“Unity is strength…when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
1. The Movie:
In the movie “Babe” starring James Cromwell and Magda Szubanski. Babe is about a little pig who doesn’t quite know his place in the world. But will the other farm animals, including Fly’s jealous husband, Rex, accept a pig who doesn’t conform to the farm’s social hierarchy? Babe, as the piglet decides to call himself, befriends and learns about all the other animals on the farm.
2. Quotes from the Movie:
“When I first came to the bosses farm it was a whole new world to me. Everybody here seems to know their place.”
“A boss and his wife, sheepdogs, the sheep and all the other animals.”
“Now I just have to figure out where I fit in.”
“Good heavens who are you?. Babe. There there. The little pig will sleep with us. But mom, he will wet the bedddd.”
“He was trying to find his destiny. Do I ever know how to work the sheep today?”
“Remember you have to dominate them, bend them to your will. Woof, woof, woof. He” knew his path would not be easy. Ha, ha, haaa.”
“I’m not sure if you realize how much the other animals are laughing at you.”
“If it is not a duck that thinks it is a rooster, it is a pig who thinks he is a dog. He should accept what is he and be thankful for it. ”
“These sheep are inferior. But not he is determined. Take care of business his way. All a little pig like you had to do was ask.”
“What a nice little kid. The kid with the gift of gab. Nerves of steel and a heart of gold.”
Hans, Babe is about a pig who tries to find out who he is and where he fits into his community on the farm. It is very much like us when we join a new group. The current community (church) knows how they operate. The farm animals (church) is not sure who this guy is and what he can bring to the table? He tries different things to fit in, but the animals (brothers & sisters) laugh at him. He tries to be something else; what he thinks he should be a dog and not being thankful for what he is. But he has a strong will of his own, kind of influencial guy that connect with people being real about his feelings. We all are like babe, we try different things to fit into the community (church).
3. The Bible Scriptures:
Paul describes the church as the “Body of Christ” Hans.
Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism – Eph 4:1-5
– Why does it seem to you Hans that God is so very concerned about the Body of Christ having unity and peace?
- Francois the trinity acts unified, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- Also that Jesus prayed for it; “so that they may be brought to complete unity” (John 17:23)
- Unity is also a testimony to the world to the deity of Jesus (John 17:20-23).
- The word church, “ecclesia” was used to emphasize togetherness not separateness Hans.
- I think the qualities it requires to have unity is very important; humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another and having a bond of peace.
- Without these qualities Francois you cannot be unified. If we take the opposite qualities; prideful, rash, impatient, accusing one another and not having a bond it is catastrophic for the church and I think that is why there are so many different churches today.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
15 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” – Rom 14:13-15:3
– How far we should go Hans and how much we should we bend to keep the Body of Christ together?
- Jesus was all about unity Francois!
- If we are not unified as a church, then church will fail. (Mat 12:25)
- If my brother is distressed of what I eat and it affects his faith, I should stop eating those things that distresses him (14:15) even if I am fine about it. I can destroy someone’s faith if I keep on eating those things.
- I need to make every effort (14:19) to do what leads to peace and mutual edification Francois.
- If you are strong in the Lord Francois, you need to bear with the failings of the weak and not be out there to please yourself. (15:1)
- Francois I should please my neighbour for his good to build them up, even Jesus did not live to please himself but first God and then His neighbour. (15:2-3)
- Jesus wants us all to agree in what we say, no divisions among us and perfectly united in mind and thought. (1 Cor 1:10)
– Can you think of a practical application of this passage today?
- Well Francois I would say there are two sides of the coin; those whose faith is weak and those who’s faith is strong.
- The two extremes that we should avoid to go to is; totally legalistic and worldly.
- Well you should not pass judgement on those whose faith is weak, that would make you prideful thinking you are better than the other person who also stand under God’s grace.
- I think we need to remember these issues is about doubtful things and like the Bible says everything that is not done in faith is sin.
– Is there anything in your life that is so important to you Hans, that you would not give it up even if it was keeping people from coming to Jesus Christ or growing in him?
- Francois, now why would I want to do that?
- It would just make me totally ineffective as a Christian reaching out to people.
- If there is, I need to look back to v.21 and get help in dealing with this area of your life. What most competes against Christ in your life and why?
duSome other points I got from another study done on the subject that is very relevant is as follow:
- Laziness in Biblical Illiteracy – Francois satan tempted Jesus with a scripture that he twisted to make him sin. If Jesus did not know His Father’s will, he might have sinned. How much more should I know God’s word. Do I know God’s will and do I practise it every day? Francois if I do not know God’s will, the chances of me doing it is very slim and that I will go to heaven. (Mat 4:4; Ps 119:11)
- Pride through Independence – The problem of not being connected Francois to brothers and sisters on a daily basis sharing my life and getting input. I think it comes from a “know it all” attitude and not being reliant on God. (Prov 3:5-6)
- A Lone Ranger – Disembodied tendencies – Due to the fact of social media we think that we are connected and can communicate with people if need be, having a digital relationship. People give up meeting together (Heb 10:25).
