Do You Want Unity? by Steve Patton
"I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them."
- Romans 16:17
Division among God's people is something our Lord does not want tolerated. In the passage above Paul is literally saying, "Keep your eye on" those that cause dissension and cause others to fall. He wants us to "turn away from them" (ASV). There is no place among God's people for factious and divisive people. We are rather to be "eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:2). On the way to Gethsemane Jesus' prayer for all His disciples was "that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you" (John 17:21). Passage after passage emphasizes the importance of unity.
Our theme this year is "That You Bear Much Fruit." Each month stresses a particular focus that helps us to bear fruit. This month we examine an essential to fruit bearing - Unity. Without it a congregation will die. Unity does not happen by accident. It must consciously be planned for and sought out by every member. The leadership must keep its eye on possible sources of conflict and disobedience and stop them. They must stop "those who sow discord among brethren" (Prov. 6;19). Every member must desire to be one with all the members. Everyone must pray for unity and harmony in the congregation. Everyone must seek it wholeheartedly.
This month we will spend some time addressing what produces unity and it's opposite - division. I hope all of us will do all we can to be united in the bond of peace.
From the desk of Steve Patton
"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here I am! Send me'" -Isaiah 6:8
With these words the great man of God accepted Jehovah's challenge to be His prophet. In his work he never shirked his God-given charge to proclaim the Word of the Lord to His people. His words were not popular. The majority of the Jews were against Isaiah because he spoke out in plain and strong language against their sins. But throughout his life the prophet served his God faithfully by proclaiming God's willingness to forgive if they would repent - and His certain judgment if they would not. If it had not been for men like Isaiah, perhaps all of Israel would have perished instead of a remnant being preserved.
Today, the need is still great to preach repentance and remission of sins to mankind. Jesus said, "...that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47). Jesus also said, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white already for harvest" (John 4:35). He was telling his disciples that the time was right to preach the gospel. The need for laborers in the Lord's vineyard is still great. For this reason we should willingly serve as proclaimers of the gospel.
We sing a song based on the above text entitled Here Am I Send Me. The first verse says, "There is much to do, there's work on every hand. Hark! The cry for help comes ringing through the land. Jesus calls for reapers; I must active be. What wilt thou O Master? Here am I send me." The Lord needs us all to "active be." Evangelism involves us all. Let's sing this song from the heart by being active in trying to reach souls with God's saving Word.
Revelation chapters 6-7
The handout for Revelation 6-7 can be downloaded here.
Revelation Chapters 4-5
The outline for the most recent Revelation sermon is available here.