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E Pluribus Unum

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
October 25, 2020 6:00 am

E Pluribus Unum

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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October 25, 2020 6:00 am

In this final message in our “Flags” series, Pastor Bryan preaches about unity in the body of Christ. It’s a sad fact that for many followers of Jesus, we have allowed MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN to disciple us more than Jesus. As political division and polarization increase, God calls our church to a different reality. The way forward is to remember that however divided we may be politically, in Christ, we are all on the same team.

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The hope of the gospel unites the most unlikely of people from all tribes, tongs, nations, and even political parties, as members of Christ's eternal kingdom. We can declare that even in moments of great division Jesus retains the power to heal store and offer an eternal somebody that is so good to be with you to actually talk to people amazing. I been looking the cameras for the last several months, and what an absolute joy it is to be here with you menaced the song about the faithfulness of who God is. Earlier I was with my with my two sons and we were to my three sons. We were just sitting out eating and really recounting the faithfulness of God. We put our house on the market in San Jose California right in the middle of a pandemic. And God has proven himself to be faithful sold in seven days. Unbelievable. Now that's faithfulness of God. Plus Bay Area but know we give got all the credit and then moving us here in all the 2020 has thrown at us. There's been moments he hasn't felt good, but even when it doesn't feel good. We can say God is good. Can anyone join me and just declaring that God is good.

Bless God for his faithfulness Bibles please meet me in Ephesians chapter 4 were wrapping up our series that we have been walking through on flags. Pastor JD just opened up the first two messages talking about issues of justice and really giving a sound biblical truth and wisdom as we navigate this thing called politics.

This evening I want to really just talk about how we are to treat one another as the body of Christ in the middle of all this. I understand that there are some of you were tuning in her watching the viewer in the room with me and you wouldn't call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ and I would say tonight is just a good time for you to be here and to just kind of soak in.

What is it look like for the body of Christ in the midst of such diversity of thought in the midst of the temptation to be divided. What is it look like to walk together in this thing called unity. Another guy who wrote this. His name is Paul and Paul says this beginning in verse one of Ephesians chapter 4 Paul says I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling which you have been called with all make note of these words humility and gentleness with patients bearing with one another in love and eager to maintain. Here it is the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Why verse four there is one body, one spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your called one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is over all and through all and in all but grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift God just pray that you would speak to our hearts. The seed of your word would fall on good ground that it would take roots that it would bear much fruit. I pray Jesus you would be clearly seen in this text tonight in my labor Lord God, and that you would draw those who don't know you until eternal relationship with you. For those of us who are followers of Christ that I do pray Lord God that you would clear away the, the, the preconceived ideas that you would clear away that the clutter and allow us to clearly Lord God hear from you through me your vessel this evening. It is in Christ name we pray all these things a man in 2015. Some of us can remember there was there was a dress that initially was uploaded onto onto tumbler, an image of address and thousands immediately chimed in on what the color of this dress is some of us can remember it. Some of us said no, this dress is that it's golden white and others elicited no it's it's blue and black, and to make matters even more divisive. It got uploaded onto Twitter.

Not long after that were 10 million people chimed in and they said for sure it's gold or white and others that know for sure.

It's black and blue. In fact, wherever you may be in your homes are in this room, family, people thought it was gold or white. Initially outright. For those of us remember others of us black and blue right in and inhibit what you see. It's amazing how so many people can look at the same thing and come away with drastically different perspectives and conclusions. I think that's one of the takeaways you doing are we looking at the same thing here is just amazing how so many of us can look at the same thing and come away with drastically different conclusions and perspectives. Of course you know I'm going with this. At no point is this more true I think minimum when it comes to government and politics. There are so many different perspectives on some people look at government and politics and safe government should be bigger others look at government and politics didn't know it it it should be. It should be smaller other people when it comes to politics is now at the end of the day. Here's what I'm really concerned about it is, is the platform of this particular candidate going to really protect and fight for life inside the womb.

Others say you know it, of course, I'm for that but but but I'm interested also in that same life outside the womb, and I'm gonna vote for policies that are going to engage. That is just amazing how so many of us can look at the same thing and come away with so many different perspectives. Tonight's message is not about what you should believe as it relates to policies and for sure it's not about who you should vote for its how do we navigate the differences with one another, child of the 80s and Maia my grandparents lived in Roanoke Virginia right there off of Hershberger Road and I remember sometimes we go up to visit them and I remember on many occasions sitting in my grandparents breakfast table where my grandfather was a blue-collar worker for a grocery store for a lot of years before that he was a coalminer before that he played in the Negro leagues and he had a brother, was extremely wealthy. He was the owner funeral home, his brother, my great uncle didn't Dayton, Ohio, in fact true story.

