“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 (KJV)
Happy Sunday Everyone! I’ve been working on a lot this weekend. It’s such a blessing to serve God like this, and it’s also been a blessing to have the ministry office I’ve always hoped to have. I was having some quiet time devotions of my own when I sensed that today was a good day to find another message written on Evernote to transfer here to Pastor B’s Blog, and it took me a moment…but I feel like I found one that is an on-time message. I originally wrote most of this message back while I was recovering from my hernia surgery, and as part of that Cigar Lounge Devotional. So, let’s see what God says today through this message that I penned just five months ago, but is burning in my heart as a right now message.
One In Christ:
What does the words “One In Christ” mean to you? We hear these words a lot, but there seems to be lots of disagreement about exactly what being one in Christ is really all about. We hear a lot these days about racial divides and tensions. We hear about poor people who aren’t really welcome within the four walls of a church, and there’s just as much discrimination in the church as there is in the world. You know how I feel about that. We should never be able to find in the church something we can find in the world…and we also know that Jesus says that a house divided will not stand. There is a lot of division going on in the world today, and sadly that division has also seemed to creep into the church, hasn’t it!?! There are a lot of so-called movements like “Black Lives Matter”, the Same-Sex stuff, and that’s just the beginning of all the strife and division that’s in the world today.
But God wants us to know that He only sees two kinds of people. God doesn’t see anyone based on skin color, sexual orientation, male or female, rich or poor or middle class, democrat or republican, capitalist or socialist…He sees people as Jews (believer) or Gentiles (unbelievers). We are the ones that label and divide. We are the ones that have our prejudices. We are the ones that discriminate between groups of people, but the truth is that as believers we need to adopt the same mindset of our Father. The mindset that we are all either in Christ or we are not. If we’d look at the world through God’s eyes I believe that we in the church would have that renewed heart for the lost, and a renewed desire to reach those who aren’t in Christ…because there’s a world full of people who are dying and going to hell while we are busy dividing ourselves.
Paul talked about this, didn’t he? In 1 Corinthians 1:13 (KJV) Paul writes “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”. He was talking about the division happening in the church of Corinth in his day, and since then it seems that we’ve forgotten that we’re not Baptist or Methodist or Lutheran or Word of Faith…we are either of Christ or we are not. Did you know that God doesn’t prefer a particular denomination over others? I know that the charismatic or Baptists or Pentecostals probably don’t see it that way, but it doesn’t matter how WE see it…it only matters how GOD sees it…and no matter how many denominations we come up with…God still sees the Body of Christ (the Jews) or those who are in and of the world (the Gentiles). That’s it…everything else…all these denominations aren’t God ordained…they are man-made…and so if you were wondering what denomination Christlike Ministries NWA is…the short answer is non-denominational. I don’t have a particular denomination…I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I don’t preach about the Baptist way…I preach Jesus Christ and the Word of God. I preach that Christ isn’t divided…He is One God…we are one body, and He’s coming back for the Body of Christ as a whole.
See, friends. Over the last few years, one of the things that God has taught me is that there are no prejudices in the Kingdom of God, and if you have any that’s not of Him because God is love and He loves the WORLD so much that He sent His Son to die for it (and that includes all who reject Him.). It doesn’t matter what the color of their skin is…God made their skin…and it’s not the outside of the person He’s concerned with…He was and always is interested in the condition of our hearts. So, even when it comes to the Gentiles (non-believers) today there’s no room for having any sort of prejudice against them because they need Jesus just as much as I do. That’s the point. It doesn’t matter what tax bracket you are in, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, it doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself gay or straight or transgender…what matters is how GOD sees us…and the Bible says that God sees people in one of two categories…saved or unsaved.
You see, friends, it’s the devil’s job to divide. He did it all the way back in the garden when he got Eve to question God’s faithfulness and provision and His Word…and ultimately got her to eat of the one tree God said not to. It’s the devil’s job in today’s media that works to divide by race, sexual orientation, tax bracket, and gender…but God still only sees two groups of people…those that are His (the Jews) and those who are not (the Gentiles). Now don’t let that freak you out. All believers from believing Abraham to you are Jews (God never called anyone a Christian), and all non-believers are Gentiles. If it helps you God only sees Saved and Un-Saved…okay!?!
So, it’s important that we as Christians whether we’re in ministry or not learn to look past people’s skin color, past their tax bracket, past their sexual orientation, past their gender, and past their position in Christ. The one piece of advice I have always tried my best to adhere to is that you have to be able to look beyond the person in front of you in order to effectively minister to them. If you get hung up on anything on the surface…you’ll never be able to effectively minister to the deeper needs within people. There’s a saying around the church that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and as many of you know I also add that the need to know your love and concern for them is genuine. One of the biggest reasons the world looks at the church like we’re a bunch of hypocrites is because we don’t treat people in and of the church any better than we treat folk in and of the world. Jesus said His disciples would be known by the love they put on display…when we aren’t treating people in the church any better than we treat people in the world…that’s what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable.
How have your personal prejudices hindered your ability to minister to people? How many people groups do you have? I would like to encourage you to really meditate upon those thoughts, and pray like King David asking God to really search your heart and reveal the answer. In fact, let’s pray that together as we close.
Father God, thank You for Your deep love towards me and thank You for sending Your only begotten Son, my Savior Jesus Christ to suffer on the cross for my sake, so that my sins could be forgiven and that I may live with You for ever, in heaven. Lord I know that I do not warrant Your love and yet You have showered unconditional love and grace towards me through Christ – for which I praise and thank You. But Lord You desire all Your children to love others as Christ loved us, but my love is poor and weak and is far removed for all that You desire of me. Fill me I pray with the love of Christ that I may love others in the same way that Christ loved me – so that as Your love pours into my soul, so I may be used as a conduit for Christ’s love to stream out to others with whom I come into contact. Help me to demonstrate Your love not only to those that are lovable, but also to those that who lash out at me through pain or anger, disappointment or loss. May the love of Jesus be manifested in me and may the love of Jesus be distributed, by grace through faith –to all with whom I come in contact, in Jesus name I pray, Amen
Final Word By Pastor B:
I don’t know about you, but I love when God talks to me about the condition of my heart. Did you know that being prejudice is a heart condition? When we have a ought with our brother no matter what the reason…it’s because there’s something in our heart towards them that isn’t right. Remember Jesus said that if we hate our brother that we’re guilty of murder. Most prejudices are rooted out of some kind of hatred whether it be for people of a different colored skin or different lifestyle…remember we aren’t to hate people…but their lifestyles. I’ve always been one to preach that we ought to love the people, but hate the sin…and I’ll continue preaching that until Jesus calls my name or comes to get me.
I love knowing from messages like this how God has really worked on my heart. I used to have a saying that I wasn’t prejudice I hated everyone equally, and now I’ve come to the place where I find that I’m still not prejudiced…I love everyone equally. That’s the kind of God we have that can take an angry, cold heart…and turn it into a heart of flesh. I am certainly not perfect, but I’m finding more and more that God is melting my heart for people.
Thank you for joining me as we talk about being one in Christ. When we begin to see people as God does within the church then we can get back to the unity that the Holy Ghost desires us to have. Only when we can truly gather in one accord without any divisions is when we as the Body of Christ can really impact the world the way the church did in the book of Acts. I always say that if we want a Book of Acts church…we have to do what they did to get it…and one thing they did was desire to be one in Christ. Would be to God that we would learn to have the kind of unity they did…because when they did…the Holy Ghost fell and the disciples turned the world upside down.
Have a blessed day in the Lord!
Blessings & Grace;