Devotional for 9/18/13

Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Life in the kingdom”
Our Bible verse for today: “Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.” Romans 12:4-5
Our thought for today: “We are all on the same team.”
Romans 12:4-5 is a passage that is commonly used to help us understand that every member of the church is important and we all need each other. That’s certainly true and it’s a good application of the passage. However in a larger context, in terms of the kingdom of God on earth, it’s also true that every church is a part of the Body of Christ on earth and that every church is important and every church is needed.
Far too often Christians segregate and isolate themselves based upon denominational differences. I personally believe that to be sinful and I believe it grieves the heart of God. Anyone who has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins is a brother or sister of mine and I can therefore find common ground with them for the sake of the kingdom.
Yes, we may have different beliefs about how often to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, or about how to structure a worship service, or about the issue of speaking in tongues, or about a thousand other manmade distinctions and differences. But those are all secondary and therefore less important issues. The reason there are so many different kinds of churches is because there are so many different kinds of people, and there is a church that is right for everyone. But the common bond we all share, and the only thing that really matters, is faith in Jesus Christ. Our shared faith makes us all part of the family of God regardless of how we choose to practice the faith.
Since we are all part of the same family, all making the same journey through this world towards the same heavenly home, and since we all have the same assignment of being about our Father’s business while we’re here, we need to work together and help each other.
One of the reasons the church today doesn’t have more power and influence in the world is because we are so divided by our differences. If we would learn to put all that aside and focus instead on the more important goal of helping to build our Father’s kingdom in this world, we would all be a whole lot more effective. One of the things I love about Oak Hill Baptist is that we have formed so many strategic partnerships with others outside of our own church and outside of our denomination. We come alongside them to work together for the sake of the kingdom regardless of whether or not that activity will result in more people sitting in our own pews.
It would do us all good – it would do the kingdom of God good, if we would remember that as Christians we’re all on the same team, working towards the same goal, and therefore we need to work together.
God Bless,
Pastor Jim

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