Summary: We are each made unique. We are each made in the image of God. Individually, that makes us impressive; collectively that makes us unstoppable.
The Point: WHEN WE ARE ALL TOGETHER DIFFERENT, WE ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS.
GOOD MORNING, Gateway Church. It is great to have you with us today as we continue in our teaching series ONE.
Throughout this series, we're looking at what it means to be a COMMUNITY that comes together as ONE. We have a tendency towards INDEPENDENCE. And there’s nothing wrong with being independent to a certain degree. But we are WIRED to do life in COMMUNITY. We are CREATED and CALLED to come together as ONE.
And this is important because, when we come together as ONE, there is NOTHING we can't do for the KINGDOM.
LAST WEEK: We said that this community of ONE begins when we recognize what we are and what that means for our lives. We said that YOU ARE A MASTERPIECE: ACT LIKE IT.
You are a masterpiece - made in the image of God. (He created this amazing world and said it was 'good'. Then he created you and me and said it was 'very good.')
And as a masterpiece, made in God's image, we are called to serve all the other masterpieces made in God's image.
And when we recognize what we are – MASTERPIECES… and when we begin to live up to that ideal by serving others the way Jesus served us, we begin to come together as a community that serves and ultimately transforms our world.
Today we are going to continue looking at what it means to be a community that comes together as ONE.
And I want to start by asking a question:
Have you ever noticed that we tend towards homogeneity? Have you noticed that we gravitate towards people who are like us?
• People who look like us…
• People who think like us…
• People who believe like we do…
• People who vote like we do…
• People who are in the same socio-economic demographic as we are…
We like to be alike. Which is ironic since our culture values and pushes independence and being your own person.
We CLAIM to want diversity. We CLAIM we want to be different. We CLAIM to be very anti-groupthink. But the truth is we really like to be like others.
[High school. Group of friends who claimed to be 'non-conformists.' They all wore the same black clothes, had the same basic hair style (black and blacker, with a streak of blonde and a bit moppy). The all listened to the same music (Usually the Cure or some other angsty alt-rock band). And they all hung out at the same places. This group of people who all looked the same, acted the same, listened to the same music, etc., called themselves 'Non-Conformists.' Ironically, to be a part of their group you had to conform to their standards.]
If you aren't sure about this, look at most churches on any given Sunday. Sunday morning has been called the most segregated hour of the week in America. This isn't necessarily because we seek to exclude others, but because we are naturally drawn towards sameness. Churches that are marked by diversity are generally that way through INTENTIONAL EFFORT.
While this is obvious in terms of culture/race… you can SEE this. It's not as obvious below the surface. But, it's still there
However, SAMENESS doesn't add life or strength. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
"Unity without diversity would produce uniformity, and uniformity tends to produce death. Life is a balance between unity and diversity. As a human body weakens, its “systems” slow down and everything tends to become uniform. The ultimate, of course, is that the body itself turns to dust."
(Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary(Vol. 1, p. 609). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)
UNIFORMITY tends to produce death. UNIFORMITY decreases the strength and value of anything.
It's kind of like this:
If you have a building where the walls are all covered with the same masterpiece, over and over and over - it's called wallpaper.
If you have a building where the walls are covered with masterpieces of varying size and color and shape - it's called an art gallery.
Nobody plans a great heist to steal your wallpaper…. But art galleries are targets because they have VALUE.
This may be counterintuitive, but as a church, (the body of Christ) when everything is the same, we cannot be a COMMUNITY OF ONE that transforms the world.
If you’re taking notes, write this down.
WE ARE NOT STRONGER WHEN WE ARE ALL THE SAME. WE ARE STRONGER WHEN WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.
Or to put it another way:
WHEN WE ARE ALL TOGETHER DIFFERENT, WE ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF OUR PARTS.
And that's THE POINT. WHEN WE ARE ALL TOGETHER DIFFERENT, WE ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS. That's the ONE THING I want you to get today. WHEN WE ARE ALL TOGETHER DIFFERENT, WE ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS. If you get nothing else, get this: WHEN WE ARE ALL TOGETHER DIFFERENT, WE ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS.