Christian Universe ™
October 09, 2011
We are meek, but not weak. In fact, we have strength as we stand in Christ, and look for God for our power. We are not to stand alone, but together. That means that, to be successful, we must work together. Several can accomplish a lot more than one alone. We also draw reassurance and strength when several work together. This is God's way - that when we take on spiritual wickedness in this world, we do it together!
By Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 10-09-2011
Presented to Load church of Christ on 11-06-2011
When Jesus told His apostles that when two or three were united on a request or a decision, He was with them. We see that He thought in terms of togetherness among His believers.
Matthew 18:18 "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
When we stand together, we show solidarity. Take, for instance, prayer. When Peter was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, the saints gathered to pray for his safety and release.
Acts 12:12 "And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying."
When we unite in our appeals to God, it shows our unified desire. We saw in our last lesson, that it is important to stand together in the faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ. How do we stand together? As I have said many times recently, there is a basic underlying truth to our unity.
Romans 15:1 "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God."
When our preachers and members speak of standing united, they usually mean on a given doctrine. But, it runs deeper than that. We stand together by supporting one another, and bearing one another’s burdens, as Jesus bore our burdens. When we stand together, we can with one mind and mouth glorify God. If we first love one another, our doctrines will converge.
2 Corinthians 13:11 "Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
As brothers and sisters in the faith, we need to live in love and peace with one another in order for the God of love and peace to be with us. In this way, we are of one mind.
Philippians 2:1 "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,
2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"
What the apostle Paul told the Roman believers, he also told the Philippians. Our strength comes from the Lord, as we read earlier, but it is centered in our serving one another. When we fellow believers love one another, show mercy toward one another, and look after each other, we stand united against those who attack and abuse us. When we are of this same mind, we have strength against our adversaries.
We see this in the admonition of the apostle Paul toward the Corinthian believers, when he told them to share of their abundance to relieve the need of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
2 Corinthians 8:13 "For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack."
By working together, we supply the needs of the weak and the unfortunate. This was how the manna was gathered and distributed.
Exodus 16:16 "This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.
17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.
18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating."
By working together, we can support each other in our battle against our adversaries, as we discovered in our last lesson. We stand against spiritual wickedness wherever it is found, including in places of power, among those who rule, all the way to high places.
1 Peter 3:8 "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing."
The apostle Peter agrees with what Paul had written. We must stand together in one mind and spirit, with one voice, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and the righteousness of God. Our love for God and His son is borne out in our love for God’s creation, for whom Christ died.
We must love one another and assist one another, being compassionate toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. We must also live a life of righteousness in front of our adversaries, and not be terrified of their attempts to terrorize us.
By living in fear of God and with meekness toward all, and readily giving an answer of the hope that is within us, we make manifest the lies of those who falsely speak evil of our good lives. If we must suffer for the cause of Christ, remember that He first suffered for us.
1 Peter 4:1 "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
Unlike Jesus, who was rejected by all His followers at His betrayal, we are to stand together.
1 Corinthians 12:24 "For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
By sharing good times and bad, we stand together, and we work together. In doing so, we see how many things that we have in common, which unites us in righteousness.