19 January 2009

Dollar Boats, Church Unity & "Much Discussion"

Week 18 (Acts 15) from "The Roots of Our Faith" series on the book of Acts.

Just like any boat is susceptible to sinking, any church is susceptible to division.  The account in Acts 15 is ripe with wisdom regarding potential breaches in Christ-exalting  unity and what is required to maintain "seaworthiness" in the local church (humility toward the Scripture, the Holy Spirit and the Church).  

Consider that the events described in Acts 15 probably took place between 48-51 A.D.  and then read these words of Paul written in 62 A.D.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4.1-7 ESV)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  (Philippians 2.1-4 ESV)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  (Colossians 3.12-16 ESV)
Finally, some discussion questions for further study.


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