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  • True Unity

    1 posts, 1 voices, 410 views, started Apr 22, 2011

    Posted on Friday, April 22, 2011 by Denise Richardson

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    • Diamond
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      In John 17:21-23, Christ prays for His disciples and for all who would come after them (we who are His church) that we would be unified. Unity can be a challenge for the church as Satan is constantly seeking to undermine it. After all, the stakes are high, given that Christ says that true visible unity will allow the world to conclude that the Father did indeed send Jesus to earth.  

      Christ's design is that the church's testimony of unity should be so powerful that it convinces the unsaved that something supernatural has happened to the church to enable them to care for one another as they do and to be in such agreement and harmony. Thus, whether we live as those unified or not has profound evangelistic impact. If people can see that Jesus has created a harmony and love among us, people will see that Jesus is Who He said He was. If all they see is bitterness, gossip, slander, arguments, and strife, they will have no desire to believe.  

      Christ's prayer is that the church be perfected in unity. Obviously we won't be perfected in unity until we are glorified and go to be with Christ, but Christ's undeniable desire is that we grow more and more perfect in love and unity each and every day. Perfect unity is best illustrated, as Jesus says, by His relationship with the Father. They are literally one God, of one mind, of one Spirit, of one heart, of one purpose, of one belief, and of one truth. They are on the same page in everything that They do and are. They define love (1 John 4:8) and truth (John 14:6). Christ's prayer is that we be one as They are one. This will only happen as we grow in truth and love.  

      Christ prays in John 17:17 that God would "Sanctify them [the church] in the truth; Your word is truth." True unity will increase as we are conformed to the Word of God in belief and obedience. Ephesians 4:11-12 speaks of God gifting pastors, teachers, and evangelists for the purpose of building up the church and edifying it. Verse 13 explains what the outcome of sound Biblical teaching and preaching is, saying, "Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." Thus, growing in our knowledge of the true meaning of Scripture by the guiding work of the Holy Spirit as He leads us into all truth is essential to growing in unity as the body of Christ (see John 16:13).  

      Yet let us not be so naive as to think that merely having a high Bible IQ is the fullness and fruition of Christ's prayer. Colossians 3:4 says, "Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." Just because we know a lot of the Bible or are involved in church activities does not make us mature. We could win at Bible trivia and still be last in the kingdom of God if we do not have love. God is not impressed with loveless martyrdom and knowledge that lacks compassion, grace, and humility (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). He wants hearts that are willing to die so that others might live, and He desires humble hearts that care more about the needs of others than their own.  

      We are to study and be conformed to the Word of God, but we must also allow Christ to incarnate His love in our lives. Both are necessary for true unity. May God teach us His Word so that we might grow into His likeness, and may He enable us to love so that the world may see that Jesus not only came to earth but that He died, rose again, and lives within His church. May we be one as He and the Father are One.

      Scripture Of The Day: "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." John 17:17 (ESV)



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