Each Pastor’s or Leader’s Role In Bringing About Unity and Peace in the Church and the World

It seems to me Jesus knows that Christian unity is essential for non-Christians to believe in Him and for believers to maintain their faith (vss. 20-21). Here we are quibbling over what is and is not acceptable in the delivery of that Gospel, when the intended recipients will not be able to recognize or take the Message seriously from a divided Church, anyway. Because unity among Christians and the love of God it reflects is crucially important to Christ (John 17) I know He will ask me: What did you do to unite rather than divide; to make peace rather than promote conflict; to show and encourage love for one another rather than foster or cause enmity? This blog will form part of my answer. What about you?

Closely related to the need for unity is the need for peace. Therefore I believe that in bringing the Gospel to the world we need to consider the condition of the readiness of the hearts of unbelievers to receive it. So I have embarked on a Good Soil ministry to encourage the teaching of inner peace to everyone so the Seed of the Gospel will have a much greater chance of landing on good soil. In making my pitch I do vary both the semantic and symbolic language of the message in order to be appealing to various target audiences. This project can easily co-exist with any other Christian Ministry. It is good even for believers. Don’t you think so? For indeed peace between God and man is the reason for Christ’s presence on earth. This makes the condition of a peaceful world a divine desire beyond which reconciliation with Him is His primary Goal. I have learned that sustainable peace between self and another starts with peace inside oneself. In other words in order to understand the power of peace one needs to have inner peace. I believe the enablement of peace of mind is what Jesus intended for His disciples in the Upper Room, to help them cope with the events of His Crucifixion, which John the Evangelist reports as follows:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

We believers know people need the Peace of Christ in them in order to be able to overcome. They also need to know of what inner peace consists, to give them a familiarity that will enable a natural acceptance of Christ’s Peace. Please join me and encourage others to join in to ensure peace within and therefore among individuals, from which world peace will result. This is a worthy and uniting project that frees our faith from the winless and self-damaging feud that only gives Satan more power to divide the Church more. Do not listen to the Devil when he tells you: “Those preachers are only after their own prosperity”. He is lying. To those who are convinced there cannot be anything wrong with unscrupulous pursuit of material prosperity you too should not listen to Satan telling you: “They are just jealous. Look how God is blessing you”. He is lying to you too! He’s always been a convincing liar out to destroy. Have the mindset that bringing people to Christ and holding on to them is the Mission of God. Satan cannot survive in a heart that’s at peace with itself and has the Peace of Christ. Such a person fulfils God’s desire for everyone in His world. The more teachers and self-teachers of peace the wider the net of peacefulness will spread around the world. Let’s ALL work to defeat Satan. He has many ways of disrupting the peace of individuals and that of the Church. One way is by enticing Christian people to stay troubled. Somehow he lies to us that we must or need to be anxious, depressed, angry, ashamed, discontented and worried etc. Through this means alone of ensuring we stay unhappy, unfulfilled and/or deficient he has put us in a frame of mind that can lead to a variety of potentially harming choices that would contribute to blocking or eroding our trust in God or to shift us from a previously secure faith. By keeping us occupied or preoccupied with these troubles our attention will not be on God favorably and we will be unable to fully appreciate His Caring and Love. And so he tries to damage our relationship with the Father. With non-Christians it is easier. Satan just tells them how foolish or unintelligent it is to believe in a God Who causes events and situations that can bring so much misery  – all lies, of course. In desperation for a quick and easy exit or relief from the mental pain or with a need for “something”, people readily become available for more of Satan’s deceit. Therefore it behooves Christian leaders to address the mental-emotional needs of both believers and non-believers as a priority in the Gospel Message.  It seems to me that for peace of mind, people need to hear, perhaps with updated lyrics:

1| Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you;
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.

Refrain:
God will take care of you,
Through every day, o’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

2| Through days of toil when heart doth fail,
God will take care of you;
When dangers fierce your path assail,
God will take care of you.

3| All you may need He will provide,
God will take care of you;
Nothing you ask will be denied,
God will take care of you.

4| No matter what may be the test,
God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast,
God will take care of you.

And what about?

1| What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

2| Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful, who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

3| Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.

