Observations on Life, Faith, Media & Technology

Christ Prays for a Unified Church

Someone shared with me a powerful sermon from Dr. Joel Gregory on unity in the Body of Christ.  The setting is Brookhollow Baptist Church, “The Church Without Walls” in Houston.  The title of the sermon is “Christ Prays for a Unified Church.” In the message, Gregory makes some powerful points about the importance of unity in the church. 

Gregory_at_brookhollow First of all, he points out that unity is not a program or an achievement, but it is a gift from God.  Since it is a gift, it can only come from God.  In other words, it’s not going to happen if we rely on our good intentions or human wisdom.  Unity can only come from God. That is why Jesus said when we are unified, the world will believe that God sent Him.

We try to make unity happen in our own strength.  We think if we are properly organized we’ll be one.  But, Gregory points out, there’s a unity to ice cubes in a tray, but they are cold and lifeless.  We think if we can get to the point where we all believe the same way we’ll be united, but Dr. Gregory notes that there is agreement in a cemetery with all of the gravestones lined up in a row, but they are all dead.  It’s not an achievement, it’s a gift.  Biblical unity can only come from God.

Secondly, Dr. Gregory notes that we are told in God’s word to shun those who cause divisions among us. (Romans 16:17)  “Isn’t it interesting” Gregory says, “that we shun the very people we should not shun and fail to shun the people that we should shun?”  He’s right.  We shun people who have experienced a moral failure or who have obvious sin in their lives.  We shun those with whom we’ve had a past disagreement, sometimes worshiping alongside them for years but holding on to a grudge against them.  Or, as so frequently happens among believers, we shun those with whom we disagree on relatively minor theological points, despite the fact that we agree with them on 95% of our theological convictions. 

We’re not supposed to shun those who need Christ, who need repentance, or who need our fellowship and encouragement.  But the Bible does tell us to take note of those who cause divisions among us and avoid them!

Here’s another great quote from this sermon: Dr. Gregory talks about how we often fail to lift each other up in the church, but rather we end up running each other down.  “We’re not here to see through one another, we’re here to see one another through!”

This sermon is well worth listening to.  You can watch it here.

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