The Battle Against Our Unity in Christ

Walking together.jpg

In Jesus’ final prayer before the cross we read,

 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:22-26, ESV2011)

I have never known such a battle in my life or the lives of God’s people than the one to maintain our unity in His love. There is a reason for this. When the world’s people see Christians truly living together in Christ’s love for one another (and I don’t mean one hour together on Sundays only), as a family in the Father, Satan starts to lose his grip on his kosmos—his worldly kingdom. Those deluded by him can see that these special people have something that they do not have, but need desperately. So, all the minions of hell are brought to bear against even two people walking together in the unity of Jesus and the Father. Remember, our unity is exponential. One can put to flight a thousand but two ten thousand.

T. A. Sparks wrote:

The higher position of “Ephesians” is this – that now, being quickened and raised together with Christ and seated in the heavenlies is a matter of relatedness to other believers, and in that relatedness, you are going to find your fullness. You are never going to find spiritual enlargement just as an isolated, separate individual, but in relation with other believers. “God setteth the solitary in families” (Ps. 68:6), and there is no doubt about it, whether or not you understand or accept the doctrine of it, you can prove very quickly in experience that our spiritual enlargement does come by way of true spiritual and heavenly relatedness with other believers. That is proved by the fact that it is not always easy for Christians to live together for very long. It sounds a terrible thing to say, but you have a lot of other factors to reckon with. If you were ordinary people in this world, you might get on very well, but being Christians you have to meet the whole force of Satan working upon any little bit of natural life he can find. So he makes for difficulty between Christians that they would not find if they were not in a heavenly position. They are meeting forces in the heavenlies. There are the rub and friction and all the cross currents that try to divide Christians but which do not try to divide other people, because there is so much bound up with true spiritual oneness amongst the Lord’s people – so much for the Lord, and so much against Satan. Satan is going to break up that spiritual oneness if he can. He knows what that means for him, and the Lord knows what that means for Himself – and hence the special and extra difficulties when it is a case of Christians living together, especially for a long time.

Now what is the upshot? When these difficulties arise we must say, “It is evidently necessary for me to get a new spiritual position, to get on top of this. If I am not going to give it up and leave, I must come to some spiritual enlargement; I have to know the Lord in a new way, to have more grace, love and patience.” That is spiritual enlargement, and it comes by relatedness. (Of course, that is only one way; there are many others by which spiritual enlargement comes by relatedness.) If only we can keep together in prayer, there is spiritual enlargement.

http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/001719.html

Yes, unlike many eastern religions, there are no “holy hermits” in the kingdom of God. There are no Christian one-man-bands! The prophet spoke of this unity we are to have in Christ when he said, “A body have you prepared for me (see Hebrews 10:5).” Those who belong to Christ are called as members of His body AND members of one another.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Rom 12:3-5, ESV2011)

Christ has equipped each one of us who are His to function as a member so that the whole body might be edified and built up. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read:

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph 4:15-16, ESV2011)

To speak the truth to one another in love is to walk in the light as Jesus is in the light and make no provision for the flesh hiding its faults in darkness, not just for our sakes, but for the sake of the body of Christ.

Paul wrote, “every man that is among you [those who have surrendered to Christ]… not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith,” This is about rightfully accessing our current state of growth and faith in Christ according to the working of our Father to bring about our transformation. We don’t over estimate who we have become by His grace and we don’t underestimate it, either, by burying our “talent” in the earth. The temptation is to become too proud in our estimate of who we are, exalting ourselves as having some “Christian office” to lord over others, or to spend our time downcast as we constantly look at how far there is to go. Our hope is found as we see ourselves by God’s grace IN the arms of the Son while His perfecting work in us proceeds. We are not our own, but Jesus has bought us with the great price He paid for each of us on the cross and as such we are to be led by the wind of the Spirit, not our carnal minds.

We not only have to battle the enemy in gaining and keeping our unity in Christ’s body, but we have to battle our fleshly thinking as well. The whole thing is a very humbling process once we see this life with spiritual eyes and set our goal to function as a spiritual member of Jesus’ mystical body with one another.

