|We look at churches today and see that there are hundreds of denominations in this world. And they all disagree or agree on different doctrinal issues. But what divides us? Straight, Gay, lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or whatever, we are called to love. We are God’s Children. We are called to be “Christ-like.” All that are in Christ should be united as a body.
We all claim that denomination say they are the true churches and the other side says they are wrong. Some of the issues that Churches face are homosexuality, worship, theology, and basic doctrinal issues. The Major concern for us today is Homosexuality. This will be our Main focus point.
Homosexuality has become a big issue among many churches today. Why? Because more churches have been more accepting or not accepting of that kind of person. The gay Community wants to have the same civil rights as a heterosexual. Most churches teach that homosexuality is wrong. But what happened to “Love one another?” (John 13:35)
An article that appeared in “Christianity Today,” subtitled, Why Words Matter said, “We are to love our fellows, to love all people, in fact, as neighbors. All people bear the image of God.” (Francis Schaeffer) How true these words are for us today!
12:34 Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. 12:35 The good man brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of an evil treasure. 12:36 I tell you that on the day of judgment, people will give an account for every worthless word they speak. 12:37 For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.”
(Matthew 12:34-37, The Net Bible WWW.BIBLE.ORG)
The Christian knows that he/she will be held accountable for words uttered. We are all made in God’s image so we are to “Love one Another.”-John 13:35.
As the body of Christ, we are to be Christ-like as 1 Peter 4:1-11. Jesus taught unity not division in the Church. He did not come down to earth to divide us or to condemn us. He comes to unit us in the Body of Christ as believers. (Ephesians 4:1-16)
Examples For Us Today
The Early Church
“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas “; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1 Corinthians 1:10-17, NIV)
Paul, the Apostle of Jesus Christ had to correct the Corinth Church because several congregations were saying I belong to this person, and that person. Paul comes in and says, “Is Christ divided?” This is a question that we need to ask ourselves. Is Christ divided in hundreds of different Churches? Where do we stand?
The second example is in 1 Corinthians 3:1-23:“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”
Unity In Christ
In The Body of Christ
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”-Galatians 3:26-29. If we believe in Jesus and call him our personal Savior, it doesn’t matter if we are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, or transgender.
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Yes! No matter what people may say or think, as long as we are in Christ, there is no division. Some key points that need to be noted as regards to how the body of Christ is united. Here is a list of seven keys:
(Based on Eph. 4:1-16)
“To prepare God’s 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.” (Eph. 4:12, 13, NIV)
The purpose of the Body is to be united so that the body can be built up. To help one another and without that we are fooling ourselves. “We all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.”
“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.” (Eph. 4:16, NIV) Paul is speaking when he says, “From him,” Jesus is held together by every supporting ligament. That the Body of Christ will grow and is build up in love as each part does its work in the Kingdom of God. (Compare Psalm 133)
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 NIV)
We should “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:3) There should be no division in the Body of Christ. “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.” (Romans 15:5 NIV)
The Early Church
An Example of Unity
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47, NIV) This is the true church. This is how the Church today should be united. Having everything in common, not disagreeing on scriptures, doctrine. WE should be united. Not Divided.
The Following are Key Verses in Bold:
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor 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 with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.”-1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Next two pages are Extra Information that I thought would describe Unity and Division very well.
Unity: The Gift of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1-13)
Since there was division in the Corinthian church, Paul began with an emphasis on the oneness of the church. He pointed out four wonderful bonds of spiritual unity.
We confess the same Lord (vv. 1-3).
Paul contrasted their experience as unconverted idolaters with their present experience as Christians. They had worshiped dead idols, but now they belonged to the living God. Their idols never spoke to them, but God spoke to them by His Spirit, and He even spoke through them in the gift of prophecy. When they were lost, they were under the control of the demons (1 Cor. 10:20) and were led astray (“carried away,” 1 Cor. 12:2). But now the Spirit of God lived in them and directed them.
It is only through the Spirit that a person can honestly say; “Jesus is Lord.” A sneering sinner may mouth the words, but he is not giving a true confession. (Perhaps Paul was referring to things they had said when influenced by the demons prior to conversion.) It is important to note that the believer is always in control of himself when the Holy Spirit is at work (1 Cor. 14:32) because Jesus Christ the Lord is in charge. Any so-called “Spirit manifestation” that robs a person of self-control is not of God; for “the fruit of the Spirit is . . . self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23, nasb).
If Jesus Christ truly is Lord in our lives, then there should be unity in the church. Division and dissension among God’s people only weakens their united testimony to a lost world (John 17:20-21).
The members promote unity as they discover their dependence on one another (vv. 21-26).
Diversity in the body is an evidence of the wisdom of God. Each member needs the other members, and no member can afford to become independent. When a part of the human body becomes independent, you have a serious problem that could lead to sickness and even death. In a healthy human body, the various members cooperate with each other and even compensate for each other when a crisis occurs. The instant any part of the body says to any other part, “I don’t need you!” it begins to weaken and die and create problems for the whole body.
A famous preacher was speaking at a ministers’ meeting, and he took time before and after the meeting to shake hands with the pastors and chat with them. A friend asked him, “Why take time for a group of men you may never see again?” The world-renowned preacher smiled and said, “Well, I may be where I am because of them! Anyway, if I didn’t need them on the way up, I might need them on the way down!” No Christian servant can say to any other servant, “My ministry can get along without you!”
Paul may be referring to the private parts of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:23-24. If so, then to “bestow honor” on them refers to the use of attractive clothing. The more beautiful parts of the body need no special help.
God’s desire is that there be no division (“schism”) in the church. Diversity leads to disunity when the members compete with one another; but diversity leads to unity when the members care for one another. How do the members care for each other? By each one functioning according to God’s will and helping the other members to function. If one member suffers, it affects every member. If one member is healthy, it helps the others to be strong.
Edited By Mike Arbuckle
Affirming GBLTQ Youth
Copyright 1998, revised 11/99
All Rights Reserved.