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September 20, 2020 1:55 am
Today we begin a three-part discussion on unity with Lieutenant James Harvin and Commissioner Willis Howell. In this first episode, we start by studying Jesus’ prayer for unity and the church’s role in welcoming and celebrating diversity.
Hi this is bleeding welcome to the Salvation Army's words of life.
Welcome back the words of life and hello to you Cheryl hey Bernie how are you today I'm doing great. Awesome. I'm excited about this new series because we've got Commissioner Willis Howell, someone who used to be an announcer for this very program and he's going to be interviewing a young African-American officer named Lieut. James Harvin had the opportunity actually to speak with James this past week, and he sat very sharp impressive young officer.
He's really invested himself in God's word and in the training that is been given and he's proving himself to be a very effective minister pressure. Now granted, the conversations are about to hear are certainly through the lens of an American experience, but it's our prayer that the series will bless you, no matter where in the world you're listening today we start with Jesus's prayer for unity found in John 17 is a joy for me to be James Harvin Salvation Army speak.
He was commissioned he was ordained in 2017. So he's just a brilliant young Salvation Army officer with a heart for Jesus and a very keen mind and joy that we get to have this discussion today. So James is not my show welcome to the show.
Part of this wonderful ministry of words of life like this, a brief in the direction most people don't know who I am. But let's hear you are this on Lieut. James Harvin. I'm originally from New York City Mayor. My father became homeless in New York and sleeping all central park benches going into subway stations and all of this, but the Salvation Army was always a place of hope when you receive a meal in Manhattan said it and so Salvation Army God has been using it for as far as I can remember to just bring hope and unity in our life.
That's why I'm here today as God called me to it to be that same sort of hoping that we are right so you just the start of this discussion were going to be talking about unity and what is unity. Obviously, the textbook definition is a state of being unified join together as a whole, but Jesus in John chapter 17 talks about and praise about unity for us. We read that Brooke will. Jesus says my prayer is not for them alone.
I pray also for those who believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, and that they may be one as we are one.
I in them and you and me, so that they may be brought and complete unity.
Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me is an awful lot and there you like to invite anyone to start. Well, what do we see here as far as unity and what is God's intent for his children will steer the desire of Christ and his prayer is that his followers would be unified. Now I think I like to make a distinction unity isn't the same thing as uniformity.
There is still going to be this incredible and wonderful diversity even though we are unified and thought unified and goal unified in purpose unified in what we want to see is outcomes. It doesn't mean that the church needs to consistently and constantly be in lockstep monolithic so I want to make sure that not so much we, the greater we keep those distinctions in mind, unity is agreeing that we want to see the same things. Now how we get there.
You talk about your from New York and right now will I'm living in Atlanta although I'm from up that area myself but if we agree that we want to arrive in St. Louis we agree on the go, but how you go and how I go running two different ways. So we are unified in our goal unified in our desire, but not uniform in our means to achieve it. Now just because we pray for unity. That's not enough prayer in and of itself, and I'm certainly not diminishing our Lord's prayer here. It has to be worked at and worked toward so there is a great deal of effort that has to come into any desire for unity. Looking back in Genesis, we see how God created and breathed into existence all of creation and it worked in such harmony that we would be here and then he created Adam and then he created Eve. They walked with God, so God's original intent is to be with his creation with his people and that union was broken as soon as it took a bite out of disobedience and that's what we became divided from God. And so Jesus is that reconciliation in the flesh brought to earth so that we would be unified in believing in him. And yes, it is more than a prayer. It has to be it has to be action has to be I were going but also to be so compelled. Driven every day unified not only with the father but also with one another. Chapter 8 of mere Christianity a love CSCS Lewis, yes, in chapter 8 is the great sent and it talks about pride. How is the root of sin is when we believe that ideas now are plans better than what God has for us. How do you see that in our world today. I was pride causing a division I'm not sure the pride is causing it, but pride is certainly contributing to it. Pride is sin, and sin itself. Sin likes to hide sin likes to to disguise itself. What little I know about doctors who care for heart issues. You can come in complaining of a sore back, or an upset stomach, but a doctor will say, let me check your heart you know it's my back is my step no. Often times, heart problems, disguise themselves as something completely different, something completely other sin will want to disguise itself as something other so that we end up treating symptoms as opposed to the root and sin is at the root we do find ourselves puffed up with pride in so many different ways, but it will often because it sin will often want to disguise itself. I'm not proud. I'm just self-assured. I'm not proud. I'm just dogmatic.