Father, please do whatever it takes to make us all one in your Son. Amen

 

 

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33 comments on “The Battle Against Our Unity in Christ

  1. Amen to your prayer, Michael! ⭐

    I thought this devotional by Sparks and the related article to be very appropriate, too. Since I feel no inspiration as for writing a longer comment of my own, I only want to share an excerpt on the importance of spiritual unity I found on the internet which seems to go with your writing pretty well. It was written by Zac Poonen.

    Even the children of this world realise that there is strength in unity and fellowship. “The locusts”, the Bible says, “though small are unusually wise, for though they have no leader, they stay together in swarms (Prov. 30:27-TLB). Therein lies their safety and their power.

    In the church of Jesus Christ, we need to relearn this lesson.

    I am not referring to an organisational unity of Christians or of churches, formed by man, at the cost of compromise and the sacrifice of God’s truth – such as in the modern day ecumenical movement. That type of unity is a farce and a counterfeit of the unity that Christ prayed for in His High-Priestly prayer (recorded in John 17).

    The unity that the New Testament speaks of, is the unity of the members of Christ’s Body with one another, under the Headship of Christ – an organic unity and not an organisational one. It excludes those who are outside of the Body of Christ, even if they have the label ‘Christian’. There can be no union between the living and the dead. Those made alive in Christ through the new birth can find their spiritual unity only with others who have been similarly regenerated by God. Christian unity is forged by the Holy Spirit Who alone makes us members of Christ’s Body. The Bible exhorts us to “strive earnestly to guard the harmony and oneness produced by the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3-Amplified). Any unity formed by man is worthless.

    Satan is a cunning foe and he realises that he cannot overcome a united Christian fellowship that lives under the authority of Christ and His Word. His strategy for warfare, is therefore, to begin by sowing discord, suspicion and misunderstanding among the members of a fellowship, so that he can paralyze them individually.

    Jesus said that the powers of Hell would not be able to overcome His church. (Matt. 16:18). It is the church, the Body of Christ, that is promised victory in the battle against Satan. A believer standing in isolation from other believers may find himself defeated.

    Satan attacked Christ constantly during Christ’s life on earth, but was unable to prevail. Finally at the cross, Satan’s power over man was taken away from him by Christ (Heb. 2:14; Col. 2:15).

    Today, Satan cannot attack the Risen Christ. His attacks are therefore directed at Christ’s Body, the church. Victory over Satan is possible only as we stand united against him, as a Body under the Headship of our Lord.

    In a fellowship of Christians, even if one member is not fulfilling his function, the power of the Body is, to that extent, weakened. Satan knowing this, seeks continually to isolate individual members of a group, or to divide the group (or church) into cliques. Either way, he succeeds in his aim.

    This is why we must be constantly on our guard against the wiles of Satan, lest he weaken the links between us and other members of the Body of Christ.

    http://www.cfcindia.com/wftw/be-diligent-to-preserve-the-unity-of-the-spirit-in-the-bond-of-peace

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fred Thoren says:

      I should have read this comment before I made mine. I am reminded of a youtube video that said something much like this. Any way thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, this quote from Zac Poonen was very good and full of spiritual truth. Thanks for sharing it. He said, “Satan is a cunning foe and he realises that he cannot overcome a united Christian fellowship that lives under the authority of Christ and His Word. His strategy for warfare, is therefore, to begin by sowing discord, suspicion and misunderstanding among the members of a fellowship, so that he can paralyze them individually.” Discord, suspicion and misunderstanding… we sure have experienced a lot of that haven’t we? Loving one another in Christ and walking in His light is key. Paul wrote,

      “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].” (1Cor 13:4-5, AMP)

      Thanks for all your prayers, dear sister. ⭐

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re very welcome, Michael. I hope you’re doing better today. Indeed, it is God’s love we need. Our human ‘feelings’ this world calls love will never enable us to love our enemies, too.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, as for me doing better? Well, The regular doctors (pill pushers) have given me about five different prescriptions for my chronic back aches over the last six months, sent me to a physical therapist and a spine specialist and not much has changed. This morning I was talking to the service manager of the tractor place I took three of my hydrolic cylinders to to have them rebuilt and he highly recommended his chiropractor to me, so I will be going to see her this afternoon. Thanks for all your prayers. Hopefully this was God’s leading for me. :-/

