One: the Unity of Jesus’ Church
Not the same. Not a copy. Not uniformity. Not even singularity.
One, as in one God. One purpose. One Spirit. One Gospel. One mission.
The “One” that we’re looking at over the course of this campaign is a One that is powerful enough to take people from every tribe and language and nation – and turn them into one people with one mission worshiping one God. And He holds us together in such a way that, if we’ll submit to the process and let Him have His way in us, our differences bond us together and make us stronger rather than splintering and dividing us.
Being one is a tall order. But this is the Christian life. Jesus prayed that we would be one like He and the Father are one in John 17:21. That hardly seems possible. And yet, I’m encouraged by the glimpse of heaven we receive in Revelation 7:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:9-10
We aren’t there yet. We have a ways to go, actually. But this is the tension of the Christian life, isn’t it? The future is secure. God will see it through. But we live in the world of the “not yet.” With all the division in the world – and even among the churches of our land – we may get discouraged. This is natural.
But don’t give up. This tension, this battle is nothing new. The church is born into it. Think of that image from Revelation 7 as a glorious mosaic assembled to worship Jesus. As beautiful as a mosaic is, it consists of countless broken fragments assembled by a master artist to create a unified work of art. The fragments, in and of themselves, may be beautiful (or not), but they’re not a work of art. They’re not one, they’re isolated.
This is our struggle. Are we willing to submit ourselves to the Master Artist so that we can move from being people who are about taking care of number one (ourselves) to becoming One with people from every tribe and tongue and nation in the family of the One True God, resulting in that beautiful mosaic that brings glory to the Lamb?
What’s beautiful about this journey is that the trail has been trod before. We haven’t reached the end, but there are signs along the way to guide us. One of the best is the Book of Acts in our Bibles. It tells the story of how a handful of heartbroken, cowardly Jewish Jesus-followers were transformed into fearless heralds of God’s global church.
We want to join them on their journey. In doing so, we’ll likely see how some of the trail is obscured in our own lives and how we can take our machete to clear the way – for our own growth, but also so others can delight in this great God who longs to bring us together and make us … 1.
One family, one mission, One God – for all peoples.