ONE BODY IN CHRIST?
- World Christian Encyclopedia in 1982 estimated almost 21,000 denominations. In 2001 it estimated at least 33,000.
- The Center for the Study of Global Christianity in 2000 estimated 34,000 denominations and 43,000 in 2012.
ARE WE REALLY THIS DIVIDED?
- The word “denominations” above is defined in terms of being separate organizations, not necessarily separate beliefs. This is a major distinction that those critical of Christianity fail to point out. When studying the source of the statistics above it is clear the intent is to present an image of Christianity as hugely divided.
The truth is still bad…
- Christian denominations can be divided into “6 major mega-blocs”: Independents, Protestants, “Marginals”, Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
- Out of those 6 there are about 40 major divisions.
The Tie that binds the unseen church (1 Cor 12-15)
We Christians have made a mess of Christ’s admonishment to be one in him. With that in mind lets focus on something positive…the blessings of being in Christ.
There is a tie that binds us together both to those in our local church and to people in all walks of life, in every country and yes, even in different denominations! That tie is Christ and the binding is our faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus on the cross.
The wonderfull blessings that come from our fellowship IN CHRIST is expressed very well through the verses of the hymn..
Blest Be the Tie That Binds
FIRST VERSE- “BLEST BE THE TIE THAT BINDS OUR HEARTS IN CHRISTIAN LOVE”…
Consider first what the tie that binds is NOT. It is not like earthly ties such as Friendship, Family and work ties. Sadly, such ties can be broken.
Consider then what the tie that binds IS. (Co 3:14, 1 Jn 4:7-11, 1 Jn 3:16, Jn 13:34-35) — The tie involves love that is uniquely Christian; patterned after Christ’s love
“THE FELLOWSHIP OF KINDRED MINDS IS LIKE TO THAT ABOVE”…(Jn 17:20-23, Ph 2:2, 1 Co 1:10) — The tie seeks to emulate the unity between the Father and the Son
SECOND VERSE- “BEFORE OUR FATHER’S THRONE WE POUR OUR ARDENT PRAYERS”…
We are blessed to be able to approach God in prayer( He 4:14-16a, He 4:16b; Ph 4:6-7)
This song depicts frequent and fervent prayer (Jm 5:16; Ac 12:5, Ac 1:14; 2:42; 12:12) — Such prayer is a benefit of the tie that binds, and also strengthens that tie
“OUR FEARS, OUR HOPES, OUR AIMS ARE ONE, OUR COMFORTS AND OUR CARES”…
We have similar concerns and desires (1Pe 1:3)
We share in the struggles against temptation and persecution – 1Pe 5:8-9 2Pe 1:2-3
We have exceedingly great and precious promises – cf. 2Pe 1:4
— Our shared experiences, enhanced by our spiritual blessings, strengthen our tie.
[The next verse focuses on mutual problems we sometimes face…]
THIRD VERSE- “WE SHARE OUR MUTUAL WOES, OUR MUTUAL BURDENS BEAR”…
As Christians, we are to bear one another’s burdens – Ga 6:1-2
In times of spiritual weakness, we are to pray for one another – Jm 5:16
In times of persecution, we are to remember one another – He 13:3
In times of physical need, we are to provide for one another – Jm 1:27
— Manifested in such ways, the tie we have in Christ is truly a blessing
“AND OFTEN FOR EACH OTHER FLOWS THE SYMPATHIZING TEAR”…
Because that is how God composed the body of Christ! – 1 Co 12:24b-26
That we might weep with those who weep – Ro 12:15
— An emotional but effective demonstration of the bond we share
[The final verse describes the impact of the tie that binds, when it comes time to separate, even temporarily…]
FOURTH VERSE- “WHEN WE ASUNDER PART, IT GIVE US INWARD PAIN”…
The tie is such that departure can be painful
Note the example of Paul and the Ephesian elders – Ac 20:36-38
— Never experience such pain? Perhaps one might need to examine their tie
“BUT WE SHALL BE JOINED IN HEART, AND HOPE TO MEET AGAIN”…
We might be separated in the flesh, but can remain together in spirit – Co2:5
We are comforted by a wonderful- The hope of the resurrection – 1 Th 4:13-18Made possible by the resurrection of Christ, and our faith in Him – 1Pe 1:3-5
— It is this hope which keeps our hearts joined together, when all other bonds fail
“Blest Be The Tie” A great song of our fellowship in Christ that describes the blessings of our oneness in Christ. It expresses how many Christians truly feel for one another. The blessings described are known only by those who have been added by Christ to His church – cf. Ac 2:41 Who are diligent in preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace – cf. Ep 4:1-3.Have you been added to the Lord’s church through obedience to the gospel (cf. Ac 2:38)?
Are you doing your part to strengthen the tie that binds those in Christ?
“Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”(Co 3:14, NASB)