This sermon series will advocate for the unity of the church while cherishing and respecting present diversity. How can we disagree with people in the church universal without labelling them as people who “obviously don’t take the bible very seriously”. Are denominations a healthy expression of diversity, or an embarrassing sign of the church’s lack of unity? In order to “keep the peace” do we need to be less passionate about our stance on particular issues? Throughout this series, we will be advocating, what some people call, a “third-way approach”: to encourage holding passionately to our interpretations of Scripture, AND keep unity with those we disagree, by nurturing a gracious spaciousness.
JUNE 15, 2014
ON NOT TURNING AWAY FROM SIN
Text: 1 John 1:5-10; Matthew 18:15-17
One of the few occasions for legitimate breaking up of Christian fellowship is when an individual clings to his/her sin, with an unrepentant, rebellious heart - despite the best concerted efforts of the church to have the individual see his/her wrong-doing. The issue here is not the sin itself, but the refusal to acknowledge it as sin. The church is called to journey together in such a way that we together ‘grow up in Christ’. It can get complicated: sometimes we must distinguish between a ‘rebellious heart’ and ‘the person has read Scripture and has come to a different conclusion’. In the case of the latter, we do not break fellowship.
JUNE 8, 2014
A COMMON BODY FOR A COMMON GOOD
Text: 1 Corinthians 12: 1-18
On this Pentecost we celebrate that the Holy Spirit empowers people with gifts for the purpose of the common good. Focusing on this purpose will help us to both cherish the diversity of the gifts (rather than be threatened by gifts we do not have), and also celebrate the unity of the church (realizing that all these gifts come from the same Lord).
JUNE 1, 2014
ON NOT TURNING TO A DIFFERENT GOSPEL
Text: Galatians 1:1-10
As we continue our series stressing the unity of the church, and creating generous spaciousness for disagreements within the church, we need to identify several non-negotiables, in the interest in maintaining a focused unity. One of these “non-negotiables” is receiving the gospel which the apostles preached.
MAY 25, 2014
ON DENYING CHRIST
Text: 1 John 2
As we continue our series stressing the unity of the church, and creating generous spaciousness for disagreements within the church, we need to identify several non-negotiables, in the interest in maintaining a focused unity. One of these “non-negotiables” is worshipping Christ, as he has been revealed to us by the apostles.
MAY 18, 2014
GOD CHOOSES SUFFERING OVER FORCE
Text: Matthew 17:1-13
Sermon description: God is not a God of violence who forces his kingdom upon people, but rather endures suffering in the hopes of people embracing his kingdom freely. As his children, those in his image, we must also choose to suffer – to consider ourselves less, the servant of others, desiring that they too may embrace the way of God in the world.
MAY 11, 2014
THE WITNESS OF THE DISAGREEING CHURCH
Text: John 17:20-26
Jesus prays to the Father for the unity of the church, and assumes that if the church has unity, then the world will know God’s love. And yet the church - in all her denominations and disagreements - can communicate to the world an inner hostility that detracts them from God. How is the church to move forward in the midst of current disagreements?