UNITY IN DIVERSITY - The Incarnational Church Part 1

 In "The Incarnational Church", we will explore how it is the Church impacts the World by first being impacted by the Holy Spirit.  Join us in Part 1 as Fr. Michael discusses the Christian concept of fellowship.

Transcription

come up fellowship okay later in the series will be talking about even get on which is a very important aspect of being the church so we're starting this new series called the Incarnation alert what does it mean for is to be the church a lot of times people think of the church as how do we do church and I wanted to think less about what we do and more about being less fun doing and more about being okay and today we're going to be speaking about a very important topic of unity in diversity or diversity immunity and this whole topic could be discussing today is a topic about fellowship it's about community and now all of the other discussions points that were made are good some of them talked about worship something to talk about teaching something talks about evangelism but what I really wanted to think about today is us as a body how do we have unity amongst ourselves with all of our neighbors because truth be told we've got some diversity here amongst us and that's a good thing it hasn't always been seen that way but it is a good thing if we acknowledge that we are the body of Christ and that we have been planted here in Princeton Jersey to be the body of Christ not an organization but the living organism of Jesus Christ himself with Jesus as our head and we as the body that means there are certain attributes that belong to Jesus Christ that must be present amongst us must otherwise we have to question if we're the coming of Christ and there are certain divine attributes that must be present among us in our human divine interaction as the body of Christ the series principle this is a principle we're going to be going through over the next five weeks we're going to be breaking it down a little bit different aspect each of the next five weeks the Incarnation alert which is impacted by Holy Spirit then impacts the world by displaying electrifies the incarnations are impacted and we are impacted by the Holy Spirit we will impact the world by displaying the image of God by displaying the image of Christ the light of Christ himself this is not about us creating programs and evangelism approaches and saying we need to do these five steps make sure that we have better hospitality and better fellowship here this is about the way that we as the church as the body we exist we become if you will with the truth how we are as a people anyone know the official motto of the United States of America three Sega someone decided and God We Trust that's the official bottom okay now up until nineteen fifty-six that was not officially the official motto up until nineteen fifty-six and in one read Latin out of many one okay it's printed on still today you find right here the official motto and this was the official bottom of horn 1956 which basically means out of many one it was important because here in the United States this idea of unity and diversity was a founding principle of this country now what it's become and how it's been manifested is a completely different story about how it originated and it originated out of this Christian concept of diversity which we find in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity the idea of diversity in unity comes for us is the body from our understanding of the Holy Trinity the doctrine of the winter because you have diverse persons three persons eternally distinct from one another well the same time and so this principle that we find in the life of the Holy Trinity has to be a guiding principle for how we as the church we exist as the tran cao me our new church how we become incarnation in a sense for those of you who are married you understand very importantly that the idea of diversity and unity is a must in our marriages the Bible logans but sort of humanity with two very different humans and they were joined together in a union as man and wife and in our own marriages any married people mouse we understand that there's a great deal of diversity some of you are married not married but to a person sitting next to you that didn't raise am so talk about couples counseling next week all right the challenge with marriage in that would be first when when more and I first forget to know each other in the early days and our first months of marriage we were delusional to believe that we were exactly alike and anyone who's ever been in a relationship knows that when they start getting to know person perhaps something in our psyche or tech whatever maybe maybe it's a desire that we have to think that we are exactly alike and everything more more and I couldn't be more different from one another has human beings I mean the only thing that keeps us that that we feel like we are a Lycan is that we are both humans and the rubber missions like that's about it and we love each other with love our kids alright that's about it oh when we first have Mary not realizing the diversity created a bit of problems for us because when you first get married there's a there's a there's a tension that exists in the relationship if we don't understand this principle of unity in diversity that exists the whole internet has some distant marriages and must exist should exist here in our families in terms and that principle says this that the difference is between my wife and I are good and differences are good ok now there are certain differences that are divisive and we'll talk about some of those things ok some differences are divisive but some differences are enriching and one of the challenges at war and i had was trying to figure out what differences are divisive and what differences are information for us and for us as a body of Christ as community we have to go through the same process I figured out what diseases can be divisive and what differences can actually be enriching in Acts chapter 2 will be looking at this passage over the next several weeks I strike to first 4247 firefighters please I love there because there are very important principles that we've been talking about it with the next five weeks in this passage this is on the day of Pentecost saint peter has just reached the serving of his life and he now says and with Minnie it says submit with many other words he testified it exhorting them saying be saved from this perverse generation that those who gladly received his word were baptized and that day about three thousand souls were added and he just preached a great sermon when morsels were added in one day than answers herman calvin christian and that in verse 22 it says and they continued steadfastly in the Apostles doctrine and fellowship which way