Make Us OneSeries: God Help Us Unite. James Dewhurst July 5, 2020
God Help Us Unite
Make Us One
On September 11th, 2001, as 19 evil hijackers carried out their hateful plan to attack our beautiful Nation, 2,996 innocent people lost their lives. 265 died on the 4 airplanes. 2,606 died inside the World Trade Towers, and another 125 died inside the Pentagon. While the majority were U.S. civilians, 343 brave firefighters and 71 brave police officers also lost their lives. While the overwhelming majority of the deaths were United States citizens, over 90 nations lost citizens on that dark day, as those planes flew like torpedos into our nation’s heart. But what did we do? How did we handle it? Do you remember? Our nation came together! For a brief season in time, this tragedy caused people to overlook secondary things and come together. I will never forget watching President George W. Bush standing on the rubble and issuing a tearful speech, as he declared through a battery-powered bull horn, that lifted our nation’s spirits and united us. It was historic! For a short but sweet season, we actually felt like One Nation Under God. There was an American Patriotism that rose up in us that created a unifying effect among us all.
Fast forward 19 years and America has once again been visited by an unforeseen tragedy. But this time, instead of coming together, we are moving apart. With the strain of Covid-19, continued racial divisions, and the added circus of an election year, this time there is a dividing effect that is historic, not a unifying one! 126,000 Americans have lost their lives over the past several months, but have you heard any of their stories? Do we know any of their names? No. Instead of using our media platforms to honor those who have died, they have been hijacked by self-serving news networks and politicians, to constantly stoke division and hatred.
The worst part is, the devil is sitting back and laughing, rejoicing, and celebrating all of the division because that’s his greatest strategy. The enemy will do whatever he can do divide, especially when it comes to the family of God and the body of Christ. Why??? Because when Christians stand together we are unstoppable, but when we are divided we become weak, overlooked, and defeated (Matt. 12 – “A house divided can’t stand”).
Today, I want to make a plea. In fact, I want to make the same passionate faith-filled plea Paul made to the church in:
1 Corinthians 1:1
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, (ESV)
The word divisions in the Gr. is Schisma and means: a split, a division, a schism, a ripping or tearing apart. Paul begged Jesus followers not to tear each other apart!
When Christians fight and argue, they are ripping apart the unity that makes us strong!
When Christians engage in divisions, they are tearing apart the body of Christ!
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (ESV)
-The prayer Jesus prayed in this passage was not only for the church to remain unified but also for those outside the church to be saved because of our unity.
-Why would the world ever want to join a church full of hatred and division?
-Paul prayed that we would be unified. Jesus prayed that we would be one. What if this could be the generation and we could be the church that answered those prayers?
Instead of being divided and weak, if we stand united and strong around the message of Jesus, resisting the schemes of the enemy, we could usher God into this broken world!
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (ESV)
Unity does not mean uniformity.
We can have different perspectives but remain unified!
Engaging in disunity in the church is engaging in unity with the forces of hell!
So how do we become one? What will unify the church? I believe there are 3 things:
(1) One Enemy!
(Nothing brings people together like fighting against the same enemy!)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (ESV)
Let me take a second to explain what Paul is saying:
> The church down the road is NOT your enemy!
> The person who argues on FB is NOT your enemy!
> The person who votes different than you is NOT your enemy!
> The person who does or doesn’t wear masks is NOT your enemy!
> The person with different skin color than you is NOT your enemy!
> The thin blue line is NOT your enemy! We have ONE enemy – The Devil!
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (ESV)
Satan is working overtime to steal our unity, kill our churches, and destroy our witness!
Since we know that the objective of the enemy is division and destruction, I believe it is critical right now that we as followers of Jesus choose the cross as our highest loyalty, and open our discernment to look for signs of the enemy. God’s Spirit lives in your church, and you need to listen not blindly follow. God gives us a similar warning in:
1 John 4:1-7
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (ESV)
The Bible warns of false teachers!
+The Bible warns us to test the spirits! How do we do this? We judge by the fruit!
+Right now we have people in our country that want to cancel not heal, demand not to forgive, and threaten not to listen. On the face it looks noble, but what is the fruit?
+John tells us that any spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus or promote his heart, is the spirit of the antichrist. This is how we separate the spirit of truth from falsehood!
Any spirit that does not acknowledge God or manifests his character is not of God!
We are in a war church! It’s not left versus right, it’s darkness versus light!
(2) One Mission!
Nothing mobilizes the church like joining together on a mission!
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” 11 While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)
Saving souls is the mission that unites the church. This is who we are and what we do!
The church is the hope of the world, and when we are on the mission we are unstoppable!
Instead of always being known for what we are against, we need to be known for what we are for. We are for love, grace, mercy, compassion, justice, generosity, and salvation!
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (ESV)
(3) One Family!
The Church is a family that is tied together by the blood of the cross!
5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (ESV)
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (ESV)
With so much pain, hurt, and misunderstanding, how do we ever become one?
-We accept one another as Christ accepted us! (Accept means to open up your arms!)
-We love one another as Christ loved us! (God’s love values people over preferences!)
-We hurt with one another as Christ hurt for us! (1 Cor If one part suffers we all suffer!)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (ESV)
Ministry: Church it is time that we stop watching and start praying!
United In Prayer!
Matthew 18:19-20“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (God shows up when Christians are united!)
Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (Prayer takes humility!)
1. Pray for God’s will to be done in our nation, not man’s! Matthew 6:9-10 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
2. Pray against the enemy’s temptation to bring endless divisions! Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
3. Pray for forgiveness to become the response that heals our nation! Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
4. Pray for our president, government leaders, and local authorities! 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV) “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
5. Pray for the health of our nation and for God to protect our families! Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV) “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.”
6. Pray for the economy to strengthen and recover fully! Jeremiah 29:7 “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
7. Pray for revival to touch our land and draw people to God! Psalm 80:7 (NIV) “Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”
8. Pray for the health of our faith leaders all over America, who are attempting to navigate these delicate times! “Lord, please cause [Our faith leaders] to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in Your work. Help them to know that their toil is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58