Temple Baptist Church - 1-15-2014
A. As Paul concludes his epistle to the Colossian Church, he leaves them with three essentials for Christian unity within the local church. As the number one enemy of the church is division, the number one priority of the church should be unity!
1. One might ask, “Isn’t worship, teaching, tithing, etc. the most important things?” I believe the answer to that question is that none of these things will be possible without unity within the local church. Worship will be worthless if our relationship with each other is not right. Teaching will become only head knowledge if our hearts are not right with each other. Tithing will certainly be affected because of the constant incoming and outgoing of families in the church.
2. Therefore, unity is the principle thing. When writing to the Corinthian Church with all of their carnality and problems, Paul address the problem or disunity first!
1 Corinthians 1:10-13 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (11) For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. (12) Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. (13) Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
Psalms 133:1-3 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (2) It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (3) As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (35) By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
B. Paul leaves the Colossian believers with these three things that are the basis for true fellowship and the unity of the local church.
1. Continue in prayer. Communion with God brings about communion with God’s people.
a. Faithful – Paul wrote virtually the same thing to the Romans (12:12) and the Thessalonians (5:17). One of the most important aspects of the Christian life is the “life line” of prayer.
b. Watchful – to be vigilant: in the realm of sinfulness and deception. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty! We must be continually on guard against encroachment upon our purity of life.
c. Thankful – ingratitude is a sign of our times. We have so much to be thankful for. Once again, let me say that we need keep our eyes on what we have and not what we do not have.
d. Purposeful – too often, our prayers are made in generalities instead of being concise and pointed.
2. Walk in wisdom. Compassion for the lost brings about compassion for God’s people.
a. Testimony - concerned with our conduct before God and man but especially the unsaved as we are God’s epistle seen and read of men.
b. Priority – redeeming the time (to ransom or to rescue from loss) Time is a precious commodity that the Lord has given to all of us: 24 golden hours with a clean slate.)
3. Season your speech. Courtesy for mankind brings about courtesy for the brethren.
a. Seasoned with grace – grace in the aspects of realization of how we would be hurt if someone spoke to us in the same way and graciousness in that God has been better to all of us than we deserve and we should be just as gracious to others.
b. Sweetness to the taste – gentle words instead of caustic ones. I have heard for most of my life the saying, “Keep your words short and sweet for you never know which ones you will have to eat.”