Union of two churches, unity within the church

I would like to congratulate First Baptist Church and Temple Baptist Church in their successful merger – coming together as one church.

I also commend them on their name choice: Unity Baptist Church. I know the union of the two churches has been a goal for some time by their minister, Robert Weaver.
Jesus stresses (in what has become to be known as the “High Priestly Prayer” recorded in John 17) that his followers “be one” – that all who take the name Christian be united.  
In Verse 11 (NIV), Jesus said, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
Jesus is just hours away from his arrest, trial and crucifixion. What does He pray for? He prays for his disciples, that they remain united!
He’s moments away from being beaten mercilessly and being subjected to the horrible suffering on the cross. But
Jesus doesn’t pray for himself – he doesn’t even pray that the disciples will stand by his side during His torment! He prays for UNITY within the church!
In Verses 20 and 21, Jesus then prays for all believers, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Jesus knew the result of division from within the body. He knew that the world would closely scrutinize the actions of his followers. How can we (the body of Christ) preach to others to become one in Christ if we aren’t? How can we expect others to come to know God’s love if they don’t see it in us?
I think one of the greatest things I enjoy about our Ministerial Alliance here in Vandalia is the sense of unity we have. Those who are members of the alliance are of one mind and one purpose: reaching others for Christ! Because: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” (Luke 11:17 NIV)
Those who are familiar with the Old Testament book of Job know of the trials and tribulations that Job endured. During his suffering, Job informed those who attempted to give him wrong counsel, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25 NIV)
Job knew and completely trusted God, that in the end he would be vindicated! And reading the last chapter of Job, we know he was correct. God blessed Job for his faith.
In Verse 10 we read, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
It’s interesting when we read that Job names his three daughters – not his sons! That tells us there must be something important in the names given to them. “The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.” (Job 42:14 NIV)
• Jemimah – New day.
• Keziah – A sweet fragrance.
• Keren-Happuch – A substance used to make eye makeup that enhanced beauty.
Job stood strong in the face of intense persecution and suffering. For his faith, he was rewarded with a “new day filled with the sweetness and enhanced beauty of God’s blessings!”
We just celebrated the day of Jesus’ resurrection. Interestingly, it was women who were the first to discover Jesus had risen from the grave! They were the first to discover it was a “new day.” Upon going to the tomb, they were not confronted by the smell of death, but with the “sweet fragrance of life” and “enhanced by the beauty” of a living Jesus!
I will pray for Unity Baptist Church – I will pray that they will continue in their effort to be united into ONE body. I also will pray that ALL Christians serve Christ in the spirit of “unity!”  Jesus is alive – and He is coming back to claim HIS church!

Rev. Carl Rhodes Northside Christian Church

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