It’s time to Unite

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“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you 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. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

                                                            ~ Ephesians 4:1-6

The bible says that Satan comes to steal, kill, and to destroy.  If these three things are the food on which Satan dines, his appetizer is division. 

The enemy works hard planting seeds of discord, disunity, and division.  If only one seed takes root, it is enough to divide a church, to split friendships, and to cause a fracture in the move of God that quickly quenches the Spirit and destroys the lives of those in the church forever. 

Think about it…It’s likely that many if not all of you reading this have been through a church split or some other kind of major church issue.  These issues usually stem from a divide in the church that goes unaddressed, and as it festers, it becomes unmanageable and ultimately destroys a church.  This can rarely be recovered from and is much of the reason why close to 3000 churches close their doors each and every year.

Unity, however, doesn’t mean that there isn’t disagreement.  To the contrary, we are going to have disagreements among God’s people as we make decisions about what is sound doctrine and correct practice and pragmatism in the church.  However, usually it is not a disagreement that causes division among God’s people, but a lack of understanding, compassion, and care given to those with whom we disagree.  A lack of understanding of opposing viewpoints is contrary to biblical teaching as it is reflective of an unwillingness to listen (James 1:19).  A lack of compassion flies in the face of the second greatest commandment, “To love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Bible is and should be the foundation that we return to when we have disagreements.  We shouldn’t lean on science first, or experience first, or tradition first, or personal opinion first.  Not one of those things are wrong or bad, but we must first look to the scriptures for our answers.  It can be telling when we quote other things such as news articles, pop culture references, or political figures before ever quoting a piece of scripture to support our position.  We must be careful to allow scripture to guide our positions.

When, however, we cannot settle a disagreement, we must treat the other person or entities as Paul encourages us above, “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.”  Let that word “PEACE” sink in.  We must treat other this way because, as Paul says, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Covid-19 has brought much division and disunity in our nation and in our churches.  Both sides of the argument claim to have moral high ground, and both sides want to ridicule the other and for being “insensitive” or “uneducated.”  Members of First Baptist and Christians reading this, you are called to a higher calling.  We must treat each other with dignity, humility, and gentleness.  We must be patient with each other, bear each other’s opinions with dignity and love, and we must WORK HARD to maintain unity among the saints.  If we fail in this regard, our church and the church at large risks fracturing.  If we succeed, we will see fellowship secured, Christ magnified, the church edified, and the Gospel proclaimed in Word and deed.

While we disagree, let’s stand united for the cause of Christ so that the Gospel will continue to go forth.  If we do, the victory will be huge, and our community will see the light of Christ shine brighter than it ever has before. 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35

Be Encouraged!

Pastor Chris <><

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Pastor Chris Ridler

Pastor Chris is married to his beautiful wife Becky and has a precious son named Noah. Chris received his Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University and is currently working on his Master’s of Divinity at Reformed Theological Seminary. Chris has served in full time ministry for over 13 years – as either a Youth Pastor, Worship Pastor or House Parent and is passionate about seeing people grow in their walk with Christ and disciple others for the glory of God’s kingdom.