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The Only Hill To Live And Die On

May 18, 2017
               Greetings,
                     “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Accept one another, then just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”  Romans 15: 5-7
                     Unity, or oneness in Christ, is something extremely vital to the entire Body of Christ.  Unity is not something we can manufacture in our flesh.  It is a great gift, something that we are granted by our Lord.  We just need to recognize and accept it, and then choose to walk in it daily.
                    The fact is that we, the Church, are already one in Spirit.  Our oneness is something the Lord has already provided for us. Problem is that many in the “Church” actively choose to divide rather than come together as one.  The word denomination means to divide and there are many divisions and denominations in the “church” world today.  Most divide over matters of doctrine or teaching.  This is a very sad thing indeed, because if we could just agree together about who Jesus is and what He accomplished, we should be able to work through any other differences or obstacles with relative ease.
                     We are supposed to accept each other as Christ accepted us.  When we fully accept one another there is unity in Spirit.  We all need to remember that when Christ accepted us we were all lost, unclean, sinners, without hope or direction.  Our attitudes were often hostile to the truth.  We thought that we were unworthy, undesirable and unlovable.  In spite of all of this Christ loved and accepted us just as we were with all of our faults and blemishes.  Even though our behavior was much less than Christ-like He still loved us and looked past our shortcomings.  The big question is are we willing to do the same for all others that the Lord brings into our lives?  Will we look past their apparent sins and shortcomings?  Or will we instead sit in judgement and deny people equal access to the cross and His Body?
                     There is no true unity without total acceptance of those who seek Him and also those who are already found in Him, regardless of what their sins and behaviors may be.  Christ can change and adjust them in HIS way and time.  It is not our job to judge them or deny them entrance into the Kingdom.  As followers of Jesus we are to hold the door of acceptance and fellowship wide open to those who seek and love Him.  God is all about relationship and we should be too.  I feel that relationship with Jesus and one another is the one and ONLY hill where we should plant our flag and be willing to live and die.  The quest for purity of doctrine should NEVER be that hill.  The “Church” tried that in times past and the result was only death and destruction in the great Inquisition.  I do believe that we can be iron sharpening iron even when we may disagree on doctrine or practice, but we should always approach one another with faith, hope and love.  Let us not be as some others majoring on the minors and neglecting the Truth in Love.  Love, acceptance and forgiveness are where unity is found and that is exactly where God commands His blessing.  I will not divide from others on the sole basis of doctrine.  Remember there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.  So always seek to unite rather than divide!
                     Love and …..
                Kirk Out !
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11 Comments
  1. Chris, reading your last post and this one, I can say I agree some 90 percent- but that last 10 percent is that sometimes any/all of us get it wrong to the extent others will call us on it (and I note you have asked for that, so good stuff my friend!) but the rub is at times I hear you saying what others in the trad. fellowships say. What’s that?? I hear preference. Some quote scripture, others may simply say The Spirit led me/us but I am not so sure a lot of it comes to preferences we then talk of as THE WAY GOD WANTS IT, including “how” we interact in gatherings as Christ followers. The old rock music debates as well as “worship wars” in terms of -how- we interact as we gather come to mind as examples of what I’m talking about. Hills worth dying on? No. It is when we speak or write with authority and others disagree that some of the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace gets trashed. I don’t think flawed saints (all of us who believe and follow Jesus Christ) can fully avoid it. Again, preferences are often not even mentioned, we may not see them as such. At that point I think we swallow the camels we ourselves have created. My portion for the day! Love you my friend! -Glenn

    • I hear you Glenn, thanks for the response. Preferences do play a role in all of our decisions including those of what type of fellowship we are drawn to. However, we all should seek the way of Christ over and above any personal inclinations. Like scripture says some ways are just more excellent than others and some of us are called to point that out to the rest of the Body of Christ. I prefer what I feel as God’s way of Churching free and open over what I see as “man’s” way. The system is the problem most of the time and not the people involved. Glenn I know you also speak out against parts of the system too, we just need to allow Christ to choose those moments of correction for us instead of riding horses we have beaten nearly to death. Thank you my friend for sharing your portion here today. We need one another in the Body of Christ for important things like balance and clarity. May we find those things together Glenn.

    • However, I fellowship the way I do, relationally, free & open, Spirit led, face to face, in homes, due to conviction, NOT due to preference. I am just following the way the Spirit of Christ has led and taught me since age 4.

  2. Sue heumann permalink

    Encouragement I needed today! I’ve been resting in this this year and it has totally freed me up to enjoy my bro’s and Sis’s in the Lord. Seeking to see Christ in them brings a family/unity feel that I cannot even get when I’m in the same doctrinal place w some! Jesus accepts us freely and totally….who are we to do less?

    • Excellent response Sue. Love, acceptance and forgiveness covers about everything we can do.

  3. Dear Brother,

    So true. Doctrine has led to the disintegration of the Body into fragments so small they cannot possibly sustain life. I remember one episode of Star Trek in which Jack the Ripper was discovered to be on board. When they finally captured him, they discovered he was immortal. Their solution was to put him in the Transporter and set it to maximum dispersal, hoping that none of his parts would ever rejoin into Jack again. Now, before this, there was no clue that the Transporter was designed to “disperse” anyone. The whole scheme was to move a body from one place to another as a whole. Anything else would be disastrous. But such is the joy of fiction-invention on-the-fly saves many a plot.

    But it seems, as you have pointed out, that the Body has been dispersed. I read somewhere that there are between 30 and 40,000 Protestant denominations in the world. Each is the result of finding a “new” interpretation of scripture, a way to live closer to the command of God, a new way to be separate and better than all the rest. Perhaps that Is the crux of the whole matter-wanting to be better, to give God a stronger reason to take us and not them.

    It is so good to know people, like you, who realize that doctrine, important though it may be, is not the reality of the Body of Christ. Ecumenism is just another human invention to try to impose on the Body a false unity. Unity is, as you said, only in Christ. Without Him as the center and periphery, there is no Body-we are separate cells drifting alone in the universe-without hope and without purpose-dead for all practical purposes.

    But in Him, the unified Body of Christ, though separate individuals and far apart in distance, are the Body of Christ, His Bride, His beloved, that which fills Him who Himself fills all things in all ways (Eph. 1:23).

    So, blessings, brother in keeping that most precious of gifts in sight-the oneness of the Body under the Head.

    Blessings,

    Win

    • Win, I so appreciate what you have shared here. To quote both Jesus and Abraham Lincoln….A house divided against itself cannot stand. To choose division over unity denies Christ and works directly against our purpose in HIM.

  4. Judy Baker permalink

    I have a painful sty in my eye makes reading difficult. I am going to the dr Today . Hot compresses help a little.
    I believe we all interpret some scriptures differently . I always read above and below to get the context of the chapter or paragraph
    Jesus said to love one another. We can discuss with
    others and remain calm when objectives occur. That’s how we really learn. Many verses can be applied in different ways.
    As for myself, I have always believed Jesus is the son of God. I believe as a child that’s when I learned about Jesus. He and His Father are one as we are one in agreement

  5. Dan permalink

    “Divide and conquer”. The enemy wants to divide so he can conquer us. We will not be accomplises in his strategy. We will love the incarcerated brother but hate the system that imprisons him and seeks to isolate the Body. We will continue to speak out to expose the system and at the same time model Ekklesia. We will not refuse to fellowship with those who still embrace institutionalism but will hang out as much as they permit us to. When confronted about our beliefs, we will see this as a God moment, to share lovingly our perspective. Who knows. Maybe after a few more millennia of persistently exposing the system but loving the brother and sister, we may see the Titanic eventually turned around.

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