Category Archives: New Testament

Unity & Division: Two Sides of the Same Coin

The apostle Paul gives us instruction on the true meaning of unity and what it takes to maintain it in Ephesians 4. First, he says unity is created by God and maintained by God’s people (4:3). God creates unity through the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We maintain the unity God created.

The unity is real. There is only one God. There is only one faith. There is only one Lord…one Spirit..one body…one baptism, etc (4:4). God did not create our division. God unified the divided. Any division we see is the result of our effort, not God’s.

Like we say about marriage – what God has joined together, let no man separate. Division is a serious matter because we are monkeying with what God has worked so hard to establish.

How do we maintain unity? The answer to that is found in the rest of the chapter.

First, we recognize that God has graciously given us gifts through Christ (4:7) and that those gifts are to be used for the growth, maturation and unity of the body (4:11-16).

If we don’t use the gifts God has given us we will suffer from division. When God’s people fail or refuse to use the gifts He has graciously given, we will divide.

Second, we have moral maintenance. In 4:17-32 Paul reminds us that we can no longer live however we want. Then he gives us three behaviors that drive division and how we must convert those behaviors to positive activity that promotes unity. Speaking lies (which causes division and distrust) must turn into speaking truthfully. Stealing must turn into productive work, notice the focus – not so you can feed just yourself – so you can help those in need (unity)! Unwholesome talk (which promotes division) must be turned into healthy, encouraging conversation (unity). Last, forgiveness is also necessary for unity and we do it for each other because God first did it for us.


What is the Goal of the Human Life? The Answer May Surprise You

One might think the goal of the human life is to die and go to heaven. To go and get our eternal reward! The goal of the human life is not to die and go to heaven. The goal of the human life is to be like Jesus. One cannot be like Jesus without theContinue Reading

Is Our Focus on Paul Related to a Lack of Focus on Discipleship?

Here is where the word “disciple” occurs in the New Testament (NIV) Matthew – 78Mark – 59Luke – 50John – 81Acts – 26 Here is where the word “church” occurs in the New Testament (NIV) Matthew – 2Acts – 19Romans – 51 Cor – 222 Cor – 9Gal – 3Eph – 9Phil – 2Col –Continue Reading

Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce in Mark 10

I have been working through Mark 10 this week. The chapter starts with the Pharisees testing Jesus on his view of the legality of divorce. It is possible given Mark 10:1 that Jesus just crossed over into Herod Antipas’ territory. Herod had divorced his wife to marry his half-brother’s ex-wife. So marriage, divorce and re-marriageContinue Reading

Prayer in the Early Church – What Were They Praying for and What Can We Learn from Them?

What can we learn from how the early church prayed? We can learn so much! As I have gone back through Acts and the Epistles I have looked for some common threads and themes that come up over and over again. Here is what I found. The early church prayed together regularly. We see itContinue Reading

Faith or Fault?

Mark 2 is full of people who found faith and people who found fault. Read all four stories in the chapter and you will see it in each one. We get to choose which one we are going to be. If you choose to live in fear you choose to be the critic. If youContinue Reading

They Wanted to be Near Jesus, Not for the Same Reason

Read Mark 2 when you have 2 minutes and look at all the people who wanted to be with Jesus. The crowds filled the house to hear him teach the word. The friends lower their paralyzed buddy. Levi goes with him. Jesus has a meal with tax collectors and sinners “for there were many whoContinue Reading

Enmeshment, Anxiety and Discipleship

There were several instances where the disciples show signs of enmeshment with each other and with others. These are times when their value gets wrapped up in the value of others. We see this in their arguments over who is the greatest in Luke 22. We see this in John 21 when Peter’s death isContinue Reading

Discipleship and Our Enemies

In Luke, Jesus gives a sermon very similar to the Sermon on the Mount that we call the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:17-49). One of the main points of this sermon is how we treat our enemies. We are to: 1 – Love them2 – Bless them3 – Pray for them4 – Be generousContinue Reading

Good Friday, Cross Bearing, and Following Jesus

Jesus said if we want to be his disciples we must take up our cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). Jesus said this while he was on his way to Jerusalem to suffer and die on a cross. Good Friday reminds us that Jesus is our leader and the leader always goes first. HebrewsContinue Reading

Follow

Follow this blog

Email address