My uncle who owned the funeral home actually tried to get me to take over the business I'm being dead serious right now and and I remember my grandfather's brother. They would go at it at the table over politics. One of them thought Ronald Reagan was the best thing ever. The other thought Ronald Reagan was the worst thing ever written, and they would just go back and forth and back and forth and I was concerned as a little kid is to be a rift here like like is the family going to going to stay together. It was it was that intense of a disagreement, all according to a recent pew study the disagreements around politics even among Christians is not gotten better the divide. According to this recent pew study has only gotten worse.

Recent pew study revealed that the gap between the views of Republicans and Democrats on fundamental issues has here it is increased from 15 to 36% between 1994 in 2017. In his wonderful book Christians in an age of outrage.

Ed Stetzer says this when you look at it with me.

Sadly, Christians of varying religious traditions, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds have often followed their non-Christian friends deep into these political divisions. Thus, there is even as the country slowly entrenches itself along political, cultural, economic lines. Professing Christians are often on the frontlines of these divisions dear Ed Stetzer assignment is not that that that the body of Christ is just getting swept away in the cultural current when it comes to politics often were leading the charge. So many of us have allowed CNN and MSNBC, and Fox News to disciple us more than Jesus in the middle of all this Paul has a word for us in Ephesians chapter 4 verse one Paul begins by saying look at it with me. I therefore appraiser of the Lord. Here it is. Errors urge Paul was writing a language called Greek, the Greek word translated urge is a compound word Tara means to bring to one side, Leo means to call so that word urged that is the Greek word Tara Leo. It literally means to call to one side. The best way I can demonstrate this for you is it's kind of Paul doing this making the gesture come here is talking to a group of believers who are incredibly different will explore that in just a few moments.

And yet, in spite of their differences. He saying come here as if Paul is saying listen I can. I know that this is an intense election season come here. I know that there's so much going on in and there's so much chatter on the television box in and in and there's so much that is that is threatening to divide us. But but come here Paul says I urge Derrico Leo Ike I want you to just come along side of me. There's something I want to deposit in you and what he wants to deposit in us is unity. Paul is going to give us kind of three big things on unity this evening. The first thing Paul wants us to understand is that unity is not uniformity. Unity is not uniformity. Just like the one this is not sameness. Those of us were married week when we understand that we married a very different person. These two people who are profoundly different that different theologies on the toilet seat in different ways to do is to squeeze the toothpaste.

One of them does it incorrectly from the middle of the other does it correctly from the bottom up, which we are incredibly different people and yet the goal of marriage is not uniformity. It's not to get my spouse to to to to be cloned into my image goal of marriage is not sameness but it's oneness. Mrs. Paul's point here is, he just lists it to the broader body of Christ.

He wants and understand unity is not uniformity. In fact, we understand that Paul is talking to a very diverse body. We know this two ways one of them is the words that Paul uses. I call your attention again verse two Paul calls them to be people of all humility and then look at this gentleness and patience, bearing with those kind of three last words or phrases all assume a diversity of thought Millicent. I will need to be gentle with people. I agree with. I will need to be patient with people who see it the same way I do. I need to bear with individuals in which we are in alignment on just about everything those very words, gentleness patients, bearing with. It assumes that I'm doing life with people who are different than me. Not only that we know that there's a difference here because if you just read about the founding of the church in Ephesus now encourage you read acts chapters 19 and 20. Because those chapters talk about the founding of the church at Ephesus.

And whenever Paul goes to start a church in the ancient world. He always has two questions number one, where's the synagogue I would preach Christ to the Jews so he goes to the synagogue in Ephesus preaches Christ.

Some Jews come to know him, but he's not done because he wants to reach not just the segment of the city, but all of the city, so he wants to know where the gentiles hang out.

He goes there and some Gentiles come to faith in what is called duty doesn't start two separate churches. He starts one church and because these diverse people of different ethnicities to work out horizontally what has already been accomplished for them vertically, which is reconciliation.

So he is writing to a diverse body and he says do is ethnically diverse body walk in, not uniformity. So Jews don't try to expect Gentiles to be Jewish or vice versa walk in unity walk in unity. Knowing things that that I been so pleased with his I just kind of locked arms and serving with this team. We done demographic study as I'm moving is a vast reduced to kind of facilitate greater degrees of ethnic unity here at the church. I just said okay.

