1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
How does it feel to be one in Christ? How does it make you feel to be in unity and fellowship with fellow believers?
Chances are it makes you feel good. Chances are, you also know that we are supposed to be one body, and that in doing so we are a witness to the world.
Okay, so we know it feels good to be united and we know that we're supposed to... Sometimes it's something that just happens and for that we are fortunate. But, this one body of ours has many members... many diverse members. The body of Christ is made up of many denominations. Lots of people in lots of churches that believe lots of different things. Quite often this stuff causes division and at times even hatred towards one another. Obviously, when this happens we are not united and we are not a very good witness to anyone.
We're always going to have differences, but we have one thing in common that we can never lose sight of.
So, now that we've looked at just how important unity can be, let's take a look at how we can go about it.
in verse three we are told that we should never do things for selfish reasons and that we should never think of ourselves as better than others. Wow... We never do things for selfish reasons now do we? And we never look down on others right? We never think that we're better, or that we know more, or anything like that, right?
Can you picture me rolling my eyes right now? I think we're all guilty of that stuff.
Verse four says that we shouldn't just worry about ourselves, but the concerns of others as well.
Verses 5-11 are verses that most missions teams at a church I used to go to would have to learn. Want unity? Want to be one with the body of Christ? Well, verses 5-11 talk about your attitude and it uses the best example, Christ.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus... Is that asking a lot? Well, Christ was perfect... but let's just focus on the characteristics that we should be trying to imitate.
In verse three we read how we're not supposed to think of ourselves as better than others. Well, look at Christ...
In verses 6 and 7 we read how Christ was in very nature, God. But, he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He came to earth as a lowly man. He had ALL power... and he came to us as a man, a servant. He was as humble as humble can be. He did not walk around acting as if he was better than anyone, even though he was God.
How many of us can really consider ourselves humble with that to compare to?
No matter what our differences... no matter how far beneath you someone might seem... we are not better than anyone else... Not only are we absolutely not better than others... even if we were, we should never live that way.
Just remember that next time you're in a debate over theology or something. We are all ONE. You're not better than them, they're not better than you. And above all that, we serve the same God.
Verse 14 says we should do everything without complaining. Wow... everything? no complaining at all? Is that possible?
and, no arguing? Can you do all things without complaining? Can you avoid arguing all the time? Those things are tough, but very important. Verse 15 says we need to do that so we can be pure and blameless. We live in a messed up world, and we are to shine as lights.
Okay, all this stuff might seem tough at times. But, God calls us to do these things and for very good reasons. We are to be lights shining out to the world. How can we be a positive witness to the world when we can't get along with each other? It is time to stand together and be one. When life gets hard, don't complain. Think of others as equals. Don't look down on ANYONE. Even when you disagree about certain things, do not argue.
Let's stand together as one body so that we might be a pure and spotless witness to the world. The world needs us NOW. So let's get things together already.
Father God, I thank you for this day and all you have done for me today. I ask that you'd give me wisdom to see where I might need to change. I also ask that you'd help give me the patience to persevere and do your will even when things are tough. Help us to love one another no matter what. Thank you so much for giving us your son as the perfect example as to how we should live. Let us always be striving to live as He did.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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