“I will build my church”
Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18)
The whole scripture includes reference to Peter, the rock. Peter and the other apostles faithfully did follow Jesus’ call to make disciples. But from the third century onward, the development of the Christian church was taken over. Constantine made Christianity the official religion under Rome. Putting the church into Man’s hands has ensured the building of brick and mortar churches, where the people inside have become reliant upon what a priest or pastor ministers, rather than those followers of Jesus all becoming ministers as he intended, all reaching beyond the walls of the buildings to those who do not know the Gospel.
Elements of Jesus’ Church
I’d like to look one-by-one at the fourteen points I devised in a recent post ( https://laruspress.com/the-look-of-the-new-church-church-needs-to-change-part-3/ ) to discuss what Jesus’ Church is meant to look like and how we might give him room now to build it. Today I shall look at the first quality, that of Unity.
From 1 Corinthians 1:9-10 “… that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from great death, and does deliver us…” As we trust Him, He works in us — not only person by individual person, but also in us collectively. Oh let us capture the value of being a part of a whole, not only an individual saved by His grace.
Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity”. There is no room for argument in that clear statement. But I want to define Unity, to take this a step beyond the obvious. In doing so, I draw attention to Jesus’ words and prayers as testified in the Gospel of John.
John 14: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” Just as we know through the Spirit of GOD, that Jesus is in us who believe, so too is the Father in us. And since we all have the Spirit of Christ, are we all then through the Spirit, not also with one another? How important is it then, and valuable and critically beneficial for the Gospel, when we who abide in Christ, are also in unity with one another. Just as in the physical world, working in unity is superior to our individual endeavours in our witness and effectiveness, so too in the Spiritual realm, unity must be hugely important to the Father. Remember, this whole journey of salvation is about the glory of GOD; it is not about us. Once we are saved at the cross, we need also to move through the cross who leads us to deep intimacy with Jesus our Saviour, but also with the Father of Creation. GOD made us and put us in the Garden of Eden to be in relationship with Him.
We are not to be like the Hebrews who told Moses, ‘You go talk to God and report back to us’. Rather, we collectively and individually are meant to seek relationship with the Father. How important then to be in unity: being gracious with one another, reflecting GOD’s goodness, love and purity, which extends in and through one another.
Unity then is not copying one another; it is not being the same or thinking the same as each another. It is discovering and abiding together with GOD: It is allowing the Holy Spirit to indwell us and fill us — individually and corporately. This brings glory to GOD. And further, as we become entwined spiritually with Jesus, our intimacy with him as a body of believers exposes the love of the Son and the Father to the world.
This is my prayer: that the body of believers in Yeshua Jesus will grow together in intimacy and love, that our understanding and relationship with the Father will grow and deepen, and that — at last — mankind’s purpose for GOD’s creation of us will be fulfilled.