Back to Church Sunday 2019: Part 3 "Unity with Diversity"
Pastor Rollan Fisher
The Unity God Desires
People who were committed to the gatherings of the people God (despite their differences with those gathered with them):
David - Heart differences with other Israelites
Jesus - Nature and Holiness
Paul - Gentiles
Luke 1 and 4 - the first places Jesus ministered were at the Temple as a boy and in the Synagogue after returning in the power of the Spirit
Unity God Desires
Jesus builds his church with a people of diverse ethnic, socio-economic, cultural and experiential backgrounds. We must celebrate this and learn to share life together as we are being conformed into the image of Christ.
A Song of Ascents Of David:
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
Who is spurring you on to greater faith, love and good deeds In Christ?
“Children will play with everyone until someone tells them not to.”
Biases and offense are the killers of unity in the Church. We must resist both in the love of Christ.
How to Pick (be planted by the Lord in) a Local Church.
Once you have prayed and discovered that it is a Bible Preaching, Jesus loving church on mission, build life together with the church community.
Spending Time with people is the only way to overcome suspicions, misunderstandings and cultural stereotypes. You begin to see that people have the same hopes, the same dreams, the same aspirations, needs from God and fears. You all breathe the same air.
Intentionally develop friendships and have people in your home (a good read - Rosario Butterfield‘s - The Gospel Comes With a House Key).
“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
-Verna Myers, VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, TED Talk Contributor, Founder of the Verna Myers Company
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get to know another person’s experience, perspective and pain. You unite Biblically around the cross and gospel of Christ.
-(Racism and Champ Bailey’s Hall of Fame speech - listen to those experiencing something different from you.)
Immigration and how to treat the foreigner
Humility is necessary on both the side of the listener and the one who shares. Dealing with things as a porcupine. The city brings out biases and accentuates issues.
v. 47 indicates they are in exile. A community lament. Crisis after persistent unfaithfulness.
Then they despised the pleasant land, having no faith in his promise. They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord. Therefore he raised his hand and swore to them that he would make them fall in the wilderness, and would make their offspring fall among the nations, scattering them among the lands.
“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together
Don’t allow offenses with brothers and sisters to hamstring the work of God.
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
“Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial. God hates this wishful dreaming because it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Those who dream of this idolized community demand that it be fulfilled by God, by others and by themselves. They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law, and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church. Whoever is mindful to build the church is surely well on the way to destroying it, for he will build a temple to idols without wishing or knowing it.“
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together
We preserve unity in diversity by continually offering the forgiveness that we were first offered at the cross of Jesus Christ.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Jesus makes a way for men and women to be born again. This is the cure for the deep seeded ills such as the racism and the bigotries of this world. We need to repent of our self-centered, ethnocentric and culturally biased living (which tells us we deserve our best life now and we should have Eden on this side of redemption - an impossibility in a fallen world marred by sin). We need to put our full trust in Jesus, the crucified and risen Son of God to supernaturally be given a new heart and new spirit to empower us to live in the life of Christ.
Second City Church - Back to Church Sunday 2019 - Pastor Rollan Fisher 2019