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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Pursuing Holiness

As you read these excellent comments by Andrew Murray today, I would like to add that one of the best tests of holiness is to find if it produces an increasing humility in you. Humility is needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in you. Counterfeit holiness is identified by its lack of humility. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

And what work do we have to do to receive this holiness of Christ through the Holy Spirit? “God bath chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”. The holiness of Christ becomes ours through faith. Naturally, there must first be the desire to become holy. We must cleanse ourselves from all pollutions of flesh and spirit by confessing them–giving them up to God–and having them cleansed away in the blood. Then, holiness can be perfected. Then, in belief of the truth that Christ Himself is our sanctification, we have to take and receive from Him what is prepared in His fullness for us. We must be deeply convinced that Christ is wholly and alone our sanctification as He is our justification. We must believe that He will actually and powerfully work in us what is pleasing to God. In this faith, we must know that we have sufficient power for holiness, and that our work is to receive this power from Him by faith every day. He gives His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, in us to communicate the holy life of Jesus to us.

Young Christian, the Trinity is three times holy. And this Trinity is the God who sanctifies you. The Father sanctifies by giving Jesus to you and confirming you in Jesus. The Son sanctifies by becoming your sanctification and giving you the Spirit. The Spirit sanctifies by revealing the Son in you, preparing you as a temple for the indwelling of God, and making the Son live in you. Be holy, for God is holy.

Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, what thanks will I render to You for the gift of Your Son as my sanctification, and that I am sanctified in Him. And what thanks for the Spirit of sanctification to live in me, and transplant the holiness of Jesus into me. Lord, help me to understand this correctly, and to long for the experience of it. Amen. (“Holiness”)

Sanctification

When God saves a sinner, He justifies and sanctifies him. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to him and the principle of holiness is imparted to him. Andrew Murray writes:

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15,16)

“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us sanctification.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

“God hath from the beginning chosen you unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

[W]hat is this holiness that I must have? Christ is your sanctification. The life of Christ in you is your holiness. In Christ you are sanctified – you are holy. In Christ you must continually be sanctified. The glory of Christ must penetrate your whole life.

Holiness is more than purity. In Scripture we see that cleansing precedes holiness. Cleansing is the taking away of that which is wrong – liberation from sin. Holiness is the filling with that which is good and divine – the disposition of Jesus. Holiness is conformity to Him. It is separation from the spirit of the world and being filled with the presence of the Holy God. The tabernacle was holy because God lived there. We are holy, as God’s temple, after we have God living within us. Christ’s life in us is our holiness.

And how do we become holy? By the sanctification of the Spirit. The Spirit of God is named the Holy Spirit because He makes us holy. He reveals and glorifies Christ in us. Through Him, Christ dwells in us, and His holy power works in us. Through this Holy Spirit, the workings of the flesh are mortified, and God works in us both the will and the accomplishment. (“Holiness”)

The Christian And Suffering

Richard Baxter

After Satan had taken away Job’s family and property, Job makes this remarkable statement: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) Then the Bible tells us, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:22) These are truly amazing statements! Richard Baxter writes here sound advice for the Christian who is facing suffering:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. – Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:12-16, 19)

There is scarce any point that God hath been pleased to be more full in, in the holy Scriptures, than the encouraging of his suffering servants against the fears of men; acquainting them that their sufferings are the matter of their profit and exceeding joy and therefore not of too great fear. . . .

How joyfully did the ancient Christians go to martyrdom! Many of them lamented that they could not attain it: and what comfort have Christ’s confessors found, above what they could ever attain before! And how honorable now are the names and memorials of those martyrs, who died then under the slanders, scorn, and cruelty of men . . . Comfort and honor attend the pain and shame of the cross. Acts 5:41, “They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” Acts 16:25, “Paul and Silas sang praises to God at midnight in the prison and stocks,” when their backs were sore with stripes. It is written of some of the Christians that were imprisoned by Julian, that they would not forbear in the emperor’s hearing as he passed by, to sing, “Let God arise, and his enemies shall be scattered.”

