Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: 3 – NIV 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4: 3 – NASB … being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
My Journal for Today: Continuing in the theme of Christian unity necessary for believers and the church to have individual and/or collective impact on the world, we read the phrase, “… through the bond of peace.” So, in today’s verse, Paul used the Greek word picture involving the term “sundesmos,” which literally refers to a belt or strap which ties packages together. And this is an apt picture of what occurs when a bunch of individual packages (i.e., believers) are tied together by the strapping of the Holy Spirit, Who unites the body together with a “bond of peace.” But, as Paul is exhorting Christians, … this only happens when they are willing to surrender to His cohesive influence so as to exhibit God’s love to the world. And this will only happen when Christians come together in selfless “agape,” … the pouring forth which occurs from the actions of Christians who are unified in humility, meekness, patience, and forebearing love … all of those concepts we’ve already looked at this month which were brought out from the Eph. 4: 1 – 3 passage.
I can’t get the ode to love from the 60s out of my brain as I write this; “… What the world needs now, is love, sweet love …;” and it’s true. The world desperately needs the unified love that evolves from unified believers, living lives of Christlikeness, from the bonding of agape that shines like a beacon into the darkness that is today’s world of greed and selfishness. And when the lost see a Light like this, emanating form the Church in the unified bond of peace, they will either run from it in fear or be drawn to it like moths to a flame.
In the Old Testament, God chided His people for not having true and lasting peace … [Jeremiah 8: 11 – 12] …
>>> SCRIPTURE: Jer. 8: 11 …They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, … they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD.
In the New Testament, Paul rebuked the Corinthian believers for their disunity and their un-Christlike walk in their world (see below) …
>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Cor 11: 17 - 22 …17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!
>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Cor 14: 26 …What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.
As individual Christians, melded together in the Church, we simply must be serious about coming together IN PEACE to shine Christ’s light into the world. God’s love light is dampened when we exhibit the divisiveness of denominational or doctrinal differences. How can a lost world see the love of God through the spectacle of hypocrisy and pride when it is all too often the show of the church in today’s world?
I’m convicted; … how about you?
My Prayer Today: Lord, have mercy on your Church; but shine your Light so clearly that we can’t miss it in following You. Amen