Shining the Light: Celebrating Unity
July 11, 2018 | Didi Bacon
On the night of his betrayal, Jesus prayed for you and for me. This was his prayer for us.
“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." John 17:20-21 (NIV)
When the church is one, one with Jesus and one with each other, then the world will believe. Acts chapter 4 describes the church in the first days of her existence.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
Acts 4:32 (NIV)
That is one of my all-time favorite descriptions of the church. The believers were one in heart and mind. They were totally committed to their passion for God and to their ministry calling.
The Apostle Paul provides this instruction to Jesus followers:
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:3-6 (NIV)
Jesus prayed that we might be one. The early church was described as being one in heart and mind when it came to mission and ministry. The Apostle Paul, who was given the missionary task of establishing churches in non-Jewish cities, directed them to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Why? Because unity releases the power of God in the church to shine the light of Jesus to the world. Division, infighting, power struggles, and gossip undermine that. If we want to be a part of a church that is being used by God to make a difference in this world. A church that is the church as God intended. If we want our home church to be faithful to the purposes of God. Then we must make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. We have to commit ourselves to love God and to love others. We must learn and live scripture doing those things that foster unity and mitigate disunity. Understand that unity is not uniformity. To be unified is not to be all the same. Not to be mindless drones. In our Bibles, we see that God’s Spirit places a clear call for unity that embraces our diversity of personality, backgrounds, gifts, and philosophy. Unity is achieved through obedience. Obedience to Love. To love God and to love one another.
To be in one in heart means each of us must first commit our hearts to God. To His purposes. To His Word. To His Will. To be people of the Bible - not popular opinion. To be about His heart to seek and to save the lost. To understand that our purpose is to share Jesus Christ with the world because He is the only light. To grow in our passion in being Jesus followers in life - which is what we call discipleship.
To be one in mind means that we have to be committed to our church’s mission. It starts by choosing not to be a fan of our church but a family member. To say this is my church family where I am going to fulfill my family responsibilities. Be an answer to Jesus’ prayer for you in John 17:20-21 by being obedient to the call to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace at Mount Carmel Christian Church.