By Roy Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
Unity of the church is of extreme importance in a time that the forces of evil are attempting to gain influence in the world; with a migration towards the ungodliness of man, those who seek to dominate, and the leader of the pack, Satan.
There is an amassing of powerful foes who seek to dominate every facet of people's lives; with destructive measures that would attempt to erase the godliness of man from the face of the earth.
Persecution of those who profess the name of Christ has been ongoing since the early Church; which involved persecutions of Christian leaders, later becoming more severe involving others as well.
Despite an attempt to wipe out Christianity; it continues to prosper and grow in many nations. There are many once godly nations who have aligned with the evilness of mankind, rather than stand firm for the Unadulterated Word of God.
Unity of the church shines forth as a light when it refuses to align with the ungodliness that has been allowed to infiltrate churches in many Western nations.
It is unfortunate that many have conceded to the devices of the enemy; rather than be in opposition to such. Napoleon, the French Emperor, stated: The World suffers not because of the violence done by the wicked but because the righteous keep silence.
God's Word promises ultimate victory to all believers in Christ, whether it is in this life or the one to come. However, it is of extreme importance that in a day of a cancel and submission culture, to oppose the power grab, and ungodliness, that is attempting to suppress the godliness of man.
There is a Sodom and Gomorrah setting that has far surpassed the Biblical description of those days. Scripture reveals that the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly (Genesis 13:13).
God turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemning them with an overthrow (or to destruction), making them an example to those that afterward (or after) should live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6). Has man learned his lesson; certainly not, for if he had we would not be see the openly flaunting of such activity.
Unity of the church is a major defense in times of evil. Scripture reveals: Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow (or companion): but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
The church, through a denominational culture, has grown apart rather than being strengthened in unity. Scripture reveals: How good and pleasant it is for brethren (or the church) to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).
The dictionary defines unity as an undivided or unbroken completeness; the quality of being united as one. The church, holding the same creed, observing the same rites, and acknowledging the same authority; is a collective body of Christians.
As persecution arises; there will be a dropping off of denominational name tags, with the unity of the church coming together to fight the tyranny of the hour. There is an account given of such, with the American prisoners of war in Vietnam, where the denominational name tag was of less importance, as all faced persecution and upheld one another in prayer.
Scripture reveals: You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show (or proclaim) forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).
What a glorious statement; a church proclaiming the love of Christ to all! One minister of another denomination made a statement I have never forgotten: We have one common denominator, Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior. His words certainly promotes the unity of the church rather than division!
As persecution arises, the unity of the church will be more needful than ever before! The denominational barrier will be of less importance; with an attempt to bite and devour one another no longer a factor.
The Apostle Paul wrote: You have been called to liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law if fulfilled in one word, even in this: You shall love your neighbor (or fellowman) as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another (Galatians 5:13-15).
Those words would encourage unity of the church rather than division. We, as Christians, face a common foe; not each other! Our battle lies not with each other, but with the enemy of one's soul (or the Devil) and his cohorts.
There is a camouflage in the usage of words; also in the demeanor that one presents, that very well may hide the real intent of what is being presented. A Sunday school commentary noted: A certain political leader made frequent use of Christian vocabulary, the spoke of the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian beliefs which would become the pillars of the new government.
He spoke of his spiritually to the press; especially to the church, as he displayed his tattered Bible and declared that he grew strength for his great work from it. The church welcomed him as a man sent from God. Who was this leader? It was Adolf Hitler. Unity of the church, in standing for the truths of God's Word, needs to carefully weigh all that is being presented!
Scripture reveals: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit (Matthew 7:15-17).
Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them (Matthew 7:20). Unity of the church requires one to exam what is being presented, as given in the previous illustration of Hitler who had influenced the church through deception, that one be not deceived!
Scripture reveals Apostle Paul's concern for the church: I marvel that you are so soon removed (or turning away) from him that called you unto the grace of Christ to another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would (or want to) pervert the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-7).
Some, within the church, were quickly deserting, and in the initial state of defecting from the truth. There were false teachers attempting to deter them from that which they had previously received. The unity of the church bears heavily on one's remaining firmly entrenched in the Unadulterated Word of God.
Scripture reveals: He that say, I know him (or Christ), and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that says he abides in him (or Christ) ought himself so to walk even as he walked (1 John 2:4-6).
From the offset the church has been of both a local and a general significance; denoting both the individual assembly and the worldwide community. Upmost diligence must be given, by the believer in Christ, towards those who are suffering (worldwide) at the hands of those who seek to wipe out Christianity.
However, God's Word affirms that the church will survive any onslaughter that attempts to suppress it. Jesus told the Apostle Peter: I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock (the foundation of the church) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
A Bible commentary noted: The promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church should be understood as meaning "shall not stand against." The church is on the offensive here and hell is on the defensive.
God has equipped the church to stand. Scripture reveals: Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles (or schemes) of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand (Ephesians 6:10-13).
The whole armor of God consists of: Truth, Righteousness, Gospel of peace, Shield of faith, Helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Scripture reveals: The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (or of the flesh), but mighty though God to the pulling (or tearing) down of strongholds; casting down imaginations (or arguments) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
The Christian does not fight according to human standards but through God's provisions to fight the good fight of faith; through the means that have been made possible by God. The unity of the church is in acceptance of that which has been provided.
When persecution arises it is important that the unity of the Church of Jesus Christ be maintained; against the onslaughter of the ungodliness that is being manifested in many countries!
The church's ultimate victory has already been paid, through the salvation of the soul, through Jesus' death on the Cross of Calvary, His resurrection, in that He now resides on the right hand of God, as our intercessor!
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