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Unity and Diversity

Galatians 1:11-17, Romans 14:1-9 – At this point in Chapter 1 of Galatians, the apostle Paul is continuing to make the point to his brothers and sisters that they are to stick to the true gospel, rejecting all other distortions.  In our text today, Paul continues to reinforce the message that they are to listen to what he has preached because his message was not something man made or defective.  Rather it came from direct revelation from God.  Therefore, the church, Paul says, must cling to what he has said, for it is true.  

This uniting around the one, true gospel is a mark of the church.  Where you find the true gospel, you find part of the church.  Where you find a part of the church, you should find the true gospel.

The call to unity around the true gospel is compelling to the Galatians and necessary for us today as well.  The church today, must remain unified around the true gospel, rejecting all of the modern rehashings of the old heresies long ago put out of orthodoxy.

However, it is often challenging for the church to remain unified when it comes to the doctrines in the church which frequently divide us.  What about the “non-essential” or “supporting” doctrines where differences are allowed?  How do we, the church, maintain unity in the bond of peace when there is so much to disagree about?  Listen to Pastor Lee explore these issues and more from Galatians 1 and Romans 14.

Galatians 1:11-17

11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (ESV)

Romans 14:1-9

14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (ESV)

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