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Wednesday: Unity Among Christians — 16 Comments

  1. In our relationship with people of other faiths, we as Adventist Christians should be not judgmental, or angry with those who disagree with us on doctrinal matters. We must at all times be polite, respectful willing to listen and affirm others on points of agreement. Our words should always be full of hope and encouragement. We may not agree on everything, but we don't have to be disagreeable.

    • Well-said Kenneth. The problem I think is that when SDA's read the text "other sheep I have which are not of this fold" they conclude that the 'fold' refers to the SDA denomination. So they become arrogant and prideful because no other denomination is the 'fold'. That is sad!! What are your thoughts on the 'fold' referred to in the passage?

      • The "fold" that Jesus is talking about is the group of believers that are called disciples. That is, those who are doing the will of the Father. The "fold" is not a specific "denomination" but those who follow the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ. All those who are baptized into the faith of Jesus and believe the gospel constitute a "Fold"


    One day the devil heard that the people of the lord were building the temple for the lord and he told them " let me build with you." but the people of the lord refused,then the devil showed his true colors when he troubled them when building. Ezra 4.

    The devil is setting up the church in the last days by preaching a message of unity through compromise. Little by little, he's softening up our resolve, encouraging us to make little concessions and compromises.

    The devil rarely uses an all-out frontal assault, but rather by virtue of internal erosion where little by little, we are pressured to compromise our beliefs in small increments.

    It can be the dangerous inroads of worldly music and "contemporary " worship styles, the unchecked materialism, the Babylonian diet, absurd and suggestive dress and adornment and blizzard of popular entertainment and the watered-down, generic theology where believers are never called to deny self.

    Once you begin to walk down the road of compromise, no matter where you stop, the devil will pick you up and complete the walk for you.

    Whenever the church attempts to compromise a Christian standard under the pretense of making conversion less traumatic, the world converts the church by making sin more palatable.

    • Cyrus, thank you for this little parable.

      While I'm sure the principle you suggest is true, I wonder if there is not also a danger in attempting to police areas such as music, diet, dress, and entertainment in the church? After all, we have the precedent of the Pharisees in the time of Christ who were very careful in aspects of worship, diet, dress and entertainment. They were also very careful about Sabbath keeping. After they made sure that Christ was crucified, they went home to keep the Sabbath. Do we really want to follow in their footsteps?

      How do your concerns relate to the topic of the day - uniting with other Christians in a way that furthers the cause of Christ?

      • Well said Inge!

        To be cautious is one virtue, but we are warned not to be too zealous finding ourselves "right in our own eyes". Wednesday's lesson asks us to weigh out our acts, our judgemental views, or even our understanding of God's will. The fact that we are those in the fold, should indeed represent the love/will of God, and our action should be Christ-like. In a sense, putting a wall around ourselves in efforts to sanitise ourselves from "the world" or "the others" may seem a safe option, but how are we ministering to the world when we do so. As Adventists many times we feel safe just "preaching to the choir" avoiding them that break the law from our context. So much so, that we find ourselves, in the shoes of "Jonah" or "Walking around Samaria to get to Judeah".

        This lesson reminds us that God knows where his people are; that we should allow ourselves to be used as instruments by God; that it is God who saves us not us saving ourselves; and He has abundant love to give his children both lost or found.

        I guess the take home message this day was; that where we have common interest in delivering God's work we can be part of this; though we should observe that we do not compromise or undermine our own beliefs (just to fit in); that is when interest conflicts with our beliefs then we should be firm; and lastly, we should allow ourselves to be used by God to profess His goodness and use this as an entry point to reach out to those we deem as "from the other side".

      • Diet, dress, music and worship styles are things that are visible and the most hotly debated subjects yet for all the debates sadly we miss the underlying principle that whatever we do should bring glory to God. “Policing” if that word can be used should be of my own behavior and not another’s, however if my behavior has the potential to cause someone else to stumble then is it wrong to bring it to my attention - lovingly of course?
        I’ve been to a couple of SDA churches where the praise team was decked out like they were at a night club and the music but for the lyrics reminded me of the nights I went clubbing. What is a person who’s trying to forget that kind of past do? I left the world but it followed me to church.
        We don’t need to point fingers but we definitely need to be careful in what we do for the sake of unity.
        The lesson does point out that there are social interests in which we can work together with other faiths but let’s not kid ourselves when it comes down to the fundamental differences that separate our beliefs. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

