Charity is the bond that binds us together. It’s our choice that we make to put on charity by acting in love.
Colossians 3:12-14 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Charity is an action word and we act it out by patience, longsuffering, forgiveness, and kindness toward another person. The bond of perfectness by the love of God binds us together. What we do needs to be motivated by love.
I Corinthians 13:3-7 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor…though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Love cares more for the other than self. It is not touchy and overly sensitive but God’s opinion is what’s important.
I Corinthians 13:4-5 Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.
God’s opinion is what makes us united, not our opinion and what we think. We’re measured by the word of God. When Jesus suffered because of a traitor and was spit upon, he didn’t go talk about it to others. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have (envious or covetous), is not out to be noticed. The love of God is willing to learn and wants to learn every day. Love doesn’t force itself on others or want to be “me first.” Love doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of others’ sins, doesn’t rejoice that others are struggling. It puts up with things like Jesus did through the love of God. It trusts God that he has control in every situation. Love endures all things (II Timothy 2:10). Our actions will display if we have the love of God. Cain and Able were divided by Cain’s jealousy, but the love of God “envieth not.” The love of God wants what is best for the other, thinking more of the other person than ourselves.
If we get arrogant and proud, it will cause division. We won’t be considering the other but will be thinking more highly of ourselves – lacking longsuffering, patience and charity. We’ll be causing division by gossip or talk that is mostly false and critical about others. If God wants to show us something, it will be in love. God wants all of us to be together with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There was no division between them. Jesus had his own personal spirit and when his will was not the same, he submitted his will to the Father. We need to submit our way and purpose to God, and submit to one another. We’ll get an independent spirit that won’t submit to the a pastor or the rest of the body or teachers if we don’t submit our will. There can’t be any independent spirits for there to be unity in the body of Christ, like Jesus is in unity with God. We need to pray for one another if we have a disagreement.
John 17:16-22 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Sanctification is vitally important for the unity of the body and so the world will believe.
John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
After the disciples received the Holy Spirit, the people had one heart and one soul. To have unity, we must possess the one Spirit. Before they were sanctified, the apostles argued about who would be the greatest (Luke 9:46).
Acts 4:31-32 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
When we have the Holy Spirit, we will do the Father’s will–to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Ana was old but she served God in the temple by fasting and prayer (Luke 2:36-38). We can all pray even if we are physically unable to do other things in service to the Lord.
Unity is all of us working together for God’s cause. It isn’t our cause or work but God’s. God doesn’t want any divisions among us so we can be perfectly joined together with the same mind (the mind of Christ) and the same judgment (of God). The root cause of division, envy, and strife is carnality. If you feel very strongly about something that the rest of the body is not doing, you can’t try to put it forward or it will cause division. It needs to be submitted to God. The 250 leaders in the congregation got dissatisfied with Moses and wanted his job. If we get dissatisfied with our position in the body, it will cause division.
Numbers 16:2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
Moses only did what God told him to do. God gave him the job. Moses fell on his face in prayer when God was going to destroy the people.
Numbers 16:3-4 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said…Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord? And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:
The men of renown were not satisfied with where God put them in the body.
Numbers 16:5-10 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even tomorrow the Lord will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him. This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the Lord tomorrow: and it shall be that the man whom the Lord doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing…that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?
Moses said they weren’t murmuring against him and Aaron but against God.
Numbers 16:11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
The men rebelled because of their pride and independent spirit. They thought everyone else was wrong. Korah gathered his group together. God told Moses and Aaron to get away from them because he was going to destroy them.
Numbers 16:19-22 And Korah gathered all the congregation…unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
Moses and Aaron fell on their faces to pray for the people. God hates division and made a distinction of who was right and who was wrong. We don’t have to lay our hand to any situation because God will take care of it.
Numbers 16:23-35…Lord spake…Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Moses… spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins…Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord. And…as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder…the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up…and all the men that appertained unto Korah…and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled…said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.
We need a pastor. If we start thinking we don’t need a pastor, we’ll be independent and be cut off like Korah and his group.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)