[4] A unity that divides. Some want to believe others don’t

Table of Contents: A unity that divides. Some want to believe others don’t

We will be looking at two types of people who don’t follow Jesus’ teaching.

Being in unity is being united around Jesus’ teachings, but it is a unity that divides.
There may be differences on a number of things, but we need to agree on the core beliefs – perhaps those expressed in the Nicene Creed (The full version is supplied at the bottom of this page) :

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only son of God” … etc

Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed fragments on papyrus. A unity that divides. Some want to believe others don't.
Oldest existing copy of Nicene Creed on papyrus [i]

I think it is brilliant that the different denominations are reaching out to each other.
This is really important and I don’t want to dampen any of that, but in dealing with the subject of unity I need to touch upon the two types of people who don’t follow Jesus’ teaching:

Some WANT to believe all that the Bible teaches…

But because they are a young Christian (young in the faith), or they have had poor teaching, they hold incorrect views.

Obviously, if this person is shown from the Bible their error, then they will have a desire to do what is right, because they will see the Bible as being the Word of God, and they will want to submit to it.

Others choose not to obey the teachings of the Bible

Unity sign splitting in two. A unity that divides. Some want to believe others don't.

This person is a threat to the church, and to individuals.

The Apostle Paul tells us to not spend time with such a person, he is not talking about non Christians, but those who appear to be Christians but who don’t submit to God.
Paul told the Roman Christians:

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.
Keep away from them.
For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.
By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naïve people.
Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you;
but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”

Romans 16:18-19

It is interesting to note, that many of these people who don’t want to obey the Bible, don’t like the old creeds either.

They are happier with a ‘truth’ that evolves, that gets moulded by modern culture.
Beware of such people.
We need to feed on the Truth of the Bible, to learn about God, his will, his salvation, etc – this is known as doctrine.

What is the Gospel message – you may be surprised.

But watch our own attitude

An oldish man looking proud. A unity that divides. Some want to believe others don't.

We are not to go around with a cold, heartless attitude.

It’s not:- ‘I’ve got my eye on you! Put a foot wrong and you will be kicked out of the church.’

We all make many mistakes and hopefully we all want to live a life that is pleasing to God, but we all fail.
This is not what we are talking about here.

We are talking about protecting the Truth of the Bible, having a zeal that God’s Word should be held in honour, and that it should be obeyed.
But NOT having arguments over every petty thing.

But where someone is distorting the Word of God, then we need to point the Truth out from the Bible.
Paul wrote to Timothy:

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel;
instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

2 Timothy 2:23-26

God has entrusted to us His wonderful Word.
It is the revealed Truth about God Himself and His purposes, and where we come in relation to all of this.
Paul tells the Ephesians:

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Ephesians 4:3-6

I will finish with Paul’s words to the Philippians:

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Then, whether I come and see you, or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.
This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved and that by God.”

Philippians 1:27-28

Modern Wording of the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son].
With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

Nicene Creed

[i] Author: Council of Nicea. This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art.

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