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Mia says:

    Dear Michael
    I have often found that love is the thing that is mostly lacking in Christian churches, as we know them. Perhaps this is because God alone is Love and He seems to be so absent in these institutions. It saddens me to say that I have found my friends, who are not church members, sometimes to be much more fun to be with than my church-going friends. Can this perhaps be because there is just no unity amongst these people?
    Blessings XX
    Mia

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Mia, you are right about the lack of love in these Christian institutions and yet, there seems to be more love and concern from those outside of them. I think it is because Jesus came to call to Himself a body for Him to dwell in, not institutions that give Him lip service only. One is organic and the other is not. There is a great lack of unity among these church goers because they are not walking in His light in all truth with one another.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fred Thoren says:

      I am not sure why but the 3 churches I have been to have been very friendly. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I am still trying to figure out if I should even be going.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Fred, who we are to fellowship with is a gift from God and not our mental choice if we are following the Spirit for it is He who knits us together with the other members of Christ’s body. What would happen if we assembled a body from all its loose dismembered parts and have never seen Christ’s body before? I am afraid that it would be a disaster at best. Thus the lack of unity in the churches we have today. Remember, Jesus said that HE would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Fred Thoren says:

    There was a sermon that I once heard that was much like this. It has been some time so maybe it is different but not much from what I remember. That sermon got me looking for other believers around me. I was lead to my next door Neighbor and a the small church I go to that has less then 20 members I feel friendships there even out side the sunday service.

    Also for me I have at times felt to high of my self and at times I have felt to low of my self. I seem to go back and forth like a yo yo. I do seem to get chastened for it as well.

    Also I was just talking to a believer on-line whom feels she is all alone. No other believers where she is at. I am not sure what to tell her or how to help her. I have been there though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Fred, good to hear from you again. Your little church sounds interesting. Jesus taught the large crowds in parable that they did not understand and even turned them away because they wanted to make Him their king because He fed them. But He poured Himself into the twelve disciples and revealed the kingdom of God to them. I have found that the larger the congregation in churches, the less personal they are with one another. My fondest time in a “church” was when I was part of a small home fellowship that was part of a small country church where we all knew and loved one another. I found this to be very rare indeed. A couple of cult leaders came in and tried to take that church over by seducing the congregation with their teachings and their that went!

      I think that because many of us have been burned in churches by false shepherds is why there are so many of us alone and scattered.

      And he [Micaiah the prophet] said, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master; let each return to his home in peace.’” (1Kgs 22:17, ESV2011)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Fred Thoren says:

        I am glad I was able to find a small “church”. It is a Lutheran “church” that split off from the Lutheran denomination but not completely so they still call them selves Lutheran. There is another that is also ex Lutheran but that one completely split off and even dropped the Lutheran from the name. They are against compromising in the church. The other one I have gone to is a shared ministry church which is so small that it is a merging of Methodists and Presbyterians. I do feel it wrong to go there though.

        I have mainly been burned by books or youtube videos with all kinds of odd teachings. Also been burned by bible study groups one was very legalistic, so much so they were going against the teachings mentioned in the whole book of Galatians. They thought you had to keep the whole law. That is not what my bible says. Glad I got out of that as it was hurting me.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Fred, as for keeping the whole law you are right. I quote Peter here on this subject of law keeping and the Gentile believers, “Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” (Acts 15:10-11, ESV2011)

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Amen, Michael.

    Something that was very helpful to me was to read that we are called to “preserve” the unity. Preserve, as in it’s already there, it’s a given, it’s a promise. We have the unity, the problem is we’re always trying to create it or enforce it or police it and of course whenever humans try to fix things that aren’t broken, we break them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Gabrielle,

      You have made a good observation here. When the Spirit puts us together as members of Christ’s body there is unity. It is Satan that comes in and sows seeds of discord among the brethren. I like what Susanne shared in her quote from Zac Poonen and it so describes what happens to break up what God has joined together…

      Satan is a cunning foe and he realises that he cannot overcome a united Christian fellowship that lives under the authority of Christ and His Word. His strategy for warfare, is therefore, to begin by sowing discord, suspicion and misunderstanding among the members of a fellowship, so that he can paralyze them individually.

