IN – The Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace
We are looking at the shape of Jesus’ life and his relationships. The core of his relational life was his UP relationship with the Father. He lived IN with his closest followers and mobilized and trained them for mission (OUT) in the course of their day to day lives. Jesus didn’t do anything he didn’t see the Father doing (John 5:19-20). He chose a few specific people to invest in, spend time with and give access to his life. He invited them into relationship and challenged them to change as there were moments to see through the Kingdom lens Jesus was revealing to them.
We are looking at the shape of Jesus’ life and his relationships. The core of his relational life was his UP relationship with the Father. He lived IN with his closest followers and mobilized and trained them for mission (OUT) in the course of their day-to-day lives.
We all have a different SHAPE in our walk with Jesus: spiritual gifts, hearts, abilities, personalities, experiences. Sometimes we allow these differences to divide us because we don’t take time to understand each other. But the Kingdom of God has room for a multiplicity of ways for the Good News of Jesus Christ to go forth and we need to honor each other in them.
“I urge you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
Short History Lesson: Summary of Numbers 32 and Joshua 22
● Israel is called to go into the promised land, but balks at their first opportunity to enter into it out of fear. God leaves them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. ● On their second approach, the tribes of Gad and Rebuen ask Moses if they can settle in on the Eastern side of the Jordan. Initially, Moses is upset by their request and gives his reasons. The two tribes counter offer with a pledge to help the other 10 tribes conquer Canaan before they return.
● After the conquest and having fulfilled their promise, Joshua blesses and releases the tribes back to their new territory. On the way back, the Eastern tribes impulsively decide to erect an altar as a replica of the official altar.
● Tensions flare again and the rest of the nation sends a delegation ready to go to war over the perceived offense. Once again, the Eastern tribes state their intention was to create a memorial that would remind them and their posterity that they worship the Lord, not to set up a new place of worship in defiance of God’s commands. A peace is secured.
SCRIPTURES, QUOTES AND COMMENTS
How can we better honor the differences between us?
Ref Galatians 2:7-9
How can we not get ‘frothy” with one another?
How can we better part ways when we need to?
Joshua 22 7-8
Leaders do have spiritual authority and a responsibility to confront sin, especially if it is going to affect the entire congregation
Observation | Reflection | Discussion
● Are there any relationships right now in your life needing repair or healing?
● Have you asked the Lord about what responsibility you might need to take in the matter?
● True forgiveness is usually the first step in matters like these, not just for the actions you may have taken offense by, but also forgiveness for the way they made you feel. Read Matthew 6:14-15 slowly and meditate on it.
Planning | Accountability | Action
● Are there any ways you could make a gesture of faith, appreciation, honor, or goodwill in a tense or broken relationship?
● How can your group assist you with this? ● When do you think this needs to happen?