Dear Tabernacle Family,
Today we have the joy of sharing a Fellowship Meal as we come together for our “Soup and Chili Bowl” immediately following our second morning service. This occasion gives us the opportunity to get to know one another more deeply and connect with those we usually only see in the worship service we attend.
Beyond this, it affords us another way to help ensure that God’s will for His Church is being accomplished; that there be “no division among us” and “no schism in the body.” (1 Cor. 1:10; 12:25). The Early Church had a consciousness of their essential unity that transcended the cultural, material and personal tensions within their various fellowships. They were “in one accord!” (Acts 1:14; 2:1), exhibiting a unified passion to know God and to make Him known.
Because this same expectation is placed upon the Church in our day, we might ask, how is it possible to keep the bond of peace among such a diverse group of people. In Ephesians 4:1-6, the Apostle Paul shares four injunctions for maintaining and preserving unity within the Body of Christ. Notice them with me:
1. WE ARE TO WALK WITH ALL LOWLINESS
This lowliness of mind is the opposite of pride and speaks of having a humble opinion of one’s self. We are to set aside any selfish ambition for the sake of the Body and be willing to limit our liberty for the sake of love.
2. WE ARE TO WALK IN MEEKNESS
Meekness is not timidity or a lack of courage, but rather, it is power under control. This inward grace of meekness toward God is then manifest in the outward grace of gentleness toward men. To walk in meekness is to refuse to exert one’s power to get one’s way.
3. WE ARE TO WALK WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING
That is, we are to be long-tempered or patient. This speaks of the quality of self-restraint exhibited when facing negative circumstances or problem people. It is the refusal to avenge or strike back, even in the face of provocation.
4. WE ARE TO FOREBEAR ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE
While we are to show mutual tolerance toward one another, this speaks of far more than tolerance. While endeavoring to preserve the unity of the Church, we are to celebrate the great diversity God has placed within her.
Today, as you share time at the table with others, enjoy the amazing diversity to the Body of Christ as we celebrate this time of corporate fellowship.
Pastor Jim Ruddy