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Like Minded Unity

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We must be like minded to have unity in the church body!

Notes & Transcripts

I have had several situation arise over the last week, and whether I was dealing with these situations or pondering on how to deal with them, I was made painstakingly aware of a common conclusion; in each situation, depending on how I approached these matters, their was a huge potential for an OFFENSE to be brought about.

The likelihood of the offenses being caused were not due to my addressing these issues per se, but rather, they were the breading ground for an offense, because of a lack of one single, crucial element within the Body of Christ.
One thing that I have spoken of recently and several times within the last couple of years; that one specific thing is Christian UNITY!
UNITY - the quality or state of not being multiple : oneness; a condition of harmony : accord; continuity without deviation or change (as in purpose or action)!
Mathematically, UNITY can be explained as an Identity Element which is: an element (such as the number “1” in the set of positive integers under multiplication) that leaves any element of the set to which it belongs unchanged when combined with it by a specified operation.
Basically. this means, that any number that I bring alongside of the number “1” and multiply with it, the number will remain unchanged, no matter how big the number grows to, when multiplied by ONE, it remains the same; thus there is UNITY!
This same thing is supposed to be seen in the church body. Jesus is (as in the Identity Element), represented as the ONE, that constant of the church that never changes and is most definitely in terms of all other integers, A POSITIVE!
No matter how big the church grows to be, (as represented as the number that is being brought along of the ONE), when this growing number is brought alongside of the ONE, and applied to it through multiplication (the spreading of the gospel/discipleship), the church never changes! It stays the same in its identity!
Anything else that we bring alongside and apply to the church in our discipleship, other than the ONE, changes the church completely!
Most of us are all aware of a very familiar passage in which Jesus, Himself, made this statement about offenses, as we find in ,
Luke 17:1–5 NKJV
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
In other translations, the word for “offenses”, is rendered, “temptations to sin”, “stumbling blocks”, but they refer to the same thing.
The Greek word used here is “skandalon”, and it refers to a trap, a stumbling block; that which causes to sin, an obstacle which offends!
It is IMPOSSIBLE that these offenses are not going to come! This is what Jesus said, Himself!
No matter how careful you are and no matter how you guard those whom you hang out with, these OFFENSES are going to come.
The main thing that we need to make sure, is that you are not the one through which they come! AMEN?!
I have mentioned before from this passage that I find it interesting of the disciples response to Jesus, when He tells them that they must forgive another who has wronged them, so as to make the offense annulled and stop it from doing anymore damage!
The disciples said, “Increase our faith!”
As in, this is beyond what we are capable of doing! (Jesus had already commissioned them and sent them out to declare, to heal and restore and cast out devils in His name! Yet, they didn’t have level of faith to forgive someone?!)
Jesus said to them, “It’s not a matter of HOW MUCH faith you have. Rather, it’s a matter of in whose hands do you entrust that faith to?”
, “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
The ability to forgive and release, just as Jesus did for each of us, completely squelches and makes null and void the deep rooted animosity that is waiting at the door for you, if you do not release the other person!
And the great snare that the devil has from this situation, is that if you do not forgive and release, then it causes a great bitterness and hurt to rise up inside of the other person who is asking you for forgiveness and thus is doubles in its damage and intensity!
This is why offenses are so dangerous to the church! The multiplication of an offense mixed with the usual sin of murmuring and gossiping, spreads this destructive force like a raging wild fire; destroying everyone in its path, who doesn’t take hold of it and use their spiritual authority and cast it down with a rebuke of those spreading it and offering forgiveness where it is needed!
REBUKE is necessary, as Jesus said to stop the offender dead in their tracks. The word for “rebuke” in the Greek, is the word, “epitimaō”, and it means to denounce, express strong disapproval .
If I do something that is wrong and is making me the cause of an offense to you and others, then, Jesus said to go that person and tell them, in order that you might stop the offense and keep someone else from stumbling and thus doing more damage!
Now please, with this passage, take it and apply Godly wisdom to it. Some people are the walking Christian martyrs! That is, if I am walking by and someone says, “Hey Pastor Chris, how are you doing today”, and I simply throw my hand up as a wave and smile at them; then that person is quite possibly going to take this as a sign of personal persecution and get offended at me!
Don’t take everything that everyone says and does as a personal offense, OK?!
If that is the case, then we will never get the doors of this church swinging open with lost, unsaved people, because we will become the people that are in need of healing!
In the same light, while talking about not being martyrs who are always getting offended, we should avoid certain situations that put us into a place to become offended.
For instance, as bad as it is to practice the disease of gossiping, it is also just as bad to look for it. What I mean is this. If you are someone who likes to listen in on other people’s gossip, then you are also looking for an offense and a hurt.
Look at , “Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you. For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.”
Two things here to mention: First of all, some people listen to others idle gossip in the hopes of finding fault in others and being able to promote self-righteous words of praise upon hearing the sins of others. (The familiar scenario of, “I heard what you did and I would never so something like that!”)
Second, when you spend your time digging into others idle sinful gossip, you may hear someone say something about you that produces an offense that would have never happened if you would have avoiding what the Bible says to stay away from!
So, since we know and realize, according to Jesus, that these offenses are going to happen, then WHAT must we, as the body of Christ, make every effort to become?
I just mentioned it, a few minutes ago, at the start! UNIFIED!
We must dwell as brothers and sisters, in complete UNITY!
Just as Jesus prayed for us in , “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such PERFECT UNITY that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”
So, I want to just expound a little on the thought of UNITY and another way of expressing this term.
If we are in UNITY, then we are of the same mind , or like minded, RIGHT!

