On Sunday we looked at the last of the strands of DNA within our church. We looked at how we here practice, “Unity in Diversity”.
And this value is one that is so needed and also so rare in our current church culture in the West. In the West we are so quick to divide, to call out “heresy”, to be angry and aggressive in person, on Facebook, in blog comment sections, and online in general.
What we looked at on Sunday is how a culture of division, and raising “secondary” issues to “ultimate” issues has taken hold. That people are quick to say, “if you don’t believe in…[insert current hot topic position] you aren’t a true Christian.”
In essence, the church is taking the easy route of dividing, and isolating – rather than loving and holding onto unity.
But this is not part of our DNA here at our church. Instead, we hold strongly to relationships over difference. Instead, we practice unity in diversity. Or as St. Augustine reportedly said, “Unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and love in all things”.
We then explored not only how this is part of our DNA, but part of the calling of God found in many places but especially Galatians 5.
In Galatians 5 we read of how Paul is furious with how some in the church in Galatia are raising secondary issues (circumcision) to being a primary issue. In essence, they were taking a non-essential and saying it was an essential. And Paul has some brutally strong language for those who confuse those categories (just go read verse 12…wow!). And Paul warns the church that one divisive person, one angry person, one person who confuses the categories of essential and non-essential can infect an entire church. They can pollute it, damage it, and harm its witness.
And I think that’s the trend we see around us in the wider church culture. But the point for us and our church is to not ever let that drift happen here. Our focus is to continue to practicing unity in diversity. Or as Paul says to do what is most important, “Faith expressing itself in love”
And that’s where we ended. I challenged us to just put that verse into practice. That is how we keep the main the thing “the main thing”, by ensuring that we express our faith in love. So I challenge everyone to love someone difficult this week. To actually move away from dogma, discussions, and debates to praxis – to faith expressing itself in love.
Because here is the truth, it’s much harder to separate from someone you are actively seeking to love. So put love into practice today.
Big Idea: Hold onto unity in diversity.
- If you don’t talk about it, you won’t live it
- Within Christianity as a whole in the West we are not all that generous towards one another or gracious.
- We are shrinking what we believe orthodoxy is, to the beliefs we personally hold.
- Unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and love in all things
- We are committed to one another even if we disagree.
- Hold onto unity in diversity
- You come together because of your shared belief in Jesus
Adult Discussion Questions:
What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What was new? What would you say are some of our core values? Have you noticed the trend towards dividing and debating in Christianity? Have you ever fallen into it? Why do you think it’s happening? Do you think that “holding onto unity in diversity” is important? How come? Who can you love this week? What can you practically do?
Challenge for the Week: Love someone you disagree with this week