I was diversity look like at the summit and were right about 19% minority fear if you're new with us, you should understand we have a stated goal of becoming 25% minority by 2025 and we are well on our way. Praise God, I pastored multiethnic churches all across the country Put it out there. It can be quite the headache. It's what Rick McKinley calls a beautiful mess. Why because you get people who are ethnically different and in and on top of that ethnic difference. Ethnic diversity breeds all the kinds of diversity so maybe in a room like this where where there is or in your own homes where there is all kinds of diverse treatment. Maybe. Maybe there's some theological diversity on lesser nonessential things like sign gifts so maybe some of you are.

What would Sam a cessation is in others of you go non-Pentecostal and others of you go open but cautious which is a stated position of our church and others of your like bro have no idea what you just said.

And of course there's political diversity. Some of you are like friends, my guy in my 401(k). Thanks and others of your like never trump. I love how Pastor JD says it, that's fine because we are not the people of the Democratic Party of the Republican Party where the people of the Lamb that whole idea that Jesus is not coming back on Air Force One so those are lesser things and there's room for disagreement on lesser things but when it comes to the main thing Jesus Christ. We've got to walk together in unity. Why, because at the end of the day. We are on the same T some years ago I watched the film 42 which is the story of Jackie Robinson and him breaking the color line and it was played by the dearly departed. Now actor Chadwick Bozeman. He play Jackie Robinson. There's a moving scene in this movie that in this movie.

Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers are playing.

I believe the Cincinnati Reds, which isn't too far from Kentuckians pregame there out on the field warming up in, and that the fans in the standard just saying some horrific things geared towards Jackie Robinson in the middle of it all. This teammate shortstop Pee Wee Reese is white since is the discouragement in Jackie Robinson goes over to Jackie and drapes his arm around Jackie's shoulder. An individual is studying to different individuals and yet walking together, arm in arm because they were on the same team friends is what we are the body of Christ. If you are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. If you know what it is, in the words of Jude to be snatched out of the fire to be taken from death to life that were on the same team and what unites us. The cross of Jesus Christ is to be bigger than anything else that divides us. Not only that Paul says something else that's interesting about unity. Not only is unity, not uniformity, but but he says this he wants us to understand that unity with Christians demands in union with Christ unity with Christians demands unit.

Yet union with Christ. Look at verse four Paul says there is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope that belongs your called one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all, he says it is diverse body, I will lift your eyes off of each other horizontally and set your days onto your creator vertically. He keeps reminding them of the oneness that they been called into one of the things he says is there is one baptism, one baptism you baptism.

There are several ideas excommunicated here one is, it is publicly identifying with Christ or to put it in stock terms, baptism is your IPO is your initial public offering. It is you just publicly declaring that I am a follower of Jesus Christ, you are stating what your new identity is not only that it's a symbol of union when you baptize, especially by immersion your declaring your union with Christ, united with him in his death and his burial and then united with him in resurrection. See the idea that Paul is calling us to the use of vivid imagery by saying listen we have union with Christ. There's this point in context, Paul is saying that our horizontal relationships with others is an indicator light of our union or lack thereof vertically with Christ when he saved another way, Paul is saying if you and Christ are off your relationships with others will be off.

Paul expounds us in Galatians chapter 5 is a moving text in which Paul is just contrasting life in the spirit with life in the flesh, and here's a call when he talks about the works of the flashy. He gives 15 items, but I will call your attention to eight of them look at it with me. Paul says now the works of the flesh are evident in many strive jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions invade here me. He lays out 15 marks of the flesh, and I just read eight of them to you. Over half of them to you. Watch it now.

In these eight are relational to over half of the list is relational, which means this is hard for us as Americans to truly understand sin.

Here's Paul's point soon is not just personal sin is not just individual.

It is profoundly social and relational.

That's why when Adam and Eve sin.

The first thing they do is hide from God.

That relationship is off and the next thing they do is they hide from others.

So sin life in the flesh when I choose to go in my own way. One of the next dominoes to fall is that's going to impact my relationships with others and to see Paul's point.

Sort of like him. I'll invite you to my home. Corey and I am celebrated 21 years of marriage. This past July and over the course of our marriage.

I don't recommend this program course or marriage reef got this little snarky passive-aggressive thing that we say to each other on occasion, and that is you let me just put it this way was a Corey's up early morning and you know I've been up upstairs a couple hours later I come down and think Corey does something or didn't do something IIII didn't like and I start snapping at her and I know is hard for you.

You imagine the pastor would snap his wife but I start snapping at her and in short she respond by making it all better.

So psych school Lee someone has not had their time with Jesus this morning. I don't recommend that I don't recommend you try does that does not make it better, but her point is clear.

