What are some of the most ridiculous things about which people fight? A long list could be made, and this past year has provided plenty of examples through politics, the pandemic, sports, social issues, and much more. Of course, nothing really changed with the fact that people have always been fighting about things that are not worth the resulting division.
If you are a faithful Christ-follower, however, you are part of a faithful, gospel-centered church. In Christ and in His church, we ought to behave differently than the world around us. This is not because we are better and “have it all figured out,” but rather because we have been changed by the Spirit of God and desire to honor Christ by being one with His body – His church. Thus, we must refuse to divide over issues the Bible does not call us to divide over.
Yes, there are frequently times when we are called to take a stand for Truth, and the result will not be unity with those with whom we disagree. For example, we cannot, as followers of Jesus, unite with those who support abortion – the murder of the unborn. While we still must love and respect those who support (and even celebrate) such abominations, we lovingly and boldly speak the Truth and will remain divided with those who do not believe what the Bible clearly teaches.
In a gospel-centered church, though, issues that are clear in Scripture do not tend to be the issues over which division occurs. Instead, silly things derived from worldly preferences (where Christian freedom is permitted) cause division. Really, rather, people allow such things to cause division. People fight, but the Bible calls us to unite.
Not only does the Bible call us to unite under the leadership and authority of Jesus Christ our Lord; the Bible calls us to fight for unity.
“Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction” (1 Corinthians 1:10).
Let us not fight over non-essential issues about which we can agree to disagree. Instead, let us fight together for unity in the body of Christ.
Should I get vaccinated or not? Should my kids go to private school, public school, or be home-schooled? Should I vote this way or that way (for an issue or candidate about which Scripture is unclear)? Should we sing these songs or those songs? Should we dress this way or that way? We can agree to disagree on issues the Bible does not address and still serve Christ faithfully together. We should and we must.
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will begin a new sermon series on the Church Undivided. In the first message from 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, I hope to challenge our church family to not fight like the world around us but to fight for unity.
Unfortunately, many people “like a good fight” and/or are often quick to settle for division. If we trust the gospel, though, our hearts are changed by Jesus, and then a growing desire for peace and unity will result. Have you surrendered your life to Jesus? Let us not fight. Let us unite.