- Distraction due to Compartmentalization – Your life becomes a pie chart Francois and God is just another piece of the pie instead of being central to all your life’s decision. All roles that I fulfil in my life needs to reflect the Lordship of Christ. (Mat 6:33)
- Boredom – The problem with having television and social media is that we feel that we need to be entertained all the time instead of being disciplined in my life with Bible study and prayer every day. Traditional routine things at church is good for my soul. (Philemon 6)
- Trying to reinvent the wheel – Instead of sticking with good practises in the church that work we tend to want to hype it up or just change it because it might have become bored to us Francois. (2 Tim 3:10)
- Complicating things – I am thinking Francois; what is must have been like in the first century being a Christian? They did not have the internet, tv, books, podcasts, etc. They were not bombarded with new information every day. I think they lived a simple life in their Christianity. We might get side tracked from the mission by programs and get distracted. (2 Tim 2:2; 1Cor 2:2)
- Consumer Christianity – Francois we get so captivated by capitalism that we start thinking; what I can get from the church instead what can I give and contribute. Is this church that I want, instead of what God wants. (Mat 20:28)
- Lack of Diversity – When Jesus said go make disciples of all nations Francois; he did not just say to people who look, talk and worship just like us. Francois it means breaking down the walls of hostiliy regarding race, class, culture, gender, music preferences, etc. The problem is, if we have that mindset we tend to create clicks, factions, etc. (Acts 2: 4-11)
- “This is just who I am” – Lack of repentance and brokeness about my sin. Francois the question is my motivation not to sin or is it actually holiness? (Heb 12:14)
- “Be and do whatever feels right to you” – Automony Francois is the main reason we are not unified today as a movement of churches. When we said Jesus is Lord at baptism, is it still prevalent in our lives today. I think it started in the first century already, people started following people. Are those people accountable to the leadership team of the church and other church leaders? (1 Cor 1:11-13) This is not about personalities or leadership styles but submitting to the Lordship of Christ. It does not really matter how sincere people are Francois.
- “You have lost your first love” (Rev 2:2-5) – Remember that first love of yours Francois? I could not stop thinking about her or talk to her and sms incessantly, well it is Whatsapp today. I ask myself the questionk is everyday a commitment that I will love the the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind? (Luk 10:27) Am I still making every effort to enter through the narrow door? (Luk 13:24) You may say, but who are you to judge. That is right it will be God who I will answer to and give an account to Francois. (Rom 14:12) The easiest acid test is what Paul says; after love the Lord your God is love my neighbour as myself. Am I making disciples, not just sharing the word. (Mat 28:19) The one is result driven the other one is mystical and misleading. The one you just invite people to church and biblestudy, the other you follow up and help the person to change their character. You be the judge Francois; if other people will call you a disciple or a christian. (Acts 11:26)
- Pretend to look good before others – The principle is to please other people ahead of pleasing God. (Gal 1:10) For example; people always just portray the good side of themselves on facebook. In a sense it is like a celibrity platform. The challenge of posturing is that it feeds pride and hypocrisy. If we try to solve problems online, say with whatsapp we loose the person to person contact and things become impersonal.
- Distrust of Authority – Due to the bad background sometimes of churches and people getting hurt people distrust leadership. Francois they might have been just out to take your money for example. The Bible clearly states that we must submit to your leaders and their authority. (Heb 13:7) Even in the world it makes sense to have leadership to pave the way to exhance a company. We might think we have freedom in Christ and can do what we want, some churches might even encourage it.
– We might think we have freedom in Christ, but God still expects us to submit to leaders Hans. We need to be sensitive to others peoples disputable matters and rather listen to them and try to understand them, rather than just blasting them because they are wrong and do not know the Bible. I know that unity is key to the church and it functioning properly.
- I agree Francois, it is hard sometimes to submit authority when it really affect our lives and putting in practise the advice given on a daily basis.
– Hans would you like to pray for us?
- Morning Lord. Watching the Babe movie has really given me insight to the differences between us even when we are all humans.
- Help me to become the man you planned for me and not to follow my own ways and get lost or disappointed.
- Lord I know the precursor for unity is my humility, patience and love.
- Help me to be patient with people to understand them and encourage them with where they are at but also where they can be.
- Help me not to fall into the trap of things that devides people and churches.