August 1 - Church Unity and the Gospel
The Gospel of Christ is a gospel of peace and reconciliation. It is a message about forgiveness and the love of God through Jesus Christ on the cross. As long as the church is in unity and members love one another, preaching the gospel is not a problem for they are living the gospel message in their lives. A united church is a powerful church in bringing the gospel to the community.
The revival under king Hezekiah began with God’s favor upon the people of Judah, causing them to be as one and obeyed the orders of the king and the leaders. God answered Hezekiah’s prayer and the people were blessed. As they served the Lord in unity, they were able to remove all desecrations in the kingdom, breaking the sacred pillars and the Asherahs, destroying the high places and the pagan altars. When the people were united in worshiping God and gave their tithes, all the needs of the priests and Levites were met to overflowing. The people were blessed and the kingdom was strong and prosperous.
Paul also exhorts the Roman believers to care for the weak in the church and not to please ourselves. Our goal is to please our neighbors and not ourselves because we are going to build them up for their own good. Just like Christ not pleasing Himself and took on our reproaches, we are not to seek our own ways or own pleasure. This is the way to live in harmony with one another, accepting one another as Christ has accepted them. Welcome one another as Christ has also welcomed us for the glory of God.
When God is glorified, His presence would be with His people. When we have God’s presence, we can then preach the gospel with power. By word and deed, Paul was bringing in the Gentiles, by the power of signs and wonders and the power of the Spirit of God. Such powerful presence of God the Holy Spirit is only possible if the church is united with joy and peace. The biggest obstacle for the church to preach the gospel is her disunity and dividedness.
Paul was able, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring the gospel from Jerusalem and all the way around Illyricum. He also had an ambition to preach the gospel where Christ’s name had not yet been preached. He did not want to build on someone else’s foundation lest there be competition.
Begin now to pray for the unity of your own church so that others may know that you are the disciples of Jesus and that you may present the gospel with power. Repent of all the disunity in your church and seek the presence of God.
Ps 81:1-7 2 Chron 30:1-31:21 Rom 15:1-22 Prov 20:13-15