Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Psalm 133:1 KJV
I have been reminded by someone recently of something I have said many times. It is that what one of us does affects all of the rest of us who call ourselves Christian. I would like to think that we could each stand on our own merit, but have to admit that it is just not true for Christians. I remember watching the three musketeers when I was a child as they shouted, "One for all and all for one!" Whether we like it or not, this is true for everyone of us who are the true disciples of Christ. We were made that way so the world would know that Jesus is who He says He is.
Before Jesus went to be with the Father He prayed for His disciples that would serve as the Apostles in the early church and then He prayed for us. For the disciples he prayed for their safety and for them as they continue. For us, he did not pray for our safety, nor our prosperity, and not even our health.
This is how that prayer went in a couple of versions:
"I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us SO THAT THE WORLD WILL BELIEVE you sent me.
"I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. MAY THEY EXPERIENCE SUCH PERFECT UNITY THAT THE WORLD WILL KNOW that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. (John 17:20-23 NLT)
I'm praying not only for them But also for those who will believe in me Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind-Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, SO THEY'LL BE AS UNIFIED AND TOGETHER AS WE ARE – I in them and you in me. THEN THEY'LL BE MATURE IN THIS ONENESS. AND GIVE THE GODLESS WORLD EVIDENCE THAT YOU'VE SENT ME and loved them In the same way you've loved me. (John 17:20-23 MSG)
He prayed that we would be in perfect UNITY. And not just so that we would get along… It was so those who are not Christians would KNOW JESUS.
UNITY IS NOT ABOUT US! So few things really are. It is about those in the world coming to know Jesus. If we complain about others or refuse to work with other believers they must see just the opposite. Our lack of unity would prevent people from knowing Him. Would that put their blood on the hands of those who refuse to be one?
So how do we become one when all of us are so different? Must we use Matthew 18 to work through our differences or do we leave our sacrifice at the altar while we get things worked out with our brothers?
Just thinking through what His Word says….