Christian

Can We Disagree and Still Have Unity?

I wonder what the Apostle Paul would say if he were still writing letters to the churches today. How would he address all of our differences? He never minced words if he saw error being taught. That’s for sure. Consider his words to the Galatian church.

“The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.  Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.  As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” Galatians 5:2-12

Nothing wishy washy there! Maybe our lack of unity is more about believers embracing error than anything else. After all, there is only one Truth, one Gospel, one Spirit.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:2-6 NIV

I’m 68 years old and I’ve seen a lot. For one thing, I’ve lived in seven different cities and been a part of at least 7 denominations including “non-denominational”.

In the 80’s, a church I attended split over teaching coming from the Word of Faith movement. It introduced new ideas not in line with that church’s beliefs. Someone started a new church and many people left.

Another church I attended split in the 90’s in conflict over teaching with roots in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR).

Both of these splinter groups caused an uproar, but made little impact after they left. (For info on NAR see: https://bcooper.wordpress.com/?s=nar)

Looking back, the real crisis was that a strong church lost a large part of its membership due to the influx of new teaching not condoned by the denomination, and for good reason. Many people took sides to go or stay based on little Scripture searching and a lot of emotion.

Paul told the Corinthians,

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.  For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” 2 Corinthians 11: 3-4 NIV

Is unity even possible? What would it look like? For one thing, serious error would not exist. And serious error does exist in the Church. If you have been part of a strong, Bible-believing church since childhood because of your parents’ leadership, you are very fortunate.

But many people accept Jesus as adults and they are frequently so excited that they get caught up with churches that do not preach the pure Gospel. They only look at the excitement and enthusiasm in the praise and worship and do not examine the teaching to see if it is true. They often read books about God instead of the Book, the Bible. In their defense, they are new Christians.

Do we have unity with other believers even when their theology is tainted by error? Consider this message from Charles Spurgeon:

Where the Spirit of God is there must be love, and if I have once known and recognized any man to be my brother in Christ Jesus, the love of Christ constraineth me no more to think of him as a stranger or foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the saints. Now I hate High Churchism as my soul hates Satan; but I love George Herbert, although George Herbert is a desperately High Churchman. I hate his High Churchism, but I love George Herbert from my very soul, and I have a warm corner in my heart for every man who is like him. Let me find a man who loves my Lord Jesus Christ as George Herbert did and I do not ask myself whether I shall love him or not; there is no room for question, for I cannot help myself; unless I can leave off loving Jesus Christ, I cannot cease loving those who love him.

(The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. XII, 6)

Although I know very little about High Churchism, I do understand that Spurgeon loved his brother in Christ even though they held different views on theology. The important thing was that they both loved Christ. Spurgeon loved his brother in Christ, but I don’t think they were in unity (of one mind).

Let us pray for true unity and always seek to know the truth and hold it in high esteem even as we love everyone who also loves our Lord Jesus Christ. Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ does not mean forsaking the Truth, but it does mean we are completely humble and gentle, patient, forgiving, and loving.

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4: 11-16 NIV

These verses tell me that unity comes with maturity. Building each other up to be like Christ will bring the unity we desire. Maturity in Christ will protect us from false teaching and teach us instead, to walk in love with one another, holding on to what is true..

With Love,

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Photo by Wylly Suhendra on Unsplash

Christian

Thursday’s Verse, 5/21/20

“Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.” Psalm 25:6-7 NIV

With Love,

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Photo by Luc Dobigeon on Unsplash

Christian

Friday’s Verse, 5/15/20

“I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
    I will sing your praises among the nations.
10 For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
    Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Psalm 57:9-10 NLT

With Love,

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Photo by NATHAN MULLET on Unsplash

Christian

Tuesday’s Verse, 5/5/20

“We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
    for our hope is in you alone.” Psalm 33:20-22 NLT

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Christian

It’s Time to Fight Back!

Have you wondered lately, “What is wrong with me? Why am I so discouraged and depressed?

