Pray Psalm 115.3-8.
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.
Read Titus 3.9-11.
1. Why are disputes and divisive people to be avoided?
2. How can you keep from becoming a divisive person yourself?
Whatever threatens or disrupts the peace and health of the local congregation is not to be tolerated (cf. Tit. 1.10, 11). Those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ and begun to associate with other believers in the Body of Jesus Christ do not cease to be sinners (1 Jn. 1.8). Therefore, we must be ever on guard against whatever threatens the health of the Body, and must work hard to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace (Eph. 4.3).
Divisive issues change from age to age; however, Paul commands pastors to guard their flocks against whatever controversies, quarrels, and divisions that may be hurtful to congregational life and health, and to remove from the congregation any who persists in pressing such matters.
Paul consistently urged congregations and leaders to guard against whatever divides the Body of Christ (cf. Eph. 2; Rom. 16, 1 Tim. 1). There is one Body of Christ, and the oneness which church members are able to maintain, when everywhere the world is divided and at odds, bears strong testimony to the reality of Christ’s incarnation and salvation (Jn. 17.21).
How it must grieve the Lord, therefore, to see divisions within churches and between churches in a given community. In the age of redemption, the Church must constantly work against whatever divides and for whatever unites, never veering off course from the path of sound doctrine and the Gospel of the Kingdom.
As on the island of Crete, so in the communities of our nation, churches are not “in order” until they begin to manifest more consistently the oneness we have in Jesus Christ. This, too, is the duty of pastors and church leaders.
1. What is church unity? Why is it so important? Why is it so difficult to attain?
2. What issues or debates threaten the unity of local churches in our day? How can we deal with these so that they don’t divide us?
3. What sorts of conversations and discussions are profitable and useful for local churches?
In doctrine, therefore, we should always have regard to usefulness, so that everything that does not contribute to godliness. shall be held in no estimation. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Titus 3
Lord, let me not become a divisive person, but one who works to unite brethren in peace. Today, use me for unity in our church as I…
Pray Psalm 115.1-8.
Disputes, contentions, arguments, doctrinal hobby-horses, divisions, self-vaunting – these, and much more can become idols that rob us of true faith. Wait on the Lord to search you, and pray that He will guard you against keeping any idols in your soul.
Sing Psalm 115.1-8.
Psalm 115.1-8 (Plainfield: Nothing But the Blood of Jesus)
Not to us, O God, not us, but unto Your Name give glory!
For Your love and faithfulness, ever to Your Name be glory!
Why should the nations cry, "Where is their God on high?"
You rule us, Lord, on high: Ever to Your Name be glory!
Idols made by men's own hand – ever to Your Name be glory –
see nor hear nor understand – ever to Your Name be glory!
They neither feel nor walk, nor can they speak or talk.
All those who serve them fall, but unto Your Name be glory!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).