Faith Chapel

The Unity By Faith

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Gordon Arruda


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000285

00:31 Welcome once again to "Faith Chapel."
00:35 I'm Gordon Arruda, head elder of the Roseville
00:37 Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California.
00:40 Today we're going to be studying a topic
00:43 that recently has become very dear to my heart.
00:46 It has also become very clear to my heart.
00:49 It is a gift and something that the Holy Spirit
00:52 has been pressing upon me.
00:54 Especially as I see the church coming
00:56 closer and closer to our glorious rendezvous
00:59 with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
01:02 The topic is called "The Unity of Faith."
01:07 Unity is an interesting word
01:08 because there's two perspectives about unity.
01:11 There is a unity as the world sees it,
01:13 which really means uniformity.
01:15 That means everybody complying
01:17 and being and thinking the same way.
01:19 And if you don't, there's adverse consequences.
01:23 But that is not the true meaning of unity
01:25 from a biblical standpoint
01:26 and certainly not from God's standpoint.
01:29 Unity is a beautiful thing,
01:31 and it takes diversity to make up the unity
01:34 that truly represents Jesus Christ.
01:37 And so let's have a prayer as we delve into the scripture
01:42 and we explore the true essence
01:45 and meaning and power of unity.
01:48 Father in Heaven, again we ask You for Your spirit to be here,
01:53 for the personal presence of our Lord Jesus
01:56 to minister the word to our hearts.
01:59 Jesus, You are gentle and You are faithful
02:03 and we thank You for the way You can teach us
02:06 in a way that nobody else can.
02:08 Use the words here, use the scriptures here
02:10 to bear witness in our hearts of the truth.
02:13 And let it be accompanied with power.
02:16 Bring conviction to us as a people and the need, Lord,
02:20 of You and our need for one another.
02:23 In Your precious and holy name we pray, amen.
02:28 I'd like to start with 1 Corinthians Chapter 12.
02:34 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul states,
02:39 "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body
02:44 whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free
02:49 and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."
02:56 Here Paul says something that really took me
03:00 a while to realize the magnitude in what it says.
03:04 Many times in witnessing to individuals, non believers,
03:09 people who have an interest in the Bible but really have not
03:14 made a definitive commitment to Jesus Christ,
03:17 have often told me,
03:19 "I don't mind being baptized into Jesus
03:22 but I don't want to be baptized into any church."
03:26 In this scripture, Paul clearly states that
03:29 baptism baptizes you into a body.
03:33 Jesus Christ does not recognize any baptism of one
03:38 who does it with the intent of standing aloof
03:40 or separated from the body of Jesus Christ.
03:44 Baptism is always not only a confession of Christ,
03:48 but a confession that now you are being entered
03:51 into the body of Jesus Christ and standing as a full saint
03:56 and participant in the Kingdom of God.
03:59 This kind of individualism
04:01 which permeates our culture in the society,
04:04 really does not really come forth as scriptural.
04:09 Many people think that they can be baptized
04:11 and be independent in their walk with Jesus,
04:15 that they can stand afar off from any assembly of believers.
04:19 That they do not have to be accountable
04:21 or even responsible for living in unity
04:25 and living in commonality with others
04:27 who have come to know and believe in Jesus.
04:30 This is something the scriptures do not teach.
04:33 Any baptism that is done that separates
04:36 or keeps the individual separated
04:38 from the body of believers is not biblical baptism.
04:42 The Holy Spirit will not bear witness to it.
04:45 The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to baptize us
04:48 not only into Christ but into one body
04:51 and fellowship of believers.
04:54 I know this runs smack in the face of what is treasured
04:57 and valued in our society today, namely, individuality.
05:02 There's nothing wrong with individuality,
05:04 but when it's taken to extreme, what it really means is,
05:08 "I want to do what I want to do under my own terms
05:11 and under my conditions."
05:13 This is not the faith of Jesus Christ
05:15 and this certainly does not entail
05:17 a genuine baptism into Jesus Christ.
05:21 That kind of individualism
05:23 still holds self in high esteem and as number one.
05:28 But the baptism as prescribed by scripture,
05:32 baptizes you into a body
05:35 and thereby we learn how to grow,
05:38 we learn how to worship,
05:40 we actually learn how to get along with one another.
