Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekend Worship - Church Unity

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interests of others.
- Philippians 2.1-4

"The one danger which threatened the Philippian church was that of disunity. There is a sense in which that is the danger of every healthy church. It is when people are really in earnest and their beliefs really matter to them, that they are apt to get up against each other. The greater their enthusiasm, the greater the danger that they may collide. It is against that danger Paul wishes to safeguard his friends.

"In verses 3 and 4 he gives us the three great causes of disunity.

"There is selfish ambition. There is always the danger that people should work not to advance the work but to advance themselves. It is extraordinary how time and again the great princes of the Church almost fled from office in the agony of the sense of their own unworthiness....Far from being filled with ambition, the great men were filled with a sense of their own inadequacy for high office.

"There is the desire for personal prestige. Prestige is for many people an even greater temptation than wealth. To be admired and respected, to have a platform seat, to have one's opinion sought, to be known by name and appearance, even to be flattered, are for many people most desirable things. But the aim of the Christian ought to be not self-display, but self-obliteration. He should do good deeds, not that men may glorify him, but that they may glorify his Father in heaven. The Christian should desire to focus men's eyes not upon himself but on God.

"There is concentration on self. If a man is forever concerned first and foremost with his own interests, he is bound to collide with others. If for him life is a competition whose prizes he must win, he will always think of other human beings as enemies or at least as opponents who must be pushed out of the way. Concentration on self inevitably means elimination of others and the object of life becomes not to help others but to push them down."

(From The Daily Study Bible Series by William Barclay)

Church unity seems to be something that is greatly lacking in the United States today. Not only are there teenage cliques in our churches but also adult cliques. And sometimes a church can be a clique in itself, not willing to participate with other area churches in things like outreach ministry, MOPS programs, joined services, etc. We, as a body of believers, should be continually working with each other in all aspects of ministry. We should be striving to bring glory NOT to ourselves - not even to our church - but to the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all glory is due!

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