Crosspoint Church | Georgetown, TX

How does unity happen?

(Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: Pray Like Jesus! Pray for Unified Direction! – CLICK HERE)

Ask any couple what makes a marriage work and most would say, “Communication.”  In order to build oneness in a marriage, communication has to take place.  Not just words about what is happening, but words that express emotion and understanding.  Words must communicate what is important and how one feels.  Words can communicate love and joy or sadness and frustration.  Whatever the words are, they are spoken, God-willing, to strengthen unity. 

As Jesus prays for oneness among all those that believe in him, he gives insight into how that unity is built…through words…his words.

Jesus prays for “all those who would believe in him through their message.”  The message to which he is referring is the word of truth that he communicated and committed to his disciples.  It was the Word that would set them apart and give them all they needed to carry out the work of bringing Jesus to the world.  

“Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Oneness is superficial if not built on the Word of God.

In the Christian world, there has been a movement called the “Ecumenical Movement.”  This movement seems to have gained traction after the devastation and division of World War II.  One of the leaders in this movement became the World Council of Churches (WCC).  The stated purpose of this collective group of church was to promote “unity, peace, and justice” in the world.  Their efforts have been lobbying for racial justice, civil rights and more recently climate legislation.  A keynote speaker at the 70th anniversary of the WCC stated this:

70, 50, 20 years of walking and together in and for unity, peace, and justice: this long pilgrimage of faith is who we are and what we do, namely: praying, walking, working  and remembering together as churches following in Jesus’ steps toward a better world, one that more closely hews to Jesus’ vision of God’s reign on earth.*

While working toward unity, peace and justice is not inherently wrong, it is not at the heart of Jesus’ vision for his church on earth.  The Church has as it’s primary purpose to bring the Gospel of Jesus to the hearts of people.  God’s ultimate will is the salvation of souls.  Jesus himself said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  While unity may be built around shared efforts to bring unity, peace and justice to the world and take steps to make the world a better place, it is not, I believe, what Jesus was praying for when he prayed that “they may all be one.”  Because for the sake of unity in this area are churches that deny the inspiration of Scripture, that discount the full redemptive work of Jesus Christ, or dismiss the teachings of Creation, baptism and Lord’s supper as non-fundamental teachings of the Scripture.  The compromise is the truth of the Scripture to bring about collective efforts to address the worlds problems.  What is missed in the effort to build unity, is that unity is built when ALL of God’s Words are expressed as important and the main focus of the Church is to bring the Gospel to the hearts of people.  Unity is not measured by external cooperation, it is measured by internal agreement to all the words which God has spoken to us.

This type of unity takes work.  It takes effort to have direct and challenging conversations about what God’s Word says.  It is not always popular to uphold teaching that goes against culture.  It is not well received when the absolute truth and the single way to heaven is taught.

But then unity comes through conversation…so like you do in marriage, take time to communicate.  When God’s Word is the center of that communication, the Spirit can create true and lasting unity.

Apply: Where have you experienced superficial unity?  Where have you experienced true oneness?  What was the difference?

Prayer: Lord thank you for your Word.  Help me to always use it to build oneness with others around me.  AMEN.


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