I closed my last post with Jesus prayer in John 17:20-23 for
unity in the church. Key to our understanding is seeing that we were included
in Jesus prayer.
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also
for those who will believe in Me through their word;” John 17:20 (NKJV)
Think about this, we can all trace our physical ancestry
back to 8 people, Noah, his three sons and their wives or if we want to be more
succinct, back to two people in a garden, Adam and Eve. While Ancestry DNA or
23andMe may not be able to make the link, it is somewhere there. In the same
way, we can all trace our spiritual ancestry back to the first century.
Somewhere in a little Roman province called Palestine (Israel) our spiritual
ancestors heard the gospel, were born again and the word spread to others.
Eventually it came to us.
This idea of linkage and connection is a key theme in the
NT. In fact the NT knows no idea of Christians in isolation. From the Day of
Pentecost onward the focus was on community, a reflection of Jesus prayer. Paul
said the body grows through relationships – joints are relationships between
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)
us to find our common unity in the Holy Spirit through walking in love for one
another. Not the insipid ‘tolerance’ of today but a love that actually seeks
what is best for others and calls them to His high standard.
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,
beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with
all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in
love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the
bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just
as you were called in one hope of your calling; Ephesians 4:1-4 (NKJV)
said as His body (there is a unity term, the body of Christ) we are being built
into a spiritual house (not houses) and that we are a holy nation (singular).
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone,
rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being
built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5 (NKJV)
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)
Jesus said that He would build His church (His called out
ones), not on a man as some teach, but on the revelation of who Jesus is.
Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not
revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say
to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the
gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:16-18 (NKJV)
I believe that before Jesus returns He is going to see His
John 17 prayer answered in fullness – a church moving and flowing throughout
the earth in submission to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides and builds us
into the spiritual house we are called to become. I do not know how He will do
this, I simply believe that He will, that in the midst of deep darkness His
light will shine brightly (Is. 60:1-2). I desire to do my part to join my heart
with His to see this realized in the earth. After all it is up to Him and here
is what He promised.
13 Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts That the peoples labor to
feed the fire, And nations weary themselves in vain? 14 For the earth will be filled With the
knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:13-14 (NKJV)
This is our calling! So,
Let us hold fast the
confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is
faithful. 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