Monday, March 4, 2024

A Witness to a Divided World

Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (Ephesians 4:3 NLT)

One of the wonderful things about a healthy church is the diversity in it. That, in itself, is a witness to a divided world. It’s a powerful testimony when someone can come into an assembly of believers and see that we have set aside our differences and there is unity.

That doesn’t mean there is uniformity. It doesn’t mean that we all dress a certain way or wear the same hairstyle. That is not what the church is about. It is about unity, but it is also about a blessed diversity as each one of us discovers the gifts that God has put into our lives.

Christians are not supposed to be like assembly line products where each unit looks exactly like the others. God can take the same gift and place it into the lives of two people, yet it might manifest itself a little differently in each individual. They’ll have certain things in common, but they also will have unique traits as the Holy Spirit works through human personalities.

In chapter 4 of Ephesians, the apostle Paul wrote, among other things, about the various gifts God has placed in the church. This chapter shows us how important our individual place in the church is and the incredible gifts of the Holy Spirit that God has made available to us as believers today.

The gift that God gives to each believer is always the right one. We never should feel that we have to return it. It’s a perfect gift, and it’s always appropriate.

Sometimes we may see the gift that another believer has received and feel envious. As a result, we’re not thankful for the gift that God has given to us. But we must realize that the gifts God has placed in our lives are always the best for us.

Sadly, many of us are not using these gifts. We don’t understand what our role in the church is, and we don’t even realize what we’re supposed to do when we come to church.

So, why does the church exist? The purpose of the church is threefold: the exaltation of God, the edification of the saints, and the evangelization of the world. We’re here to worship God, to build up one another, and to reach out to a lost world. We could sum it up in three words: upward, inward, and outward.

However, a lot of Christians drag their feet when it comes to going to church every week. The same excuses they make for skipping church don’t keep them from going to a movie or to the mall. Their excuses simply show their lack of desire to go.

The problem is that we think of church as something we attend merely as spectators. Yet Ephesians 4 shows us that God wants us to participate. He wants us to be involved in what He is doing, not just as observers but as laborers in the work that He has called us to do.

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