What is she saying here where off because it appears you and God are off see if you read Paul's letters over 160 times he uses the phrase in Christ in Christ in Christ. You are in Christ, your primary identity is not your political convictions have them. Your primary identity is your union in Christ.

And when that is.

In order that sets the stage for me to have flourishing unified relationships with others now in practice a little bit more exactly what is union with Christ look like I got I think is very important.

I think one of the one of the key texts on this is John 15, if not the key text. John 15 there's a little word that keeps popping up its abide.

Abide. Abide. Jesus says I want you to abide in me and I in you is is the him as a branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me again that text is written in Greek. Greek word for abide is Menno minnow simply means to to remain or or to hang out. John 15. Watch it now does violence to the quiet time, culture, don't get me wrong. Should Christians have a devoted time in the morning set aside for Bible study and prayer absolutely. I don't know how we how we grow without it but but so many Christians that's that's their only moments of hanging with God where the idea of abide it.

It's so far above and beyond quiet times.

It is just a lifestyle that's remaining in Christ best way I can illustrated is how many tea drinkers do we have either your home or in this room emanates from the tea drinkers there's two basic philosophies on on T2 basic approaches of one approach is what I call diverse teabag goes in the hot water they gonna put it in there than they take it out and in some people might put it in take it out some more that, that's kind of the quiet time culture it's it's in there for a moment and minutes out, but others are sleepers wet bags in their and embed boys remaining union with Christ is the call for us to see in relationship with him when I sleep in relationship with him. There is unity. Paul is clear. Unity is not uniformity just like one. This is not sameness even goes on to say that unity with Christians demands union with Christ but finally Paul is by giving us four things on how to unleash unity in our relationships and in our church look back again at verse two pulses. Here's how we unleash unity. He begins on a note called humility.

He says with all with all with all humility, the idea of the word humility means to be brought low, but some low self-esteem. It's not me measuring myself against others, but as the rightful estimation of me against a holy God alone. One South African pastor said. Andrew Murray says this about humility look at it with me. He says humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the illusion that God is all humility is nothing but the disappearance of self and the vision that God is all that without a doubt over the. The last several years. The two most well-known football or soccer players are Rinaldo and messy not to long ago. Rinaldo messy set down for an interview and in the interviewer asked Rinaldo Rinaldo what what what what you think your purpose in life is. Rinaldo didn't even hesitate is my purpose in life is that God has sent me here to teach others how to play football messy immediately chimes in by saying I don't recall sending you here. Obviously, we would not say that's humility. That's pride. And while it's easy to laugh at this caricature of pride I got news for not all of you, but for all of us.

All of us are born into this world, prideful, narcissistic, me first individuals. It's just who we are. We are me first. People CS Lewis in his book mere Christianity says the Fountainhead all vice is pride. I have numero Uno on my agenda. Self and so is this look like to walk in unity with a sense of humility in this political season pastor JD has made mention of David Platt's book before you vote and David Platt is so helpful. I just want to just give you some questions. It teaches outlines in this book that I that I think are a display of humility for how we navigate issues of politics. For example, Platt says other new concepts of biblical justice. We see in the opposing party to does that political parties show any concern for vulnerable individuals and groups.

Three. How is that political party trying to promote good and prevent evil setting would talk with client is getting at. It takes a lot of humility to point out the good and the other party, and it also takes a lot of humility to point out the bad or to critique your own party. For example Platt as these three questions we think about critiquing our own party. Are there any concepts of injustice we see in our party does the political party number two.

I support show any lack of concern for any vulnerable individuals and groups. Number three. How is my political party failing to promote good and prevent evil says it doesn't humility just says the kingdom of God cannot fit neatly in any one political party.

In that sense I think whenever we go to the voting booth there should be a degree of tension humility again says here's what's good on the other side of the table and here's what's not so good on my side of the table within. Secondly, Paul says we talk about unleashing unity in our relationship to God to be humble.

We also cause us to gentleness to gentleness is strictly speaking, gentleness is power under control but is interesting to see gentleness in light of humility. Humility is is kind of my inward essence gentleness is its outward expression.