If so, you could be under attack by spiritual forces of evil! The apostle Paul wrote about it in the book of Ephesians. He said,

“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:10-12

Recently, a friend said to me, “I think I’m under the attack of the devil.”

I thought, “I think I am, too!”

Thinking about how we both had really geared up our efforts to be obedient to God’s will in our lives, I realized that Satan wasn’t taking it lying down! He was trying to discourage us both! He was trying to steal the Word and wear us down.

He was putting negative thoughts in our minds! Remember: Satan is the Accuser. (Revelation 12:10) He is also the Father of Lies. (John 8:44) He will attack your thoughts. Jesus said,

“Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word …” Mark 4:15

Did the devil attack Jesus? Yes, he did. Did Jesus fight back? Yes, he did. Did the devil finally give up and leave him alone? Yes, he did!

After fasting forty days and forty nights, (Jesus) was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Mathew 4: 3-4

Three times the devil tempted Jesus, and every time Jesus quoted the Word of God to him. That’s how Jesus fought back! Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the sword of the Spirit (our powerful weapon) is the is the Word of God. Jesus fought the devil’s schemes with the word of God. We can, too!

Let us praise and thank the Father, in prayer, for all the promises that contradict the discouragement and lies that come from Satan. 

It is written, the fruit of the Spirit is  love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

Jesus has promised that if I remain in His love, my joy will be complete. (John 15:11)

It is written “God gives us endurance and encouragement.” (Romans 15:5)

By your grace, you have given us eternal encouragement and hope. (2 Thessalonians 2:16)

It is written, when I am weak, then I am strong because your power is made perfect in weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

I thank you, Father, because you are able to make all grace abound to me, so that in all things at all times, I will have all that I need, and I will abound in every good work! (2 Corinthians 9:8)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength! (Philippians 4:13)

WOW! I feel better already! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The Bible is full of encouragement and love for you and for me!

With Love,

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Photo by Henry Hustava on Unsplash

Christian

How to Produce the Fruit of the Spirit in Your Life

Picture in your mind an apple tree loaded with ripe, red apples. Big, juicy apples are weighing down the branches until they brush the ground. Below, dozens have fallen and cover the ground like a quilt. You have no doubt what kind of tree it is. It’s an apple tree!

Then picture another tree. It has no fruit hanging on the branches. There’s no fruit lying on the ground. There’s no fruit anywhere. You don’t know what kind of tree it is!

No fruit!

Galatians 5:16-26 explains how to produce the fruit of the Spirit and cast aside the lust of the flesh.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 

Pay special attention to the bolded words, “walk by the Spirit”. The Greek word for walk is peripateo. It means “follow as a companion”. If we live our lives with the Holy Spirit as our constant companion, we will not entertain those fleshly desires.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (NIV)

Verse 25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

The Greek word translated “keep in step” is stoicheo. It means “to march in military rank, to conform to.”

It’s just like marching in a group. I’ve never served in the military, but I once marched in a band. In the 6th grade I was a majorette. The most exciting event of the summer was the 4th of July parade! I knew I had to keep in step with the others or I would stand out like a sore thumb. (I also had to try really hard not to drop my baton!)

To keep in step while marching means following the voice of the one calling the cadence. You don’t watch your feet! Likewise, keeping in step with the Spirit means following Him, focusing on Jesus and His precious Word.

Doing those things will produce the Fruit of the Spirit in your life and everyone will know what kind of “tree” you are. These are the characteristics that will define you: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Don’t be discouraged if your fruit doesn’t develop overnight. It takes an apple seed 5 to 10 years to make an apple! But when we’re serious about our relationship with God, He will change us into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ. Our part is to “keep in step” with the Holy Spirit. God will do the rest!

May God bless you as you yield to His will and follow in His steps, allowing the Lord to develop in you the precious fruit of the Spirit.

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

Featured Image Photo by Nathan Hulsey on Unsplash