        • Amen, my sister in Christ! I, too, see the "slippery slope" of being too secular. In my efforts in helping feral & homeless cats, I am often approached by people in need. When I thank them for the honor of trusting me to help, they usually comment that by my dress (country gal modest with unshorn hair, most often in a bun,no makeup,no hair coloring) they recognized a safe person. It gives me the opportunity to share His love with them & to let them know that they are as special in our Creator's sight as much as any celebrity or head of state & that in Isaiah 57:1, He tells us that," I am the high and holy God, who lives forever. I live in a high and holy place, but I also live with people who are humble and repentant, so that I can restore their confidence and hope.”

  3. Paul's input on unity - it seems that at that time there was only one "body of Christ" how do we apply these principles to our modern day when there are so many denominations - maybe we should consider they are different parts of the body of Christ and have different functions?

    Eph 4:11  And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 
    Eph 4:12  for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 
    Eph 4:13  And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 
    Eph 4:14  so that we no longer may be infants, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the dishonesty of men, in cunning craftiness, to the wiles of deceit. 
    Eph 4:15  But that you, speaking the truth in love, may in all things grow up to Him who is the Head, even Christ; 
    Eph 4:16  from whom the whole body, fitted together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of each part, producing the growth of the body to the edifying of itself in love. 

  4. I have observed that often times comments are made here that are the opinions of the speakers. Many of the comments do not have Biblical support nor the support of The Spirit of Prophecy. I do care about how anyone feels about Biblical concepts, but the discussions and comments must include references that provide validity to the concepts under discussion. The Bible and the Bible only is the standard. I read here not too long ago when someone asked if there are degrees of unity? In essence, the speaker was making reference to uniformity, which has degrees. As long as we study the Bible and Mrs. White's writings to explain or simplify difficult Biblical concepts, we will be in a position to speak truth and dismiss opinions. We must let the Bible speak for itself. Adding all the opinions and lengthy discussions without Biblical support become just what they are: opinions.

    • John, it is easy to make accusations in general like the ones you have made above, but here are some things you may like to think about.

      The Adventist Church is not a catechistic church (at least I hope it is not) and encourages sharing and thinking through concepts. I appreciate being able to put up ideas and have them discussed and knocked about among my community of believers. That is how the priesthood of believers works.

      There are those whose arguments consist only of Bible verses and/or Spirit of Prophecy quotes that quite frankly cherry-pick to support an idea that is often skewed and contrary to the big picture ideas of the Bible. Such is a misuse of Scripture.

      When I was teaching difficult concepts to my students, I would often ask them to explain a concept in their own words. This was so I could see if they had got the idea right but more to the point, as they translated what they had been taught into their own words, they were taking part in the learning process. It was an essential part of teaching. Any of my students could recite what I had taught them, but being able to express the idea in their own words ensure that they had learned the concept.

      There is a parallel with our discussion of the Sabbath School lesson. We learn when we take the biblical terminology and express the ideas in our own language. Truth is always a journey, not a destination. We need to take part in the journey, not just recite the map.

  5. Jesus people are known by their fruits not their denominations Mathew 7:15-20.

    Denominations create unhealtlthy institutional pride. All glory should go to Christ not an institution.

    At the end of the day, We are not Perfect, its Jesus through Holy Spirit who perfects us gradualy. At the end of the day we are saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus Eph.2:8.

    • Thank you Eric. Jesus said in John 13:35 KJV "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

      Jesus did NOT say "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye belong to the SDA denomination."

      We have to remember that our salvation and that of all others, comes from Christ, not from membership in a particular denomination.

    • You are spot on - that we’re saved by grace through faith in Jesus. God is a God of order not God of a denomination. How do we organize without having a leader? How can we be effective without organization? It is God’s design to have an organized well ordered group of people working in unity to fulfill the gospel commission;human frailty and foibles notwithstanding.

  6. God was in Christ. Christ was in God. They were One. His prayer was that we become one with Him and in Him. Unity with The Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnizapient -Creator. The rest will be revealed to us as we continue to connect with the Father as Jesus did (John 8:28, 5:19, 30...).


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