CHURCH AS JESUS INTENDED & JOHN 17 UNITY.

In John 17:21, Jesus said that the purpose—goal—of His church here on earth would be accomplished by the testimony of UNITY in His church.

Why is unity so important? “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 you sent Me” John 17:21. It matters—because when unity is demonstrated to the world, it will be the testimony that Jesus is who He said He is – the only Son of God, Saviour. When Jesus is thus “lifted up” then all men shall be drawn to Him.

Paul continued to emphasise the importance of unity throughout his writings:

 “Be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3

This is the vision and purpose Christ has for His body here on earth. Sadly, the world does not see a unified church.

What is the biblical model for unity of the Spirit in the church?

The perfect and highest expression of unity of the Spirit was modelled in the early church after Pentecost: “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers. Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their property and goods and distributed them to all, according to their need. And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).

Three distinct levels of unity of the Holy Spirit are actually expressed here:

Level 1 – Basics

(v. 42) “They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers.”

Level 2 – Signs & Wonders

(v. 43) “Fear came to every soul. And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”

Level 3 – A lifestyle of mutual support and sharing all things

All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their property and goods and distributed them to all, according to their need. And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47).

Each of these three represents a progressively higher level of unity in the church, the body of Christ on earth. And, each of these levels is real, tangible, and measurable—just like the actual resurrected body of Jesus.

When you have time watch Francis Chan talk about church as God intended, with all of us using our Holy Spirit given gifts to further God’s Kingdom. Francis walked away from a church of 5,000 in California, when He was challenged by God that very few in the church were using their gifts, and the other issue was how many were really born again.

In the last days, will we see a church like that in the Book of Acts? Yes! we will, and in fact where the church is or has experienced persecution, we are seeing and have seen a unified church. In the Middle East, particularly Syria, the remnant church is unified and operating as the did the church in the Book of Acts and all three levels of unity are visible. The church in China that came out of 40 years of persecution under Mao, same story.

portion of this article was extracted from “Achieving True Unity of Spirit in Your Church” by Louis Posthauer. He is the executive director of Hunters of the Harvest Ministry.

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