In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . .And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14 KJV)
Unfortunately, as long as churches are made of people, there will be division. The best we can do as individual Christians is to make sure we aren’t contributing to it. Here are some practical steps that can help us achieve that goal.
1. SURRENDER TO GOD. There is no salvation without repentance, and there is no repentance without surrender. You can not learn what God’s will for your life is until you have cast aside YOUR will for your life.
2. SURRENDER YOUR POSITION. Be OK with not being first. If you’ve done step #1 above, you’re already not first anyway. Take that same attitude toward the people around you. Serve without having to be in charge. Let go of ambition and concentrate on lifting others up rather than stepping on them to get ahead.
3. SURRENDER YOUR MOTIVES. Seek to see rather than to be seen. Seek to be influenced rather than to influence. In this way, you will actually become a better influence.
4. SURRENDER TO TRUTH. To seek unity in the Church we must first seek Truth, for without Truth, there can be no unity. No two Christians share a common past, but all share a common destiny. Find the common ground by looking forward.
5. SURRENDER TO THE WORD. John begins his gospel by reminding us that the Word of God is equal with God, and continues by telling us that Jesus was the Word made flesh. If doctrinal differences are the chief source of division in the church, I would have to say that they are also the most avoidable.
Either the Bible is the Word of God or it isn’t. If it is, then it is the ultimate written authority.
Believing the Bible means believing all of it. This is a tall order, to be sure, but we must always approach the Word with obedience as our objective rather than interpretation. This is why James wrote, “. . .obey the message; be doers of the Word, and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. (James 1:22 Amplified)
Being a doer of the Word places engaging Christ as a priority over engaging culture.
While it is important for the Church to accept and welcome non-Christians wherever they are in life in a spirit of grace, many churches and denominations have gone astray by attempting to blend into culture in the name of “relevance.” In doing so, they have sacrificed Truth at the altar of tolerance.
But churches don’t need to become “relevant” by having the hippest music, the flashiest multi-media system, the best coffee or even the “openest minds.”
The Church will always be relevant to those who seek the Truth simply because Truth is eternal and universal. All people know instinctively that they need a solid rock on which to stand.
God gave us a written account of this Truth so that those who seek it may find it. To the degree that the Church esteems this Truth, without trying to improve upon it, unity will follow.