Sunday, December 28, 2014

Unity of the Brethren

As we begin a new year, I pray we work together in unity. Jesus left us with a command.
Matthew 28:19,20 Go ye therefore and teach all nations ....
Mark 16:16 Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel ...
To accomplish this we must work together. Work is a key factor.

Monday Readings: John 6.
When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. (vs.15)

The Jews wanted a Messiah who would overthrow the Roman government. They wanted a government that would fix their problems without fixing their lives.

Today we say we want leaders who will fix our healthcare, unemployment, educational system, etc., etc., etc. but for the most part, we don't want our personal lives affected. We don't want to take responsibility for those changes. For our nation to be changed, we first must be willing to change our hearts to follow the truth.

Father, help us seek Your will in our personal lives, that we might make a true difference in the world in which we live. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday Readings: John 18
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight,.... (vs36).

Jesus stood before Pilate but did not fight against the Romans. It was for this purpose that He came into the world, to give His life for the world.

Jesus desires unity among the brethren. He wants us to understand that we are to make a difference, not through fighting with the world but through unity of preaching the gospel.

Father, teach us to love one another so we might make a difference in bringing the gospel to the world Jesus died for. In Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday Readings: Matthew 6
Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (vs.10)

Jesus' kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that He taught His disciples to pray for. Daniel spoke of this kingdom in Chapter 2 when he told Nebuchadnezzar of the little stone that grew into a mountain that filled the whole earth. The only way to reach the world with the gospel is through unity of the brethren in the truth of God's Word.

Father, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. In Jesus name. Amen.

Wednesday Readings: Matthew 16
... upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (vs18).

Jesus was explaining the church to his disciples. Do we get it? A gate is a defensive object. If you walk down the street, a gate will not jump out and get you. It is there to prevent you from coming in. But, if you see a child drowning in a pool or the house on fire, won't you jump the gate or tear it down to get to the people in danger? The gate will not prevent you from rescuing those inside if you are determined to be of help. The world is drowning and on fire. It is our job to present them with the gospel so they have the opportunity to escape. Rescue the perishing. Hell cannot prevent it.

Father, help us to be united in presenting the gospel so a lost world can see the way of escape. In Jesus name. Amen.

Thursday Readings: John 17
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also maybe one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (vs.21)

Jesus prayed for us to be one in Him as He is one with the Father. That is unity. He desires that unity that the world might believe. If the world sees discord in the church and inconsistency in our lives, they see no reason to believe the gospel.

Father, help us to seek to be one in the Son as You desire us to be, that souls might be saved. In Jesus name. Amen.

Friday Readings: Mark 9
And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. (vs.38-41)

The disciples had the same problems we see in the church today. If others didn't do exactly as they did, then they weren't true Christ followers. Disunity. Today we quibble over dress codes, styles of music, number of services, versions of the Bible, and whether the service is in person, on TV, radio, or satellite. All this disunity causes the world to be confused as to the truth. If people are coming to Christ, as seems to be the case in this chapter, is that not the point? Christians unite. The world needs to hear a unified voice proclaiming repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

If it were not possible, Jesus would not have taught us to pray for it.
Blessing for the New Year.
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