WHERE IS THE UNITY?
By Cougan Collins
In John 17, we can read Jesusí prayer. One of the points He emphasizes in His prayer is for us to have the unity He and the Father has.
John 17:20 " 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.
Jesus and the Father have perfect unity. In fact, everything Jesus did and said came from His Father (Jn. 5:19, 30). Jesus did not take any liberties of His own. To Him, it was all about being obedient to Godís will. He taught us the importance of us doing the same:
Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.† 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'† 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
We cannot just claim to be a Christian and be pleasing to God. No, we must follow in the footsteps of Jesus by obeying the Fatherís will and by staying away from teachings created by man (Mt. 15:7-9).
There is only one way we can have the unity Jesus prayed for, we must be obedient to Godís will as found in the New Testament. Unfortunately, there is great deal of religious division right here in Lone Grove because there are many different groups calling themselves after different names because they believe something different. Many of the groups have no idea why they believe what they believe; they just know that their mom and dad believed that way and they never questioned it. I am challenging all of you to question your beliefs and test them against Scripture.†
Being divided and calling ourselves after different names is strictly prohibited by Paul:
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.† 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.† 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ."† 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Imagine the impact we could make in our community for the glory of God if we got together and restudied those issues that have divided us and be humble enough to allow Godís Word to be our guide. I am willing to setup a time and will provide a place where such discussions can happen. The question becomes, are you willing to revisit those things which separate us, and are you willing to allow Godís Word to be our only authority. Encourage your preacher and members to enter this public discussion so we can get back to the unity the Jesus prayed for. We invite you to worship and study with us to learn more about first century Christianity Ė lgchurchofchrist.com.