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One Body, One Family

A few days ago, my parents, my wife and I and our two youngest children cheered our oldest two boys on as both were competing for their grade levels at the Arkansas State archery competition. It was an overall great day, and a different sporting event than most. You didn’t have parents booing the competition, or yelling at the officials, you had coaches from other teams encouraging and helping students as well as their own, and the atmosphere was friendly. My dad made a pretty interesting observation about it all. He said something like this: “It was like watching a big family reunion. Sure, all the kids were from different schools competing, but everyone else was encouraging kids from other schools, watching one another’s smaller children who were hanging out everywhere whether they were laying on the floor or looking at the different vendor booths, and everyone seemed to get along and love each other.” Looking back on it, I think he’s right. It’s a different sort of competition; sure there’s winners, but most everyone was looking to make everyone around them better.

Isn’t the Church supposed to be the same way? Scripture says we are one body that has many parts with Christ as the head. There are many denominations, most of which only have minor differences (though some, admittedly venture off from Scripture, and we need to be wary), but if we all follow Christ while we stand upon the inerrancy of the word of God, WE, like the archers, are a large family that should encourage one another as we grow within our communities.

Almost as if to prove this point, I coach with a good friend of mine who is a minister of another congregation, and another who is an elder in another church in our community, as well as with a brother from our congregation, and we’ve been talking about how we can serve our community, much like the way in which we serve the students on our team. The same day, a deacon of our congregation (whose son is also on the middle school team) and I talked with a deacon of another congregation about how we could strengthen the CHURCH within our community, while helping one another, and other congregations in our community grow in Christ through the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. My dad’s analogy played out in real time, members of the Church of different congregations, watching our sons shoot, talking about what we can do, together, to strengthen the Church and Families for Christ in our community.

Loved ones, unity at all costs isn’t Christian unity. But unity, as we stand on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Word is exactly what the Scriptures call us to. We need to stand firm and stand together, or the Enemy will divide us up to conquer up. As we stand on Christ, then, let us stand together, and reach a lost world for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Ephesians 4

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

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