Unity of The Spirit – Bond of Peace

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:1-3.

Unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. So many of us have stated this Scripture often enough but how often do we actually ENDEAVOR to keep it?

I’m prompted this week because of at least two social groups, “Christian” groups that I have belonged too for over a year now. I’ve spent time utilizing my ministry to encourage and to inspire while at the same time trying to acknowledge others within the Body of Christ to keep persevering. It’s never a waste of time, because you never know who the Holy Spirit might just speak too through one of your posts.

However, as time moves forward and God’s plans are unfolding in the world and within our own nation, it appears that things around us are “collapsing” as it were and falling apart. Instead of seeing more unity in the spirit in the bond of peace, I am starting to see more division and dogmatic, almost cultish tendencies develop in those I have called brother and sister for so long.

Now just as some background for those that might not know me, I “categorize” myself (don’t we just love titles?) as a Fundamental, Full-Gospel, believer and teacher. I do not belong or answer too any denomination. I TRY and take my study and teaching from the Word of God without bias as to a denominational preference. Now understand, this is not always easy as we all have backgrounds based on something.

Myself, I was raised Catholic until I got saved in a little Pentecostal Church just before my 17th birthday. I wanted to learn all I can, so I told the Lord that I will follow Him wherever He leads me if He will teach me. I have been to several denominations and served in whatever capacity I could all the while learning how to do things effectively and definitely learning how NOT to do things in certain instances. The Lord has been faithful to our covenant, all the while learning to use the Scriptures to verify, interpret and confirm Scriptures.

pd galatians 5 _13

I was ordained in a medium sized Independent Charismatic church back in the mid-eighties, held several ministerial positions, worship pastor, teen leader, assistant and associate pastor and I was just getting ready to plant a church in a small Arizona community when the Lord spoke to my heart and said, no, or not yet. Soon after, I got into a pretty serious car accident that didn’t immediately take it’s toll, but eventually prohibited me from being able to stand for more than five, maybe ten minutes. Guess what? There’s a lot of ministries that believe something like that happens because you have unrepented sin in your life and you become a pariah! It’s like leprosy, no one wants you around them.

Fortunately, the Lord DID lead me into starting an outreach ministry just before the accident that involved visiting other churches and teaching as a guest speaker etc. It didn’t happen a lot, but in our small area, I had opportunities. I was also asked to write short messages for the local newspaper and such, so ministerial wise, I kept busy.

One thing I learned early on and especially if you are independent in ministry, and I can thank my spiritual mentor who performed the ordination, is that to maintain integrity in ministry, you HAVE to make yourself accountable to others. No man/person is an island to themselves and especially in ministry and I can thank the Lord whole-heartedly for that teaching.

As I stated, I don’t subscribe to a denomination for there is no one group that has all the answers correct and that includes independents like myself. But we ALL do have gifts and some denominations and groups are gifted in certain areas stronger than in others and I can see that as the “big picture” in God’s plan for the Body of Christ. That is why I have peers that I respect and admire that are Pentecostal, Independent Charismatic, Baptist, Methodist, even Mennonite. Why? Aren’t I afraid of watering down what the Lord has given me?

On the contrary, their insights stimulate me to get into the Word even deeper. Also, when there are issues or problems as there always are in ministry, I have others I can go to for advice or at the very least and understanding ear. There is no one person that doesn’t need that.

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. – Proverbs 11:14.

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Anyway it was about 1996 when I got my first computer. I love technology! As a tool that is. I recognize the benefits of technologies usefulness and did right away. Yeah, by many standards though I was a “late-bloomer!”

Soon after I started experimenting with group sites like Yahoo! and MSN and was really getting interested in learning how to use ministry on personal websites. During this time, I was told I was wasting my time, because unless you had a church and used the websites for ads for your church and drawing people in, it was nothing more than a “hobby” ministry and no one would take you seriously.

Curious enough, I found even then, in the late 90s, there were a lot of homebound people that had illnesses or disabilities that made it hard for them to attend church and to my surprise, some churches that more or less distanced themselves from those with disabilities, much like what was beginning to happen to me.

Soon, however I stumbled across some Forums. Not exactly groups, but like interactive, real-time websites where you can have and control memberships, have discussions, join in teachings and studies and I jumped on the chance to learn the coding to develop that. Soon I had a couple thriving forums on which I was teaching, praying, encouraging and joining in with others in studies and such. There was a LOT of hunger back then.

Well, unbeknownst to me, the Holy Spirit was out in front the whole time, opening doors and leading me into what was a fairly new area of ministry with a lot of hungry people in the waiting “wings” as it were. Still, I had my detractors, but I really encouraged others that if they had any kind of gift that could be shared, the internet was the place to do it.

