Next week we will start a new series working through the book of 1 John.

So as we finish our series on Unity and Diversity, I want to have a final conversation on our triangle of unity.  Please note that this is a core philosophy of ministry here at First Brethren.

The bottom three segments are the core of our unity:  Person of Jesus, Biblical Passages, and Principles. The person of Jesus is our foundation.  We don’t just think he is a guru, great leader, or some figure of history.  He is alive, and the center and Lord of our lives.  Secondly, we will uphold the Biblical passages.  It is God’s Word and it is to lead our lives.  Thirdly, our unity has to be based on the principles taken from God’s Word in our day-to-day lives.  In addition, we will reject and come against those things around us that directly conflicts with God’s principles.

The diversity in our church comes from the preferences and practices.  Our principles feed into our preferences.  We cannot have preferences that conflict with our unity, but we must fight against the notion that we must unify on our practices.  Many times we see this come out into our musical preferences.   This can come to light because it is a main part of our corporate worship.  But we must realize that we are to accept those differences in others in the church.

So as we wrap up our series, let’s look at a passage from Paul from Ephesians.  The question was asked of Paul on how we work our Christian belief into our lives.  And Paul’s answer will address corporate worship as well.

Paul begins by telling them to be very careful, and that we are to live as wise Christians.  The difference between a wise person and an unwise person is that a wise person will take knowledge and put it to work, whereas an unwise person will not put that knowledge into work.  We are to be wise and make the most of every opportunity.  We do that because the days in this world are evil.  We can see the evil of the world every day in the news.  The world wants a life separated by God and His standard.

Is there an area of our lives that we try to separate from God?  If so, that is evil.  Evil is an attempt to separate us from God and His standard.  We want to make the most of every opportunity, and we cannot do that if we hold back parts of our lives from Him.

Do not be foolish, but live with intent to give over to God every aspect of our lives.  Here Paul also adds to not get drunk on wine.  Why does he add this statement here?  Paul adds this not specifically to the idea of wine, but instead, it is referencing anything that might separate us and distract us from God’s truth.

But we are to gather together and speak and sing with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.  This is all to be from our hearts to the Lord.  The guiding principle is that we are to live together as shaped by our relationship with God.  We have seen in Philippians that we are to value others above ourselves.

So as we live life, is there a principle of God’s Word that speaks to this situation?  Is there a principle that hints at where I am to go next?  Is there a principle that lets me see the opportunities around me and the dark areas that I am holding back from God?

The only way to know is to spend time in God’s Word every day.  To meditate on everything we read so that it shapes our lives.  So continue to pray for the church, continue to pray for unity, and continue to pray for us to accept the Godly diversity in our church.

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (ESV)

17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, (ESV)

19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (ESV)