote on the reliability of the scripture, and what specific doctrine they will propagate. It’s not that the proponents of these ideas are interested in being right according to scripture, they just want something different. They wish not only to be tolerated in their views - but accepted. They want the Bible to submit to their philosophy and hog tie the church while they do it.
E. It is the thrust of this lesson to speak of unity the way Jesus has described it.
1. When we fail to glorify, and sanctify ourselves as we ought there is no way to unify as we should.
2. We will notice church unity it in three avenues, theologically, emotionally, purposefully.

I. UNITY, THEOLOGICALLY SPEAKING.
A. It takes help in misunderstanding what Jesus meant.
1. ‘As you are in me and I in you’ - what things theologically (doctrinally) did Jesus and his Father disagree upon? Isn’t this the same for you and me?
2. When Jesus promised to build his church he wanted us to maintain certain ideals (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 4:3-6). If one can understand that there is: ONE God, Son, Spirit, hope (heaven), then he should have no problem understanding that there also is ONE body (Eph. 1:21church not churches), ONE faith (Jude 3 not faiths), ONE baptism (Acts 2:38 not many).
B. Did the Holy Spirit instruct the apostles to be diverse in doctrine (Jn. 16:13)?
1. Paul to Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10-13)
2. Paul to Galatia (Gal. 1:6-9)
3. John recorded Jesus rebuking those who accepted different doctrines (Rev. 2-3).
C. How Paul perceived theological unity.
1. It should be defended (2 Timothy 2:2-4) and was (Acts 15; Gal. 2:11-17).
2. It was distributed to every church (1 Cor. 4:17).
3. Those who changed were to be dealt with (Rom. 16:17).
D. No where in scripture are Christians taught:
1. We are all going to heaven, just taking different roads.
2. We are all united in Christ, just under different names and worship practices.
3. You can’t know what really is truth (Jn. 1:17; 17:17).
E. You can know who is going to heaven.
1. Slanderous story about St. Peter giving a new comer to heaven a grand tour. In this room he said are all of this denomination, in this room is all of that denomination. As they passed another room the man asked Peter, who is in this room - Oh, don’t bother them, they are church of Christers, they think they are the only one’s here.
2. Those who will be in heaven are (Jn. 4:24) those who worship with the right attitude and in the correct way.
3. When we fail to glorify, and sanctify as we ought there is no way to doctrinally unify as he commanded.

Now to maintain doctrinal unity just to maintain doctrinal unity is a shallow faith. Therefore we must look at unity Jesus spoke of with deeper ideals in mind.

II. UNITY, EMOTIONALLY SPEAKING
A. Jesus makes everyone equal (Gal. 3:24-28) by bringing them into his church (Eph. 5:23).
1. Phil. 2:2-5 be sincerely inclined to meet each other’s emotional need.
2. Jas. 2:1-4 no preference to be given to the rich.
3. Philemon 1:16 no difference in Christ between a master and his slave.
4. Rom. 1:14-16 no barriers of race in the church of Christ.
5. 1 Cor. 12:13ff no big “I” and little “you” in the body. .- A man asked the preacher, “How many active members do you have in your church?” The preacher said, “They’re all active. Half of them are working with me and half of them are working against me.”
B. Such structure is designed to build up the smallest of person to help them become great servants of God.
1. When the body is about ‘to owe no man anything but love’ we will refrain from slanderous gossip, hateful looks, petty grievances. By love shall all men know we are his disciples (Jn. 13:35).
2. When we fail to glorify, and sanctify as we ought there is no way to be emotional unified as we should.
III. UNITY, PURPOSEFULLY SPEAKING
A. We live in an age where we have institutionalized everything.
1. Health care - nursing homes; child care - orphanages; benevolent care - Red Cross etc... entertainment care - gymnasiums, churches built as theaters.
B. The church serves a divine purpose not the human purpose.
1. It’s divine purpose is to dispense the knowledge of God throughout the world.
2. It’s divine purpose is to dispense the glory of God throughout the world.
3. It’s divine purpose is to sanctify the people so God may dwell with man.
4. It ‘s divine purpose is to help our fellowman attain heaven.
C. When the church is too busy building gymnasiums and touring the world, it cannot glorify, sanctify, educate or help his fellow man.
1. We are not told HOW to take care of the widows and orphans (Jas. 1:27) we are just told to do it.
2. We are not told HOW to help the poor or those in crisis situations (1 Jn. 3:17), but we are told to do it.
3. If the church - locally, nationally, universally would work as a unit, it would be greater than the Red Cross, United Way and the Bill Gates Foundation. But we don’t see the BIG PICTURE. We borrow money to build theaters but nothing for the orphanages. We mortgage ourselves to the eyeballs for gymnasiums, ball fields and workout centers and turn a blind eye to the aging and those burdened during disasters. The church is failing in this area.
4. What is the purpose of the church at this location? What is our mission? What do we plan to achieve for this community, region, state, nation, and world that God may be glorified?
5. When we fail to glorify, and sanctify as we ought there is no way to unite in purpose as we could.

IV. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
A. How is unity maintained?
1. Jesus - if you seek to glorify God you will not be so ‘me-centric’ and develop a work and sacrifice ethic in the behalf of God - then, unity will be maintained.
2. Jesus - if you seek to sanctify the Lord God in your heart, we will live holy lifestyles, we will avoid defiling ourselves, we will come out of Satan’s world and get into God’s - then, unity will be maintained.
3. Jesus - if you strive for theological unity, emotional unity, and unity of purpose under my direction - then, unity will be maintained.
B. It’s when we fail to glorify, and sanctify as we ought that there is no way to unify as we should.
1. Unity is maintained - not through tyranny, I’m the boss. Not democratically - let’s vote. but through love recognizing the Standard by which we all should obey.

CONCLUSION
Should we not be about practicing this kind of unity for which Jesus prayed? - So the world (ungodly) may believe! Should we not strive for the unity that the Holy Spirit commanded the apostles to teach so the church may be whole - emotionally and purposefully.

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