A Simple Equation

1 Peter 2:16-18

In order to have complete control during the Third Reich, Adolph Hitler knew that he had to have the compliance of the religious sector.  Therefore, he commanded all religious groups to unite.  Only half of the Brethren assemblies complied.  Those who did not were persecuted.  Many of them died in concentration camps.  Because of this division in the Brethren church there was much bitterness and tension.  In an endeavor to remedy the situation leaders from both groups met for a retreat.  After spending the first few days in prayer they all came together.  Francis Schaeffer asked a friend who was there, “What did you do then?” “We were just one,” he replied.   Confessing their bitterness to God they were melted together in love.  From this we can derive an equation.  Love + Respect + Genuine relationship with God = Unity.  Peter noticed the same thing when he said, “Honor (Respect) all men.  Love the brotherhood.    Fear (Love with Awe or Respect) God.”  This equals what Peter  was describing as the expectation for God’s people when he called them “ . . . a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.” Vs. 9  The many were one.

This is such a simple equation and yet for some it appears to be difficult.  When God’s people truly exercise the second part of the 11th commandment and exercise respect for their brothers and sisters in the Lord they will be surprised at the outcome.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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The Name on the Helmet

Ephesians 3:1-9

Herman Edwards, the 10th head coach in Kansas City Chiefs history, is known for a number of things.  He is an American football analyst.  He played on the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Rams and Atlanta Falcons NFL teams from 1977-1986.  He is also known for his “Hermisms.”  One of these sound bite quotes is, “The players that play on this football team will play for the name on the side of the helmet and not the name on the back of the jersey.”

This quote carries a message similar to that given by the pyramids of the Giza Plateau.  Much more than royal tombs, these pyramids represented the dignity and power of the kings.  Building a pyramid was a national project which involved the whole country.  Every home was involved.  They sent workers, grain and food to contribute to the grandiose project which enabled the king to become a god in the afterlife.  The capstone which was encased in gold signified the project was complete.  At this time the whole nation celebrated.  In a sense the pyramids unified the nation in service.

These two examples remind us that unity is built on a common purpose.  People who have different backgrounds, talents and resources join together with a common vision to work together as one to see a cause accomplished.  So, in Christ, His children are bound together in commonality.  Paul says that we have “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph 4:5)  In Christ, we are one in brotherhood and one in body.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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Unity vs. Uniformity

John 17:20-23

 A man was about to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge.  Rushing to him, a Christian man tried to talk him out of his suicidal notion.  “You know God loves you,” he said.  Through tear brimmed eyes he responded, “You are a Christian?”  The first man answered, “Yes.”  “Are you Protestant or Catholic.”  The first answered, “I’m Protestant.”  “What denomination?”  “Baptist,” he answered.  “Northern, Southern, American, General, or Primitive Baptist?” he was asked.  “I’m a Northern Baptist.”  “I am too!” he exclaimed with excitement. “Are you Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”  “Northern Conservative Baptist.”  He nodded approvingly.  “Northern Conservative Fundamental Baptist or Northern Conservative Reformed Baptist?”  “Northern Conservative Fundamental Baptist, Karl Ripley.”  A smile welcomed the answer.  “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Eastern region?” “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region.”  He sighed in relief. “Are you Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region council of 1897 or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes region council of 1912?”  “1912, the first answered.”  In sudden anger the second cried, “Die, heretic,” and pushed him off the bridge.

The lesson in this story is that unity is not the same as uniformity.   Two policemen can wear the same uniform and work at the same precinct and still be at odds with each other.  Two women can have a passion to rescue animals and volunteer at the same Humane Society while having a deep hatred for each other.  Being a child of God expects something different.  The people of God are known by the fact that they not only love God but they also love each other.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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