I want to stress tonight the importance of being LIKE MINDED in Christ. We must be like minded in order to be in UNITY as the representative body of Jesus!

Now, yes, before someone goes off on a wild tangent about that statement, let me clarify and acknowledge this.
Yes, I know that as individuals, we all have different thoughts and opinions and feelings about matters. That is the gift of God, as part of our FREE WILL. We are not told to think the same thoughts, recite the same statements and behave the same on every situation! (i.e. politics - we all have different opinions and preferences)
But, when it comes to our walk with the Lord and how we are view others and deal with others (esteem others better than ourselves, love and serve even your enemy), we are to have the same mind in these and similar situations!
Just belonging to and showing up to church, doesn’t bring us into UNITY, but rather, it brings us into UNION!
There can be union without unity: tie two cats together by their tails and throw them over a clothesline. There you will have union, but certainly not unity!

Our minds change all of the time about our lives: clothes, cars, TVs, music, jobs, friends and the social scene, etc.

In an otherwise chaotic world of constant change and things pulling at our thoughts and attention, we have one sure footed anchor that we can hold to and that is a constant that allows us to remain firm as a body, and that one sure thing is God!
,
Numbers 23:19 NLT
God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
I count it as all joy that the one TRUE God, is immovable and never changing as far as His character and His will for us!
Share about the beginnings of Islam and of how Muhammed changed his story as far as the worship of the 3 sisters of Allah (the polytheists wanted this as part of worship and so Muhammed said, “OK. Allah will allow this”, in order to win them over ) Then, when the mono-theist believers heard this of Muhammed, they greatly chastised him and then he came back and said that Allah had changed his mind and now they couldn’t worship these other false deities!
It’s as Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.”
Yaweh is the only true God; for He never changes His mind or character!!
IN , Paul tells us this, “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Well, how do people who have different thoughts and patterns and learning abilities and interests and hobbies and church and political views, become like-minded with one another?!
I mean, it seems impossible! The closest thing to it, that I see on a regular basis, is in the sports venue.
Grown men from different religious, political, racial and socio-economic backgrounds, all gather together and scream and praise their heroes on game day. The cry together, rejoice together and fight together as one, semi-like minded body!
How do they accomplish this. we seem to be gridlocked in this nation on our political opinions and yet at this one time of the year, of the month, of the week, this barrier is set aside and not even mentioned.
Men that may be screaming at one another on Monday for who they are voting for, or supporting, will end up arm in arm yelling as brothers as they watch their favorite player run the winning touch down into the end zone!
What changes? Simple, their object of affection, the thing that they truly love and desire bands them together; united as one.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also!”
The key, for each one of us, as individuals in the kingdom, to be able to come together and form ONE LIKE MINDED, UNIFIED church body, is put out thoughts and attention on Jesus Christ. He must increase and we must decrease, in our daily life.
The more of Jesus that you seek and put your thoughts and attention on, the more you begin to desire Him and crave His presence.
tells us,
Colossians 3:1–3 ESV
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When we are constantly finding fault with others and becoming offended and causing offenses because of our desires, we are so far being Christ like that tit is pathetic.
People who are in church every time the doors are open and thinking that this is going to make them more godly and Christ like and more unified as a body, have it completely wrong.
Only an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ make you more godly and unified as a body.
Showing up to the church and having different thoughts on who should be leading worship and what the worship is SUPPOSED to be like and how the preacher is SUPPOSED to teach that passage, is about as LIKE MINDED in Jesus as the story of the three absent minded sisters who lived together.
There were three absent-minded sisters - Wanda, Martha & Wilma - who lived together in the same house? One day, when Wanda decided to take a bath, she drew the bath water & began undressing. But suddenly she stopped & said, "I don’t remember. Am I getting into the tub or am I getting out?" She yelled to her sister Martha, "Martha, help me. Am I getting into the tub, or am I getting out?" Martha hollered back from downstairs & said, "That’s a stupid question. I can’t believe you’re so absent minded." And she started up the stairs, but stopped about half way up & said. "Why am I on the stairs? Am I going up, or going down?" So she cried for Wilma. "Wilma, come here. I can’t remember if I’m going up the stairs or going down." Wilma replied, "You silly woman. I can’t believe you’re so absent minded. I’m glad I’m not like that. Knock on wood." (Knock on pulpit) Then she stopped, looked around & said, "Is that someone knocking at the front door or the back door?"
That is the church atmosphere where everyone is busy interjecting their own thoughts and opinions of how things are to be done and finding fault in the way others are doing something.
Remember Michal, daughter of Saul and wife of David? In , we read,
2 Samuel 6:20–23 NLT
When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!” David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!” So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life.
Be careful about what your attitude of worship and honoring God!
If you are truly Christ’s and have been bought with His precious blood, then set your mind upon the things that are above and not here on earth.
If you are appalled by someone who is passionate about praise and worshipping God here, you’re in deep trouble when you get up there, because that very things goes on 24/7, 365 in heaven.
If you think that its too loud in the worship service now, with around 200 people in the house, in , John says this about the throne in heaven,
Revelation 5:11–12 NLT
Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered— to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.”
If it is too loud and too over the top for you now, what will you do when there are millions upon millions and millions around the throne all praising at once?! Just something to think about!
We know that the moment we truly become the children of God, through our spiritual adoption in Jesus Christ, we become new spiritual creations, new spiritual beings who no longer are to strive with one another, but work together for the good of the body of Christ, in one MIND and one accord.
and show this same thing happening with the new Christians who were being added daily. ,
Acts 4:32 NLT
All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.
If you and I, as new creations in Christ, allow our minds and thoughts to be filled with the word of God and Holy Spirit, then we will begin to walk as a unified body.
tells,
Romans 8:5–6 NLT
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