05:43 And perhaps that is by God's design
05:46 and part of the reasons why we need to grow
05:49 and to experience sanctification.
05:53 I'd like to go to the scripture now in the Gospel of John.
05:56 John 17:21.
06:05 This is a very powerful scripture and one
06:09 that is worthy of intense study and contemplation.
06:12 John says, "That they all may be one, as You,
06:17 Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us,
06:25 that the world may believe that You sent Me.
06:29 And the glory which You gave Me, I have given to them,
06:34 that they may be one just as We are one, I in them,
06:40 and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one,
06:45 and that the world may know that You have sent Me,
06:50 and have loved them as You have loved Me."
06:56 Here we see Jesus giving a very profound statement
07:00 on the issue of unity
07:02 and to really get an appreciation
07:04 for the comprehensiveness of it,
07:06 I'd like to go back to the issue of the trinity,
07:10 the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
07:13 And what defines the relationship between them
07:18 as they function as a Trinitarian deity?
07:23 In scripture, it says
07:26 that the Father has glorified the son.
07:30 The Son when he came to the earth
07:34 was committed to bringing glory and glorifying the Father.
07:39 When the Holy Spirit comes, He is commissioned
07:43 with giving glory to Jesus Christ
07:46 and not speaking of himself.
07:49 Notice the dynamic that goes on
07:51 between the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
07:54 The thing that defines their oneness
07:57 is that they exist to serve and glorify each other.
08:02 This is the dynamic that the Spirit
08:05 and the Son and the Father,
08:06 the trinity have going on between themselves.
08:12 This has such a profound impact on how we should view unity.
08:18 What helps the unity, what binds the unity
08:21 into being a beautiful thing,
08:24 is the principle of giving of oneself
08:28 for the sake of the other,
08:30 of living to uplift and glorify the other.
08:34 Now in this prayer we just read in John,
08:37 John is talking about the unity
08:41 that is experienced between the Father and Himself,
08:45 may also be experienced between us, one another.
08:51 There is no other way,
08:54 there is no other principle that Christ will impress
08:59 or impart to a worshiper or believer.
09:02 And this is why the idea of separatism
09:05 is not found under the auspices of the Holy Spirit
09:09 and it is not recommended,
09:11 it is deplored in the word of God.
09:16 He further says in John 17,
09:19 that in this unity that exists among the believers,
09:24 it is in that condition in that environment
09:27 that they are to be perfected.
09:32 Now isn't that interesting?
09:34 We often seek perfection or we think from others
09:38 have told us that we find perfection
09:40 by somehow separating ourselves
09:42 and going off to some desolate location
09:45 where we're going to find holiness.
09:47 This whole religious thoughts that actually
09:50 developed this kind of theology in the early Christian Church,
09:56 there was an individual that lived
09:57 in one of the ancient cities of Asia Minor
10:00 where they had a big, long, tall pillar
10:03 and he sat upon it for the rest of his life
10:06 because he didn't want to experience any temptation.
10:10 This in his mind was the way
10:13 he could achieve the ultimate perfection and holiness
10:16 that he thought God required of him.
10:19 What is really sad is that the church espoused
10:23 this kind of demonstration as the ideal of
10:27 what constituted perfection or what constituted holiness.
10:31 It was very sad because
10:33 this is nothing of what God has in mind.
10:36 This is not something that is found in Scripture.
10:40 This is something that comes from the mind of man
10:43 and the way he chooses to practice religion.
10:46 We find these disciplines maybe in monastic living.
10:50 We find some of these principles in some of the eastern religions
10:54 where those who would truly find enlightenment
10:57 are separated from any body of believers,
11:00 it's an individual trek and journey.
11:04 And so there's many religious thoughts and disciplines
11:07 that espouse this individualism in obtaining perfection.
11:12 But the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ,
11:14 as He said it here in John 17,
11:17 is that we may all be one as the Father and Jesus are one.
11:23 And that, in that oneness with one another
11:25 and our oneness with Him, we may be perfected in unity.
11:32 Unity is absolutely essential in God's plan,
11:36 our spiritual growth and development for us individually
11:39 and for the church corporately.
