There seems to be so much division these days. From politics to race to church, and other areas. It seems as though we have fallen into the old saying, “the only thing we agree on is to disagree.” This leads me to ask a question, are our disagreements based on facts or personal preferences? If we are honest with ourselves, the majority of disagreements in all areas of our life stem from personal preferences. Let’s think about it for a moment. The Democrats believe the road to recovery would best be done one way, while the Republicans believe recovery would best be achieved following a different plan. They both say they want what is best for the country, they just have different ways of arriving at it. In churches, think about some of the disagreements that happen there. Again most of the time it is regarding personal preferences of how we should worship, not that we should be worshipping. I realize I am over simplifying a lot of this right now, but hopefully you will see my point here shortly, because I believe there are two sets of Scripture that would really help us in the church and in this country.
The first one is found in Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Now don’t misinterpret this, it doesn’t mean that we have to completely agree on every issue in order for us to work together or worship together. We are not to be mindless robots. What it does mean is that we need to establish a few things so that we can come to an agreement and move forward. In politics I would ask both Democrats and Republicans this question, what is best for the American people? They may disagree on how to get there, but I would venture a guess that they both would list several things in unison that are best for America. Once you know what you are aiming at, then you begin to work through the differences of how to get there in way that is true to your objective and best for everyone. In the church I would ask this question, what is the best way we can glorify God and be a part of Him building His church? Again, we are going to differ on how to do that, but when we know what we are suppose to be doing, we can work together to do it. You see this is the problem, too many politicians and church-goers don’t have a clear understanding of their mission. So this leads to a final question, once we know our objective how can move through the differences in order to accomplish the objective? This leads me to the second set of verses.
The answer to the above question is found in Philippians 2:3-5, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Simply put if we are going to accomplish our objective we each need to be humble servants who are willing to put others before ourselves. If it is a personal preference then it is possible to compromise on it. Many people when they hear the word “compromise” conjure up bad thoughts. However, compromise is defined as “a settlement by consent reached by mutual concessions” (Webster’s dictionary). In this instance it is saying, “we agree on what we are to do and so let’s work out how we are going to accomplish that ultimate goal.” Here is a simple example. In church the ultimate goal is to glorify God and build up His kingdom. Can we do that with contemporary music? Absolutely! Can we do it with just hymns? Absolutely! Can we do it in suits or jeans and a t-shirt? Sure we can! Can we do it during traditional church times or be creative in service times and days? Again, of course we can! It is the old adage, the message doesn’t change, but the methods do. What keeps us unified or as Amos puts it “walking together” is the fact that we have a common goal.
One final note about this. First, there are some things that we cannot and will not compromise on. The Bible as the Word of God and salvation is by Jesus Christ alone are two of those things. Secondly, as we looked at yesterday in the sermon, we have to be willing to get out of our comfort zone if we are going to follow God. I heard this quote but I can’t remember who said it, “you can’t follow God and stay where you are” (really wish I would have remembered that for the sermon yesterday). Finally, the easiest person for you to change is you. We need to be the change that we want to see in others. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, work together, and do what we were created to do!
By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him