We love and serve the God of Miracles! We’ve learned about how God is a Way Maker and how we can be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
In light of this being our first in-person service and with all of the events happening in the world today, we’re turning to another miracle of God; unity.
Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, God has brought together in unity people from every nation, race, language, education level, cultural tradition, economic status, and anything else that can be unique about people groups.
It’s amazing to stop and think about how at any moment, people all over the world are lifting up praises to Jesus, studying His word, and sharing the good news about Him. You have brothers and sisters in Christ whom you have never met.
You share so much in common with them though you may not even speak the same language. Have you ever been a part of a worship service in another language? Your spirit still senses the move of the Holy Spirit without knowing even a single word that is being spoken!
Every human being ultimately shares a common ancestry and history when we go back far enough. We are all created in the image of God; a reflection of Him.
God made it abundantly clear which lives matter to Him when He gave His only Son so that all people may have a way to eternal life. Black lives, White lives, Asian lives, Chinese lives, American lives, German lives, all lives matter equally to Him. And so, all lives should equally matter to us.
The church is intended by Jesus to exist in diversity expressed through unity. Paul made the analogy that we many parts that make up the one Body of Christ. We embrace our uniqueness and differences, we don’t deny them. However, we choose to cooperate together in unity as we humble ourselves and exalt others. Others need us and we need them!
This is His intent for us now, but it will undoubtedly become our reality in the end. We get this glimpse into Heaven:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…
The miracle of unity brought together by Jesus is greater than any unity that we can achieve in any other way! The challenge to this unity, however, is you and I. Will we choose to take up the cause of Christ and seek to achieve and maintain this unity, or will we choose to act in our flesh and remain divisive?
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
We must make every effort to keep the unity that the Holy Spirit has given to us! We must remain true to who God calls us to be.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
We are all one in Jesus. However, it is up to us to maintain that unity. Jesus was so concerned about this issue that when it came to the future church, you and I, His prayer focused on unity!
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
According to this prayer of Jesus, the world knowing the love of God and believing in Him depends on our choice to be unified by the glory of God. If we have grown ineffective at gathering in the lost to the Kingdom of God, it is likely that we have grown divisive.
Seriously stop and contemplate this. When is the last time that you lead someone to Christ? If it’s been a while, have you began to embrace a divisive attitude? Allow Jesus to bring revelation and conviction to you in this matter.
It was a concern of Jesus that His church would become divisive and no longer unified as one.
In our current environment in the US, division can be found everywhere. Unfortunately, it is true in the church as well.
Instead of standing on the truth of God and allowing it to define our worldview, we overlay our chosen worldview over God’s truth. We make even God’s timeless truth form to us, not change us to form to His truth.
In fact, that is what causes division. If we look at the literal word divisive or division, we quickly begin to see the problem which divides everything; ‘I’.
When ‘I’ get in the middle of things and begin thinking more highly of myself than I should, division begins. When I start to generalize and demonize or minimize the value of other groups of people, division steepens. When I start to mistreat others because of my opinion of them, division is complete.
A president, governor, mayor, chief of police, pastor, prophet, or any other leader can only divide a people if they so choose to be divided. We each have a personal responsibility to make every effort to maintain unity. My response is my responsibility.
There is a balance that God’s word teaches us. To maintain unity is not to keep silent and to sweep issues under the rug. In fact, there was a time in Israel’s history when they were doing exactly this. They were doing the right thing as far as going through the religious traditions were concerned, but we’re dividing themselves otherwise.
They had become a people who did evil. They became corrupted and rebelled. They turned their backs on God. As a result,
Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
Does this scene sound familiar? God spoke and the solution was to stop just going through their religious traditions and to:
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless and plead the case of the widow. When it comes to injustice and oppression, we are called in God’s word to take action.
We are blessed to live in a nation where we have a voice and can truly make an impact.
Let’s say, for example, an elderly widow in your town is getting fined daily because her grass is too high. However, she’s physically unable to keep it cut. God’s word calls us to plead the case of the widow, so how could we do that?
1. Attend the next council meeting and discuss your concerns about this widow to the board. We could propose amending the ordinance to allow an exception or lesser penalty for elderly widows.
2. Pay to have a lawncare service maintain her yard.
3. Go over to her home and mow her lawn for her once a week.
4. Do nothing
5. Gather a group of people together, go to the council member’s homes and vandalize them, loot all of the businesses in the town, block the road in and out of the town, and set the town’s police car on fire.
Which options would effectively serve this widow while also doing what is right and obeying God’s word? The first three options, right? Which options would lead to further unity? The first three options, right? Which would be the best? The third option.
What would the fifth option lead to? Well, nothing good, really. Perhaps jail time, fines, community service, division, and the widow would still be no better off. It would make a lot of media noise, but not actually accomplish anything worthwhile. In fact, it would likely not make that widow feel cared for, but afraid to live there.
What do most of us do? The fourth option. We do nothing. We’re aware of the issue and feel bad about it, but do nothing to be the solution.
Since most of us do nothing about injustices, they continue unchecked. Our cities are burned with fire and our economy stolen by foreigners. We repeat history instead of learning from it.
How should we respond injustices, then?
1. We must remain humble and teachable always seeking to understand others. This doesn’t mean that we necessarily agree with them, but we should do our best to understand them.
2. We must avoid thinking that we are better than others.
3. We must avoid generalizing and demonizing or minimizing the value of groups of people.
4. We absolutely must not repay evil with evil or wrongdoing with wrongdoing.
5. We must do what we can to be a voice and to take action to help the oppressed.
The God of miracles can work in and through your life to be the fulfillment of their prayers. In a heated and divided environment, you can be the peacemaker and the unifying agent among those divided. The Holy Spirit within you can bind together in perfect unity an extremely diverse people.
We close with this reminder of what it cost to bring about this miracle of unity – the sacrifice of Jesus. We are reminded of His example to lay down our life for the benefit of others. We are encouraged to take up the cause of the oppressed even as Jesus took up ours.
We learn to do right as we live as He lived. We learn to seek justice even as Jesus took on our punishment. We remember the value that God placed on all people as He sacrificed His only Son for our benefit.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.