Anyway, here we are today, now with social media and social media groups and the sites are as common and as prolific as sand on the beach. I’ve advanced from websites to Blogs, just more interactive websites really, to social media groups and after all these years I’m still doing what I can and trying to find new ways to get the Word of God across in a medium that today feeds very short attention spans.

Which leads me to division. Over the years, I’ve seen little bouts of it here and there, but I think everyone was so busy getting used to the availability and the convenience of instant media that at first they weren’t thinking of their differences. In fact, I have found a lot of groups, even today that welcome just about everybody who believes in “Christ and Him crucified” as the Apostle Paul stated it when he was talking about division.

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For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. – 1 Corinthians 2:2.

However, I also believe social media offers opportunities to people of every ideology and theology and while that is good in a diverse society in Christianity it can’t be that way. The Apostle goes on to state the reason we should be endeavoring or STRIVING for unity of the Spirit and that he continues on in verse 4:

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. – Ephesians 4:4-6.

Yes, there are differing denominations with some differing doctrinal differences, but what makes us ONE in Christ Jesus and thus brothers and sisters is what Paul concludes in verses 4-6. Everything else compared to that, as far as salvation goes, that part that makes us brothers and sisters, is secondary. It reminds me so much of the stories that I have heard all through my Christian journey about churches that have split over the kind of Hymnals or song books they should have, the color of carpet in the sanctuary, or whether to have pews or folding chairs or wooden seats, whatever!

Today with all the armchair prophets coming out of the woodwork, it’s whether you believe in pretribulation rapture or mid-tribulation or even post-tribulation. Oh and if that’s not enough there are those that believe in no rapture or in partial rapture! It is those things that divide the church when one or more sides become so dogmatic about who is right.

If the Word of God tells us that even the Son or the angels don’t even know the time, only the Father, than why is the difference so divisive in the Body of Christ? Isn’t the real truth of the prophecies to give warning to the world and hope to God’s chosen? Isn’t it more important and obvious that no matter what happens we are to continue to walk in FAITH (which means not seeing the steps in front) and keep trusting the Lord and His Holy Spirit to carry us through whatever tomorrow brings? If that is the case with a Christian’s journey and walk, why are all the other details, aside from what the Apostle Paul claims makes us One and United, what difference does it really make?

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Because I am independent and not a Baptist or a Pentecostal or a Methodist or a Lutheran or a Charismatic, yet I believe in “Christ and Him crucified,” and that’s what I teach, all of a sudden I am a False Prophet or False Teacher? By that reasoning, if we all took that stand, we could ALL claim that ALL others besides ourselves are False Teachers and False Prophets.

All I can say to that is boy, is the devil having a heyday! When he sees this type of thing go on between brothers and sisters, he must be sitting back and enjoying his days of rest, because he certainly isn’t having to do anything himself!!

Sue and I ministered in a denominational church when we were younger, just starting out and we were learning so much. Now, we were told NOT to be a part because they were dogmatic and cultish about certain things. The truth is, we learned an awesome viewpoint on how to look at Scripture, but we could also see, thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives when things went side-ways, so to speak, in their interpretation. Eventually the Lord spoke to both of us that it was time to move on. Though we spent nearly 18 months ministering side by side with them, when we informed them we were moving on, we were told we were leaving the light and going back into darkness. In other words, in their eyes, we were apostates. When they saw us around town, some of them, anyway, it was like we were shunned! I still consider them brothers and sisters because they believe that Jesus died for them, forgave their sins, rose again and is sitting on His throne. Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness and redemption of those who would accept His gift. But because we didn’t truly believe in every little detail, we could have no fellowship with them because light cannot fellowship with darkness.

The two groups I started out mentioning that led me to this post; yeah, to a degree that’s how they feel, because we would rather treat others as Jesus did when He walked this earth in relation to sin, AND we would rather trust in Him day to day to keep us, no matter WHEN He is coming in the clouds to gather His chosen!

Division, Jesus said it well;

But Jesus . . . said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” – Matthew 12:25; Mark 12:24-25; Luke 11:17.

pd divided we fail

Jesus was talking to the religious leaders of His day, the RELIGIOUS! Shouldn’t that tell us something? STRIVE, ENDEAVOR “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” In other words, it takes work to accomplish that. As with all things spiritual, it takes action on our part. We have to do something for it to be realized!

I truly love my brothers and sisters and not just in words either. No it’s not just a feeling either. I truly admire and respect them, even those who don’t agree with me on every point. I’m not perfect, I’m almost seventy years old and I still stumble, but I am also still learning! That SHOULD say something in the greater scheme of things.

God Bless!

*Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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