In continuing to talk about the need to walk as one I am going to weave together some seemingly disparate scriptures into one. In doing this I recognize that if the church is to ever function in the unity Jesus prayed for then we all need to understand what and how to walk in the things He has prepared for us to do.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
While I wrote ‘if the church is to ever function in the unity Jesus prayed for’ in the comment above, the real question is ‘when?’ Given Jesus prayed for unity we can be assured that no matter how things look now, or how settled we are in unbelief, before the end Jesus will ultimately have what He requested from the Father. We also need to understand the role our persevering faithful prayer plays in the fulfillment of Jesus prayer. However, back to Ephesians 2:10. Have you ever had guests for a meal? Generally we try to prepare the food before they arrive, to have things ready in advance. Our Father looked down through time and eternity and ‘pre’-pared things for us to walk in, our individual calling and purpose. This is part of being assembled as a body.
So let’s start with what Jesus prayed.
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 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. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 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 17:20-23 (NKJV)
Jesus said we will come into unity, become one, through an understanding and experience of His glory. So we would do well to pray for an unveiling of His glory. I think some of that will come through us as His body each understanding our calling and purpose.
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16 (NKJV)
Another key piece is the need to be righty related to one another. Paul told us that the body is ‘joined and knit together’ through what the joints supply. A joint is not a part, it is a relationship between parts. So let’s add this to the reference below.
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)
There are two parts here. Joints and assembly. In applying Hebrews 10:24-25 I know the literal meaning is getting together but in the early church that meant 1 Corinthians 14:26, not showing up and sitting and standing on cue and then leaving in pretty much the same condition we came in as seems to be the case in so many present day churches.
26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 1 Corinthians 14:26 (NKJV)
So we need to be joined in right relationships to grow as a body, we need to exercise our gifts and callings and we need to be assembled. Assembled in the sense of the right parts fitting together. If we as the church are the body of Christ then the toe needs to be joined to the foot, the ear to the head and the nose to the face. Each part needs to know its function and then be in the right place on the body. This will require a shift in the function of much of the current church leadership, a revelation of His glory throughout His body, and a general releasing of the body into their calling and purpose.
The way I best understand this coming about is an image the Holy Spirit showed me about 20 years ago. I saw an image of a puzzle, like a jigsaw puzzle. As the parts shifted and came closer the picture was clearer but when they all came into the right place it was as if light were turned in inside the puzzle and it was filled with life. This is what I believe will happen when we as His body come into our gifts and callings and are properly assembled. We will see clearly what was previously confusing and will corporately powerfully flooded with the light of His presence (we have something to pray for).
In closing here is what I heard Bobby Connor say while recently watching John Paul Jackson’s memorial service.
“God chose us in the past, to live in the present, to forge the future.” Bobby Connor
Let us forge the future Jesus envisions for His body!