I'm not proud. I just feel that this city you see how it beats wanting to deflect if all of a sudden in the ceiling overhead. If there was a drip to continue to dribble on this table we could replace tiles all day long.
That's just dealing with the symptom risk drip of water coming from.
Is it a problem with the roof.
Is there a pipe and you gotta trace it back and in the case of of the sin that divides you will always trace it back to this issue of my way is better than because that's exactly what the temptation was.
I know the Lord told us not to eat of this fruit, but I think I'll just try 1 Bite My Way is better than what he has told us. Yes, and so Jesus in this he was sent to reconcile us back to the father because of our disobedience. Because the flesh is been running rampant, and we have fallen right so right now and today since we are so can go by the Holy Spirit right were driven by him. How do we get more of the Holy Spirit so that we can be unified because we know that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control come from the spirit and all of those things are attributes so that we can be truly unified with one another. Yes, but share in the end showed the obedience to our heavenly father. How do we have more the spirit to be unified, general, tersely one of general tells Lee's keen insights is that it's not that we need more of the spirit in the spirit needs more of us. He will fill whatever space we allow whatever space we create. And so it's not like God the father is doling out the spirit with an eyedropper unit will hear here's a little more space I'll give you a little bit. No, the spirit comes in fullness, but if we only make a small space for him. Then there's only that little bit of control. He insert the spirit of Christ is the perfect gentleman. He will never impose himself or he's not welcome. And so the spirit of Christ is more space is made if figuratively speaking, closets are cleaned out.
If hidden caches of of sin and pride if they are close to two and admitted to the Holy Spirit can help us to conclude that that he might take more of us, as opposed to us having more of him like the way you put that it's it's spring cleaning, so to speak of ourselves.
No salvation ought to be. Yes yeah the only difference was sprinkler. That's a great analogy that the only difference with spring cleaning is that it's not a one and done kind of thing. As we grow as we deepen as we mature in Christ. The spirit will reveal to us so this corner over here that you like to keep in the dark.
Can we maybe do something with that he'll always ask permission. He'll never just go in and start swinging, but he'll ask permission, so that together we are. We are making greater space we are deepening ourselves, that he might have more of us as we grow as we deepen their was always something more. There is not a believer who is living or who has lived short of Christ himself. Of course, who has ever said I think I'm completely filled with the spirit now I'm mound I'm good to go. Yeah, work were so what's next on the to do list. You know there's always good to be something more. There's always going to be a greater depth to which we can aspire a man so in light of where we are right now with civil unrest and political divides. How is Jesus's prayer needed right now. Yes, in our country right now in the United States. There is a great deal of unrest and it's not just political, ideological, it's it's unrest regarding worldviews and perspectives on. I think the church has a very key role to play Christ in his prayer was saying when the world sees the unity you have the unity you are intended to have as the church. They were no that I have sent you.
They remove that God has sent me for the sake of the of the redemption and the reconciliation we talked about earlier and we the church have not done a good job as long as church is something we do instead of something we are as believers were never going to gain ground on this okay. We got to embrace our role as the church and we will also never build unity on unity alone, as believers, we will only build unity when we focus on Christ, his purpose, his mission, his kingdom because we are always going to have our own tastes, our own takes our own views. That's not a bad thing in any relationship I have a wife that we've been married for over 40 years.
We will be stunned realizes we don't see everything I touch way, but that's what adds the richness into the relationship there's times we disagreed it doesn't mean that were better just can the relationship. It means we have to work through it because we know that what we have is far better and far richer and far more edifying in the church. If we can ever get to the point we keep our focus on Christ in the kingdom and bringing up the rear down here making heaven on earth. A reality through the way we live.
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