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Friday, August 30, 2013

Maintaining Christian Unity

The use of technology for public ministry has been a wonderful tool for reaching a greater audience with the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. However, it should also give us cause for concern. The internet also offers a greater opportunity to weaken or undermine the unity of the church by causing discord, conflict and division among Christians. With just a few keystrokes, on a blog or social media site, one can set a blazing forest fire of discontent and animosity among Christians. Some Christian bloggers are quick to accuse falsely and then slow to apologize. A good number of recent attacks have to do with calling doctrinally sound teachers guilty because of some insignificant association with a false teacher or a false convert. To make matters worse, many of these bloggers have a prideful spirit and a "must win" mentality. Their selfish ambition spawns an ungodly rivalry towards other ministries.
The Apostle Paul warns us, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3). Doing ministry out of selfish ambition is something I have been guilty of in the past and something I need to continuously guard against. It should be the desire of every blood-bought Christian to take every selfish thought captive to the obey Christ and seek His agenda. "We are to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord we may, with one voice, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 15:5-7).
Factional divisions within the church occur when Christians choose to follow their favorite personalities instead of Christ and His Word. We can learn from Paul's admonition to the Corinthian church where some members were divided over following Paul or Apollos or Cephas or Christ. Paul exhorted them to avoid such divisions and to have the same mind and judgment (1 Cor. 1:10-12). He also warned the Galatians, "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, or envying one another" (Gal. 5:26). The apostle also had to exhort the Ephesian church, to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph, 4:1-3).
Unity among Christians was of great importance to our Lord. He prayed for Christians to maintain the same unity He shares with His Father so that the world would believe (John 17:21). We need to recognize the unbelieving world has access to social media and therefore, strive for Christian unity. The best way we can do this is with "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you" (Col. 3:12-13). We need to put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony, and let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts (Col. 3:14-15).
Knowing that one of Satan's major objectives is to cause division in the church and ruin its witness to the world, we need to make sure we are working to accomplish our Lord's mission and not Satan's. We need to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. May God help us all to do this for His glory and purpose!  proclaimingthegospel.org