Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

February 2020

The Corinthian Church - Unity as the People of God

THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH - UNITY AS THE PEOPLE OF GOD

We continue thinking about the Corinthian Church - and one of the most beautiful passages in all the Bible comes from the book of Corinthians. Listen as I read:

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

So raise your hand if your perfect vacation spot is the beach…… Raise your hand if your perfect vacation spot is the mountains…… Raise your hadn’t if your perfect vacations spot would be somewhere else?….. Raise you hand if you like sports……
Raise you hand if you’d rather read a book than go to a movie? Raise your hand if you like to go out to eat. Raise your hand if you’d rather stay home for your meal. Raise your hand if you like to eat breakfast for dinner?

What we see is that we all like different things. I could go on for a long time asking questions about what we like or don’t like and we would continue to see the same things. So what brings us here together? What is the common bond that makes us a part of this church?
What about the founders? Those committed group of individuals who gathered together in a home to create the vision of Sweetwater and stuck together through the conception and the building and the learning to work and worship together. I’m sure they all didn’t like all the same things, or enjoy the same activities, or like the same foods. But what they did have is a love for Christ and for Christ’s church.
What we have experienced over the 74 years of this church is people from different places and different politics and different teams in the Super Bowl who come together now not because we agree on everything, but because we love the Lord and we love the church and we love one another.
Love doesn’t mean we agree on everything or like the same things - or occasionally even like one another. Love means we are united in a bond that is bigger than our personal beliefs or personal preferences or our differences, our love means we look at each other the way God looks at us.
God loves you the way you are right now - exactly as your are, warts and all as they say. Put aside any thought that there are reasons why God can’t possibly love you. Put aside any thought that the people in this congregation can’t possibly love you because you have or you are or you aren’t or because you haven’t done what you think God wants you to do. With your whole heart you have to first believe that God loves you just as you are and that the people here love you just the way you are. They aren’t going to always agree with you, but love is bigger than that.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

When you accept God loves you and you accept the people here love you, you can realize that the secret to being together as God’s people is simple. We love each other as God loves us; as children of God. Not because of anything about us, but because God loves us and gives us the ability to come together in that same love.
Here these words from 1 John 4:19
 We love because God first loved us.
Paul talks to the Corinthian church using those words of 1 Corinthians 13 to help them realize the same thing. They were a much more diverse group than we are and no one in that church had any background in understanding how a God could love them just as they were. Paul set out to teach them that first God loved them and called them then to love each other. Not because they were the same, but because God loved them just as they were.
You’ve all heard the phrase, United We Stand, Divided We Fall. As long as we stay united in the love of Jesus Christ and the love of one another, this church, this group of different individuals, will remain together and strong and able to worship and work and serve as one united church in Jesus Christ.
We are God’s people, we are in God’s church, and together we are living out God’s purpose. It is not about what we like or don’t like, it is all about God and our salvation in his son Jesus and how that is expressed in how we work and worship together, united as one.