Love better the holy image of God upon your souls, and then you will be glad of the great helps to holiness which sufferings do afford. Who findeth not that adversity is more safe and profitable to the soul than prosperity? Especially that adversity which Christ is engaged to bless to his servants, as being undergone for him? Rom. 10:3-5, “We glory in tribulation also knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed.” God “chasteneth us for our profit that we may be partakers of his holiness: now no chastisement for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby,” Heb. 12:10-11. . . .

Remember that sufferings are the ordinary way to heaven. Love heaven better, and your sufferings will seem lighter, and your fear of them will be less. (“Directions Against Sinful Fear”)

God Himself Is Your Greatest Reward

Thomas Watson

Knowing God is also knowing that He is your greatest treasure! Thomas Watson explains:

“You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!” (Psalm 16:11)

“I am your exceeding great reward.” (Genesis 15:1)

God Himself is His people’s reward! In what way is God the reward of His people?

God is a satisfying reward. God is a whole ocean of blessedness, so that the soul, while it is bathing in it, cries out in a divine ecstasy, “I have enough!” Here is fullness — but no excess. . . . In God there is not only sufficiency — but redundancy; not only the fullness of the vessel — but the fullness of the fountain! In God, this Ark of blessedness, are all good things to be found. Therefore Jacob, having God for his reward, could say, “I have enough!” or, as it is in the original, “I have all!” Genesis 33:11. . . .

God is a suitable reward. The soul, being spiritual, must have something comparable and suitable to make it happy — and that is God. Light is no more suitable to the eye, nor melody to the ear — than God is to the soul. He pours spiritual blessings into the soul, Ephesians 1:3. He enriches it with grace, feasts it with His love, and crowns it with heavenly glory!

God is a pleasant reward. He is the quintessence of delight! He is all beauty and love! To be feeding upon thoughts of God is delicious. Psalm 104:34, “My meditation on Him shall be sweet” . . . To have a prospect of God only by faith is -+pleasant. 1 Peter 1:8, “In whom believing you rejoice.” Then what will the joy of vision be — when we shall have a clear, personal sight of Him — and be laid in the bosom of divine love! What a delicious reward will God be in heaven! This will be better felt — than expressed. The godly, entering upon their celestial reward, are said to enter into the joy of their Lord, Matthew 25:21. Oh, amazing! The saints enter into God’s own joy! They have not only the joy which God bestows — but the joy which God enjoys!

God is a transcendent reward. . . . He is so super-eminent a reward that we cannot set Him forth in all His luster and magnificence. Put the whole world in scale with Him — and it is as if you should weigh a feather compared to a mountain of gold. God is far better than all other things put together! He is better than the world — and better than heaven! He is the original cause of all good things. Nothing is sweet without Him. He perfumes and sanctifies our comforts!

God being an infinite reward, there can be no defect or scantiness in it. There is no lack in that which is infinite. . . . Though there are millions of saints and angels — there is enough in God to fill them. God is an infinite reward, and though He is continually giving out of His fullness to others — yet He has not the less. His glory is imparted — not impaired. It is a distribution, without a diminution.

God is an honorable reward. Honor is the height of men’s ambition. Aristotle calls it the greatest of blessings. What greater dignity than to be taken up into communion with the God of glory, and to possess a kingdom with Him, bespangled with light, and seated with Christ upon His throne, above all the visible orbs!

God is an everlasting reward. Mortality is the flaw of all earthly things. But God is an eternal reward. Eternity cannot be measured by years or ages. Eternity makes glory, weighty. Psalm 48:14, “This God is our God forever and ever!” Oh, saints of God, your praying and repenting are but for a while — but your reward is forever! As long as God is God, He will be rewarding you! Hosea 2:19, “I will betroth you unto me forever.” God marries Himself to His people, and this admits of no divorce. God’s love for His elect is as unchangeable as His love for Christ! Psalm 73:26, “My portion forever.” This portion cannot be spent — because it is infinite; nor can it be lost — because it is eternal.

