“I do not pray for these alone, but also 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. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-22
Ever since preaching the series “ONE” at Covenant Vision Christian Church, this topic has been burning in my heart. That the church desires to have unity is a safe assumption. However, that the church is moving purposely towards unity, that through that one-ness there will be an anointing that is accompanied by God’s blessing of life? Now, that’s debatable; questionable, even.
Across three Sundays, the messages* of “In One Accord”, “With One Voice” and “As One Man” were faithfully delivered from the pulpit. I thank God for His leading and enablement in the preparation. Consequently, I praise God for the positive response and feedback received after each service. I firmly believe that hearts were convicted and even challenged to realise and acknowledge how divided we stand as Christians within the local church, much less the Body of Christ! Personally, I came away convinced and convicted too.
How easy it is to appear to stand in one accord, presumably with one heart! In reality, we are of many hearts for each of us come to church for very different reasons and motives. Truly, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, and too quickly, our voices betray us! We may appear to rally with one accord, shout with one voice, but really, we are but many voices. Pause for a moment, and you will hear the voices of discouragement, of doubt, of hypocrisy, of slander, of gossip, of complaint, of excessive speech, etc, echoing down the corridors of the church 😦 Perhaps, we shouldn’t be talking so much about unity that we forget to live it!
Is unity so difficult or such an impossibility on this side of eternity? I guess it is, if we continue to live in the old and not embrace the new; if we continue to model after the one man, Adam, instead of the one man, Jesus. How can we ever be one, if our hearts remain unchanged or our minds unrenewed? It doesn’t matter how long one has been in the church, or how active one is in ministry. If we are not being changed into the image of the one man in Jesus our Lord and Saviour, how can we ever hope to be one in Him, as He was one with and in the Father?
It pains me, as it must also grief the Holy Spirit, to learn of how many have been hurt, and continue to be hurt, by careless words and remarks. Too often, it has been observed that there is more politicking in the church than there is in secular organisations. This is indeed sad, but very true. If there is one army that has suffered much from friendly fire, it’s the church … and all done too in the name of Jesus and for His Kingdom! What irony and tragedy?! And from those looking in, what hypocrisy?!
Father, forgive us for our insensitivity, inconsistency and immaturity. When the world rejects the Gospel, let us not be too quick to blame their hardened hearts. Let us, instead, examine the lack of unity within ourselves and the mixed signals we have been sending to them. For when we are one, your Word promises that the world will believe in Jesus whom You sent. Amen.
*The messages, “In One Accord” and “With One Voice”, can be heard on Covenant Vision Media Centre. “As One Man” will be uploaded very soon.