As Seventh-day Adventists, we are Christians who believe that Jesus the Christ came down to exchange His innocent life for our salvation. God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us so that we all might be able to join with Him in heaven after He comes back for us. The main mission of the church and the body of Christ is to spread the gospel to the entire world by teaching and baptizing them, joining them to the body of Christ. If we are not unified as one body in Christ with the same mission and perspectives, separation and disunity are inevitable. There is absolutely One (Jesus) for all . . . but are we all for one?
Who are we to feel that we deserve to be served?
Christ, the Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23–27)
First and foremost, if Christ is not the head of any and every mission of the church and body of Christ, then the mission is being done wrong. Efforts being made in His name but carried out for personal agendas are where the disunity begins. In Ephesians 5:23–27, we read of the roles of Christ and His church as compared to those of a husband and his wife. The Bible says that just as the church submits to the Lord as He is the Head, wives must submit to their husbands as the head. In reality, many people don’t like to hear that because in the modern world, submission of this sort does not fit the ideology. Instead of interpreting submission as a loss, this passage intends for it to be understood as a gain—gaining peace and trust with submission because the one submitting understands that she is taken care of. The body of Christ can rest with confidence, knowing that it is loved and cared for by Christ, just as a husband loves and takes care of his wife. To be more realistic, if Christ is not the head of our own personal lives, how can we expect to translate the submission we need into doing His work?
Organizing for Mission (Matt. 28:18–20)
The mission of the body of Christ can be found in Matthew 28:18–20. Jesus charges His disciples to go out and teach what He taught them. After they are taught, they are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The collective mission of this body should always be to teach what He has taught us. As followers of Christ, we should always want to grow the body of Christ. Although we may have many different approaches and methods of ministry, if the growth of the body is not the driving force behind it all, then Christ is not at the head.
Church Discipline (Matt. 7:1–5; Gal. 6:1, 2)
In order to carry out the mission of the church successfully with our brothers and sisters in Christ, it is very important to recognize that we are imperfect people who serve a perfect God. It is easy to excuse personal imperfections when we make a mistake, but it may be harder to excuse when our siblings in Christ make mistakes. Matthew 7:1–5 reminds us not to judge one another, because we would not like to be judged. Truth be told, we share many of the same character flaws that we point out in other people. Nobody is perfect. Keeping this in mind, we learn in Galatians 6:1, 2 that we should help one another instead of hurting and saying bad things about one another. By bearing each other’s burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ. We need the same love, grace, and mercy from God that we might have denied to someone else.
Preserving Church Unity (Titus 1:8, 9)
By setting aside our egos and pride, we are able to treat others as we want to be treated. This unifies the body of Christ because we realize we are all on common ground and no person is above another, although, just like the body, we all have different functions. Titus 1:8, 9 explains how the body, especially the appointed and anointed leaders of the body, should be in terms of character and being faithful to the truth. We are to hold each of our counterparts to a certain standard that keeps the focus on the main mission. Since the world views us all as one, we are accountable for each other. No one person is “too good” for a certain task in ministry.
Servant Leadership (John 13:1–17)
In John 13:1–17, Jesus sets the prime example for servant leadership. Jesus gets down and washes the feet of His disciples. When Peter resists, Jesus explains to him that there is no unity if the leader is not able to serve as well. Since Jesus washed their feet, He charged them to do the same for the others. Jesus finishes this act by telling them in verses 16 and 17, “A servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (NKJV). It is a beautiful realization when you visualize the fact that the King of kings and the Lord of lords came down to be human and also to serve! Washing feet was surely a humbling experience, as the feet were very dirty from walking in the dirt all day in sandals. We can apply that today because a true leader is willing to do the humble work. Matthew 20:28 states, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” If the King of kings came to serve and wash feet, who are we to feel that we deserve to be served?
1. Is Christ the Head of my life? Furthermore, is Christ truly the Head of my efforts to spread the gospel?
2. Do I remember that nobody is perfect and we all fall short of the glory of God? Am I bearing my brother’s burden? Am I extending the same love, grace, and mercy to others that God extends to me?
3. Do I need to be humbled in ministry? Are there parts of the vineyard I feel I am “too good” to work in?