There is only one body in Christ, but many different denominations

Published 9:01 am Friday, August 25, 2017

By Hunter Greene
Tuesday in chapel, our campus minister put a quote up from A.W. Tozer that read, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” As I sat in chapel, I began to think about all the things I actually did think about God. I soon realized that all I had to say was Sunday school answers. We often hear sermons about what God thinks of us whether that be good or bad, but we rarely hear sermons of what we should think of God. I found myself saying, “He is my everything” and “He is my all in all.” But what does that even mean? I don’t know about you, but many days I don’t treat God like He is my “everything.”
The Sunday school answers aren’t helpful. They are too vague. I believe we need a vision of who God is in our life because we will gravitate and grow towards that image. It is just like any child and their parents. When I was a young kid, I always started my prayer with, “Dear God, I thank you for this day, for what you have done, and what you are going to do,” and I always finished my prayer with, “Father, forgive us where we fail thee, in Jesus name, Amen.” I never failed to recite both parts, and I prayed about 100 mph. You see, I prayed this way because I remember hearing my mom pray the first part a few times before, and my dad always ended his prayers that way. I prayed exactly what I had always heard. We will become what we behold. I want you to realize that it is so important to have a detailed, Biblical image of God in your heart and mind because it is this image that will ultimately determine what kind of Christian you will be.
Simply put, our theology determines our behavior. If you are struggling to find an image of God considering God is Spirit, I believe the best image of God we can have is Jesus. Colossians 1:19 tells us that the fullness of God dwelled in Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” Humanity will not understand the things of God. It doesn’t make sense to love your neighbor as yourself, feed your enemies, and bless those who persecute you. However, this is exactly what Christ did, and we are commanded to have the mind of Christ so that we may become more like Christ. Let Jesus be the image you desire to become.
For the sake of space I won’t put the whole chapter in the column, but I strongly encourage you to read, digest, and meditate on Romans 12. I believe if there is one chapter in the New Testament that reveals to us who God is and what we should look like as Christians, it is this chapter. This chapter reveals that God is a God of both grace and truth, diversity and unity, and love and peace. Since we were made in His image, we should be full of each of these as well.
Romans 12:1-3 reveals to us that God is full of grace but also full of truth. Often times, we only have one or the other, but we need both. Grace is too free by itself, and truth is too bitter by itself. They need each other, and we need both back in our churches. The church needs God’s truth to cleanse us from our sin. We judge others for the speck in their eye when we have a log in our own eye. We need pastors and teachers preaching truth that sin is not acceptable and that we are a holy, peculiar people. On the flip side, we need churches that are showing God’s grace when others mess up. Too many times we jump the gun ready to throw everyone out of church when they mess up when God has given us chance after chance after chance after chance. God is a God of truth and judgement, but He is also full of grace and mercy. Live a life of truth refraining from sin but give others the grace of God when they fail.
Romans 12:4-8 reveals that God is a God of diversity and unity. There is only “one body in Christ.” This is hard to comprehend for us Americans considering we have 217 denominations in this country. I believe if we want to be like God, then we need to learn to celebrate our diversity in worship styles and doctrine. We need to learn to celebrate the fact we all have different gifts whether they be preaching, teaching, encouragement, leadership, or others. I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t have it all figured out. I’ll be the first to tell that as an associate pastor of a Free Will Baptist church, we don’t have it all figured out. But also realize that neither do you, your church, or your denomination. Therefore, we must treat each other with respect and serve with each other all that we can. Go feed the homeless with a Catholic. Go visit the prison with another church. There is only one body in Christ. We should start to act like it.
Romans 12:9-21 reveals to us that God is a God of love, harmony, and peace. We should love all people and if possible, be at peace with all people. The problem is for many of us, we think God is an old, bearded white man on a court bench banging a gavel sending everyone to hell. For many of us, we think Jesus is a white American with a three-piece suit. But in reality, Jesus was a Palestinian homeless man that was hated by the religious groups of His day. Why? Because he loved people radically. My challenge to you is to do the same. We need to learn to love people of color and stop having “black churches” and “white churches.” In some ways, we are still as segregated as we were in the 60 to 100 years ago. We need to stop using the “N-word.” It is time we let racism die, and we stop feeding this vicious dog that is dividing our country more and more every day. It is time we stop treating homosexuals and transgenders as if they are some sort of parasite. I don’t agree with their decisions, but Christ died for them just like He died for me. They need the love of Christ. It is time we stop letting the government take care of the poor in our county, and we start helping people feed their families, pay their heat bill, provide school clothes, and show that we care about our neighbors. There are African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, homosexuals, transgenders, alcoholics, drug addicts, and people in poverty all around us that need us to love them and give them the grace and truth of God Almighty. We must love because God first loved us.
If our theology and what we think about God drives our behavior, let Jesus Christ be the image of God that we wish to become.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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