Our Failed Witness - The Broken Church

We've been talking about Satan's tricks to divide us and ruin our witness this week.  The other trick Satan uses to dampen the church’s effectiveness is to influence us to badmouth other churches.

Paul wrote, "There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift [Eph 4:4-7 (ESV)].

Jesus has one Church that crosses all manmade divides.

Yet we have temporarily divided over the worst things.  Everything from gender, race, our nation, and for the past five hundred years, denominations.  Every denomination has a doctrine, usually a right teaching, that they just will not budge on.  For the brotherhood I am in, that has been adult believer baptism.  I have even heard people go so far as to rebaptize people because the right words were not uttered over them when they were baptized.  If Jesus wanted a specific phrase to be uttered, it would have been consistently and clearly presented throughout the Scriptures.  We serve a gracious God who honors the act of baptism, whether a person is doing it out of obedience or because they believe it is an act of salvation.  The heart is what matters.  A heart circumcised to the lord.

“And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deut 30:6 (ESV)

Are we eager to maintain unity, are we trying to be tuned to God?  Or are we antagonistic, wanting to fight, looking for opportunities to divide?  If we are looking for unity, we will find things to unify over.  If we are looking for division, we will find things to divide over.  We see what we are looking.  Paul taught that we are to approach one another with humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love?  That's not too divisive, nor is it too American.  I have been raised from birth as an American to be bold, brave, and fight for my freedom and rights.  But as citizens in the kingdom of God, we’re called to be humble, gentle, patient, and bear with one another in love.
Is that how we live in our houses, in our workplaces, in our social activities? 

Even within our own churches, do we let people lead there ministries, encourage them to follow God and do their best, or do we tear them down?  We might be in the same church, but that does not guarantee that we are unified.  Two cats with their tails tied to each other and be hung over a clothesline; they might be together but that does not mean they are unified.

Dwight L. Moody taught, “There are two ways of being united -- one is by being frozen together, and the other is by being melted together. What Christians need is to be united in brotherly love, and then they may expect to have power.” (Moody’s Anecdotes, pg. 53)

May we be united together.  If you take a bunch of loose gold ore, melt it together, and let a master craftsman shape it, you will have beautiful gold jewelry for the world to see.  May people see us, united together and not help but recognize the Master Craftsman who has shaped us into who we are.  May people see Jesus when they see our love for one another.