Jay Sanders, pastor
Towaliga Baptist Church, Jackson
In our efforts to make our churches unified, we must be careful that we are not simply settling for churches filled with the same types of people. If everyone in your church shares the same philosophy of educating their children, there’s no doubt that everyone gets along. But that’s hardly the same type of unity that we see in the New Testament.
Jesus was followed by a man who worked for the Roman government and a man who wanted to overthrow it. Only in surrendering to Christ were they able to find a new, shared identity in the family of God.
If the source of unity in our churches is our political affiliations and educational preferences for our children, it’s likely that we’re operating more like a civic organization than a church. In this week’s passage, we are reminded that what binds us together as a church is much greater than anything that could bind us together as a social club.
We belong to the same God – Isaiah 43:1
You’ve probably heard someone say, “We are all God’s children.” While that sounds nice, it’s simply not true. While all people are God’s creation, only the Church can carry the name of children of God.
That’s not because we’re better than anyone else. It’s because of God’s grace. Your church membership may be made up of recovering drug addicts and life-long religious types. Through faith and repentance, they find unity in being children of God.
We are protected by the same God – Isaiah 43:2-3
One theme of Scripture is God’s presence with his people. He was with them in the Garden but they rebelled. The rest of the Bible is the story of him taking drastic measures to bring his people back to him.
In the beginning of Matthew, we are told that Jesus will be “God with us.” At the end of the book, Jesus promises that he will always be with his disciples. When we finally get to Revelation we see how that promise will come to pass in the end times. Then, God’s people from every tribe will rejoice in the fact that Jesus carried them through to the end.
He never promised that we would not have to encounter rising rivers and raging fires. But he did promise that he would be with us and make sure that we arrive safely at our eternal home.
We are loved by the same God – Isaiah 43:4-7
Humans have a tendency to love only the lovable among us. We prefer the cute, fun, and popular crowd. Not so with Jesus.
Yes, He loves his people. But His love for the newly-saved convicted felon is no less than His love for the Baptist pastor who’s been saved for three decades. Both are His people.
When a church lives for the one great purpose of the glory of Jesus Christ, it cannot help but be unified.