HANGING OUR DIRTY LINEN IN PUBLIC (UNITY OF BELIEVERS)

Posted: February 9, 2012 in broken_pieces

The events leading to this note began last week when I overheard a believer talking to a non-believer about issues he had with another believer.  I thought to myself, that is wrong, so wrong, you are not supposed to share family issues with outsiders. They don’t know how it works, they will not be able to help and if anything, they would rather stay away from that family. You are showing them how disconnected you guys are as a family. Then two days after that I had a dream at night where I got the title. Yes, God usually gives me topics to write on through dreams at times. I remember wondering how I will go about it. Then a day after that, something personal happened to me that made me feel like sharing it to the whole world and telling them of sins committed against me, then God reminded me, albeit after I had partly shared it, ‘DO NOT HANG YOUR DIRTY LINEN IN PUBLIC.’ That quietened me. Trust God to let you go through something so that you can fully comprehend His point.

So this note is specifically for Christians. One thing I think we need to understand is that we are ONE FAMILY.We are many but we are one body in Christ. Christ talks of his church, not his churches, because he looks at us as one. He talks of his bride not brides to show oneness. He has chosen us out of the world (Jn 15:19) and we are his offspring (Acts 17:26). If God is our father and we are his children then by inference we are a family, we are one, one blood flowing in us. The blood of Jesus Christ.

The unity of believers is a very important thing because Christ said is what will show the world that we are his, cause them to know Him and that they may know that God loves us just as He loves Christ (Jn 17:23). You still wonder why I am talking about unity of believers. A family divided cannot stand. So if we are a family, we need to be united. Christ knew the importance of this and that’s why He repeatedly prayed for that in Jn 17. Christ’ prayer was that all believers may be one just as He and the Father are one. He prayed for complete unity, not partial, not convenience but complete unity. In Rom 15:5-7, we see Paul praying for the same by asking God to give us a spirit of unity among ourselves as we follow Christ so that with one heart and mouth we may glorify God. He further says, accept one another just as Christ accepted you inorder to to bring praise to God. So christian unity is a prerequisite and we sin every time we are divided against each other or sow seeds of discord.

The book of Acts is the best example of how christian unity is lived out. Acts 2:44 says all believers were together and had everything in common. No one lacked anything because they shared everything. All of them were in one heart and mind (Acts 4:32). Imagine if every organ of the body acted on its own accord without synchronising with the brain and the rest of the body wouldn’t it be disastrous? The left leg would want to go where the right leg doesn’t and what do you think happens when both legs become obstinate, the person is as good as dead. That is what happens when we work against each other and allow discord to rule us. I stress again, WE ARE ONE BODY. Let us not cause God’s name to be blasphemed (Rom 2:24).  That’s why in 1 Cor 12:12, we are told of the body being a unit though it is made up of many parts. We were all baptised by one Spirit into one body. Further along it says God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it so that there should be NO DIVISION in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers and vice versa, just as it is with our physical bodies.This can also be seen in Gal 3:26 – 27 where we are told there’s neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female for we are all one in Christ.

In Christs’ death, he became our peace destroying the barrier between Jews and Gentiles the dividing wall of hostility bringing those who were far away nearer for His purpose was to create for Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace. So we are no longer aliens but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of his household (Eph.2:11-22). Ephesians 4 talks of unity in the body of Christ. For we have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father over all. So we need to live a life worthy of the calling we have received. It talks of of the body (not bodies) of Christ being built up until we all reach UNITY in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining the whole measure of the fulness of Christ. For 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. But how is all this possible?

Love, the greater gift, the most excellent way (1 Cor 13). 1 Pet.3:8 says, above all, love each other because love covers over a multitude of sins. Love is what will cause us to be patient with each other, bear with each other, correct, rebuke and teach in love, love is what will hold us.

Onto divisions in the church. 1Cor chapter 1, Paul begins it with an appeal to the brothers that all maybe in agreement so that there may be no divisions among them and that they may be perfectly united in mind and thought. For it is disagreements that mostly cause discord. So he asks them this question, ‘Is Christ divided?’ That should come to mind every time division occurs. Paul equates divisions in the church to worldliness in Chapter 3 since jealousy and quarrels are still among us showing that we are still worldly. What is still reiterated in Eph.4 when we are united, we show maturity. Then in chapter 6, Paul boldly dares anyone who has a dispute with another to take it before the ungodly for judgement instead of before the saints and this is the gist of my note. In chapter 5:12-13, he asks, ‘What business is it of mine to judge those outside of the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge the outside.’ So by inference, the world should not even be hearing our disputes leave alone settling them. In chapter 6 he strongly condemns lawsuits among believers and says it is a sign that we are already defeated. He instructs them to appoint judges, even men of little account to settle disputes among believers. In Romans 12:2 we are exhorted not to conform to the patterns of this world. When we parade our issues in public the same way non-believers do, aren’t we conforming to the world?

In Rom 14:19, we are told, ‘let us therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. Eph.4:26 tells us, in your anger, do not sin and do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs and that it may benefit those who listen, so we see it’s not just about us. There are the listeners too. James also echoes the same sentiments in 1:19 by telling us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. In chapter 4, he says fights and quarrels that come from desires that battle within us are what cause divisions. Philippians 2 exhorts us to be united in Christ, by being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Not doing anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility considering others better than ourselves. That is, having the attitude of Christ and being His imitators. Col 3:12-14 tells us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with each other and forgiving just as Christ forgave.

The peace of Christ is supposed to rule in our hearts since as members of one body we have been called to peace. Heb 12:14 echoes the same rule by stating, ‘Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy.’ No bitter root should grow up to cause trouble and defile many but we ought to keep on loving each other as brothers. 2 Tim 4:2 says, correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction, how do we expect the world to do that? Correction is supposed to be biblical.

Then in closing, 1 Pet 3:8-9 says, finally, all of you live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble, do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult but with blessing because to this you were called that you may inherit a blessing.

I pray that this long note, may achieve the purpose for which I have written it, UNITY OF BELIEVERS, and that the Lord Jesus Christ may make us one just as He and the Father are one.

 

Grace and Peace.

 

 

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