In God are treasures which can never be emptied — and pleasures which can never be ended! (“God is His People’s Great Reward”)

The Lord Knows

The following article by James Smith provides us with a much needed reminder for the times that try our souls:

“Casting all your care upon Him — because He cares for you!” (1 Peter 5:7)

The Lord knows all His people — all their needs, and all their trials. He thinks upon them — to bless, deliver and supply them. He keeps His eye upon them — in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances. He has them in His hand — and will not loosen His hold.

He looks upon them always as His own ‘treasured possession’, the objects of His eternal love, the purchase of His Son’s blood, and the temples of His Holy Spirit. They are precious in His sight!

He knows they are weak and fearful — and that they have many enemies. He teaches them to cast themselves and all their cares into His hands! And He has given them His promise — that He will care for them. It is a Father’s care which He exercises. It is a wise, holy, tender, and constant care. Therefore all will be well with you — only trust Him.

Believe that He cares for you this day. Carry all your concerns to Him — in the arms of faith! Leave all with Him, persuaded that He will manage all by His infinite wisdom, and bring all to a good outcome by His omnipotent power. Cast all your cares upon Him — as fast as they come in. Do not worry about anything. (“The Pastor’s Morning Visit”)

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you! He will never allow the righteous to be shaken!” (Psalm 55:22)

The Good News Of The Resurrection

In the verses below, we find that the best of men owe their praise to the great mercy of God. All of the evil in this world is from man’s sin and all the good from God’s mercy. He has given us a new birth which is worthy of our eternal thanksgiving!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, [5] who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, [7] so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [8] Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, [9] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9, ESV)

Are people basically good? Answers from most people lean towards good. Secular counseling practices begin with the foundational belief that people are basically good. Such claims fall very short when compared to the reality of human nature. The Bible is very clear that the opposite is true.

In the Scripture above, the Apostle Peter wants us to see that we have a great need and only Jesus Christ can meet that need. We need to be spiritually alive, but we are spiritually dead and most of us don’t know it and there is nothing we can do about it for our selves anyway. We are spiritually dead; not sick and in need of medicine, but dead and in need of a resurrection.

The power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead can also raise us from the dead and secure our salvation. Are you a Christian? If you are, you have experienced this new birth or this resurrection. You know the reality of being brought from death to life. If you have never trusted Christ as Lord and Savior, read again carefully the verses from 1 Peter above. His resurrection brings about our resurrection.

God looks down on His people and, in His great mercy; He causes us to be born again spiritually. Our Lord Jesus was the first to put on immortality. His resurrection results in our resurrection.

By faith we understand that someday Jesus will return. When He is revealed to us then our joy will be complete. The resurrection is all about the grace of God. It’s grace because it secures salvation for the people of God. There isn’t a person who deserves it. But because of His death for the elect and His resurrection to secure us, we can rejoice. The gospel is the good news that Jesus completed for His people what they could never do for themselves.

God’s Providence And Worry

Bonhoeffer-1932

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

How often do you find that worry keeps you from making a decision that needs to be made. Worry can immobilize us by tying us up in knots within. I am not talking about logically thinking a problem through. Worry is repetitiously obsessing on an outcome which is out of your control or a “best laid plan” in which there is always the possibility of failure. Christians should trust in the providence of God, but we often fail to do this.

It has been said that “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.” (source unknown) Paul tells us in Philippians to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (4:6) Fear creates a divided heart. It changes our focus of trust and faith in God alone to anxiety about earthly troubles.

I know this, but my wife says I am the king of worriers. There is obviously a gap between my knowing how to live and my actually living that way. I try to excuse my behavior by saying that I am cautious and careful, but the truth is I often worry needlessly. I have lost a lot of time by thinking about the trouble that never came.

After you have done whatever is reasonable to do (which may be nothing at all), your anxiety will change nothing in the future. It is better to trust in the providence of God and pray, for He holds the future in His hands. Therefore, when we are confronted with problems, it is best to cast your cares on God – for He does care for you. (1 Peter 5:7) God will provide relief if you cling to Him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer expressed his thoughts on this subject in this manner:

Much that worries us beforehand can afterwards, quite unexpectedly, have a happy and simple solution. Worries just don’t matter. Things really are in a better hand than ours.

