|Volume 19 Number 10 October 2017||
Mark T. Tonkery
Thomas Carlyle said, “Ten men banded together in love and unity can do what ten thousand separately would fail to do.” This quote points out that there is strength in unity. Jesus said in Matthew 12:25, “…Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” These two quotes are very applicable for the church of Christ today. The Church is faced with many trials from Satan (e.g., individualism, sexual immorality, the questioning of absolute truth and the lack of trusting God’s Word). This is why it is so important that we stand together and unite as one body in Christ (Ephesians 4:3-6).
Christians in the New Testament based their unity upon Jesus Christ and His teachings. This is how Christians showed the world that they were one. It is just as important today as it was in the first century for Christians to show their unity with one another in Christ. Also, it is important that we base our unity upon Jesus Christ and His teachings.
Someone may ask, “How do I help show unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ?” The answer to this question is the same way that the Christians in the Bible showed unity. First, we must assemble together in worship (Acts 2; 20:7; Hebrews 10:25). Second, we must continue in the teachings of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:20; Acts 2:42; 17:11). Third, we unite together in taking the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34). Fourth, we must fellowship together, spend time together and get to know each other (Acts 2:42; 1 John 1:7). Fifth, we as Christians must pray together (Acts 2:42; 4:24). Sixth, we must give to those in need (Acts 2:45; 4:34; 6:1-6). Seventh, we must unite in vocal song and praise to our Lord and King (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 5:19-20). Eighth, we must love one another, always seeking out the best for one another (Acts 2:46-47; Romans 12:9-10). Last, we must remind each other and tell the lost about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:42; Mark 16:15). With Jesus as our Lord and the Bible as our guide, together, we can stand against the world and Satan.
Ernest S. Underwood
To say the least, Habakkuk was frustrated with what he thought was God’s indifference to the problems of his day. In his cry, he said:
O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds. (Habakkuk 1:2-4)
Rather than being angry with this prophet, God went into some detail to explain some of the things that were unknown to him. In fact, the Lord told him to “Look among the nations and watch; Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs…” (Vs. 5-6).
God continued to show the prophet the strength and fierceness of the Chaldeans. The prophet then seemed to complain about such harsh judgment, but finally stated, “I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected.”
I emphatically believe that God’s providential hand was present in the founding of this great nation—the United States of America. Its greatness can only be accounted for by accepting the fact that God has abundantly blessed it. Yet, then, much like Habakkuk, when things are not going as they we think they ought, we begin to think that God has forsaken us, and maybe He has. However, if we truly trust in God, believing that He is actually in charge of His universe, we might well determine to quit trying to “second guess” Him and His sovereignty. Either He is in charge, or the forces of evil are in charge and He is powerless to change it. Who is he or she that truly believes in God who will take such a position?
Much like Habakkuk, we are able to recognize the immense evil in our world and in our country, evil that is magnified in the lives and actions of those who are in political power, and those who support such powers. It is quite evident that most of those in the entertainment industry, those in government, most of the media and many in some religious circles are deeply engaged in immorality, dishonesty, fraud and total rebellion and denial of the Almighty God and His Word. It seems that every day we learn of many more barbaric acts of those of the Islamic religion. We are exposed by those in power to such things as “gay pride month” and something they call “same-sex marriage.” Our unborn babies are being murdered with the approval of the government, and a preteen girl can buy pregnancy prevention pills without her parent’s consent, while other children can be sent home from school for respecting the flag or bowing their heads in silent prayer.
Like those souls under the altar, those who had been beheaded for the cause of Christ, we sometimes want to cry, “How long O Lord.” Many may have thoughts of personal vengeance against the evildoers of our day. However, God still says, “Vengeance is Mine.” Maybe it would be best for all of us to adopt the attitude of Habakkuk and go “sit on the fencepost” and watch and see what God does. After all, He may be working a work in our time that will be hard for us to believe it even when we see it.