Faithlife Sermons

Conquered through Divisions

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I’m sure you heard of the phrase “all road lead to Rome”.
Where does this phrase come from?

Apparent Invincibility of the Roman Empire

It comes from the fact that the Roman Empire had a prominent presence in what would be Europe today, and was in power from 27 BC to 476 AD, a period of 500 years.[1] In addition, they had an organised and disciplined military, a well organised government, intellectual endeavours, and had (by the standards of that time) an impressive infrastructure such as roads and aqueducts, allowing them to dominate the landscape of that time.[2]

Essentiality of Unity

Yet, such an impressive and seemingly invincible empire fell in 476 AD. Why?
One word – disunity.
Even though Rome was such an amazing empire, infighting, jealousy, desire for power resulted in the progressive weakening of Rome. The most obvious milestone in the decline of Rome was probably the division of the empire into two halves.[3] This division, purported to be for ease of governance, but in reality driven by power-hungry leaders fighting for power, drifted the two halves apart, and weakened their collective ability to combat outside threats.

Don’t Let Divisions Divide Us

In today’s passage, we read how we as Christians and hence children of God should be careful not to let our differences divide us. These differences can be educational, family, ethnic background, seniority in ministry, gender etc. The point by Paul here is that no matter how diverse we are, we should all be equally in debt to Jesus Christ who saved us equally.
If we are not careful to pursue unity and allow division to occur, it would consume us individually as well as a collective body, and just like how the might Roman empire eventually succumbed to its much weaker enemies.
Don’t let small differences between you and your fellow Christians rob you of the unity we are meant to enjoy as children of God. Pursue unity and not divisions.
Even as we end this devotion for today, ask God to reveal to you what is one thing you need to do to achieve greater unity between you and your friends today?
[1] Christopher B. Zeichmann, “Roman Empire,” ed. John Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015).
[2] “The Legacy of Rome,” Encyclopedia Britannica (Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2016).
[3] The Western Empire is where modern day Rome is today, and the Eastern Empire is in Byzantium (which later known as Constantinople – where modern day Istanbul is)
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