to talk about today in the breaking of bread and prayers and fear came upon every soul of many wonders and signs were ducting the apostles now all who believed weren't together had all things in common there was fellowship Thompson they came together with each other and they sold their possessions and goods and divided up among all as anyone had me so continuing daily with one Accord the town from breaking bread from house to house they ate their food with gladness and simplicity in part praising God of having favor of all people and the Lord added to the church thing who were being saved when the church is the church people we added after the church when the church's incarnation when we asked the body of Christ without an incarnational representation or manifestation as the body through communing with God and being filled by the Holy Spirit and being transformed by the means of grace and working through this things that we have to work through with it as a people as community what we find your important is that the Lord will add to the church daily those remain same but today what I want to talk about these these five blue highlighted parts we're going to be talking about over the next five weeks and today we'll be talking about fellowship fellowship one of the questions that some people explores can you search be unified and diverse at the same time and I want to ask a different question how can a church survive without unity in diversity how can they survive without both without unity and without papers can we won't be the church without unity and without diversity I really want to frame this concept within our own Coptic Christian history because if you look back at early Coptic history early Christian history mediums you find a great deal of diversity even amongst the churches in Egypt and you found actually at one point we had I think it was it was well into the 20s as far as liturgical practices FEM and a4 is different liturgies amongst different churches now we have three so that that the fallacy is that we weren't united we become more diverse if anything we were more diversity become more you like less Tyler's okay you become less diverse in our own Christian history in our own let me go one step further and branch out within the oriental orthodox family of churches or the way into orthodox church we have a great deal of diversity amongst us as a communion of churches the Armenians Syrians Egyptians Indians Ethiopians great deal of diversity not only liturgically but in our candidates scripture there's a diversity there yo kids have books that we don't have we have books Assyrians on half there's diversity them okay we have different saints we have different people up below to as pillars who established teaching in their readings we have some different practices within the church but we're unified in what we believe so we have some diversity there while having a sense of our series per hour our topic for today it's really about pressure Christian Fellowship it's how we make room for others while at the same time remaining in the room without removing things from the room and I'm going to explain what I keep my office okay okay so you're like what okay let me just let me speak English all right so making room for others this is accepting diapers this is accepting that people that affects you don't probably like exactly as you would have coached and he would approach life ok this is acknowledging that people have different experiences I gotta tell you when I was traveling from America to Egypt was so interesting there was I was in a pre sandwich my row was three priests are not happen but there were three priests and next to me was a priest from Cairo to the other side it's a priest from the site all right and it was so interesting from upper upper egypt and it was just very interesting to see how the tension between these two groups of people exists and those from Cairo and Alexandria disdain those from the village area vice versa and and you think that's insane when we do the same thing we do the same thing here ok you look down the road you say that other topic turkey on the road I'm not even going to get ecumenical on me today okay I'm gonna say the other topic church off-road you say they do things have been funny they knew things different we don't like the way they do okay we need to appreciate a bit of diversity what are the things that came up with the land of immigration His Holiness Pope two others say they're one of the priests stood up and said it is so important all the different that the landscape in the Coptic Church the unity that we have a bug this is not a brawl exactly the same except there is a bit of diversity there now there were all one that we lose some diversity that diversity is what makes us rich what makes us rich it's what allows some people to connect here that wouldn't connect elsewhere and vice versa what invites were so happy we got intractable and as much as y'all love this church okay I'm y'all feel at home this church not everyone does and that's okay that's good because they may feel more at home elsewhere and that is perfectly fine we need to make room for one another as the church and importantly here pencil we need to make room for one another and understand that different people have different different people have come from different religious traditions some people come from non religious traditions and they're still working out working through whatever it is that they're working through and try to make sense of where they're coming from and where they're going some of us have gone through quite a bit of difficulty in our lives some of us have been fed with a silver spoon there needs to be room for all of us in the month that diversity that diversity is important and not just make room and accept it we need to celebrate encourage them because the body is the place for people to you I'm not saying that we just accept sin or something that's wrong we need to accept people from where they're coming so that they can continue to work through and we're growing towards perfection from Florida Gordon it's a journey not a destination folks okay so we need to make room for each other while remaining in the room this is important this is unity a lot of times we say you know I will make through all this or else we're going to talk up before someone were like them you can have my spot I body and big part of Christian Fellowship is that there's a convenient unity there's a commitment that we are not just going to make room for each other but we're also committed to being classes on platinum to learning from one another to learning and we do this without removing things from the room without doing something furniture as a whole person cited from the room and what I mean it about this is that we have unity diversity