I continue to pray that I will develop this attitude of mind. Maybe you should too?

The Center Of Living

Donald Grey Barnhouse

Quoting Donald Grey Barnhouse:

“Just as there can be no normal, healthy life without the proper kind of food, so there can be no normal, spiritual growth without the food that God has ordained as the nourishment of the new life. ‘As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby’ (1 Pet. 2:2).

If the Bible is not the center of the home, the home cannot be called a true Christian home, even though all the members of the household are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. There is no spiritual life apart from the Bible, and the tragedy of the American home today is that so many people have abandoned the Book as the source of life and as the center of living.”

Resolving Disagreements And Conflict Within The Church Congregation

Church-split-5One of the sad realities of church life is that disagreements and conflict seem to be present among Christians just as much as non-Christians. The unity and peace of the Church may be destroyed over the color of choir robes and other “indifferent” matters. Jesus prayed to the Father: 22 “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17) Churches today are still striving to obtain the unity of oneness that Jesus spoke of. We have this high calling to be a witness to the world in our relationships with other Christians. Why is this so difficult and what do we do about it?

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. . . . God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. (1 Corinthians 12:14-26)

The body of Christ (the church) is made up of many members. The people found in your local church have different talents and gifts. They also have different personalities and backgrounds. They have similar and different problems that they face each day. Each has a personal point of view through which they evaluate what is taking place within the church; and because they are sinners, continuing in need of growth in grace, they each have their own personalized church agenda. Unfortunately, that agenda may not always be Biblical or pursued in a Scriptural manner.

Nevertheless, the church is blessed by the gifts and talents which God distributes throughout the congregation. This same diversity of gifts and people, however, can also be the source of disagreements about how worship and other areas of ministry should be conducted in the body of Christ. We may all be Christians, but we are still works in progress. The level of Christian maturity and holiness varies from one Christian to another. None of us are without sin. Nor do we make the best decisions consistently. Often, these disagreements destroy the unity and bond of peace within the church.

So, what do we do when we find ourselves or the members of our congregation in conflict?

23” So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:22-24)

All conflict within the church must be approached from the teachings of the Scriptures. This is important because our worship of God is spoiled by disunity and unforgiveness.

For instance, conflict is a source of anger which is the response of a person’s frustration with things not going the way he believes they should. His anger may be justified or not. How he handles his anger determines his level of maturity as a Christian.

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4)

Imagine that we disagree with the way a certain ministry is being done or a decision that our church officers have made. What are we to do? Do we remember the commitments we made when we joined our church?

In our church denomination, new members covenant with God and His Church by affirming questions asked in front of the congregation. One of those questions asks: “Do you submit yourself in the spirit of love to the government and discipline of this church, and seek the peace, purity and prosperity of this congregation so long as you are a member of it?”

When we disagree over an issue in the church, we must not forget our vows.

We should also ask ourselves, “Is this disagreement over an ethical/moral issue? Does it concern the truth of the Scriptures?” If it is either, it certainly raises the level of seriousness with which the issue should be approached.

If, however, the issue centers on one way of doing something versus another way of doing it, I would recommend that we tread softly (This is my primary concern in this article. I believe that most disputes within the church are based on personal preferences.). This is when we should ask ourselves, “Why do we join a church?” A person should not become a member of a church for its great music program or because its youth ministry takes the kids on great field trips. We should choose to become a member of a church because of its faithfulness to the Word of God. Otherwise, we have made music or the youth ministry our god (idol).

16 Never be wise in your own sight. . . . 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12)

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3)

5 Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5)

Have we considered that we might be wrong? Have we considered that we have made this issue more important in our lives and thinking than it is to God? Heaven forbid, but it is easy to make such a dispute more important than God and His Word.

Through the church, God builds a Christian community. God desires for us to continue in that community and avoid “church hopping.” A legitimate reason to leave a church (for example) is that the Word of God is not being taught or immorality is openly practiced and the leadership of the church fails to enforce church discipline. The process of settling differences of opinion may be difficult, but when it comes to “indifferent” preferences – we must allow the Holy Spirit to bring us to reconciliation; not winning an argument or getting our way. Through this community, God is using other Christians to shape us for His purposes. A brother in Christ may rub us the wrong way, but God has placed him in our church life for a purpose. We should pray to understand what God is teaching us through His providential care.