11:42 To get further inside into this principle,
11:45 let's now turn to the Book of Ephesians Chapter 4.
11:49 Ephesians Chapter 4.
11:52 We'll be reading verse11 through 13 at this time.
11:58 "And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets,
12:04 some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12:07 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,
12:11 for the edifying of the body of Christ
12:14 till we all come to the unity of the faith
12:17 and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
12:20 to a perfect man,
12:22 to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
12:28 In the giving of the different roles
12:31 and offices by the Holy Spirit to the church,
12:34 mentioned here as apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors,
12:40 these gifts are given
12:43 not based on spiritual superiority held by individuals,
12:48 but by enabling them to accentuate
12:52 the characteristics of our Lord Jesus Christ
12:55 as they fulfill their spiritual gift
12:59 under the guidance of the Holy Spirit
13:00 and that is the giving of themselves
13:04 to the body of Christ.
13:08 Leadership in Christ's church, in Jesus' church
13:13 is not based on the same principles
13:15 that it is in the world.
13:18 Leadership in the church of Jesus Christ
13:22 is based on what the individual is willing to sacrifice
13:26 and give for the nurturing and the building up of the body.
13:30 Some do it because they've been appointed to be apostles,
13:35 others do it because they've been
13:36 appointed to be pastors, still others as teachers.
13:41 But notice, none of these officers
13:43 is to speak anything of a spiritual superiority
13:47 upon the one on whom
13:49 the spiritual gift has been conferred.
13:54 We need to understand
13:55 that the Holy Spirit anoints us for ministry and service.
14:00 And these roles and officers
14:02 were never meant to place one above another.
14:07 In fact, in following the example of Jesus,
14:11 it is a greater responsibility to humble oneself
14:16 for the nurturing to the church.
14:19 Isn't this exactly the principle
14:20 that exists in the Holy Trinity?
14:23 Isn't this exactly what existed between the Father and the Son?
14:28 And so the conferring of spiritual gifts in the church
14:32 is no way intended to elevate another person as though
14:36 they are endowed with some sort of super spirituality,
14:40 but rather, it takes on the responsibility
14:44 of how much they are willing to sacrifice
14:46 and give for the nurturing of the church.
14:50 Leadership in the church of Jesus Christ
14:53 is based on service.
14:55 Jesus demonstrated this
14:57 so much when He was with His own disciples.
15:00 Did not He even say that the greatest among you
15:03 will be the least and the least among you will be the greatest?
15:07 When He washed their feet in that scene in the last supper
15:10 and didn't He not say that,
15:13 if I wash your feet so you ought to wash one another's feet.
15:19 This is done only by a servant
15:21 and yet Jesus says, this is what the master does in my church,
15:25 he washes the feet of the others.
15:29 Secondly, in the Scripture,
15:32 it talks about the purpose of this arrangement,
15:34 the reason why the gifts are given
15:36 is for the building up of the church
15:40 into the full measure of Christ, into a complete and mature man.
15:46 It strikes me that individuals
15:50 who do not take on the responsibility of relationships,
15:56 who prefer to stay aloof of
15:59 their responsibilities and relationships,
16:01 whether it's a husband and wife,
16:02 a father and a mother to the children,
16:05 whether it's our, you know, to an elder,
16:08 a mother or a father, they never grow up.
16:13 They stay children because what is happening is that
16:17 they are not learning what it means to sacrifice
16:20 and give of oneself for the sake of their relationships.
16:24 Relationships can only work when the parties are willing
16:28 to humble themselves one to another.
16:31 And this is why Christ creates the fellowship of all believers.
16:35 This is why He creates the priesthood of all believers.
16:38 So we can be ministers even as He's minister to us.
16:44 When we have an atmosphere
16:47 where this is what's happening in the church,
16:50 where the pulse or the culture of the church
16:52 is to build one another up.
16:55 What it does, it takes away the wrong mentality
16:59 and mindset of going to church and thinking,
17:02 what can I get out of church?
17:05 Many of us do that.
17:07 The issue is not what we can get out of church,
17:10 it's what church can get out of us,
17:13 that was the intent of Jesus Christ.
17:16 And to the degree that the humility of Jesus
17:18 is worked into the heart of an individual,
17:22 to that degree He is qualified to carry on
17:24 a leadership role in the church.
