Anyone can now text questions in during & following the service based on the sermon. Those questions not answered after the conclusion of the service will be answered here in a Q&A blog post. This is what this is.
Q: In reference to John 17:23, how can the world know Jesus and God’s love through Christian unity if the world is opposed to God (see Jn 17:14)?
A: The world does hate Jesus, but the world cannot deny a unity that is different than what the rest of the world has to offer. In the early days of the church, spies sent into the church reporting back to the government would talk about their “strange beliefs” but would go on to say they had a love for one another they couldn’t quite explain. Jesus prays that the unification of the church would help the world to know that Jesus had been sent by God. When people see true Christian unity and love at work, the Holy Spirit uses that to convict them and to interest them, because this pure unity and love is not found in the world. It draws people to Christ and there are plenty of testimonies out there where people ultimately came to know Jesus because of the love they felt or saw between Christians. There are plenty of things the world can deny, but they cannot deny seeing love and unity in action.
Q: If unity is such a game changer, should there be such a rift between Protestant and Catholic or between denominations?
A: The plain answer is “no” there should not be a rift if the different fellowships hold to the orthodox view of Christianity – that Jesus is God, born of a virgin, born of a woman, lived in the flesh, lived a sinless life, died on a cross for the sins of the world, rose three days later, and is coming back. A rift has happened when other doctrines have crept in (we should pray to Mary, salvation comes by works, etc.). If we are teaching salvation is by Christ alone and hold to othrodox views, we should be able to agree to disagree on other non-essentials of theology and seek to win souls to Christ. The rift happens because we believe we are better than a certain fellowship/denomination based on practices we hold to or our non-essential views (eschatology, sovereignty of God vs free will of man, spiritual gifts, etc.). We do not need to have one denomination or one fellowship (uniformity) in order to have unity. I have unity with others of other denominations because Christ has given us that unity. I can worship and serve with someone who holds to different theological viewpoints because salvation is in Christ, not on whether or not I believe the same way on non-essentials that others do.
Q: I try hard to be unified with another person but they continue to be mean/argumentative to me or treat me bad – what should I do?
A: Romans 12:18 states, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” You can only do so much, it doesn’t promise the other person will treat you the same. If the person is a Christian, even if they want to divide with you based on some theologial argument or because they just need to grow in grace, you are already united because of the work of the cross. You continue to love them and live peaceably with them as much as you can. Pray for them and let God change their heart.
Q: You mentioned the importance of reading the Word of God (because it sanctifies us) and stated that the average Christian reads less than 5 minutes a day and how we need to do more than that. Is that not legalistic to state such things?
A: No, as legalism in definition means to rely on moral law to earn salvation rather than faith. Reading your Bible 5 minutes a day or 5 hours a day will not earn you salvation nor lose you salvation. It is not legalism to also state that as Christians we need to pray more and love more or to serve the Lord. Your standing with God is not based on how much you read. However, our walks and growth and daily sanctification is increased when we spend time in the Word, when we spend time in prayer, and these other activities. Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified by the truth for His Word is truth (Jn 17:17). If you want to see that sanctification take place, 5 minutes a day in Scripture is not going to be beneficial for that. It is better than zero time in the Word, but we should desire more. 5 minutes a day of exercise is helpful, but if you want to lose weight or live a healthy lifestyle, you need more. So the same is true of the Christian’s diet in the Word.
Q: Is it wrong to post selfies on social media (Instagram, Facebook, etc.)?
A: It depends on your heart’s motivation. If you are seeking to have your ego stroked or your pride lifted up, then yeah, because you are doing those things based off pride. If you are simply having fun with social media, sharing a joyous occasion, or wanting others to see a new dress/outfit/etc., then have fun with selfies. It all goes back to, whatever you do, do to the glory of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17,23).
Also in regards to social media, be careful of not causing another person to stumble. Pictures revealing too much skin or pictures of you engaging in activities you have liberty to do so but others may not (i.e. drinking, watching a certain movie, etc.) or things of that nature should be carefully thought out as we should do things out of love for another. We don’t have to worry about personal preferences of another but about stumbling someone into sin.
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