Have you begun our challenge for this week? Have you selected one of our brothers or sisters and prayed for them on a daily basis?
If not, remember that Luke challenged us to select a brother or sister whom you love in the church and to pray for them daily this week.
This week we learned the importance of unity and discovered that for many in the world, unity is nothing but a fantasy.
Can you think of a fantasy you dreamt of in your past or dream of today?
How obtainable did/does your fantasy(s) seem to you?
How might you feel if ever you should fulfill your fantasy?
1. Luke covered Ephesians 2:11-22 this week and discussed how Jesus has made unity more than a fantasy, but a reality. In Jesus, unity is all about family. More specifically Luke discussed how at one time we were not in God’s family but now, because of Jesus, we are within God’s family.
While in many, families today we see broken hearts, selfishness, disconnection, bitterness and unmet expectations, we do not have to see these things in God’s household.
Have you experienced any of the above characteristics in your own families?
Let’s look at how Paul tells the Galatian church; God’s family should look like:
Read Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV)
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
How might this scripture mitigate many of the previous characteristics which defined many families today?
To help provide clarity, how might clothing ourselves with Christ eliminate any of the above characteristics?
How can everyone being considered equal resolve any of the above issues?
While applying Galatians 3 may help to mitigate the issues we face with one another, it will not always solve everything. Just like being in your own families, sometimes we will hurt one another. And that is okay, so long as we can work together to work past our mistakes and forgive one another.
2. It will take work to maintain unity. It will not always be easy to remain unified. More often than not, the evil one will tempt you not to be unified. Let us look to the book of James for a warning against disunity and how to overcome it.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
In what ways can you see this scripture fulfilled in you today? What about the future?
What encouragement does the scripture offer on how to resist the temptation not to be unified?
On Sunday, Luke mentioned that we can help ourselves remain unified by completing a few things:
First, Luke told us to remember our pasts, remember where we came from. (Romans 3:23)
Second, Luke suggested that we all take on the role of servant. (Galatians 5:13)
Finally he suggested that we look for the good in people and seek always to bring out that good. (Hebrews 3:12-14)
Bringing it Home
As we continue to pray for one another this week, think of the ways that you can draw out the best in that person. Ask God to help you to do so. Pray that God will open a door for you to serve this person in a meaningful and sacrificial way.
Are you involved in any Bible studies this week? Please share so we can pray for God to open the eyes of the heart.