Quarterly Journals
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We Can Achieve Biblical Unity

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” – Psalm 133:1 ESV

The Bible emphasizes the importance of “unity” and “oneness.” Unity with others is good and pleasant (Psalm 133:1). Unity is absolutely essential because the church is the “Body of Christ” (1 Cor 12:27), and a body cannot be in disunity or disharmony with itself. If disunity exists, it essentially ceases to be a body and becomes a disjointed group of individuals. Jesus’ plan for His church is people united in faith. This is not a mystery.
 
We begin with how we view ourselves within the body and how we view others; Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves,” addresses this issue. All disunity in the church can be traced back to the simple truth that too often we are selfish and consider ourselves better than others. Sadly, churches that experience disunity are in conflict and turmoil are generally filled with people looking to their own needs, desires, and ambitions. Such behavior is common among unbelievers, and not characteristics of those with the mind of Christ.

Worldliness, not godliness, is the hallmark of the dis-unified church. The way to unity according to Paul, is that we are to consider others’ needs before our own. In all modesty, humility, and lowliness of mind, we are to “be completely humble and gentle; patient bearing with one another in love’ (Eph 4:2). A church filled with such people cannot help but have peace, unity, and harmony. The truly humble person sees his own faults in light of the perfections of Christ; he does not seek to see the faults in others, but when he does, he speaks the truth in love and desires their sanctification, so they will be built up in the image of Christ. He sees his own heart and the corruption that lies hidden therein, along with impure motives and evil ambitions. But he does not seek to notice the errors, defects, and follies of others. He sees the depravity of his own heart and hopes charitably in the goodness of others and believes their hearts are purer than his.

If we are to be the “Covenant Community” that Pastor says we are, we must begin by seeing one another in the light of the cross. Fellow Christians are those for whom Christ died a horrible death so that He might exchange his righteous perfection for their sin (2 Cor 5:21). A church full of such people enjoying their “common salvation” will be a true biblical church unified in, and earnestly contending for, the “faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). How much longer will we demean, criticize, and defame those covered with the precious blood of Christ? The task before us is not to quarrel and demand our needs be met, but rather to reflect His grace and love to those who are also His, by His mercy. We can do this!

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon



I Need a Revival

“…keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” – Jude 21 ESV
 
Watching network news one morning, Matt Lauer interviewed a former Secret Service Agent who gave her insight into the issues concerning the welfare and protection of the President and his family. Once again, someone was brazen enough to breech the White House grounds, undetected, who potentially was dangerous. Fortunately, the President and his family were away, but the thinking was that if one could do it, others could too. So, when asked by Matt what she thought the problem was amongst those assigned to guard and protect the security of the President, she said, “complacency,” and the word resonated with me. I had been hearing it a lot. She said that the agents were so used to nothing out of the ordinary happening that they let their guard down. They failed to stay ready, and “while they were seeping” danger crept in. I cringed when I heard it because for the first time, I realized that complacency is what happens to the church when we let our guard down; or have low expectations of what God can do, and even less appreciation for what He is doing; and I confess, I need a Revival.
 
Spiritual revival is a spiritual awakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of the believer. It is the resurfacing of a love for God, an appreciation of His holiness, and a passion for His Word and His church. When we fail to come together in prayer-feeling that nothing is going to change; or when we fail to come together around the Study of God’s Word-feeling that what we already know isn’t working; or when we forsake the assembling of ourselves together, in fellowship-feeling that we can’t trust one another, complacency has set in; and I don’t know about you, but I need a revival. Spiritual revival is a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, which leads to real humility and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Spiritual revival invigorates and deepens a believer’s faith. I believe that God, through His Holy Spirit, has called us to revival through the authoritative preaching of His Word.
 
Through Pastor Washington’s obedience in the preaching of “Reclaiming the Faith” (Jude 3) we are now faced with a convicting awareness of personal guilt and the awesome nature of salvation through Jesus Christ. This is a new beginning of life for us who desire to live a life of obedience to God. In revival, the Holy Spirit pulls back the veil that the world has cast over truth, and allows us to see ourselves fully, in light of God’s holiness. It is then that we experience great humility, and awe of God, recognizing His truly amazing grace.
 
Revival is the time for restoration of broken fellowship with God in a relationship maintained by Him, even when we have become stagnant. When we think about the Individuality of God; His inclusivity and His intimacy with us, I believe this is time called by God, through His Holy Spirit to break the charm of the world in the life of believers. In revival, His great Power opens complacent blinded eyes. In revival, His power generates both the will, and the power to see things from His perspective. Through revival, we can stand with watchful eyes, to see what He’s going to do next. I can’t speak for you, but I need a revival.

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon