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God's Unique Originals - Sermon

This sermon was preached at Corona Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado on March 22, 1992
Ephesians 4:1-14

Why did God create us different? so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith? and become mature? and no longer be infants?

No - No, unity cannot be based on being different. It is based on being the SAME. Especially when this same is just like I AM. After all there is only one Christian perspective on political issues such as homosexual civil rights, separation of church and state, government funding of welfare and government funding of nuclear arms.

If we are to be unified, we need to agree on these issues; after all I believe I have the mind of Christ on all these issues. Most of my friends AGREE with me.

Unity is also based on being in the same economic strata of society. We who ride to our worship services in our relatively new cars from our nice homes and apartments, have so very little in common with those poor underprivileged (or lazy) men and women who visit the Denver Rescue Mission to get their meals at night.

I really like the more spirit filled worship of our first service. You know its there that we REALLY praise God. I know it is because we sing so many choruses that we experience the closeness to God or I just can't seem to enjoy the first service at Corona, The guitars, drums and Nightclub style worship is empty. Isn't KWBI really wonderful? Actually I prefer KOOL 105 - Oldies.

Corona is not going charismatic is it? I am so uncomfortable around them or I am so glad that we can finally experience the Holy Spirit in our worship. Jeff even gave us permission to raise our hands. I can't understand why anyone who is a Christian does not like .......

In our marriages, we all know that unity comes only when the wife finally submits to her husband in spite of the fact that he is morally bankrupt, drinks far too much and cheats on his income taxes.

This idea of diversity is God's idea and it is GOOD. Turn with me to Genesis 1:1

Vs 1 - In the beginning God created - the heavens and the earth, darkness vs3 light, 5-8 created the SKY separate from the water, vs9 added dry land, reproductive vegetation, seasons, light - sun, moon, stars - living creatures, birds that fly across the sky, great creatures of the sea, living creatures for the land, livestock, wild creatures that move along the ground, finally he created humankind - both female and male

It was all Good! This complex diverse universe willed into creation by the creator of the universe was telling us that it was GOOD - that diversity was fundamental to the design of the universe.

The first characteristic we see of God himself is creativity. He made both Male and Female in his own image. Our heavenly parent made us all different from each other. Think of all our uniqueness. Our fingerprints, our weights, our body shapes, our personalities, our personal preferences in music, food, sports, adventure, reading.

If we have a very healthy personality and good self image we can easily accept this uniqueness. Unfortunately many of us think far less of ourselves than does God who designed and made us. We see primarily our faults, and primarily the strengths that others seem to be given. Even in many of our churches we try to replicate one another. A well known spiritual leader/ author defines discipling as "the process of reproducing in others what the spirit of God is doing in you and in turn enabling them to reproduce in a third generation." This definition of making disciples can be very destructive. Implicit in the definition is that our Lord desires you to be like me and your experiences to be like my experience. Both the doctrine of Creation as well as the doctrine of spiritual gifts teach us that diversity is good. It was created by God himself. Diversity in style, interests and spiritual calling is at the very core of how God designed us.

Many of us think that happiness in relationships will come out of us all thinking the same wa y. I would really like to come down hard against blind conformity.  

Proverbs 3:5-6 says Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and HE WILL DIRECT THY PATHS. We do not need permission of the majority to know God direction for our life. It is my feeling that scripture teaches that we need the benefit of insight and perceptions given to those around us, but that we are responsible for our own actions. In Romans chapter 14, the apostle Paul exhorts Christians not to pass judgment on one another in disputable matters. Unfortunately, many of us seem to have few or no disputable matters. After all, those who claim to have views different from ours must need the enlightenment that we have been given. Christians do not agree on all matters pertaining to the Christian live, nor do we need to. Verse 14 says, "Each of us will give an account of him to God." It is God who is the judge of our brothers and sisters not we.

We can sometime feel inferior when we think we are different.We can also be critical of others who are different from ourselves. I believe that affirmation of the truth that God MADE us different puts both of these ideas in a bad light. We may not like diversity, but its reality is designed by God.

As we move into the arena of spiritual formation, do we believe that true godly character is for the most part like myself? I can honestly say that ten years ago, that is what I felt. If you patterned your life after mine, you would be well on your way toward fully pleasing God. The scary thing is that perhaps some of you might have said the same thing about me. I am not the same person I was ten or five years ago, last year and hopefully even last week. We have been created by God to grow, change and mature. A fundamental measure of that growth and maturation process is how we respond to those with whom we differ. Are we quick to listen and learn and open to refinement when God's Spirit begins to lead us? Or are do we rush to apply certain litmus tests for orthodoxy, style or consistency. Do we reject something just because it seems to contradict some value we have already embraced? Do we reject paradoxes?

Fear of our uniqueness

First of all are we threatened? Are we afraid to express our ideas, convictions or feelings because they are different from either most of those around us or those spiritual giants who have graced our presence? During our week of prayer one theme that seemed to be recurring is that the church should be a sanctuary for those seeking God. It is to be a place where, when we question our faith or the status quo, such legitimate questions are welcomed and form the fundamental basis for us to learn from one another. If we feel we must maintain a certain image with someone, we put the damper on intimacy. If we put others down, even subtly, we quench the enthusiasm for discovering new truth. Speaking the truth in love is very difficult on us when the truth is that we disagree with the party line and we greatly fear rejection. Just last week, after the second service, I was talking with someone. I casually mentioned had she given any consideration to joining the choir. After all I knew that she was a good singer and was also a very reliable person, faithful to her commitments when she makes them. Her response was "Choir is not where I am exactly." I said, "Where are you?" She then replied, "on the far fringe of Corona Church." As we talked I felt that she was seeking God and that even though I am the director of music here and would love to have her in the choir, I wanted no part of trying to talk her into it. If that is to ever come about, I want the Lord to give her the desire, for her to respond to that desire. If that happens we will rejoice together. If it does not, I want her to discover all that would bring her a rich life - even without the choir. I will rejoice in that as well.

Judgment of others uniqueness

While some of us struggle with self-confidence amidst our uniqueness, others of us develop a strong critical attitude against those who are not like ourselves. I believe that this judgmental attitude is just as common inside the church based of course on spiritual matters as it is outside the church on society driven moral/political values.

If you believe that abortion is always wrong, do you brand those who call themselves "pro choice" as sub-Christian. Have you ever set down and tried to hear how someone who names the name of Jesus could embrace that position? When you talk to them, do you need to resort to character assassination? I confess that I find that it is often very difficult for me to accept and love people whose ideas are different from mine.

In some churches, participation in certain programs of the church become the litmus tests of spirituality. You aren't in any small group? Why would anyone not jump at the chance to be an elder, deacon or trustee? Do we put people in boxes by what they say, or don't say?

I pray that as a church we love and accept all persons that come our way. May we look into our own lives, hearts and feelings and seek insight and revelation even if it brings pain, because consciousness of our own sins, gifts, temptations, weakness and strengths is so very much better than blindness to all these things. I pray that if we try to make others to be like ourselves that we can give up this attempt to control others and entrust them into the hands of our loving God who in his own wisdom made them different from ourselves. Although I still find this very hard to do at times, it is an easier task today than last year. This is particularly humbling when the hardest of people to love are the very ones so much like we perceive ourselves to have been.


How wonderful it is if we can CELEBRATE with joy that God made no mistakes in this area. According to our scripture text in Ephesians accepting our uniqueness and diversity happens only when we are mature and no longer infants. Where are you in your spiritual pilgrimage of enjoying and thanking God for your own uniqueness and the uniqueness of those who are not like ourselves? Let us pray.


Lord, your love knows no bounds, no limits, no distinctions. We thank you for your individual love for each of us. (silence) It is so hard to live out of step with the majority. Give us courage to speak out when we fear rejection by those from whom we desire acceptance and love. (silence) We know that for most of us, we prefer to be with others that are a great deal like ourselves. However, we confess that when we begin to look down on others because of these differences, we have sinned. (silence) We pray for those from whom we differ in religion, race and politics. Help us to respect their point of view and to love them as they are loved so very much by you.

God and Father of us all, through the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ you have overcome the sin which separates us from you and from one another: shed your love with such great abundance in our hearts that by the Holy Spirit we may disregard every consideration of race and color, economic and cultural diversity, political aberration and see all fellow Christians as your family for whom the Savior died. Help us love them as he loves us, even when we so strongly disagree with their ideas. It is in the strong name of Jesus Christ our Lord that we pray, have thine own way Lord, help us to accept our uniqueness and affirm and accept the uniqueness of others.

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