O Come Together, All Ye Faithful

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

– I Corinthians 1:10-17

THERE ARE MANY different kinds of churches.

There are Presbyterian churches, Episcopalian churches, and Lutheran churches. There are the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ. There are Nazarene, Brethren, and Reformed churches.

There are even different kinds of Methodist churches (Free Methodist, United Methodist, Wesleyan Methodist) and different kinds of Baptist churches (Freewill Baptist, Southern Baptist, American Baptist, Regular Baptist, Primitive Baptist, even Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptist!).

There are churches with long names (National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul-Saving Assembly of the United States of America), short names (Congregational Church), and confusing names (Duck River Et Kindred Association of Baptists).

A lot of non-Christians look at the different denominations and say, “Hey, you Christians are so divided! Look how many different denominations there are and how many churches split over disagreements. Why should the rest of the world listen to you when you can’t even get your own act together?”

To some extent, they’re right. There are a lot of unnecessary divisions and disagreements in the church today. But Jesus does not insist that we all worship in the same style. He doesn’t command all of us to walk the same, talk the same, or look the same. He doesn’t demand that we all call ourselves the same thing.

But he does command us to be one. His Word makes it clear that all true Christians should “stop arguing among yourselves.” His Word does instruct us to “Let there be real harmony so there won’t be divisions in the church.” He does plead with us to “be of one mind, united in thought and purpose” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

God desires unity in the church. He commands unity in the church. We are com­manded to live in unity with other Christians whether we feel like it or not, whether it comes easily or not. Why? Simple. God commands unity because God values unity. And if he values unity, we should, too.

REFLECT: God doesn’t command us to make all churches the same, but he does command us to live and work in unity with all Christians. Is there anyone at your church with whom you’re arguing or not getting along with right now? How can you “stop arguing” (1 Corinthians 1:10) and start living “in harmony with one another” (1 Peter 3:8, NIV)?

ACT: Ask your parents to plan a visit to a church that worships the Lord in a different place or style than what you’re used to as a way of affirming your unity with all true Christian believers.

PRAY: “Thank you, God, for Christian believers everywhere. Help me to live in harmony with everyone in my church family, especially with________.”

– Josh McDowell
Today’s Youth Devotional

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