One of my favorite books of the New Testament, is the book of love how Paul speaks of the unity within the body of Christ. I will read first from

Philippians 1:27–30 NLT
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.
Did you hear what Paul was saying, we are standing together with one spirit, one purpose; we are in this struggle together - together, unified, one mind, one body ONE GOAL; serving our savior!
Then again in , we read,
Philippians 2:1–5 NLT
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
This is as cut and dry as it gets. There is no hidden meanings in Paul’s letter here to the church here. Since we, as believers in Christ, have encouragement, since we have the love of Jesus that comforts our souls, since we have new hearts that are able to be tender and compassionate, then we are equipped agree with one another WHOLEHEARTEDLY and love one another and work together with ONE MIND and ONE PURPOSE! (No one is exempt from this or under equipped to be able to do so!
People will say, “Well I’m not like that swift talking Preacher”, or, “I’m not an educated person”, etc.
Understand this, Jesus surrounded Himself with people from all walks of life and equipped them equally to do His Father’s will and work!
He surrounded Himself with people like uneducated fishermen as well as the highly educated teachers of their day, tax collectors, physicians, prostitutes and demoniacs the wealthiest and the poorest of society, soft spoken people and hot headed people; I mean all walks of life.
It is this diversity that makes the Body of Christ so unique!
When we begin to function as one living breathing organism, without self serving agendas and trying to manipulate things to what suits ourselves, then we truly become a strong and unbreakable force!
It’s like Paul just said in , “Don’t be intimidated by your enemies; this will be a sign to them ,that they are going to be destroyed”, meaning, when we operate as like minded, UNIFIED Christians, then the world and the god of this world (our enemies) will know and recognise that they are whipped!
The enemy has NO weapon that can stop us and he has no defense that can slow us down when we are unified!
In one of Aesops fables he describes an old man who had several sons, who were always falling out/fighting with one another. He had often, but to no purpose, exhorted them to live together in harmony. One day he called them together, and he gathered a bundle of sticks and tied them together and asked each one of them to try to break them. Each one tried as hard as they cold but none of them could break the bundle of sticks. Then the father cut the cord that he tied them together with and told his sons to break them separately. This was done with the greatest ease. “See, my sons,” the old man said “the power of unity!” Bound together by brotherly love, you may defy almost every mortal danger, but divided, you will fall prey to your enemies. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ()

I’ll close with this passage that Paul continued with his letter to the church at Philippi, in ,

Philippians 2:12–16 NLT
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.
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