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Being One In Spirit And Purpose

March 6, 2013

Greetings,

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in Spirit and purpose.”  Philippians 2: 1-2

Just how do these verses apply to you?  I, myself, find much encouragement from being united with Jesus, knowing that I am never alone in any situation.  There is also much comfort to be found in His love.  Here once again we see that fellowship, deep relationship, with the Spirit is very important.  Fellowship is much, much, more than just reading about Him in the bible.  It is experiencing Him in a abundance of ways in our everyday lives.  If we are truly in fellowship with the Spirit; He then grants us all the tenderness and compassion that we need to face every situation in our lives.  The Lord grants us all these attributes when we walk in deep relationship with Him.  These are all blessings that come directly from His hand as we surrender to His will each moment of our lives. 

The next part of this passage is usually more difficult to live up to.  Paul, as inspired by the Spirit, asks all of us to be like minded, have the same love, and to be one in Spirit and purpose.  If being like minded was easy there would not be such a plethora of denominations out there vying for our membership.  Having the same love implies that any favoritism in the Body of Christ is wrong.  Finally we need to be one in Spirit and purpose.  To me this says that we should be very careful about who we partner with in even the church.

In true fellowship there is mutual agreement in both Spirit and purpose.  There are some people and groups out there that by conviction of the Holy Spirit we should not partner with under most circumstances.  I cannot agree with any group that supports a Clergy/Laity division and that is most every group.  I can only come alongside those who really welcome and practice the priesthood of every believer.  Be careful!  Many groups and denominations give lip service to the Spiritual equality of all who believe, but in practice they fully support hierarchies of position, money, sex and power.  Again, be careful who you choose to partner with in the church.  I also cannot partner with any group that makes tithes and offerings in support of Clergy and buildings a priority.  Lastly and most importantly I find it difficult to partner with any church group or person that values doctrine over and above relationship.  If His love leads you into partnership with someone holding different beliefs than you do; it is always best to follow His love.  Of course always remembering that light has no fellowship with darkness.  If we can agree on who Jesus is, I can walk alongside you for as many seasons as He deems worthy.  There are times we are led to overlook many personal differences for the sake of Jesus and others.  For example, I have many friends that are Clergy.  I overlook their vocation and they overlook my insanity.  One on one this works great, but if they required that I attend one of their services I would never last more than a few minutes before I would need to either speak up or leave.  Believe me…I have done both, but that is a story for another day.

This is not my best blog.  It is all over the place, but then again that is exactly where I am emotionally today.  I am only writing and sending it because He told me to.  I hope someone gets something out of it.  I am once again reminded that it is NOT about me, but rather always about HIM.

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

 

 

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3 Comments
  1. Good morning Christopher. I’ve been praying for you this morning.
    I love this passage and I believe the most startling thing about it is how it begins- with the word “if.” The NASB reads “Therefore if” as if it was possible that these four attributes of Christ (encouragement, love, fellowship and affection) could actually be lacking among them. If we back up just a little we can see how this might be possible due to the sufferings they were ordained by God to share. It appears two things hindered the actions above, sufferings (1:29, 30) and their selfish attitudes (2:3, 4). Here we see how our individual sufferings can lead to a selfish attitude where we neglect fellowship with the brethren and become self absorbed. It’s seems obvious that where the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is lacking among the people of God true unity of purpose cannot exist. It reminds me of those who go to church looking to get something (fed, entertained etc) and failing to recognize their responsibility to give (serve) the saints. We were not born again to get but to give.

    When I read “one purpose” several things come to mind. The author here is surely talking about a focus upon their true calling both individually and corporately as the proclamation of the gospel (1:27). Sadly many “Christians” have become sidetracked with all kinds of other purposes that have little or nothing to do with the true gospel. It doesn’t matter if that other purpose is building a church, setting up hierarchies, naming “ministries” or God forbid- attempting to live a purpose driven life. All of these and a thousand more compete with the proclamation of the gospel.

    The key to living in the fellowship of the Spirit with the saints appears to derive from our individual attitudes (2:5) toward our sufferings. When we run from our sufferings instead of embracing them we lose the affect of those sufferings upon Adam’s fallen nature within us. To a degree that amounts to an attempt “to save ourselves.” We save ourselves when our selves reign and we desire to fulfill our own agendas. On the other hand, embracing one’s sufferings is to be assured they are God’s will for us and that they are always for our own good. Embracing death through suffering breeds resurrection life in us and toward others- our brethren. This resurrection life brings about practical unity just as Jesus’ resurrection brought about our spiritual unity in the heavenlies.

    One who is willingly dying or dead isn’t worried about saving themselves. In such a scenario Christ is free to rule and reign within and among through His Spirit and for His ultimate intentions.

    Show me a group of believers who each embrace life’s difficulties and I’ll show you where the fellowship of the Spirit is evident. Where that spirit is evident, the only agenda is God’s alone and therefore His purpose can be fulfilled.

    How little do we realize (that our sufferings or even blog contributions) are more valuable than we even realize.

  2. Mickey Merrie permalink

    All over the place?!?! I thought you were spot on!

    I too have many clergy friends and experience the same things as you Chris. One question we get, and I’m sure you do to, deals with, “But who is going to marry you or bury you!?!?”

    In fact our daughter who lives in the Chicago area has a fiance now that is finishing up university. Her roomate asked where is the wedding going to be, since they all are out there, my daughter is from Penna. and her fiance is from Maine. Our daughter said we plan to be married in Penna. a year from this May. “Oh but your family doesn’t go to church. Where will you get married at?”
    She replied, “We are working out those details now.”

    When she shared that with me, and that they intend for her future brother in law, a youth pastor from KC Mo. (not IHOP) to perform the ceremony, I laughed and said, “As long as you have enough dough you will certainly get your show, honey!” Now imagine this scenario. A former AG girl will marry a Nazarerne boy who they met at a now emerging christian university. They plan to have his brother, a non IHOP Kansas City preacher perform the ceremony, which will likely happen at a Baptist church, thanks to having enough of another denomination, the US dollar, which seems to be the basis for all ecumenical unity today within the systems!

    Sorry, but it was just to comical and sad not to share! Reminds me of how Jeremiah 5:30-31 starts out. “A wonderful and horrible thing has come in the land…

  3. I keep enjoying your posts Captain! Carry on!

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