The Call in The Midst of Disunity

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The Call in The Midst of Disunity
Our call as followers of Christ: Align with what God is doing. God is bringing reconciliation: us to him and us to one another. We are commissioned to be ambassadors of reconciliation (he has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Calling is to witness to the reconciling work of God by living it and proclaiming it.
Arguably the most important truth of scripture because it is the nature of God. God is One. Unity. Father, Son, HS.
This single characteristic of the church witnesses (action and words) to the world who God is and the saving work of Christ more than anything else.
Decisions we make reflect what we think about this truth.
Attitude/behavior reflects what we think about God
Remember the titans
In 1971, two Alexandria, VA schools, one black and one white high school were forced to integrate. The coach of the white school's football team, a lock for the Virginia sports HOF was named the assistant to a black coach named Herman Boone from North Carolina. Issues of this deep divide were openly addressed in the Movie Remember the Titans.
The black players were unified with each other. The white players with each other. Not as a team whose mission it was to win football games.
The first step to overcoming deep divide came as the team was preparing to go to football camp. Coach Boone made the team sit on busses not based on race but on whether they played defense or offense. The coach knew that sitting in the same room does not bring unity. Wearing the same uniform doesn't bond us together. It was a start.
What Unity is/What Brings it
As tensions were reaching their peak, Coach Boone woke his players and coaches up for a middle of the night training run to a Gettysburg battlefield and cemetery. Here's what he told his players:
RTT graveyard scene
Fellowship: locking arms with kindness, compassion despite differences, difficulties around the Gospel;
Don't have to agree on everything but in attitude, desire and fight for unity that holds powerful tension together with an overwhelming loyalty to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Humility to make unity more important than our desires, needs, wants, preferences - ourselves - so we hold onto one another tightly. It must be our passion that we fight for.
Must Fight Against:
Arrogance: claiming to be right.
Have to be right about the truth/true faith - only one truth and it isn't a collection of beliefs or principles it is the second person of the Godhead, Jesus and from his life and message it is clear that it's far more important to be faithful than be right.
Using/misusing scripture to show how the other side is wrong
Arrogance, pride, spiritual superiority
We/they talk
Unity is impossible if each person is out for him/herself, promoting own cause, seeking own advantage, claiming to be right.
We don't need to be right. Only faithful.
Faithful in following and learning from the one who is one, becoming like him and imitating him who is unity:
Giving. Emptying. Putting ourselves at the disposal of one another, putting aside our rights, wants, desires, not insisting on our own way. No rights. No privileges. Our lives are not our own.
Paul appeals (see Clark notes on appeal) based on the deepest experiences common to every believer: encouragement in Christ, incentive of love, fellowship of the spirit, tenderness and compassion.
Keep your eyes fixed on the good that God is doing in one another.
1 - Exhortations: encouragements, appeals (not commands) to Christians by a fellow Christian for their moral strengthening. Unity is about personal character.
God's desire is that every being in the universe might proclaim that Jesus Christ alone reigns. Unity/Harmony affects our witness to this truth (John 20:21).
"If my words of encouragement have helped you stay true to the faith in the past,
If you belong to that community brought into existence by the HS, and enjoy any fellowship with one another as a result, live like you belong together.
"If you know anything of the mercy and compassion shown to you by God in Christ, as you most certainly do, then say yes to my request.
Say yes.
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