"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:3; NIV
This last Sunday at church we took the time to cast the vision for our church this year. As the pastors and leaders, we spent the summer praying what the Lord would have for us moving forward. The vision was made very clear: UNITY.
After such a difficult, disturbing, and divisive election season last year, many people have been left wounded and bruised by the things that took place. This year, we feel like the Lord is taking us where we should have gone a year ago, and make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. This is more difficult than it sounds because we seek unity in other things and in other ways not of the Spirit. As a body of Christ we can never be united around a flag, nor a social cause, nor a political party nor anything else of this world. True unity is only found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and through His Holy Spirit. Only through this do we find a diverse and divided group brought together by the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
How does this happen? I have four things from the rest of Ephesians 4 to meditate on and pray about.
1) Reconciliation- This is to seek forgiveness and give forgiveness to those brothers and sisters that either you may have hurt or been hurt by.
2) Get rid of Bitterness- There is only a little difference between this and the first, but to pull out the root of bitterness is essential to completing every step of reconciliation.
3) Fellowship- This is a hard thing to do. When we have a quarrel with someone, fellowship tends to cease. When we don't fellowship, unity tends to cease. We should make every effort to be in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ
4) Serving- One of the best ways to build relationships and even unity, is to serve with one another. We all have different gifts and callings, but all for building up the body of Christ
I pray that the Lord shows us how to be one, as He and the Father are one. My brothers and sisters, I love you all and my prayer is that the Lord brings unity within our body. I fully agree with a man I once heard who said this, "Unity among great diversity is the beautiful work of the Holy Spirit." Let us make EVERY effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Our Senior Pastor, Rob Nelson, shared a word that I would love to share with you.
The last several months we have been studying through the book of Acts. We have seen so many miraculous things happen in the Word and have been encouraged seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the apostles. This week, we found ourselves in chapter 17. Here is the account of Paul's ministry in Berea:
"The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men" (Acts 17:10-12; NET)
The Bereans searched the scriptures to confirm what Paul and Silas were teaching. What made the Bereans more open-minded? Theses were people who were confident in the Word of God, the scriptures. With every new thing, they would search the scriptures because they had confidence in what God has already said. For this reason, they were secure enough in new things that were being taught. If it didn't line up with scripture, they would know right away, and they wouldn't be moved by every wind of doctorine.
I would encourage every believer to examine the scriptures. There are a lot of weird ideas out there and a lot of "new" things that come up. But if we have CONFIDENCE in the WORD, then we can be SECURE enough to hear new things and not be scared, but rather discerning. When we are familiar with the Word of God, we see ourselves with more of an open mind like the Bereans.
To hear the message in its entirety, go to this link: