There is a question in my heart today that wonders where the solidity of community has gone among the people of God. The church today is easy to beat up for her worldliness, lack of heart, lack of focus on spiritual things, poor teaching, poor hearing, complacency toward holy things, a lack of concern for the word of God, being devoid of prayer, being too mixed up in matters of the world, debates, debauchery and many more things that could adorn this list of “fusses.” With all that in mind it is time that the one issue that should govern the churches “look” is the issue of biblical community. Everything found in scripture for the church to be striving toward is clear and in many cases congregations have these things as “key” or “core” values, but in the end, the “church group” at hand forgets that the body of Christ is to strive for these things as ONE, not many.
The unity of the church is clearly an issue and while some can argue that unity should be on hating things, the scripture reveals that the unity should be on believing things that result in true worship and true life transformation by the power of God’s word through the gospel. I have to now say that I have a major problem of wanting to deal with every possible issue, thought, philosophy etc., so for the sake of keeping my own mind sane, I want to offer a few areas where the body of Christ should walk in unity and some application that may help us all evaluate our own lives and congregations.
- Prayer – The people of God are people of prayer at the foundation of their souls. Without prayer, even the best laid plans are futile and God makes sure of it. Even when the “event” goes as planned, it isn’t spiritually fruitful. Prayer is dependence upon God in a state of worship, so we must all be praying as the bible instructs us and the entire church should be a praying people.
- Scripture – All protestants walk the pavement of the Reformation and one of the five pillars of the reformation is “sola scriptura” that teaches that the word of God alone is the standard of measure, standard of knowledge, means of revelation and knowledge of salvation etc. This means that no one comes to know Christ without God’s word and that the church, her offices, her purpose and function are only found within. Sola Scriptura needs to be revived among the body of Christ and unity in the word starts with the authority of it.
- Doctrine – There is much teaching in scripture at every point and comma, and in the necessary things, doctrine must be unified. Sadly, many who approach heresies are able to sway many from the truth and so many more who avoid teaching truth, sway people to apathy. If the body of Christ is not learning Christ, they are not the body of Christ. Unity among the body means that the word of God is taught, not in pragmatism, but in power.
- Obedience – Walking holy is the outcome of true salvation. Not perfectly, but triumphantly! The church should be known for her quiet beauty as she radiates the nature and character of her Bride Groom, Jesus Christ. So, sin must be something that is battled, together, with the whole of the church, not just individual homes, congregations, groups or ministries.
- Affection – Scripture is clear that the heart is revealed by the mouth, the mind and the motion of any individual. The same is true for the church at large. Her affections must be for holiness, Christ, and all things related to His glory. The body of Christ in unity will walk in the world of darkness as light. It’s time that the church be presented to the world as she will be presented to her Lord; in splendor and beauty.
- Worship – Jesus says in John 4 that the Father is only looking for worshippers and that true worshippers worship in Spirit and in Truth. This means that the church in unity will worship the same God, the same Messiah, not the world’s or the culture’s. The church can worship together the One True God whose name is Jesus because He has made them alive with His Spirit through His Word.
- Evangelism (by the church) – Paul says in Ephesians that the church is to be taught by the word of God to do the “work of the ministry.” So, as one body, how is it that so many congregations are never concerned with the mandate to the “ONE” body but rather is only concerned about their own numbers, seats, money and monuments? Reaching the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the work of God and His people, those truly called by His name, are indeed about this business. Let’s see the church unified in this effort as each believer does the work, in his or her ability and giftedness by the grace of God.
- Purpose & Mission – While there are countless books, seminars, trainings, conferences, videos and podcasts on mission and vision, the word of God alone gives a clear and precise, if not myopic, vision and mission for the church. She is to be about praising God for His glorious grace in Christ Jesus and teaching ALL NATIONS to obey ALL that Christ has taught from Genesis to Maps… SO, what is the vision of the church? If every congregation were biblical in this point, the CHURCH would live out her faith together in the community instead of being divided and individualistic.
- Concern & Burden – This is surely a repeat of some of the points above, but in the end the body of Christ will have a burden for all that burdens God: namely, His glory. It is easy to say that she is doing all things for His glory, but when measured by the true Rod of Scripture, the body falls short. Praying and learning together would afford the reality of knowing the burdens and seeing them aligned from smallest to largest.
- Discipline – While many consider this word punitive, scripture says that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So, discipline according to Hebrews is the evidence of true adoption by God. Discipline allows for the correction of sin and a “lying” lifestyle that stands against the glory of the cross of Christ. All congregations should be united in discipline for the sake of holiness. That way, the apostate one from one group cannot hide in the folds of another to be used by the devil to do his deeds. (see 2 Timothy.) This command in scripture relates to sinful “civil” actions, not just actions within the church walls. So, a crook in the office is corrected by the church.
- Action & Activity – While there is 3,200 more points that could be expressed, this one may group many together. Good doctrine produces good devotion. What goes into the heart of the body comes out, so the actions and activity of the local church should depict the major actions and activities commanded, not just implied by the narrative of scripture. “You will know them by their fruits” Jesus says, so then the simple question remains, “What is the fruit of the CHURCH of Evans County?”
- Career – Unity is fleshed out when the body of Christ moves out of “church” things into the “life” things. Every Christian is a minister of the Gospel and every Christian is equipped by the Spirit of God to do what God commands because He has put His spirit in His people. So, no matter what a believer may do for a “living”, he or she is a light to the dark world. The church should be in unity seeing this lived out for the glory of Christ!
Consider the reality of what the body of Christ is and what she has been ordained and equipped to do. For more information on these topics, visit GraceTruth.org
For His Glory by His Grace,
Pastor James Tippins