community without compromising truth compromising there are some things that I know second question when you get to but there are some things there are some things that are not emotional there are some things that are not in okay there are certain things that we can't compromise true there are some things that we look historically this is historical Christianity and we simply can't compromise in these areas one of my favorite quotes by saying obviously in the essentials unity and the non-essential diversity and an all things travel there are essentials that we cannot compromise truth and so we want to make room while remaining in the room and without removing things from let me tell you a couple things that unity is not unity is not uniform unity is not all of us being exactly the same looking the same acting the same serving the same talking the same ok first 15th chapter 12 says there are diverse cities of gifts but the same spirit there are differences the Ministry of the same Lord and in first clumps keeping down as far as the body is one as many members that the members of the one body being many are one body so also is Christ diversity immunity and the second century Saint rnase articulated this point very profoundly there was a heated discussion concerning the date of Easter and for all those people were saying we have to have Easter one day with everyone in the whole world that wasn't the case in the early church and I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't work towards that but what I'm suggesting a sitting area has said something very profound yer says the difference in practice actually confirms the unity in your faith the difference in practice so when we look and I would just have this conversation last night with a friend we're talking about how in my own journey one of the things that really helped me out when I came back to Christ and came back to the faith is what I look at the Eastern Orthodox who we have been in a 1500 year break up with them and the oriental Orthodox churches and I look at the diversity and practices that were there although there's a unity and morally more closely toward the unity for me that diversity confirmed confirm the union fit it said to me that even though the approach things have been different that there's human either and we're working more towards that we're not fully there yet we got a some stuff to work through it's been fifteen hundred years people are like what's the hang-up my guys it's been fifteen hundred years 59 years like I want your imagine you've been fighting with your spouse for like years years and then you start on a couples counseling for like two weeks here likewise everything that things unity is not just simply coexisting it's not simply coexisting Galatians chapter 2 e st. Paul challenges Peter same theater says now and even come to Antioch I was stood into his face because you must he be blamed for before certain men came from James he would eat with the Gentile but when they you and drew and separate himself freeing those who were of the circumcision so he said I will coexist I will know exists with the Gentiles but at the compromise of one of you it wasn't just looking say Paul said listen we can't just coexist you can't just be present with one another okay unity is not coexisting without a sense of intimacy and to your point are there being present deaf community were present but it prevents us from having a true sense of intimacy prevents us from having a true sense of incidence and that was something that same ol said listen we cannot just close this weekend just be present employment we need to work toward we need to work I year ago I was invited to speak Adam Adam angels and companies that'll evangelist me and one of the participants there said and I'm giving him a bit of room because they they were ESL English second language and they said we'd love to have the Americans in the church and I look to them I said you know they're it's not churches and a petting zoo like you know what I have them because we feel good about ourselves we love to have it like as if they're a separate class and I said you know one of the things you got to understand is having someone in the church in the building is not the same as having them in the body having them in the body means that we have fellowship of one which means that you invited into your home which means they could invite with your family now this person realized and I challenged him a bit more than just that on some really difficult cultural prejudices that they were spaced on so it's not about having the building codes it's about us getting them into the body and about us being in the body with one another not just kidding them present but getting into one another's lives as the life Acts chapter 15 Acts chapter 15 there was a huge conflict that took place says in certain men certain men came down from today up and taught the Brethren unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses you cannot be saved therefore when Paul Martinez had no small dissension dispute with them they turned to determine the palme Artemis and certain others should go to Jerusalem to the Apostles and elders about this question there was a conflict about something that they fundamentally disagreed upon teaching wise dr. mice and and in verse 6 it says now the Apostles and elders came together to consider this matter unity is not just ignoring differences and sweeping it under the rug hey unit is not a segment we're all the same let's just ignore pretend like there are no differences and everything is good everything is fine between us back in 2010 I was part of an ecumenical group and the password was leading it from a Presbyterian Church he says to me and the whole group there was Catholics and Orthodox evangelicals Baptists reformed like it was a mortgage boring of Christians and he stand up he said let's just all agree that we all pretty much agree and our differences are not that important and I was like sorry to be a party for here babu's but let's agree that we're working towards common goal but let's have it that's not what's up belittle our differences let's not ignore the differences that we have amongst ourselves because if we ignore the differences I'll be honest what happens in a lot of marriages a lot of marriages people just ignore the differences and then over time they continue to grow further further further apart they pretend like those differences aren't they're ignored they never talk to that Network and never in contention there is present I know what I'm saying make some y'all comfortable especially on top of marriage relationships this is your life this is where our faith is into our division I believe happens when we get tired when we get tired first Corinthians chapter 12 chapter 1 there was a division