Monday, March 15, 2010


In the Gospel of John, we get to eavesdrop on the intimate conversation between Jesus and the Father. In this prayer Jesus prays for us and his prayer for us is that we would be one:

"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 and I are one....May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." - John 17:20-21

Unity in the Body is essential. According to the prayer of Jesus, our unity is a proof of the messianic identity of Jesus and of the love of God for us:

"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." (v. 23)

Hopefully in your experience as a follower of Jesus you have had the opportunity to meet another believer in Christ and fall in love with them immediately. I don't mean that in the romantic sense, but in the sense that you feel as if you have known them all your life even though you've only just met them.

If so, what you're experiencing is a kinship of faith with another member of your family - the Family of God.

Regardless of whether or not that person is a member of your denomination, or whether or not this person agrees with you about specific points of doctrine, you have an undeniable feeling of brotherly (or sisterly) love for this individual. You are recognizing the Christ in them and you are responding to the love of Jesus shared between you both.

Whenever we experience this we are bearing witness to the unity of the Body of Christ. There is only one Body and if we have loved Jesus and put our faith in Him, we are members of His Body.

Whenever we make a decision to love the Jesus in another person - and to overlook the doctrinal points of disagreement - we are keeping the unity of the Body of Christ.

A good friend, and brother in Christ, recently pointed out to me that throughout Christian history, when christian leaders gathered to nail down points of doctrine the result was never unity - it was always more division.

Our little house church, the Mission, is comprised of a variety of different people who are all from extremely divergent streams of faith. In our house church there are former Calvary Chapel pastors and youth leaders, former Vineyard members, former Southern Baptists, former Bretheren, former Church of Christ, former Lutherans, and former independent, non-denominational, "whatchamacallits".

On paper our house church has no business surviving for over 4 years as a family of God. Yet, somehow we manage to love one another, to serve one another and to consider one another as dear brothers and sisters in Christ in spite of our obvious doctrinal differences.

How do we do it? Well, mostly we've done it by choosing to see and love the Jesus in one another. We've made a choice to overlook those doctrinal differences in favor of learning from the experiences - and varying perspectives - of others in our Body.

Now, to be honest, our house church if far from perfect. We are people, just like everyone else. We're human. We're sinners. We're just as foolish and fickle as you are. And most of all, we all recognize our intense daily need for more of Jesus.

What blesses me, however, is how God called each of us to be part of this Body. I did not recruit anyone. Most people who currently attend our house church each week found us and sought us out. I did not find them. God touched their hearts and called them out and lead them by His Spirit to join this church family.

I love that God would call former Lutherans and Baptists and Church of Christ and Vineyard and Calvary Chapel, etc. members to join hearts and hands and lives and become one fellowship of saints together. I love that He would allow us to learn to forgive one another, and to honor one another, and to lay down our denominational and doctrinal identities to embrace membership in the Body of Christ.

We are part of your church. You are part of our church. All of us are members of one another. Because there is only one Body, and one Church, and One Lord.

"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." - 1 Cor 12:12-13


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