Unity #wordstudywednesday

Dear Siblings in Jesus the Messiah,

My heart wants to share with you about a sensitive topic to many. What is it that unifies Christians? Is it our chosen denomination? … or chosen non-denominational church?… or the traditions/ Holy Days we do or do not celebrate? Or is it the fact that Jesus Christ (Yeshuah in Hebrew) is the cornerstone of our faith?

Original Photo Credit: Lisa Runnels publicdomainpictures.net
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=61800&picture=friends
I cropped it, added the artistic elements and text.

Before I continue, I would like to preface a few things.

  • If you do not feel inclined to read this post, please don’t. But I hope you do stay and give this post some consideration. 
  • If you would like to leave a comment, please leave one that is kind. Otherwise, it will be deleted.
  • If you would like to leave a comment, please do not try to lecture believers who participate in certain celebrations and/or those who do not. There are plenty of reliable resources for believers to research on their own {this includes the Bible}.
Thank You.

Research:

The fourth definition of Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines unity as: “In Christian Theology, oneness of sentiment, affection or behavior.” 

Sentiment: 1. Properly. a thought prompted by passion or feeling.

Affection: 4. In a more particular sense, a settle good will, love or zealous attachment;

Behavior: Manner of behaving, whether good or bad; conduct; manners; carriage of one’s self, with respect to propriety, or morals; deportment. 

In Psalm 133:1 the Bible says, “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” 


Reason and Relate:

Notice, the definitions do not say that what unifies us is that we agree on all of our understandings of Scripture. What is the unity which Scripture speaks of? Would it not be the following our Messiah? Would it not mean genuine love for each other because of His love for us? 

It is the depth of the love of Yeshua in our hearts which allows us to love as deeply as He does. If we are not able to love each other, we need to acknowledge that we have an issue. When we acknowledge that, we then have the choice to either not bother or to be self-governed under Christ and to let Him change our hearts. 

Thus, unity with each other is based on our feelings of attachment and good will for each other {as in the family of God}. It has to do with our behavior and respect toward each other {love follows actions}. 
 

Further Thoughts:

I truly believe that very few people wake up with the idea in mind that, “Hey, I’m going to go out and offend someone… or as many people as I can today.” But, because what people believe is so serious to them, we tend to react with an emotional response and become easily offended. 


In my life experience, emotional reactions make it very challenging for people to even discuss Scripture or what they are learning. When I say discussing, I mean discussing… not arguing or trying to persuade. I mean trying to reason from Scripture. 

The Apostle Paul {a Jew}, as an example to us, would try to reason from Scripture with other Jews {Acts 17:1-2}. To reason means, “That which is thought or which is alleged in words, as the ground or cause  of opinion, conclusion, or determination.” I think that overall this is a lost art in our day and age.

Original photo credit: gordonplant on Creative Commons.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gordonplant/8241314114/sizes/m/in/photostream/
I added the artistic elements and text.

I am aware, as probably are you, that some celebrations can cause division among followers of Jesus. Misunderstandings and emotional responses vs. trying to love, truly listening to and truly trying to understand where each other is coming from can cause hurting hearts amongst friends.
Personally, my family and I are not offended by what people choose or do not choose to celebrate. We are all in different places in our walk with Yeshua and learn and grow at individual paces and have our own choices to make. Let us not begrudge each other for where we are at in our walks and with what we understand from Scripture. Let us not take up offenses with each other. Let us also not make assumptions and spread those assumptions to others.


What kind of posts will you find regarding celebrations on Principled Academy?

The Lord’s Feasts/ Biblical Holy Days:
These are listed in Leviticus 23. Often times people mistake them for Jewish Feasts and automatically dismiss them since they themselves are not Jews. In order for the Feasts to be Jewish, they would have to have originated with the Jewish people instituting them. However, when reading Leviticus 23, we learn that the Lord is clear that they are His own… that He has instituted them.

True, the Lord did instruct the House of Israel (all 12 Tribes) to keep these feasts. The Jews are obviously one of the 12 Tribes. Since they had turned back toward God, they are called His chosen people. Having turned back toward God, they would have been obedient in keeping the Lord’s Feasts. I think that since the Jews were the only Tribe keeping the Lord’s Feasts, people automatically assume these are Jewish Feasts.
All that to say, having been gentiles now converted to Christianity {followers of Yeshuah our Messiah}, we are grafted onto the House of Israel (Romans 11:11-31). So, our family personally sees the relevance of keeping these feasts.

Some Jewish Celebrations:
So far, we have learned about Purim and Hanukkah. In the OT, we learn that the Jews love, revere, and serve the One True God of the Bible. We see these celebrations as originating with people of God for His Mighty Works. As we have studied the Bible and learned about God’s Providential Hand, we have learned how these celebrations are something for Christians to celebrate, too.

Remembrance of Pre-American/American Days:
Reformation Day, The Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day and many others are celebrations of God’s Providential Hand in moving the Gospel Westward and the founding of our nation on Bible Principles.

Siblings in Christ & Friendships

 

The challenges herein are:
  • Believers who keep the tradition of Christmas, will often wish others a “Merry Christmas” with the assumption that all believers keep it, too.
  • Believers who choose not to keep the tradition of Christmas, are often assumed by others that they are involved in what others feel is a war on the Christmas tradition. Rather, we ought to band in unity together on the real War on the Gospel that wages- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places {Ephesians 6:2}.
  • Many believers who choose not to keep the tradition of Christmas, wish true joy to their siblings in Christ who keep the tradition of Christmas, but do not wish the greeting in return because it goes against their convictions. 
Logically, this causes discomfort among believers… and can cause division if we let it.
Thankfully, we have been blessed with friends who love us and whom we love despite our different understandings of Scripture. What a blessing we all are to each other. Unfortunately, some friendships are hurt. We’re praying for restoration of these relationships. Yes, sadly, some people shun other believers who do, or conversely those who do not, keep the tradition of Christmas. 

So What Can We All Do About It?

  • Remember that we are brothers and sisters in Christ and that it’s our faith in Him that unifies us.
  • If you ask someone their stance, or somehow the topic is brought up in conversation, don’t be offended by their answer. 
  • Remember that whatever someone’s stance is, that it’s not personal.
  • Focus on the fact that each of us are learning and growing.
  • Greet each other always with love in the Lord… no matter the season.
  • It doesn’t have to turn into a debate. Remember, Paul models for us the ability to reason from scripture… that is to say we can discuss it peaceably. This would have to be done with a heart to listen and try to understand.
I pray that believers on both sides of this matter hold to unity in Christ. I pray they can maturely discuss Scripture, history, where they are at individually and do so with a heart for learning from each other in humility. That we can do so without being offended by each other and be accepting if each other doesn’t grasp what the other is sharing about.

With So Much Love in Our Savior,

Heather 
Won’t you please read more
Word Study Wednesday goodness at
A Cherished Keeper by clicking here?

3 thoughts on “Unity #wordstudywednesday

  • Honestly, I am quite confused. I never even heard of Christians not marking our Lord’s arrval here on earth in some way. Surely, if nothing else, it is a celebration of God’s Providence. Perhaps, like me, there is more shock and confusion than judgement. I would hope that people with such a radically different viewpoint than the norm would be as patient as you in explaining or, if they don’t wish to explain, then at least in dealig with our ignorance about such a personal family decision.

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