With all the negativity in the world that the media in projecting into our lives, it is no wonder why society is acting in the manner that it currently is. People are being violent, people are looting, racism is coming from both the left side and the right side, and worst of all our churches are condoning these actions. As a minister of the Word of God, it appalls me how many false prophets there are in this world calling themselves shepherds. I have watched videos and read articles about the justification of segregation and it must stop. There is no Black Church, there is no White church, there is no Spanish church, and there is no Asia church. There is only “one” Body of Christ. If we continue to allow segregation to separate the “Body of Christ,” how can we make an impact in this world for the better? It is upon this truth that I will focus on my message for today. I want to answer three simple questions and they are: what does the Bible say about church unity? Why is church unity so important, and how can we make a change?
Let us begin with the first question, what does the Bible say about church unity? More importantly, does God’s Word teach us that we are separated by race, color, gender, or even denomination? Paul gives us this answer in the book of Galatians. It is written, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” (Galatians 3:28, NIV). This is the most equalizing statement in the entire Bible and this is why I am sharing it with you all here today. In this Scripture, Paul is teaching us that once we have accepted Jesus Christ into our lives, and have been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that we become a new creation. This new “spiritual” creation is neither Jew or Gentile, man nor woman, black nor white, Baptist nor Pentecostal, but we are all united in Christ Jesus.
The moment that we start to divide ourselves as a church or as a people, the enemy has won because we have compromised this very message. I have ministered in twenty-eight states, and seventeen countries. I have experienced segregation between denominations where one denomination will not help another, I have seen segregation between White and Black churches, and both my family and I have experienced racism. However, these things have only happened because Christians have compromised the Gospel and allowed the world to influence their minds and hearts. If we as a people set apart from God cannot stand united together, we will only fall alone. Throughout God’s Word, there is reference after reference about being united as a people. Church unity is key to overcoming the enemy because it allows us to lift one another and use each other’s differences to make a positive impact in this world. The Bible does not teach us to separate ourselves by our differences but to use them in unity.
For it is written, “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts,” (1 Corinthians 12:12, NIV). God is giving us a reminder in this Scripture that our differences, whether they are spiritual giftings or cultural differences, it does not matter because we all belong to the same “body” in Christ. Our differences make us uniquely special, however, when we come together we become something special. A walking manifestation of Jesus. Individually we are nothing but a small piece of something bigger, however, together we are something much bigger, and much more powerful!
In understanding this, now I can move forward to answer my second question; why is church unity so important? There are three reasons why church unity is so important. The first reason is simple. How are we to reach broken and separated people when we are divided within ourselves? We cannot! People can see how divided we are and it simply makes us all look like hypocrites. This very reason is why it took me so long as a young man to come to Christ. I associated Jesus Christ with the church and I wanted nothing to do with the church. Knowing this should scare you because I am not alone. There are millions of people around the world who will never attempt to start a relationship with Jesus because the division in the church is pushing them away. If you are broken and you see the church broken, it is better to be broken by yourself, is this not the truth? We need to stop looking at one another and pointing our fingers to identify the differences we have because the unsaved in our communities can see it and we are doing Satan’s work this way, instead of serving Christ as we should be. We are walking in disobedience and what is sad is that we cannot even see it, oh how blind we are my church family.
The second reason why church unity is so important is that the enemy can pick us off as individuals. If we do not have a strong united body, how can we expect someone who is struggling, to find some godly support? If our churches do not stop this division, we are only allowing ourselves to be destroyed from within. How was the greatest and most powerful nations in the world destroyed? They have all been destroyed from within! With separation and personal biases. They slowly tore each other apart from inside and the church is no different. Satan knows that united we cannot fall, however, individually we do not have the strength to fight against him and the temptations of this world. We need one another more than we know. Satan knows this and this is why he has tried so hard to separate and segregate the church. Guess what? He is winning and we are allowing him to do it because we cannot get past ourselves. We cannot get past our biases and our presuppositions. There must be a change or eventually, there will not be a church.