17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27)

How do we solve disputes with our fellow Christians? Jesus provides us with an appropriate response (even if sin is not involved):

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (Matthew 18)

What if our disagreement is with a ministry or administrative policy of the church? In this case we should go first to the person who is the immediate supervisor over the area about which we are concerned. This should be done with humility. If this does not resolve the issue, go to your pastor and ask for counsel as to whether you should ask to be on the agenda at the next church officers’ meeting. Ask yourself if you are willing to submit to your church officers’ decision no matter what the outcome. Follow the appropriate steps and remember not to gossip in the meantime.

5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (James 3)

9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (James 3)

Gossip is one of Satan’s most effective tools – particularly when there is disagreement over an issue in the church. Why are Christians, of all people, so willing to believe the worst about a person or issue before they have all the facts? When another person disagrees with our personal agenda, do we automatically assume they have a character flaw and wrong motive? The fact is that we all, Christians and non-Christians, continue to have character flaws throughout our lives. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Yet, we ignore our own character flaws because we are self-centered and we try to hide behind the flaws we so quickly point out in others in order to keep our own selfish motives from being revealed.

Without the facts, some people in the church will sadly spread and believe the most vicious rumors without checking directly the facts for themselves. Instead of going to the persons directly involved and getting the whole story, there is too much of a tendency to accept second hand information as the absolute truth and then go about sharing it as a “prayer request” with others. How many church officers have been confronted by a disgruntled member of the congregation accusing someone or some practice in a particular church ministry as being scandalous? Then, when the facts are checked, the complaint is found to be false because the accuser did not know all the circumstances and facts. The disgruntled member failed to go directly to the person responsible and check the facts.

What do we do when we find out that we have repeated false accusations or rumors to others? Do we go to each person we spoke to afterwards and ask them to forgive us for spreading lies? Do we go to the person who was the subject of our illegitimate rants? We should. We should fall down on our knees and ask God to forgive us for slandering our fellow Christians.

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1)

Have we prayed for God to change the person or persons’ minds we are in disagreement with or to please change us? Are we allowing the circumstances to help us grow in our Christian maturity and faith? Have we prayed for reconciliation, unity, and peace in this matter? Have we prayed for God’s Will to be done? Are we willing to accept God’s Will?

9 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6)

Do we personalize our disagreement into a dislike of the person or persons involved? Mature Christians separate their feelings towards the person from their feelings about a disagreement. We must be willing to believe that a person has honorable reasons for disagreeing with us.

5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. (1 John 5)

If we are experiencing conflict within our church, we must examine ourselves and our motives. We must humbly accept the possibility that we could be wrong or the issue is really an “indifferent” (unrelated to ethics, morals, or Scriptures) matter that may not be as important as we think it is. There may also be many other ways than our’s for dealing with the area of concern.

Problems in the church can be resolved when we allow ourselves to be guided by Scripture and the Holy Spirit. We may also begin to see that what we think of as a problem is not really a problem at all. If we are truly submitted to the authority of Scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we may see that the problem is really us. We have been declared justified by God and yet we all continue to sin. Let us not forget to remove the plank from our own eyes before we begin surgery on someone else with a sharp tongue.

.1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! (Psalm 133)

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17)

Just as Christ prayed, we should always pray for our church, its officers, and the congregation. We must pray for the peace, purity, unity and prosperity of our church consistently. We must remember to ask God to conform us to His purpose in order that we may be useful members of the body of Christ. God is faithful.

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4)

If we follow the Biblical principles above, will we still experience conflicts and disagreement within our church? I am certain that we will. However, if these Scriptural teachings are taught and consistently applied in our churches we should experience these problems less. Christians are not a perfect people. On the other hand, should problems arise; mature Christians will quickly resolve them by applying these Biblical teachings.

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