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Friday: Further Study – Images of Unity — 15 Comments

  1. The images and metaphors used in this week's study are powerful in helping us understand some of the principles of unity. However, it goes without saying that achieving unity is hard work. We can quote a lot of spiritual phrases like, "being united in Christ" and, "Let the Spirit of God unify us", but putting that into practice sometimes means that we need to be tough with ourselves.

    Can liberal and conservative (or any other polarization for that matter) Seventh-day Adventists worship together in harmony? Does one side have to admit that the other side is right? Or is there a bigger picture here somewhere that we need to step back and see?

    By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35

    Amen!(24)
    • Ì will have to go with the bigger picture. Through out the lesson we talked about unity with diversity. I do belive that fits in with liberal vs conservitive assuming you are talking about conservitives not going overboard and liberals not dropping our 28 beliefs. Both will bite their liberal or conservitive tongues long enough to love one another. 1John 4:7,11,12.
      7: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God."
      11: "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
      12: "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us."
      Wheither it is an effort on our part or an expression of our relationship with Christ all the same we ought to love one another.

      Amen!(1)
    • Is Jesus is both liberal and conservative, or polarized within Himself on any matter? If so, then we can expect the church to be One while divided in belief and action.

      If not, then why are we? While some might urge all to just get along with those who hold opposing ideas, God's word tells us to be single to the glory of God, and that there can be no union with those who oppose the truth in any regard. The Path to Life is narrow, not broad.

      While unity can exist with differing personalities, abilities and gifts, how can it exist where there are opposing fundamental beliefs? How is the work of the gospel to prosper while there is division over it's true meaning and resulting actions? If some work contrary to the truth, can there be oneness with those who are seeking to observe all that Jesus has commanded?

      The only plan for unity we can follow is to encourage all to follow after the Lord(Luke 9:23) who will share His yoke with every believing soul. This plan alone will bring all who are yoked with Jesus into one accord. Agreeing to disagree will not work, as I have witnessed. Love will work to save sinners, but will not unite with unbelievers, no matter what name they call themselves.

      Amen!(3)
      • Hi Robert

        Can you please clarify for me?

        You have said "The only plan for unity we can follow is to encourage all to follow after the Lord(Luke 9:23) who will share His yoke with every believing soul. This plan alone will bring all who are yoked with Jesus into one accord."

        You have also made reference to "the church", "the truth in any regard" and "fundamental beliefs". Are you referring to the Adventist church and the Adventist view of truth and fundamental beliefs - or are you referring more broadly to all who are yoked with Jesus?

        The reason I ask this is because I interact with quite a few people who are "yoked with Jesus" but who are not Seventh-day Adventists. And I experience some of the deepest bonds of 'unity in Christ' with these people even though we differ on many areas of belief and practice.

        Amen!(1)
  2. I have to remind myself that the images and metaphors used this week were not to be taken literally, they were to be used to understand God's Principles of Life.

    In respect of the unity of the Church I learned a Principle from the gathering of the shepherds of the early church in Acts 15.
    There were opposite views which were strongly held, the Holy Spirit led them to understand the practice was not required by nor excluded by God's Principles of Life and accordingly based on that understanding the church allowed each group to follow their conscience.

    Amen!(12)
  3. If we really believe in Jesus we should try our best to live a life of communion with Him. Every thing else will fall into place! God has good works prepared ahead of us. We should just be connected to Him. We tend to complicate things that are simple. Not being naive, but direct and pure as a child!

    Amen!(14)
  4. Dear believers,
    I'm very concerned about the unity of our church.There is a crisis right now between the leaders of the GC and the NAD.We don't have to agree with each other, but that doesn't mean that we must be divided. What I noticed is that church leaders, pastors and others goes to the internet and gives their opinion about how they think that things should be done and who is right and who is not, throwing dirt on each other.This is spread to the whole world, everybody can read what is going on in our midst. While this quarter our lesson study is about unity? I personaly think that the Godhead is not happy with our behaviour, the one who is, is satan. Isn't it time to stop these nonsense and focus more on praying and evangelized the world? Or must Jesus use the stones to do that, because we are not prepared for doing His will? Jesus will come for sure and most of His people will not be ready because we are not united with each other and with Him. A chance must come and I hope that we can see that we do not give God the glory. Let's pray more than before for our leaders.