The third reason why having a united church is so important is because we are commanded to be united. You cannot call yourself a Christian and not follow the commands of Jesus Christ. He said, “If you love me, keep my commands,” (John 14:15, NIV). Now, what is important to Jesus Christ, and which commandments are the most important to follow for Him? It is written, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV). What this means is to love God with everything you have and everything He has created. It also means to love and emulate all righteousness that comes from Him. Jesus also tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. That means to love and treat everyone with dignity regardless of who they are and where they come from. If you would not like to feel divided or less than someone else, then do not treat anyone else in that manner. Simply stated, if you push separation or segregation, regardless of whatever excuse you can create to justify it, you are not keeping Christ’s command. This means you are not a lover of Jesus, but someone pretending to be because you are obeying the world instead of His commands.
Now, here is the big question, how can we make a change? This question is very complicated and I want to answer it in two parts. Firstly, the change must start with us. It is written, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV). Love is the only thing that can conquer hate. As Christians, we must forgive and love not only those who treat us well but to also forgive those who have persecuted us and treated us in a manner less than we would like. This is the true calling of a Christian that is apart of the remnant few. We cannot repay hate for hate, nor segregation for segregation. We must forgive those who have ever trespassed against us. If not, it hardens our heart and we are giving them power over our lives instead of Jesus Christ! Christ is calling us to be stronger than our desires, however, it cannot happen if we do not identify that our hearts have grown hard and cold towards our neighbors and our communities. Our hearts must first change to make a positive impact in this world.
Secondly, everyone that holds authority in the churches of today must come together hand in hand. We must put aside everything that has ever happened to us personally, and we must lead by example. If the church leaders are living a divided life, or a life of biases, guess what? So will our congregations and everyone that we come into contact with. Is this why Christ died in the cross, to begin with? Are teachers not held double accountable on judgment day (James 3:1)? This should scare you. Who are we as leaders representing? This is a question that every mature Christian should be asking themselves, especially in troubling times such as now. Are we going to bring peace and understanding or are we condoning this racially driven movement? Are we going to continue in division among different churches and denominations that are under the same body of Christ, or show unity and humility in understanding it is together that we make the body whole? We should be preaching peace within our communities and teaching about the unity we stand for by being the body of Christ. We must teach forgiveness, love, and patience. This will help us bring about a supernatural peace instead of adding to the fire. It is not our job to avenge our brothers and sisters. It is our job to forgive our brothers. Forgiveness is so important that we cannot even bring God a worthy sacrifice if we have unforgiveness or hate in our hearts. God will not allow the hardships we face to go unpunished. For in His Word, He tells us that it is His job to avenge and repay those who mistreat His people (Hebrews 10:30). As Christians, we must hold on to God’s promises and have faith that He will help us overcome our trials. We cannot take His job into our own hands and honestly think He will work out our hardships for our good. We are not God, so let God be God, and you be you.
Ultimately, if we fail to join together as a church, as a people, we will never be who God is calling us to be. Being a Christian during times of prosperity is one thing, however, during times of persecution is how God can separate the chaff from the wheat within His people. If we cannot stand united as a church, we will only fall alone as individuals. A church cannot stand on two pillars. It takes us all to come together and first seek forgiveness for harboring unforgiveness and hatred in our hearts. Then, upon a repentant heart, God can work on softening our hearts and using us to do the same in our communities. So if anyone is preaching hate, segregation, or anything other than church unity, love, forgiveness, or grace during these troubling times, they are all false prophets. Their fruits are showing and it is time for us to show ours! If we cannot make the change needed within our church, how can we expect someone else in our community to do it? So let us stop this segregation between churches, colors, and ethnicities. You cannot be a Christian and live divided, because we all share the same Spirit within us. How can we hate someone created in the very image of our Father? This is why I shared Galatians 3:28 with everyone. It is a reminder that we are all equal in Christ. I would like to share it again. It is written, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Now memorize it and live it out. If not, you are allowing Satan to take root in our church, in our communities, and worst of all, in your hearts. Now let us do something good together to change this my brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us do it together! Amen.