SATURDAY 19TH MARCH,2016
TOPIC: UNITY WITHOUT UNIFORMITY (1)
TEXT: JOHN 17:23 “I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
The last prayer Jesus prayed before His crucifixion was that we would come together in unity. That’s a tall order! We’re a thoroughly diverse assortment, differing denominationally, doctrinally, politically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, culturally and materially, often to the point of enmity and division. Hence what do we understand by the word uniformity? So how can Christ’s prayer be answered and His people united? We can start by acknowledging that unity is
God’s will and committing ourselves to work towards it. This describes the ultimate expression of God’s love for one another as disciples. Next, we can learn as Paul teaches the principles of unity to the divided church at Rome: 1) Unity demands that we don’t judge one another. ‘Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls’ (Romans 14:4 NIV). God alone is authorised to hand out verdicts. Even when you’re right, or you’re the more knowledgeable party, you still have no right to judge. Your job is to ‘make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit’ (Ephesians 4:3). Discuss it with God, then trust His wisdom. 2) Unity requires us to respect each other’s convictions. ‘Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind’ (Romans 14:5 NIV).
Personal convictions, not the enforced opinions of others, are what Paul is referring to. The desire to make someone else over in your image is a form of idolatry and pride that destroys any possibility of unity. God reserves the right to bring up His own children without your interference! He’ll mould and lead them where and when He decides, because He understands their needs and capacities. So trust Him with His job, of transforming lives inwardly through His love (Jesus Christ), the Holy Spirit and do yours by loving and respecting others.
MEDITATION: John 13:34-35
STUDY THE BIBLE
MATT. 19:1-15/NUM 9 & 10/ECCL 7