Posts tagged ‘unity’

A Call To Be “Catholic” Christians

It’s click bait in a sense, but it’s also designed to get your attention. What the word “Catholic” means is universal. What I’m espousing here is a call to look at the entire body of Christ as a legitimate part of the Church. This is not a call to universalism, where all religions lead to God. That philosophy is true in the sense that we are all going to stand before God at the judgment. No, I am calling for the recognition amongst those who are trinitarian Christians to unite as the body of Christ as king as our Christology is the same and we are worshiping the same Triune God. This teaching is reflected in the Nicene, Apostles, and Athanasian Creeds.

What has been holding this back? I believe the enemy has given us a self righteous tunnel vision regarding who the “real Christians” are. We are like one part of the body saying that only our part, or possibly our system, is really attached to the Head. Others are either lost or only saved in spite of their church. We need to increase our altitude and see the whole Body of Christ and then focus on doing what our body part or system was designed to do to contribute to the well being of the whole.

To do this we need to practice a radical obedience to scriptures like 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 and Romans 14:1-12.

1 Corinthians 12:27 (CSB)

Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.

Romans 14:10 (CSB)

But you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

There are spiritual barriers to this that we must repent of and actively battle against. These are arrogant assumptions rooted in the need for doctrinal perfection and perceived superiority.

Arrogant Assumption #1 – we are the ones who finally figured out the Bible and if people would just study harder and shed their man made teachings, we would all agree on what the Bible says.

Arrogant Assumption #2 – we are the only ones being truly led by the Spirit, because if they were led this way, they would do things like we do. This is usually manifested in the attitude that more formal or liturgical worship styles are spiritually dead. We mistake reverence for sleep instead of depth.

Arrogant Assumption #3 – others are saved, but they have not arrived at our level of higher knowledge or truly spiritual worship style. This is rooted in comparing ourselves with others instead of following the direction of the Lord about where He wants to place us within His Body. Gnostics promoted such a teaching where they thought they had the higher knowledge. None of us want to end up in Gnosticism!

Arrogant Assumption #4 – we are the real thing and they are the counterfeit. Similar to the others, it is based in spiritual pride and the assumption that we get it and others must be wrong. Spiritual pride is what made Lucifer into Satan. You don’t want to go there!

So what I am calling us to is a truly “catholic” Christianity, where we all not only tolerate and recognize the other parts of the Body of Christ, but actually value and celebrate them! Every baptism is a win. Every sinner rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of His Dear Son is a cause for celebration! In short, if someone meets the criteria of Romans 10:9-10, they are a brother or sister in Christ! We don’t have to be exactly alike in belief or practice. A body doesn’t work that way. We are all learning and growing. Rejoice in that and have joy in the journey. There are plenty of sinners to go around. Start focusing on reaching the truly lost instead of wasting energy fighting one another. We need to avoid being an autoimmune disease where parts of the body attack each other.

Fight the good fight of faith and contend for the Gospel by accurately teaching who Jesus is and what He has done. Where Jesus places people in His Body, including those He moves around within the Body, is His business. Focus on doing what you were called to do and the body will grow to the full stature of Christ!

Community + Unity = Communion

Community + Unity = Communion

I want to take a look at an essential aspect of partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine each week. That has to do with our unity as we partake together. Let’s begin with what Christ accomplished in this regard on the cross.

“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”(Ephesians 2:11-16 ESV)

Before we were baptized into Christ and He added us to His body, our lives were characterized by separation and alienation. But now, because of the blood that was shed for us on the cross, we have been spiritually united with each other in our covenant with God. This was just one more critical thing that Christ accomplished for us. We have fellowship with each other based on the shed blood of Christ. Preserving that unity is critical, since it was made possible for us at such a high cost!

That covenant bond of blood is what Paul was referring to in 1st Corinthians 10:16-17:

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 ESV)

Do you see how special it is that we come together to participate in this feast each week? Without the unity we have through the our reconciliation to God through the blood of Jesus, we cease to have “communion” and have degenerated down to just having a ceremony.

Look how foundational this is in the next chapter (11)!
“For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.”
Now with this disunity as the context of what was going on when they ate the Lords Supper, Paul concludes with these instructions:
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” (1 Corinthians 11:18-20, 27-29 ESV)

Did you see that? In proper context, when Paul talks about not discerning the body, I think he was referring to failing to discerning that we do this together, in unity, as communion. That is also why we don’t just stay home and serve these emblems to ourselves.

So when we partake of the emblems, let’s remember to not only reflect on what Christ has done for us personally, but also on the reality that we are partaking of this as one family, one body, in an d with Christ. For He promised that whenever two or more are gathered in His name, He is there in our midst.


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