Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Unity—the reputation we want

Church unity - cross
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Philippians 1:12-30

TO CHEW ON: "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27

Whenever a prominent Christian makes news for conduct, it reflects on the whole church. As Christians we don't live only to ourselves and this is never more evident than when one of our famous ones stumbles.

"Conduct is a word that usually describes one's life as a citizen," writes Wayne Grudem in his commentary on this passage. "The city of Philippi prized its Roman citizenship, but Paul reminds his readers that the most important conduct is to behave in a manner befitting citizens of the kingdom of God" - Wayne Grudem, Study notes on Romans, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1661.

Paul goes on to tell the Philippians what he'd like to be hearing about them: "… so that… I may hear of your affairs that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel" (emphasis added). In plain words, he wants them to have a reputation for UNITY.

Paul is surely following his leader Jesus in this. Hear Jesus pray in John: "…'that they all may be one as You Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us that the world may believe that You sent Me' " - John 17:21.

So let's remember, we don't live only for ourselves, Our conduct reflects on the whole body of Christ. And there's no better "reflection" than to mirror the unity of the Godhead.  Let's work for that within our own congregations and throughout the many communities that make up Christendom. How? Some ways to foster unity that come to mind:

  • Focus on the beliefs we hold in common, versus those on which we disagree.
  • Get to know Christians from other churches in the community. One way to do that is to attend interdenominational events. For example, our community has a joint Good Friday service that involves all evangelical churches that care to participate.
  • View members of other churches as brothers and sisters in the same big family rather than rival families.

Dear God, may my conduct be a credit to Your kingdom and a force for unity in it. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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