In other words, gentleness is what humility looks like in public gentleness is concerned about how I handle the humanity of people who don't look like and act like think like or vote like me gentleness as I could be compassionate about my issues. Gentleness says I can have deep convictions but gentleness primarily says when I run into a person who sees it different that I treat them in such a way that honors the Amato day in that person's are not yelling, not going the route to cancel culture. I'm not fussing with them I'm I'm treating them with gentleness. I think that something me and in all and all Christians can grow in. Look at people's Facebook pages and even though you can't hear the tone it just doesn't feel like gentleness, and sometimes I wonder, how do you have all that time in the first place is what encourages like arguments on Facebook just make since I have never seen an argument on a Facebook post in which the person that you know you're right. But regardless of the banter may Christians be gentle. Thirdly, Paul would beckon us to be people with all humility and gentleness and then he says with patients. Patients is the compound record macro through mosque macro through my say that with me macro for Thomas macro means long and through massive format word we defeat that the the instrument of a thermometer from this this instrument. We used to measure heat is the idea of anger so literally macro Thomas means to belong towards anger and in other words, the way that I know I'm patient is that I'm in a situation where I got one nerve left in your River dancing all over its pulses macro for Thomas when you have patients see patients is seen with how were navigating conflict with with people who are just completely different when it comes to conflict them there typically two kinds of people sharks and turtles. Sharks see an issue until that right now right now right now we were dealing with it right now. You do understand that in the natural sharks cannot go backwards. They only go forwards they see something we have to deal with it and that some of us, others of us were turtles when there's conflict.

We just we just withdraw. I see this play out all the time all the time in churches, especially churches that are striving towards this thing of ethnic unity that it was something will happen and you'll get one group will just turn up the volume. We have to deal with this right now right now right now and and then you got another group. Sometimes they're just coming this is what I signed up for. I will understand. So, so instead of trying to engage think they just kind of take their ball and go home. Pulses neither approach is conducive to unity macro Thomas be patient with one another not be passive. Be patient sit down and have a conversation engage.

Finally, Paul ends by saying he's calling us to be people who bear with the idea of bearing with simply means to to endorse something that is on pleasant as I want you to bear with one another because you're on the same team. I am couple weeks ago I was made mention of my love for jazz in fact met my son Miles is back there and I have made mention the fact that we named him after Miles Davis that I read a biography on Miles after he was born in going on somewhere. We deem that name when reading that name, but love Jess in the number-one chasm of all time. I think a shared use kind of blue. And that's a Miles Davis album if you understanding about Miles Davis.

He had a unique ability to get the greatest jazz players in the world working together in unity on a project house. Miles eight Davis able to do that, Miles Davis, had this horse whisper, and right before they were going for session Miles Davis would take little scraps of paper and he wouldn't write much on it and he just simply go picture part their sharp art fairs or part. Not a whole lot on their just enough structure in which he sank. Here's the main thing. Now let's commit to the main thing and within that we understand jazz is improv so you can express yourself in different ways. As long as there's the commitment to the main thing. That's what Paul is saying when it comes to the church of Jesus Christ. Here's your part. Here's your part.

Here's your part in your part in my part is Jesus. Once we agree on the main thing it doesn't mean we clone each other.

There's room to express differences on lesser thing because there is agreement on the main thing known. I think of this tax as we close tonight. Those four characteristics. Humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one person.

That's Jesus.

Did you know we are saved by the humility of Jesus. Philippians 2 says ago he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he humbled himself, he humbled himself by taking on the form of a servant so that he became obedient to the point of death.

We are saved because Jesus Christ didn't have to go to the cross. But he humbled himself. Not only that Jesus is gentle but that's why the predominant image of Jesus in the Bible is a lambda the picture of vulnerability in gentleness and praise God. I don't know about you but I'm thankful that he's patient is many times I've blown it.

As much as I've messed up as much as I deserve to just simply be shelties he's patient. He keeps inviting me back and inviting me back to the table, and boy does he bear with all of my sins. That's who Jesus is friends I can think of no better person to be a foundation for unity. There is no better than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the humble, gentle, patient, bearing with one another and in some way shape or form to be a follower of his is to buy the power of his spirit incarnate those virtues horizontally with one another, even those who see it differently than us.

Let me pray father I pray that Christians would not get swept up in the current of divisiveness that we would lead the way in unity, not uniformity, not sameness but oneness. I pray Lord God, that each of us would leave with a renewed commitment to abide in Christ because unity with Christians demands union with Christ so father got III just pray for spirit of dependence on you and the Lord God, I pray that you would unleash unity through us those areas, Lord God, we've been prideful and in narcissistic Lord God those those areas father where where where we have not been a humble expose them to us, Lord God, in which we confess those things to you when we receive your grace and forgiveness. Help us to be gentle because that's what humility looks like in public, help us to be patient with people, not passive, but patient says you know what I want to hang in there, let's have a conversation about this or another conversation about what let's keep coming back to the table because we love each other, father, may we bear with one another that we put up with one another's besetting sin's challenging one another because you bear with us. We pray all these things in the name of your son Jesus Christ, amen and amen

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