if you know anything about it was a there was all kinds of fights going on and crim you want to see a church that is divided you read verse 20 people were fighting all the time people would get tried in verse 12 it says now I say this that each of you says I'm appalled I'm of Apollo's I'm of Cephas which is saying dinner and I'm of Christ is Christ divided was Paul crucified for you or you baptized in the name of Polly he says there are groups forming up round and what we find here is there are four groups performing in Grimm the first group was the group that followed Paul these are the founders hey they won't fall off as he was the founder he was the one who established the church they had boiled into him hey these are the people who are like the Mafia hey the founder it's like undying loyalty no matter what the second group was group that followed Apollo and Apollo's was a young charismatic teacher he had a charisma hey the scripture tells us that he was an eloquent man who smoke and so there was another group one follows the person another Falls is grand personality third group was the group that followed see this war catering and he was a fisherman so you had a group of people that followed him he was there was class division he was part of the working class and so you have a blue-collar workers following him and finally you have the people that says out of Christ and he st. Paul even said that those of you who say I'm of Christ if you will there is a false sense of piety uttermost these are the people that said you other people can listen to everyone we've got the body burned the commentaries burn the books we'll figure it out our own it was a false sense pipe we will figure it out hey we will do whatever we are taught to do and all of these and I heard the word man-made rules amongst a couple of discussion groups hey forget about all of man-made rules where price will figure it out on our home hey so you have things for different groups forming and st. Paul says since winning since when is the the body of Christ divided who was crucified for you he wasn't ignoring the importance of his teachers at the same time diversity needs to be diversity needs to be okay we need to understand a couple things the number one is division should not be confused division should not be confused endeavors let me say that again vision should not be confused with diversity division within the Christian body is not a good thing it's not a good thing on any love okay division is not good diversity within the family and riches diversity and riches I think the division that we have in Christianity it's heartbreaking let's forgive me folks 30,000 denominations not neighbors that's the vision it's division diversity we would look and see diversity within our own family of Orthodox beautiful better richer that's possible that's a good view that's good we want to encourage that diversity and actually His Holiness technology during our meeting in Egypt yep he said you know we need to focus on the english-speaking world because your needs are different than our needs in Egypt and your needs an English thinking woman's different needs and their Spanish people who move on South America Central America net and your order has a different sentence there is different needs there there's diversity need element X 13 to just plug through these last couple slides Acts chapter 13 you have here quite a bit of diversity in and got Barnabas Indian whose home I'd her Lucia society Mannion we've been brought over here protect our missile so you have five different people who are present Barnabas is a wealthy he's a wealthy Jewish life Simeon is a black African proselyte to Judaism you have Lucius protect rival Roman from North Africa you have many of the Hellenized Jewish aristocratic of salt Bruce of Tarsus orange erase lenders you are diversity antioch is a image of multiculturalism and diversity in the early church for those who say that there was not diversity there or trust either puns antioch is an imaging beautiful image of multiculturalism and diversity while maintaining unity in the first century you have cultural ethnic and wealth diversity listed up there in addition I'm sure there's generational diversity there's gender diversity of males and females and you have religious diversity you have Simeon who is not Jewish as you have some diversity you have diversity on six different levels within the Church of Antioch in our own marriages we don't marry mirror images of ourselves no we don't marry people who look at exactly like us that diversity in our marriages and our marriages actually contribute contribute to the work of your family let me wrap up here with our fault of the United in crisis are called the United invites there's an emphasis of unity that comes from belong to the family in town there's an emphasis of unity for us when we are part of the family of God there's an emphasis of unity effusions chapter 2 tells us that when you were strangers you are no more strangers and foreigners but fellow citizens with the Saints and of the house of love that we are called as the family of God to live in a certain way i'm going to give you four quick characteristics of the family of God number one is that we live with a Christian carry our lifestyle having a Christian character and as Ephesians 4 tells us up here verse to that we live with all lowliness and gentleness with long-suffering bearing with one another month one of the essential aspects that will contribute to unity is having fishing trip a spirit of humility of unstitch sense of meetings we start off every morning the fa a-- the first hour with this passenger Fijians chapter the first six persons number two is that there is an extreme pursuit of unity he tells us in verse 3 says endeavor to keep the unity of spirit of the bottom freeze is if you need to try hard to keep United so number one Christian character number two extreme pursuit towards unity number three is being committed in your belief being committed if your belief our belief when it's United actually nicest verse 4 says there is one body once we're just a group called one hope you're calling one more one faith one baptism okay not all differences can be held together we have already touched on that just a bit some differences really do divide between us and number four and finally as I believe that our family your easy captain characteristic of it relationship where we experience diversity with a pursuit verse 6 against has one more one faith one baptism one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and any more unity through relationship to others comes from our relationship to the world we've got number one Christian character number to an extreme pursuit of unity number three is a number important is that we model a Trinitarian relationship