One Body, One Spirit, One Calling to One Hope, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God, One Father of us all, the One working through all and the One living in all.
Ephesians 4 walks us beautifully down the road of Union:
"Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another. You all belong to one body, of which there is one Spirit, just as you all experienced one calling to one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of us all, who is the one over all, the one working through all and the one living in all." v. 3-6
Paul's words so deeply condemn our perception that denominationalism is natural, organic and helpful to the growth of the Body of Christ. In fact, interpersonal oneness with the Holy Spirit is supposed to "inevitably" lead to oneness in our worship. We are intended to be "one body," powered by the unlimited energies of the "one Spirit," as we chase after our one and only "calling to one hope," Jesus. He is the "one Lord"; Belief in Him is the "one faith"; being buried with Him is the "one baptism"; there is only the "one God," the "one Father of us all, who is the one over all."
And if you wonder where Union with the indwelling Christ fits into this equation, read on: "the one working through all and the one living in all."
"His 'gifts to men' were varied. Some he made his [apostles], some prophets, some preachers of the Gospel; to some he gave the power to guide and teach his people. His gifts were made that Christians might be properly equipped for their service, that the whole body might be built up until the time comes when, in the unity of the common faith and common knowledge of the Son of God, we arrive at real maturity—that measure of development which is meant by the 'fullness of Christ.'" v. 11-13
We talk and talk about our "gifts and giftings" in the Church, and yet the only purpose for these gifts is to push the Body of Christ into greater Union with the Living Jesus. Apostles must bring Heaven to earth; prophets must speak only the words of God; preachers must preach only of the Gospel; pastors must lead their flock only to the Good Shepherd; teachers must instruct the hearts, not just the minds, toward the Way of Jesus.
The great test for any pastoral staff is to ask whether, in any given year, their efforts have caused their congregation to "arrive at real maturity—that measure of development which is meant by the 'fullness of Christ." Any lesser goal is chaff in the wind; we are meant to be growing up only into Jesus, nothing less, nothing more...
"We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies. But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the head. For it is from the head that the whole body, as a harmonious structure knit together by the joints with which it is provided, grows by the proper functioning of individual parts to its full maturity in love." v. 14-16
There is nowhere to go but up. There is no other destination for you and for the Body of Christ but Jesus. The more our contemplations, desires, actions and spirits are consumed with Him, the more the Body is as it was meant to be: One and fully His.
The Church is merely you, the one who is reading these words, the one sitting in front of your computer, your iPad or your smart phone, right now. Your pursuit of the One Lord, in the power of the One Spirit, is the only part you can play today in the eternal movements of the Church. Will you play that part? Will you spur the Body? Will you be one of the ones who never ceases after Him and helps us all to become One?
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