Monthly Archives: May 2016

Being One before a Watching World

Last two posts, I wrote about how Jesus prayed specifically and most pointedly for you and me, as if it were the most important request ever That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You (John 17:21a)

Jesus’ oneness with the Father is the pattern we are called to emulate. We know we are called to do so because of Jesus’ prayer. It is a clear insight into what God’s will is. We must obey. It is critical.

This is echoed in His great command to “immerse them [new disciples] into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Immersion or enveloping, submerging, absorbed into can be a legitimate translation. It expresses the idea of becoming completely occupied with something, giving as much as possible of your time, energy, or concentration to it.

But Jesus goes even further . . . . .

That they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:21b)

How critical ONENESS is, according to Jesus! Unless this oneness with “Us”—the Father and the Son—is a reality here with us on earth, the watching world will not believe Jesus was sent by the Father, the Only true Living God who spoke all into existence!

We appear so weak before the watching world because of our lack of oneness, our divisions, our quarrels, our hardheartedness with fellow believers, let alone our often dislike and even hatred of others.

His wonderful ekklesia which He alone is building is HIS Body and He is its head and we are each joined with one another into him, the head. Unity is found in His Body. That is inescapable. This is serious . . . .

You know that you are God’s sanctuary and that God’s Spirit lives in you, don’t you? If anyone destroys God’s sanctuary, God will destroy him, for God’s sanctuary is holy. And you are that sanctuary! 1 Cor 3:16-17

Oneness of God was the foundation statement of the Israelites. In Paul, God is revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit—yet is one, as Paul who was Hebrew to the core, was at pains to teach his Corinthian hearers :

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of ministries, but the same Lord. There are varieties of results, but it is the same God who produces all the results in everyone. (1 Cor 12:4-6)

I urge all of you to be in agreement and not to have divisions among you, so that you may be perfectly united in your understanding and opinions. (1 Cor 1:10).

Paul reminded the Ephesians to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. (4:3-6)

The apostle implored his hearers to stand firm in one spirit, struggling with one mind for the faith of the gospel (Phil 1:27) and having the same attitude, sharing the same love, being united in spirit, and keeping one purpose in mind. (Phil 2:2)

Agreement and being of one mind and spirit is not an option. It is a serious command. And it is possible!

It is perfectly possible when we are joined organically to the Head as branches are in the Vine; when we are found in Jesus. We must put to death this terrible earthly, fleshly thing in us. Become alive in the Spirit, cooperating freely with the Lord and with one another, abounding in His work, abounding in His work and abandoning all else. One together in Him.

Being One in Jesus

Last time I wrote about how Jesus prayed specifically and most pointedly for you and me, as if it were the most important request ever . . . .

 That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You (John 17:21)

Can you see what that means? We are to be ONE together, with one another, with each believer, in the same way that Jesus is ONE with the Father.

We are ever so plainly told here what is the will of God for us, what we must observe, what we must obey.

You could not get anything more obvious about the will of Jesus and the will of the Father for you who love Him and follow Him.

It is as plain as the nose on your face.

Unless you are nose-less or even faceless or blind.

If this is the will of Jesus, then it is absolutely, beyond any shadow of doubt, that we do what He says, do what he so seriously prayed for us, our destiny, our identity, just before His immeasurable, unrepeatable, awful and costly sacrifice for us.

We cannot escape the carrying out of this ultimate imperative.

That is, if we love Him.

If we ignore this awesome destiny, it may be that all our efforts are a waste of time. Wood. Hay. Stubble.

If we fail to change our minds at this point and put it off till another time, we are living in disobedience.

How shall we escape if we ignore such a great desire and plan and purpose of the Living, Loving God? Something so close to His heart?

What shall we say to the Judge of all the earth when we stand before Him?

So how can we –you and all of us—who call ourselves Christians, who profess the faith of Jesus, who claim to be biblical, who believe in truth and righteousness, how can you go on identifying yourselves as Anglican or Baptist or Pentecostal or whatever, belonging to separate competing groups and religious structures, divided over doctrines and along denominational divisions, none of which were envisioned by our Lord, and all of which hurt Him terribly?

Does he ask the impossible?

Yes impossible, unless we abandon our fleshly ideas of church and ministry and start boldly and humbly relying on the Holy Spirit who is give to us for this very task.

All things are possible to the one who believes.

The first step is repentance. Change of the mind. And the will.

One Together in God and His Christ

Having prayed to the Father first for his disciples that they may be one “as We are”, Jesus then prayed for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:20-23). He therefore prays for you and me —we believers are included in His prayer and ongoing intercessions!

So what is He praying for us, we who have believed in Him through their word? The answer follows with some staggering ‘purpose clauses’. In this post, we look at the first of these.

That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;

This is the same request he made for the original disciples: that they may be one “as we are”, the Father in Jesus and Jesus in the Father. This is undoubtedly the will of God for you and me, for all followers. Nothing has changed, though we have changed and not for the better.

We are thus connected to the original disciples in the Spirit by the same will of God in Christ! We are meant to be together with them, immersed in the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. No change!  There is no change in covenantal privileges and responsibilities from them to us despite the passage of 2000 years. We live in the fellowship of the saints!

This awesome connection, oneness, S. Paul calls the Body of Christ. Jesus calls it My ekklesia.

This is of critical importance in how we understand our relationship with other believers, and how we look at ekklesia. That’s the original word used and badly translated into English as church, where it comes across as a religious concept. The word ekklesia in the original simply meant a gathering of people for a purpose. It had no religious connotation whatsoever. None.

The only ekklesia that is actually of God is the one Jesus is constructing—Matthew 16:18. Humans cannot build this. And we must not try. We are not commanded to do so.  And yet we fail to do what we are instructed—to bring in the harvest, to teach others to be disciples, to love one another and to be ONE together as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You.

But we can be so busy trying to help Him build churches, we fail to experience the glory He wants to display in us. He, not us, is the Architect and the Builder of His ekklesia. We are together members of His glorious Body, the living stones in this spiritual building. Together in Him.  ONE.

And in this glorious fellowship, this temple of God, we are to be one together. One not many.

Jesus’ prayer for you and me, all believers, constantly before the Father, is for our oneness. Do you see that excludes so much activity taken for granted in today’s religious organisations? Thus denominational exclusiveness is a grave error. Control of others is anathema. Selfishness, vainglory, hatred, self-righteousness, arguments, self-justifications, dogmatism causing splits, must all be thrown out.

When we are united together in actually doing what he has commanded—rather than what our precious theology or doctrines or opinions or religious organisations want—when we are abounding in the actual work of the Lord, filled with the Holy Spirit, bearing witness to Him, participating in the making of disciples, reminding, teaching, urging, persuading, encouraging others—in our joy and gladness in serving Him and one another, we leave behind those obstacles to oneness.  We forget our own agendas in favour of His agenda—our ONENESS.


It’s not about you. It’s not about us. It’s all about the Father and His Christ. Right?