Friday, December 08, 2006


God has given the church gifted leaders who are supposed to prepare the people for service and their service builds up the body of Christ. Paul goes on to show us the goal of this growing up process in Ephesians 4:13; “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” We’re getting a very good behind-the-scenes look at what God intends for the church. We are to keep serving until “we all reach unity in the faith…” God’s intent is not just that all of us in our individual churches are living in unity. God’s intent is for all believers to reach unity! It’s a much bigger picture! It’s multi-denominational! It’s multi-ethnic! It’s international!

But how are we supposed to reach unity with people from other denominations who disagree with us? Paul is not talking about reaching unity on each and every doctrinal issue. He’s not saying that all Christians everywhere have to agree to identical confessions of faith. Paul is saying that we all have to be drawn together in unity because of our common relationship with Jesus! What we have today is hundreds or thousands of denominations and the body of Christ is broken into hundreds and thousands of pieces! Maybe it is time for us to get together and really re-form! Remember the words of Jesus! “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34, 35) “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23) Isn’t it clear that Jesus intends for all of his brothers and sisters to live together in unity? How can that happen?

The more we serve one another the closer we become. And serving together will draw us closer together also. This is true within a single congregation and it is true among multiple congregations and denominations also. At my last church we went up to the inner city to help an African American church do a lot of repairs on their building. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, flooring guys, laborers, they all went up there over a long period of time to help this church. They weren’t in our denomination. They didn’t agree with us on every doctrine straight down the line. They didn’t worship the same way we did. But we became close to each other. We began to share with each other. A bond had been forged between our churches. Another time our youth group joined with a youth group from another church for a short term mission trip down to Mississippi. None of these kids had ever met each other before. They went and helped build and paint houses and they became close friends. Nothing will ever be able to break the bond of relationship these kids developed. In these situations we discovered that as we serve together God draws us closer to one another.

God’s desire is unity. One body of Christ. So what do we do? Pursue unity in our fellowship! Make an intentional effort to serve one another and thus draw closer to each other. Pursue unity with other bodies of believers. This is something we have to do on purpose. It won’t just happen all by itself! We cannot bring the entire church together but we can do what we can to bring the churches around us together!


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