Variety’s the very Spice of Life

Text: John 13:35

Subject: Embracing our differences

Proposition: by looking at our differences

Objective: Challenge God’s people to love one another and embrace each other’s differences because variety’s the spice of life helping them to be who they are.

Introduction

One God, different denomination, different church governments, different Leaders. When we get to heaven their wont be a catholic section, lutherarn section, a Baptist section, Charisamatic or Pentecostals sections but people who have been transformed through their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Now when it comes to churches everyone of them have a different personality style and way of doing things. When there is love and Unity almost every different kind will work. But in the absenence of love and Unity almost every kind of church will not work.

Stories

Rocking the Boat

God has enlisted us in his navy and placed us on his ship. The boat has one purpose—to carry us safely to the other shore.

This is no cruise ship; it’s a battleship. We aren’t called to a life of leisure; we are called to a life of service. Each of us has a different task. Some, concerned with those who are drowning, are snatching people from the water. Others are occupied with the enemy, so they man the cannons of prayer and worship. Still others devote themselves to the crew, feeding and training the crew members.

Though different, we are the same. Each can tell of a personal encounter with the captain, for each has received a personal call. He found us among the shanties of the seaport and invited us to follow him. Our faith was born at the sight of his fondness, and so we went.

We each followed him across the gangplank of his grace onto the same boat. There is one captain and one destination. Though the battle is fierce, the boat is safe, for our captain is God. The ship will not sink. For that, there is no concern.There is concern, however, regarding the disharmony of the crew. When we first boarded we assumed the crew was made up of others like us. But as we’ve wandered these decks, we’ve encountered curious converts with curious appearances. Some wear uniforms wenever seen, sporting styles we’ve never witnessed. “Why do you look the way you do?” we ask them.

“Funny,” they reply. “We were about to ask the same of you.”

The variety of dress is not nearly as disturbing as the plethora of opinions. There is a group, for example, who clusters every morning for serious study. They promote rigid discipline and somber expressions. “Serving the captain is serious business,” they explain. It’s no coincidence that they tend to congregate around the stern.

There is another regiment deeply devoted to prayer. Not only do they believe in prayer, they believe in prayer by kneeling. For that reason you always know where to locate them; they are at the bow of the ship.

And then there are a few who staunchly believe real wine should be used in the Lord’s Supper. You’ll find them on the port side.

Still another group has positioned themselves near the engine. They spend hours examining the nuts and bolts of the boat. They’ve been known to go below deck and not come up for days. They are occasionally criticized by those who linger on the top deck, feeling the wind in their hair and the sun on their face. “It’s not what you learn,” those topside argue. “It’s what you feel that matters.”

And, oh, how we tend to cluster.

Some think once you’re on the boat, you can’t get off. Others say you’d be foolish to go overboard, but the choice is yours.

Some believe you volunteer for service; others believe you were destined for the service before the ship was even built.

Some predict a storm of great tribulation will strike before we dock; others say it won’t hit until we are safely ashore.

There are those who speak to the captain in a personal language. There are those who think such languages are extinct.

There are those who think the officers should wear robes, there are those who think there should be no officers at all, and there are those who think we are all officers and should all wear robes.

And, oh, how we tend to cluster.

And then there is the issue of the weekly meeting at which the captain is thanked and his words are read. All agree on its importance, but few agree on its nature. Some want it loud, others quiet. Some want ritual, others spontaneity. Some want to celebrate so they can meditate; others meditate so they can celebrate. Some want a meeting for those who’ve gone overboard. Others want to reach those overboard but without going overboard and neglecting those on board.

And, oh, how we tend to cluster.

The consequence is a rocky boat. There is trouble on deck. Fights have broken out. Sailors have refused to speak to each other. There have even been times when one group refused to acknowledge the presence of others on the ship. Most tragically, some adrift at sea have chosen not to board the boat because of the quarreling of the sailors.

“What do we do?” we’d like to ask the captain. “How can there be harmony on the ship?” We don’t have to go far to find the answer.

On the last night of his life Jesus prayed a prayer that stands as a citadel for all Christians:

I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me. (John 17:20)

How precious are these words. Jesus, knowing the end is near, prays one final time for his followers. Striking, isn’t it, that he prayed not for their success, their safety, or their happiness. He prayed for their unity. He prayed that they would love each other.

As he prayed for them, he also prayed for “those who will believe because of their teaching.” That means us! In his last prayer Jesus prayed that you and I be one.

 Unity matters to God. The Father does not want his kids to squabble. Disunity disturbs him. Why? Because “all people will know that you are my followers if you love each other” (John 13:35). Unity creates belief. How will the world believe that Jesus was sent by God? Not if we agree with each other. Not if we solve every controversy. Not if we are unanimous on each vote. Not if we never make a doctrinal error. But if we love one another.

Unity creates belief. Disunity fosters disbelief. Who wants to board a ship of bickering sailors? Life on the ocean may be rough, but at least the waves don’t call us names.

Paul Billheimer may very well be right when he says:

The continuous and widespread fragmentation of the Church has been the scandal of the ages. It has been Satan’s master strategy. The sin of disunity probably has caused more souls to be lost than all other sins combined.”2

“All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” Stop and think about this verse for a minute. Could it be that unity is the key to reaching the world for Christ?

If unity is the key to evangelism, shouldn’t it have precedence in our prayers? Shouldn’t we, as Paul said, “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3 niv)? If unity matters to God, then shouldn’t unity matter to us? If unity is a priority in heaven, then shouldn’t it be a priority on earth?

Nowhere, by the way, are we told to build unity. We are told simply to keep unity. From God’s perspective there is but “one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). Unity does not need to be created; it simply needs to be protected.

How do we do that? How do we make every effort to keep the unity? Does that mean we compromise our convictions? No. Does that mean we abandon the truths we cherish? No. But it does mean we look long and hard at the attitudes we carry.

By Max Lacado

Main Body 

  1. I.             Jesus commands
    1. a.   John 15:1212 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
  1. II.          Be Kindly Affectionate
    1. a.   Romans 12:1010 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
  1. III.       Serve
    1. a.   Galatians 5:1313 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
  1. IV.        Bearing; having patience with
    1. a.   Ephesians 4:2with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
  1. V.           Increase and abound
    1. a.   1 Thessalonians 3:1212 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,
  1. VI.        Stir up Love
    1. a.   Hebrews 10:2424 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
  1. VII.     Have Compassion
    1. a.   1Peter 3:8Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, betenderhearted, be courteous;

Conclusion

  1. I.             Jesus Commands
  2. II.          Be Kindly Affectionate
  3. III.       Serve
  4. IV.        Bearing; having patience with
  5. V.           Increase and abound
  6. VI.        Stir up Love
  7. VII.     Have Compassion
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About bvpastord

I received Jesus Christ into my life in 1982. I have a real passion for equipping, trainning and mentoring Leaders. I have pastored the same church for twenty years and have traveled the world encouraging leaders for Christ. I founded Leaders for Christ ministries and Bay Valley Christian Church. View all posts by bvpastord

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