THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2020
UNITY IN THE BODY
Today’s reading: Ephesians 4:1-13
We are members of the one body of Christ, founded on the Rock
that is Christ. God Himself as Trinity is three Persons united
as one God. We in the Church are very many persons, with many
different gifts (v.11), but God intends for us to be united
as one. We are to be “one body and one Spirit, as you
were also called to the one hope of your call, one Lord, one
faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over
all and through all and in all.” (v.4-6).
enemy also knows God’s intent, and so has caused division
in the body. From the very beginning, the devil caused the
division between God and man, and between man and woman. Since
then, the devil has successfully caused division in the body
of Christ, as manifested in strife, splits and schisms through
enemy will continue to bring about division. That is expected
of him, as he is opposed to everything good and of God. Unfortunately,
we, in our fallen human natures, are very much helping him
out in his destructive work. So there are two givens: (1)
that the devil will cause division, and (2) that many Christians,
by their responses and actions, will be helping him achieve
his purpose. What the devil and other Christians do is out
of our control. What we do control is our own actions.
if we are truly founded on Christ, who has brought love, unity
and peace, here is the challenge. Unity is not yet broken
when brethren say or do wrong things. Unity is broken when
we react in a wrong way to the wrong that those others have
done. In other words, even if it is your brother who has done
wrong, if you react in a wrong way, then you are the one responsible
for the disunity.
are the ways by which we react in a wrong way to the wrong
(offensive remarks, unloving acts, divisive factionalism,etc.)
that others might do (or we think they do)?
onion-skinned, that is, overly sensitive and easily irritable,
to the point of being deeply offended and lashing out due
Nursing pains and hurts and even animosities against other
Unwillingness to forgive, especially if the other party
is asking for forgiveness (but even if the other party is
not asking, we can still forgive).
in kind. Not being willing to turn the other cheek.
Maligning those we are in disagreement with or those whom
we believe have done us wrong.
people who are not in direct pastoral authority over the
contending parties about what we perceive to be the faults
or errors or even wrongdoing of others.
Leaders sharing their difficulties with others or within
community with those under their pastoral care or pastoral
supervision. We should bring problems up the pastoral ladder
and not down nor sideways.
Resorting to whisper campaigns or signature campaigns against
others, especially leaders.
Engaging in gossip, which oftentimes becomes slander.
Not going to the proper community authorities for resolution
Refusing correction from elders, or always thinking that
the one to be corrected is the other person and not us.
Being a know-it-all, insisting our way is right, and unwilling
to submit to decisions contrary to our own.
Refusing to accept the decision of higher-ups, even after
elevating the matter on several levels.
Seeing the splinter in the other’s eye while missing
the plank in our own.
I am sure I or you could think up of other scenarios, but
you already get my meaning. Take responsibility for your action
and response, and do not keep blaming the other person for
starting the problem.
that is difficult and a great challenge. But if you want to
be built on Rock, then you have no choice. Perhaps the following
realities can help you.
We belong to Christ and are his slaves. Paul considered
himself “a prisoner for the Lord” (v.1a). As
such, we have no rights. We simply do what our Master wills.
And what he wills is unity in the body. This transcends
our personal feelings, reputation and personal preferences.
We as Christians and especially as holy warriors are to
live out Christian virtues, “with all humility and
gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through
love” (v.2). A person who is humble, gentle, patient
and loving cannot be one who is combative, stubborn to correction,
or who resorts to maligning others.
Our Christian call is, as you know, a very high calling. It
is the highest of callings. It is to be like Christ himself,
and it is to do divine work in the world. Thus Paul says,
“I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you
have received” (v.1b). Do you understand the call? Are
you striving to live that call? If so, are you then “striving
to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace”
is at stake here? The ultimate goal of our life and work in
community is that “we all attain to the unity of faith
and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the
extent of the full stature of Christ” (v.13). Each of
us is to be another Christ, fully mature in faith. This happens
only if we are founded on him. This is what the evil one wants
to prevent. And he is succeeding, as he successfully brings
it is crucial for us to know that as holy warriors, especially
those who are servant leaders, we are “to equip the
holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body
of Christ” (v.12). Build up the body in unity, peace
and good order, so that we might accomplish the task given