For a modern day message of acknowledgement:

Bigger than all my problems, bigger than all my fears,
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see
Bigger than all my questions, Bigger than anything
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see

Bigger than all the shadows that fall across my path
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see
Bigger than my confusion, Bigger than anything
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see

Bigger than all my problems, Bigger than all my fears
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see
Bigger than all my questions, Bigger than anything
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see

Bigger than all the giants of fear and unbelief
God is bigger than any mountain I can or cannot see
Bigger than all my hang-ups, Bigger than anything
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see

Bigger than all my problems, Bigger than all my fears
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see
Bigger than all my questions, Bigger than anything
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see

Bigger than all my problems, Bigger than all my fears
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see
Bigger than all my questions, Bigger than anything
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see
God is bigger than any mountain that I can or cannot see
These are all within the Gospel Message the Church is called to preach. Their message does not negate the equally authentic theology in a hymn like:

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow’r?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Refrain:
Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
Oh, be washed in the blood of the Lamb!

All of these songs have biblical bases that need to be taught to believers and to the world to bolster their inner peace within the context of Christianity. The Church cannot shirk the responsibility of using whatever instrument or method will be effective in making the Gospel attractive. In this discussion I hope it is not stretching the point Paul makes about doing what it takes to add and keep believers when he says:

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

The following table presents an example to explain the approach I am suggesting of assembling programs and topics to inclusively teach both Christians and non-Christians. It is one instance of teaching the acquisition of peace of mind using parallel and mutually complimentary non-biblical and biblical material, in this case from Philippians 4:

WAYS TO HAVE INNER PEACE

Christians – Philippians 4 Everyone Notes
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (vs. 4) Put joy, happiness and gladness into action in your life; make sure you are … Paul’s emphasis seems to give the instruction a requisite quality. Some ways of doing so would be different between a Christian and non-Christian but the goal is the same. Science also provides guidance.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. (vs. 5) Be moderate and reasonable in everything you do in every situation.
The Lord is near. (vs. 5) Unbelievers have no tangible, motivating goal Christians need to demonstrate that Eternal life is worth the pursuit of these qualities.
Do not be anxious about anything, (vs. 6) Disallow anxiety Christian teachers need to learn how to be competent in this area with extra-biblical language and techniques. Scientific facts are not anti-Christian. From scientific findings we learn and apply actions that reduce heightened blood pressure and panic attacks. Why would we not do the same with anxiety? The passage however tells Christians what else or first to do.
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (vs. 6) An attitude of gratitude is important in gaining peace of mind Christians have a Source from which to receive inner peace in all areas of life.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (vs. 7) No non-Christian counterpart Christians have a promise from God of how their inner peace will result
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (vs. 8) Allow only positive, enriching thoughts in your mind It is the same message to both groups, though some of the constituent elements would be different
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice (vs. 9) Observe, learn and practice self-improving behaviors from others who are successful in them
And the God of peace will be with you. (vs. 9) Be diligent and tireless in the effort to acquire and maintain peace of mind Christians can always depend on the Inventor of inner peace for guidance
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (vs. 11) Learning contentment is essential for keeping inner peace
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (vs. 12) Exercising contentment is a skill to be learned The passage gives guidance to Christians as to general areas in which to apply contentment. These and more may be used as teaching points to both groups. It is a “secret” ability worth discovering.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (vs. 13) Non-Christians have to do it on their own. Wouldn’t it be easier to have a supernatural power to help? Therefore Christians need to be guided to prove that their faith enables them in a way non-faith cannot.
I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (vss. 18-19) Acknowledge everything received with gratitude and with specific praise when warranted
To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(vs. 20)

Christians have an Ultimate Reason to work hard at everything productive

The factors that deny people their peace are not exclusively spiritual but also material and ultimately psychological; for it is in the operation of the mind that the perception of inner peace resides. Not paying attention to all potential sources of mental-emotional disruption diminishes the chances of attracting new believers and holding on to them. Our God has the ability and power to supply everyone’s needs. For Christians however, as we know, it doesn’t stop there. We have a relationship that gives us a special place with Him and guarantees we can always depend on Him for all our needs. Outside of this relationship only His Largesse or Purpose will bring benefits to others. Indeed individually our inner peace and collectively peace in the world is critically important to Him as the context intended for His Gospel to spread. In James, the Lord describes negative emotional displays as “moral filth” that obstructs our achieving God’s moral standard and therefore urges everyone to get rid of them. Listen:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:19-21).

The task of cultivating emotional control and peace is far more urgent and defensible for Christians to engage in than our going after each other. Therefore we need to see unity and peace, its prerequisite, as presenting a divine obligation every Christian must seriously work to achieve. So let’s all together get going already! Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you and me with everything good for doing His Will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Leave a Reply