    Amen!(9)
    • I could not agree more. It is not the place of the church to call out of favor those who have been trained and ordained in the ministry in service of God!...Royce

      Amen!(0)
    • "We don't have to agree with each other, but that doesn't mean that we must be divided." This is true.

      At times, a necessary part of dealing with issues in a constructive manner involves people giving their "opinion about how they think that things should be done" and even what (rather than who) is right and what (rather than who) is not.

      However, when people do this in a manner that involves "throwing dirt on each other", this indicates that those people are coming from a base other than self-renouncing love.

      Self-renouncing love sometimes moves over, and sometimes takes a stand. What is key is the manner in which it takes a stand - it does in a manner designed to build up and not tear down. When Jesus overthrew the tables of the money changers in the temple, He did this in self-renouncing love. When He confronted the Jewish leadership in Matt 23, He did this in self-renouncing love.

      When all parties are anchored in the self-renouncing love of God, even though there will be differences, those differences will not threaten unity even though they will likely threaten uniformity. Where one or more parties are anchored in any other base than the self-renouncing love of God, the type of unity that Jesus talked about will not be possible and differences will instead divide.

      C. Emanuelson's call to prayer for others is an important way of helping maintain our anchorage within the self-renouncing love of God. Upon this foundation, constructive dialogue and debate can then take place.

      Amen!(1)
  5. Discussion question 2 talks about “guarding unity”. Can anyone cite examples from the Bible where guarding unity resulted in growth and development of unity?

    What approach did Jesus use: did He guard the unity of His disciples, or did He nurture the growth of His disciples which eventually resulted in unity developing among them?

    Amen!(4)
  6. 1. While I don't have a favorite among the various images used to describe the church, I appreciate how each one brings out important details that help us to understand God's purpose for His Church. Together, these various images give us a clear understanding of how important it is that we know God and Jesus whom He sent to save us from sin. The union between God and His people is close and decided.

    2. The unity of the church is preserved only through our individual unity with Jesus in everything He has commanded us. Without personal alignment with the Cornerstone of Truth, we will never be united as one in Him.

    3. Throughout scripture, the condition for being God's people is dependent on their willing obedience through faith in “the power of God unto salvation”. The inheritance is for “all them which are sanctified”, for any who fail to be made holy as God is holy, will never be allowed into His presence or enter into His city. “Whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” is the promise with the condition clearly included for all to know and accept if they so choose.

    Sin has marred the creation of God, and He has revealed His purpose to remove sin, and all who cling to it, and will restore the dominion in righteousness forever. Being His people is the result of being justified through Jesus' blood and sanctified by the Truth. No partial work will be accepted by God, and every provision is offered to make a complete work in every soul that believes in Him. God's power is infinite, and He will exercise it upon all who “receive [Jesus]...and believe on His name”(John 1:12). We receive Him when we repent and observe all things He has commanded us(Matt 28:20) through denying self, taking up our cross and following Him “withersoever He goeth”(Rev 14:4).

    Amen!(3)
    • I and others have felt, I give up, I can't be holy as Christ is holy, I just can't grasp the faith and sanctification you are talking about. The solution I have found is that we must keep our Saviour close in our everyday lives. We must desire Him abiding with us as a honored trusted friend. Consult Him on all aspects of our life, tell Him of every trial. We will then gain strength to meet ever temptation, Christ peace will enter our souls, our joy will be full, as we contemplate Christ as our mighty Shepard and Helper who has said, "lo I am with you alway even unto the end of the world." Let us rejoice in thanks-giving for the multitude of blessings He has given us, knowing that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

      Amen!(4)
      • John, it seems you grasp it just fine. Remember, He is able "to keep you from falling", which is the very definition of holiness.

        We have simple, daily choices to make. Our will or God's will, which will it be today? If we don't know God's will, we must seek it with all our heart that we might follow it. Simple.

        If some find it not simple, then self is not yet laid to rest that Christ might live in them.

        Romans 7: self is "alive". Romans 8: self is "dead".

        Amen!(0)
  7. In the book Desire of Ages there is one of my favorite quotes. "When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him our life will be a life of continual obedience." DA 668.3 How we live our life and how we relate to each other should be based in knowing God. When I have that relationship with Him He will have control of every part of my life and it will change the way I relate to those both in the church and outside the church.

    Amen!(1)

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