17:27 He mentors and models
17:28 what it means to walk in the Spirit
17:31 and to truly live a life of humility.
17:34 He demonstrates a life of service,
17:36 of giving with no thought
17:38 or account of receiving any glory of recognition.
17:42 Oftentimes leaders are targets, they're blamed for many things.
17:46 But this is part of the way in which we grow up.
17:50 When we become the target of objections
17:53 and even insults and injury,
17:56 there is where the purification of our Lord comes in even deeper
18:00 there is where we learn to love from a pure place,
18:04 from a pure motive, as Jesus loved us
18:07 even though we rejected Him and spit in His face.
18:10 To learn to love like Jesus Christ
18:13 is to learn to live life in the community of believers.
18:17 This is why unity in the church
18:20 grows us and builds us up
18:24 and has a specific purpose and plan in the Kingdom of God.
18:30 Next, we need to turn further
18:32 into the Book of Ephesians in Chapter 4,
18:34 but this time we're going to be reading verses 14 through 15.
18:41 Paul continues with his dialogue on the unity of the church.
18:46 "That we should no longer be children,
18:49 tossed to and fro and carried about
18:51 with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men,
18:56 in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
19:03 but, speaking the truth in love
19:06 may grow up in all things into Him
19:10 who is the head, Christ."
19:14 Isn't it amazing, that so many people
19:17 have developed strategies on how to become more spiritual.
19:21 Some of them are thought provoking and beneficial even,
19:25 but the one strategy that is often overlooked
19:29 is fellowship with one another.
19:32 Many of the Epistles of Paul, half the epistles are taken up
19:36 just counseling the saints in various cities
19:40 on how to get along with one another.
19:42 This is a large part of our spiritual development.
19:46 We learn what it is to live in community.
19:48 We learn what it is to be in relationship.
19:52 We learn to give up our own agendas, our own ways
19:55 and what we think is right and what we need to do
19:58 for the sake of the body.
20:00 We learn to come into church and enter into its activities
20:04 with the mindset and the attitude,
20:07 "I come here to bless,
20:09 I come here to exalt or lift up another,
20:14 I come here to fulfill
20:16 what Jesus has put in my heart to do."
20:19 Can you imagine a community of believers
20:22 where everybody has this mindset coming in,
20:26 what that would look like?
20:28 Much of the strife, divisions and bickerings in the church
20:32 are present because we practice
20:35 much of our religion in our flesh nature,
20:37 in our fallen nature.
20:39 Paul even counsels the Corinthians
20:41 that the reasons why there are divisions and disputes
20:44 among them is because they are still carnal,
20:47 they are like babes, they haven't grown up.
20:50 The freshly nature is always trying to intrude
20:53 on the work of the Holy Spirit
20:55 and coming up with its ideas on how to best suit
20:59 the role of doing church.
21:03 But, you know, until we learn to crucify the flesh
21:07 through the power of the Spirit,
21:09 until we learn to find our rest and abiding in Christ
21:12 and let the flesh go with all its desires,
21:15 with all its agendas, with all its arrogance and pride
21:19 and what we think is best for the church.
21:22 Until we do that,
21:24 we will always be being
21:25 practicing religion in the flesh.
21:28 This is what Paul talks about,
21:30 that as we experience the unity of the faith,
21:34 of being brought together,
21:36 we learn many times and hopefully, all the time
21:40 what it means to give up self.
21:43 We come into conflict with individuals
21:45 and our first response is to look at the individual
21:48 and to look at all their faults.
21:51 Oh, if they can only be a little more patient,
21:54 if they could only learn a little more
21:57 on what it means to run a program.
21:59 If they could only be a little more loving or,
22:03 you know, listen most of the time.
22:05 It's always about them,
22:07 but the Holy Spirit is calling us again to open our hearts
22:12 and to look at the way we are reacting
22:15 to what we see in them.
22:17 This is the way we grow, is in relationship.
22:21 Sanctification so often has been spoken of as though
22:25 it's something that happens apart from relationship.
22:29 Truly our personal walk and our prayer life with Jesus
22:32 is foundational and critical.
22:35 But what is the purpose
22:37 of having this foundation in Christ?