      That old serpent knows that once we are divided form one another he can have his way with us and paralyze our Christian walk.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Delyn Merce says:

    Speaking the truth in love seems to be the stumbling block for many, from my perspective. If you’re afraid to speak the truth, don’t want to hear the truth–and just want everything covered up with Jesus’ grace–relationships become very superficial. We can hardly go to one another with our needs, our confessions–for the purpose of being built up and edified–if our relationships are shallow repetitions of “Praise the Lord” and “let’s keep each other in prayer”. Communication skills are sadly lacking in the world, and the Church, equally. And the need for courage to be genuine and authentic in order to have “real” relationships seems to scare Believers to death. Everybody has “issues”, and the devil uses them to maximum efficiency in separating the sheep from one another. I don’t need another Bible lesson about how the body is “supposed” to work–my experience is that it doesn’t work. And after recently getting blasted–in a blogger’s post about “Christian love and community”–because I said, “If Jesus is all you’ve got, then Jesus is all you need”…well, I’ve just given up. May He bless you most abundantly with His provision and favor.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Delyn, sorry that it has taken me so long to answer your comment. I have had a round of chronic back pain that makes it hard to concentrate on my writing 😦

      Yes, speaking the truth in love by the Spirit’s inspiration is rare indeed among Christians. I wrote about this very thing and the wonderful benefits there are when just two of His dear saints walk in transparency with one another, walking in the Light as He is in the Light. You can read it here:
      https://awildernessvoice.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/unity-in-christs-lightcoming-into-full-stature/

      May you find another saint to walk in the light of Christ together with, dear sister.

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Delyn Merce says:

        Thank you so very much for your reply–I was afraid you’d written me off as a “not ready for prime time Believer” 🙂 I’m awfully sorry to hear about your back pain–chronic pain is not fun at all, and most of us have some source of it (headaches down to low back and hip, for me 🙂 ). I will faithfully keep you and your family in my prayers, as I do for all the blog folk I meet–takes my focus off myself, at least for a bit 🙂 Have a blessed weekend!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        No, dear sister, not at all, but I am not sure if you have found a “prime time” blog here. 🙂 Sorry to hear about your chronic pains as well. Thanks for your prayers for us. It is really needed right now. I will be praying for you as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. dimple says:

    Amen to your prayer, Michael.

    Love in Christ to all who gather here!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the blog. John 17:22 is a very gripping verse. Do we really believe it? In the NIV it says: ” I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks for your comment and question, Pat. It got me searching for what Jesus meant by, “I have given them the glory that you gave me.” Jesus was not yet ascended into heaven so I doubt that He is talking about us “going up to glory land.” Rather, the glory that Jesus demonstrated and has for all who believe is His supernatural love and unity that he shares with the Father and His ekklesia of called out ones. Verse 22 is the set-up for verse 23.

      [22] And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: [23] I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. (John 17:22-23, KJ2000)

      The divine gift is unity and love for the Father and the Son and one another as the very sons and daughters of God. “I in them and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one” and by abiding in the Father’s love with one another. THIS is the glory of the Son of God that is ours in this life and in the next. Clarke in his Bible commentary wrote,

      Verse 22. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them]… Joh 17:20, it is more natural to understand the passage thus. As Christ, according to his human nature, is termed the Son of God, he may be understood as saying: “I have communicated to all those who believe, or shall believe in me, the glorious privilege of becoming sons of God; that, being all adopted children of the same Father, they may abide in peace, love, and unity.” For this reason it is said, …Christ is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

      Yes, Pat, I can’t speak for others, but I know that I believe this to be true. May you abide in His glory, dear sister. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you, Michael, for your reply. It is helpful. I will reread it as there is more there than I can take in with just one reading.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Carina says:

    The Lord is amazing. Today when my husband and I were praying the Lord gave me this very passage, too! It’s awesome how unity in the Holy Spirit works. He uses brothers and sisters to confirm the same things He’s been teaching us! Because indeed He’s not a God who creates confusion, but rather, brings like to all our dark places!

