Jump Start #3302
Jump Start # 3302
Philippians 2:2 “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”
Did the apostles always agree with each other? Now that’s a thought. We know that Paul rebuked Peter to his face about shunning the Gentiles. Peter had sinned. Peter was wrong. Twice in Luke, once early and once late, the apostles argued about which one was the greatest.
After Jesus ascended to Heaven, did the apostles always agree with each other? Did Peter think that John was too soft on some issues? Did Andrew think that Thomas was too narrow? Did Matthew think that James was too aggressive? Did they like the way the others preached?
Our verse today, one of many passages throughout the N.T. that emphasizes the oneness or unity among believers. We are to be of one mind and one voice. Here, the verse states, “same mind,” “same love,” “united in spirit,” “intent on one purpose.” How can that happen when folks can’t even agree on what temp the auditorium ought to be on a Sunday morning? Some are freezing and others are burning up. So many ideas. So many opinions. So many backgrounds. Some have given up and surrendered to the idea that we’ll just agree on Jesus and all these other things we’ll agree to disagree upon. And, it seems through the years that the list of things that some say we’ll just disagree upon seems to grow more and more. Is it possible for us to agree upon things other than Jesus?
Now, back to our original question, “Did the apostles after the ascension disagree with one another?”
First, the N.T. never shows any disagreements other than the Peter/Paul hypocrisy and Paul and Barnabas not eye to eye on what to do with Mark. Even if there were accounts of disagreements among them, that would not be a green light for us to fuss, argue and be content with not agreeing. Overwhelmingly, the N.T. drives the idea that we ought to be one. One in mind. One in voice. One in spirit. Unity isn’t just a sweet idea, it’s something that God expects among His people.
The core foundation within the N.T. system is that we give up ourselves. We deny ourselves. Our thoughts and opinions are shelved as we follow the words of Jesus. We let God’s word guide us, lead us and teach us. When we start putting our thoughts and our ideas into the text, we jumble up the message and no longer are speaking the pure words of our Lord. God’s word as our standard and guide ought to lead us to the same conclusions.
God wants us to be one. We ought never to settle for anything less.
Second, there will be lines of conviction that I draw, conclusions I make, that are necessary for me, but I can’t compel others to agree with me or even do those things. You won’t find me wearing jeans to worship. Is it wrong to wear jeans to worship. NO. NEVER. But in my spiritual make up, it bothers me, so I won’t. Will I tell others to do the same? NEVER. Do I think everyone must agree with me? No. Do I think I am more spiritual than the guy wearing jeans? NEVER. However, one thing we must agree upon is the excellence in worship and honoring our God as we bow our hearts to Him. Can a man wearing jeans worship the Lord properly? Absolutely. My spiritual makeup and what I need may not be the same as yours. You may pray to the Lord five times a day. I may pray three times. You may read three chapters of the Bible a day. I may read three verses a day. Your spiritual needs and your spiritual nourishment will not be the same as others.
The problems arise when we think everyone has to do what I do. Everyone has to like what I like. Everyone has to agree with me. When I start pushing me, that’s when trouble starts. Now, for a person to declare that one never needs to pray, that is not Biblical and there ought to be some voices raised in disagreement. For a person to say that one never needs to read the Bible, that’s simply not true.
I’ve been preaching long enough to know that some like long sermons and others like short sermons. Some like topical sermons and others like expository sermons. Some like illustrations and stories. Some don’t want any stories. Who is right in all of this? Everyone and no one. Everyone is allowed to have their own tastes and likes. But no one is allowed to force, bully or pressure others to change just to agree with them.
So, did the apostles always agree with each other? I doubt it. Can you get twelve people to agree on anything? Bring up the topic of food and see what happens? Or, talk about sports? Or, even, what is the best hymn we sing? No, I doubt they fully agreed on everything. However, they spoke the one message of Christ. They stood united in faith and practice. They did not go separate ways teaching different doctrines. They would never allow their differences to come between them nor hinder their work. Christ was always first. Always.
And, maybe we can learn to stand shoulder to shoulder in our fight against Satan, realizing that in Christ we are one. You stand in your jeans and I’ll stand in my wild socks, but arm in arm, our faith, love, and devotion to Jesus runs strong. Like the old children’s game, “red rover, red rover,” and a child runs and tries to bust through the locked arms of others, we hold tightly to what we know and believe. Satan would like to knock us over. He’d like to break our bonds of unity. But together, we hold tightly.
Same mind. Same love. United in spirit.