Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday Reflections - A Day of Shared Belief and Mission

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.  Ephesians 4:1-6

Sunday morning we focused on the 8 Essential Core Truths that we profess together as Baptist believers.   Following the times of worship, our church hosted the Parker Baptist Association Annual Meeting.  These gatherings both set us apart and drew us closer together.

Our core beliefs set us apart from others who do not believe as we believe while, at the same time, we are united with those who believe as we believe.  Many in our church are not aware of our connection with Parker Baptist Association and yet this is a vital union for the work of the ministry in Parker County.  And, what is that union based on?   What we believe together.

Some have not made the connection that how we believe is important to fellowship.  Paul constantly warned the early churches not to be swayed away from the truth by those who would come in professing a faith in Christ but leading them astray with false doctrine.  Many who cry for more unity and cooperation among “Christian” churches fail to understand that while we may profess the same Christ, there are great differences in our beliefs about the church, its mission and discipleship.  This is like saying, “All Americans believe in freedom and democracy.  Why don’t we just get rid of Republican, Democrat and Independent?  We can all get along.”  To throw us all together for any period of time would invite chaos. 

While many of the things that divide our churches and denominations are more political and missional than they are doctrinal, there are other things that are much deeper than how we function; they are about differences in the way we see God, Christ and salvation.  It would be easy for me to begin a listing of all of the ways we are different but, rather than speak of what separates us, I would rather focus on what unites us.  

The more we understand what we believe, the deeper our fellowship with those who are of “like faith and practice.”  The 8 Essential Core Truths we reviewed Sunday morning form a foundation for the development of trust, fellowship and ministry as we bond at a spiritual level.  As we unite around these core truths, we establish a bond unlike others in our lives...we are one.  Whether we gather with churches in our association or gather as a church body, we unite in our beliefs and our joint mission each trusting the other not to promote improper doctrine or practice. 

Today, be thankful for all who stand with you in defense of the gospel and in the work of Christ.  We are one.  Together we will stand for the truth revealed by God through the written Word and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Scripture to Claim:
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; Colossians 1:3-4

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