10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”—1 Cor. 1:10-12 (NIV)
The only way the church at Corinth or any church can be in unity is through the leadership of the Holy Spirit. As long as we follow after fleshly desires, we will each have our own opinion about every little thing. The world sees these things going on in the church and wonders, rightly, what we have that they don’t have. Before two or three people or a group of any size can be united, each individual has to be willing to give up their “rights”. When we go to church or to any group for that matter, we need to leave our egos at the door. As Christians, we do not receive a “bill of rights”. Our leader, Jesus Christ, modeled an attitude of service and good works. If our focus is on what Jesus wants and not what our flesh wants, we will be united in our worship and our service to the community. If we set this example, the world will want what we have.
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”—Matt. 20:28 (NIV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Since before time, as we know it, began, God has had a plan. He reveals that plan in segments and “in the fullness of time”, His timing, not ours. He created, He breathed life into us. He revealed His plan that man should have dominion over the earth. Man sinned, abdicating his position. God gave us the Law that showed us how sinful we are and how we can not redeem ourselves. So, God revealed Himself as the man, Jesus Christ, to be our redeemer. One day, He is returning to us to reveal the last segment of His plan. Then all nature will be restored to its original creation. That is why nature is groaning and awaiting the return of Jesus. We will receive our inheritance and our glorified bodies, so that we will be able to look upon His face. Then we will spend an eternity with Him in glory. That is the hope that we hold onto as Christians. No religion on earth offers its followers that hope. So, live rejoicing each day and be faithful. While we are celebrating the first advent of our Lord and Savior, we and all of nature are yearning for His return. And at just the right time, He will return! Hallelujah and Amen!
1 I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments — Col. 2:1-4 NIV
Paul continually intercedes with God for the churches that he has planted and for those churches that his coworkers have planted. He realizes that when there are only a few believers present, it is easy for them to become discouraged and start to drop out. He wants them to be encouraged and united in love. All Christians, particularly new Christians need to be encouraged and taught the riches of the Gospel. We do new converts a disservice when we fail to mentor them in their walk with Christ. The world, satan and his gang are going to immediately start a concentrated effort to make the new converts doubt that there has been a change in their lives. We must strive to get them rooted and established in the depth of the riches of the word of God. If we or they are not consistent in our study and our walk with God, it is easy for satan to separate us and make our lives to be miserable and ineffective for God. We must understand and teach others that regardless of our own feelings and the exterior circumstances, there is great wisdom and greater joy in serving Jesus and living a lifestyle that follows His example. Just a glimpse of the vast expanse and depth of His love and power should be sufficient reason for us to carry on.
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV
9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.—John 17:9-12 (NLT)
Even though, we call the prayer in Matthew 6 the Lord’s prayer, it is really an example of how we should pray. This prayer in John 17 is the Lord’s priestly intercessory prayer for all of God’s children. The ones that God had given Jesus to accompany Him on His earthly journey and all the others from then on including you and me. God had given them and us to Jesus because of His obedience. They would now bring glory to Jesus and to God. Jesus protected them by using the name of the Father and now that He is leaving, He is putting them and us in the hands of God to protect us by the power of His name. Once we accept Jesus and become the children of God, we are in His hands for safekeeping. There is nothing or no one that is more powerful than our God, There is no way we can be taken from His hands. Paul tells us “there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love”.
We have God living in us, we have God praying for us and we have God keeping us. What more could we possibly need? Knowing this should cause us to be faithful and fearless in our witnessing for Jesus.