Sunday, August 22, 2010

by Rev. James Wong

The most “spiritual and charismatic church” in the New Testament was the church of Corinth (Read I & II Corinthians) but it was the most divided church. How do we build unity in our church today?

1. Maintain an attitude of acceptance.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Rom 15:7 NIV). Some matters are disputable. We need to determine whether they are essential or non-essential issues. If it is an essential issue we deal with it. If it is a non-essential issue, learn to accept one another’s differences. In Rom 14:1-23 the disputes over eating vegetables or the observance of days are all non-essential issues. “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” (Rom 14:1 NIV).

2. Focus in fulfilling the purposes of the church.
The unchanged purposes of the church is worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism. These are our ‘majors.’ How best can we achieve these purposes must be our governing question all the time. Are we loving God wholeheartedly and loving people fervently? The problem starts when we major on the minor, and minor on the major.

3. Speak encouraging words. Control your tongue. If something you say is going to destroy—stop it. The Bible makes it clear that gossip is a sin. When we participate in it we become a partner in that sin. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

4. Support the leadership. Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." God holds all leaders of the church, whether in the church council or ministries accountable. It is a scary job. God will hold us all accountable in his church.

5. Resolving problems with God’s method. Jesus says: "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won't accept the church's decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” (Matt 18:15-17 NLT). Certain behavior is expected in the church. When we practice the above principles, our ‘one body in Christ’ becomes our greatest witness. It is attractive to others.

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