According to Christianity Today magazine, of the 6.3 billion people in the world today, about 33% are professing Christians. They belong to nearly 38,000 different church groups. These denominations are based on geography, ethnicity, culture, doctrine, education, economics, and how they believe they should run the church. Certain divisions may be inevitable, but none should foster the fracture of the body of Christ. Christ died to bring His people together. Within a local church, splits often begin when one person or group thinks it is better than others. In almost every New Testament epistle, the writer devotes extensive space to urging God’s people to live together in harmony. Romans 15 is just one example. The Apostle Paul writes, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good. Accept one another just as Christ has accepted you in order to bring praise to God.” Paul echoes what Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” That love must extend, not only to those who are like us, but to those who may be unlike us in our culture, ethnicity, or economic class. The way we show love can make a profound difference in our church, our family, our community, and our world.
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