22:39 What is the purpose of abiding in Jesus Christ
22:42 and being filled with the Spirit?
22:44 Is it not to change our lives, so now we become an instrument
22:48 and an arsenal of love that declares His glory?
22:51 And what is this love?
22:53 Is it not to live to lift up another?
22:57 Is it not to live to make sure the other person
23:00 will be found complete in their walk in Jesus Christ?
23:04 Can we not with our hearts, understand that it is imperative
23:09 that we go to church with that mindset?
23:13 Jesus has this by design, this is the very essence
23:18 and how He views the church ought to be.
23:21 This is what He prays for in John 17.
23:24 And this is what the church will look like
23:27 when it is truly complete.
23:30 I'd like to read on in Ephesians Chapter 4:16.
23:36 "From whom the whole body,
23:38 joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,
23:42 according to the effective working
23:44 by which every part does its share,
23:47 causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."
23:54 Notice what the environment
23:56 that is created by this arrangement.
23:58 It's an environment of love, whose love?
24:01 Not human love,
24:03 or the love that normally comes from our humanity.
24:06 The love that Christ puts in our heart,
24:08 it is from that in which we function.
24:12 It says that we were all knitted together
24:14 and joined together by that which each joint supplies.
24:19 Notice that every joint is involved
24:22 in supplying something or giving something.
24:26 That is what brings and fits things together
24:30 and creates a firm foundation for the church to grow.
24:35 When the energies of individuals and leaders
24:39 is for the nurturing of the body
24:41 and when that kind of a culture and mindset is duplicated
24:46 and produced within the church of Jesus Christ,
24:49 that is the evidence
24:51 that the Holy Spirit is working with power.
24:53 Because that is exactly what the Holy Spirit
24:56 wants to impart to individuals
24:58 and what he wants individuals to bring to the church.
25:02 We do not grow, apart from unity.
25:06 We cannot be perfected, apart from unity.
25:10 So often we're looking at world events as evidences
25:13 of the soon coming of Jesus Christ.
25:15 So often we look at events and say ah, see it's near
25:19 and we look other places at catastrophes
25:21 and wars and rumors of war.
25:23 We see what's happening in the religious and spiritual world,
25:27 developments that we have long been expecting to happen
25:30 and they are being fulfilled.
25:32 But Jesus will not come
25:35 until He comes to a church that is unified.
25:39 He's not coming for a bunch of individuals
25:42 separated from one another.
25:44 He comes when the church comes together in unity
25:48 because it has borne within the fellowship
25:51 the imprint, the mindset
25:54 and the attitude of Jesus Christ.
25:56 That attitude of service,
25:58 that attitude of always willing to give
26:01 and even sacrifice for the sake of a brother and sister
26:05 to uphold an uplift all people
26:08 and to nurture their walk with Christ
26:09 so that they can be complete.
26:12 I am learning to train my mind coming to church
26:15 recognizing that my Lord will not come
26:19 until my brother and my sister are complete in Jesus Christ
26:25 and that Jesus has empowered me to help them along the way
26:29 and to make that thing happen.
26:33 When we can look at one another that way,
26:36 when we can look at our brother and our sister
26:39 and recognize that Jesus will not come
26:42 until those people, our brothers and sisters can be completed
26:48 and matured in Jesus Christ.
26:51 Jesus then will see that
26:53 He has a church He can come back to.
26:56 He has empowered each and every one of us
26:59 to have this mind that belongs to Him,
27:02 to have the heart that he imparts to us
27:06 and to bring that attitude of service,
27:09 of looking upon others as ones we are to give ourselves to,
27:14 for their benefit and for their spiritual well-being.
27:18 This is the kind of church Christ is coming back to.
27:22 This is the kind of church that he's looking for,
27:25 this is the kind of church
27:26 that gives the powerful witness to the world
27:29 that Jesus has risen from the dead
27:31 and now sits with power at the right hand of God.
27:34 This is the church that Jesus will find
27:37 when He comes again in glory
27:39 and in the power and the glory of His father.
27:42 May this all happen within our lifetime
27:45 and may we live to see the glorious return of our Lord.
27:49 Thank you so much and God bless you.


Revised 2014-12-17