This is my final sermon focusing on the unity of the church. I have been focusing on core beliefs that unite us as followers of Christ. Christians are united at the core. The Nicene Creed says:
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.
In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Church has always been united in the belief that the Holy Spirit is God.
- God is three persons.
- Each person is fully God.
- There is one God.
We believe in “one what, three who’s.”
We could say that God the Father is fully God, but not all there is to God. God the Son, Jesus, is fully God, but not all there is to God. God the Holy Spirit is fully God, but not all there is to God.”
God the Father planned and directed creation and redemption through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Father and Son work together like a Father and Son on earth.
Let’s read Romans 8:9:
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
- Christians are not alone, we have the Holy Spirit.
- What I think is so cool about this is that all of the denominations and all of the Christian groups and every Christians on this planet has the same Holy Spirit.
- I have taught on the Holy Spirit before, so I am not preaching about the Holy Spirit much today, but more about unity in the Spirit.
- We are one in the Spirit and we are one with a common mission.
- Matthew 28:19-20: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- We have the same mission.
- We have the same Holy Spirit.
- Jesus is with us.
- Jesus told us all, the Universal Church to make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- Wrap it up:
- 4:4-6: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
- The Church is not about a denomination, it is about Jesus.
- The church is not about anyone local church, but the church is universal made up of all the churches across the world.
- The church is about a movement and you are part of the movement. The movement is to the great commission. We are united in this movement. There were 96 denominations represented in the seminary I attended, I think that is great. Let’s work together.
- I am sure there are many denominations that support the Gideons and the Gideons continue the mission of the church. I have attended dinners for the Gideons and I have seen Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists, Mennonites, evangelical Friends among other denominations represented.
- I led youth mission trips with a group called: “AIM” which stand for “Adventures in Missions” and you know it was not about a denomination, but about a mission. I led a youth mission trip through a group called “Praying Pelican” as well as “Team Effort” and it was not about a denomination, but about a mission. Our own denomination, the American Baptist Churches of Ohio has endorsed Dare2Share as a youth retreat. It is an amazing youth retreat, but many denominations and non-denominational churches support it.
- Alliance Mission Encounter is another time churches come together for the mission. We have workers from the Baptist, the Evangelical Friends, the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Christian Church, the non-denominational churches and others.
- Habitat for humanity is another ministry supported by many denominations.
- Church Women United has involvement from many churches and denominations.
- Judson University is an American Baptist University and when their choir was here, I asked them some questions. You know that many of them were not from American Baptist Churches. That is fine. It is wonderful if they are from American Baptist Churches, but it is just as wonderful when they are not. We are united as a universal church.
- Listen, the non-believers of this world need to see the church as one. To the non-believers they do not want to be a part of us because they see us so divided. Let’s show them unity. Praise God that we are showing them unity with the Mission Encounter.
- When I served in Cincinnati a group of planned a 5k walk/run to raise money for an interfaith food and clothing shelter. I led an interfaith council which supported the food and clothing shelter. These are things that Christians can come together with non-Christian groups as well. If we can come together with non-Christian groups we can come together with Christians who have different convictions for sure.
- Let’s worship together with other Baptists, but also: Pentecostals, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans and Catholics.
- Let’s find where we can come together and come together.
- Can we all support the food pantry?
- Can we all serve in homeless shelters?
- Can we come together for Lenten lunches?
- Can we come together for special services?
- Can we pray together?
- Can we share the Gospel together?
- What if church women united formed a support group to help with funeral dinners at different churches? How better to show our oneness then when someone is dealing with a loss?
- Over the last several weeks I have shown core beliefs we agree upon: We agree that the Bible is the Word of God, we agree the that the universal church is important, we agree the Jesus is the only way to Heaven, we agree in the Holy Trinity. What binds us together is stronger than what drives us apart.
Jesus prayed that we will be one: John 17:20-21: “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.
Let’s be one where we can.
In essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.
Let’s be one.
Do you know Christ?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
 Elliot Ritzema, “Nicene Creed,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
 Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 239.