    This is so beautiful. I’ve been thinking (and praying) a lot on this “abide by me”. One of my favorite verses which inspired the title of my blog is: “31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The desire to know the truth not just in theory but in powerful reality, and abide in it. The desire to be IN Christ, because He is the only one who can bring ultimate freedom. Then I thought of the Martha-Mary dilemma (which was clearly settled by Jesus!). Mary STAYED at Jesus’ feet. She persevered in listening (oh, listening is another of the huge themes the Holy Spirit has been highlighting in my heart). And because she was intent on learning at His feet, they had beautiful fellowship. And then the passage of Jesus’ prayer in John came to mind. Of course, if we abide in HIM, and His Words abide in us, there WILL be unity. If we steadfastly remain His disciples with all that word implies, the Holy Spirit will make that wonderful unity a reality.

    Carnal people fight a lot, because they’re not quite dead to the flesh yet. But we’re called to maintain unity by dying to the flesh constantly.
    From Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
    Then we have the infamous list of works of the flesh, among which we find “strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy…” Looks ugly, but that’s how many of us have lived our “Christian lifestyle”, and so verse 15 about “biting and devouring one another” is a painful description of what we have both suffered AND inflicted on others. Me? Guilty as charged. All of the sins in that horrible list describe old Carina very well! 😦
    Thank God we have another list in that chapter, that describes what our lives should look like:
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
    Did you notice how many times in the same chapter the apostle Paul warns against envy, strife, contentions?

    Another passage I received today which illustrates this point very poignantly is in Jude
    16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

    And last but not least, James 4
    4 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
    6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
    “God resists the proud,
    But gives grace to the humble.”

    Sorry, your post was about unity, and my comment is about disunity. But you know, one of the ways we can defeat the enemy is by identifying the darts he throws against us! On a more positive note, I want to point out, as James does, that one of the weapons we have against disunity is humility! If we want to abide in Him, the first thing we need to do is admit we don’t have it all together! In fact, left to our own devices we’re such a mess! But when we confess that openly to God, and to the fellow brethren the Lord brings to our lives for such a purpose (transparency and true fellowship is so beautiful!), He helps us with His awesome grace to be one IN Him and with each other.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Don says:

    Thank you for showing us the Lord and His relationship with His Body more clearly. Thank you to those who have written a comment to share your experience with other readers.

    I have seen that it is an important thing to our Lord that we be unified/one in Him as is evidenced by the emphasis He placed on it in John 17. He stated to His Father that He had completed the work that He was given and that was before He went to the cross. Verses 6 and 26 are clearly key to the work that He did. In both verses we read that Jesus revealed the Name of God or the very Person who He is. Jesus tells His Father that revealing Him to His disciples was the same as placing His love and even Himself in them.

    Is it any wonder then that His last command, or the great commission, involved revealing the Name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to people called disciples? Jesus placed the whole Kingdom of God on the lives of the disciples for them to build it by revealing the living God to people who do not know Him. Not a hint of building organizations with buildings and pews.

    Even the word baptize is defined as whelm, think overwhelm, or dip, think saturate or soak. So read the great commission with these words, make disciples by saturating them in the Names of the only living God thus placing Him in their hearts. After that teach them to walk with Him in unity and love. Not a hint of joining a local body. I guess He considers these new disciples members of His own body not needing to join a church but to BE the Church.

    Water baptism is important, it remembers the crossing of the red sea and the burial and resurrection of our Lord. It signifies the destruction of the forces of Egypt/the devil. Once you cross over to the other side you can not go back. I’m sure that the clergy are responsible to do these baptisms but doing them does not fulfill the requirements of the great commission of our Lord. Everyone who is a believer is under orders from the Lord to make disciples period. This is not something for only the leaders or educated. A prime example is found in the woman at the well. Jesus told her who He was, she told the townsfolk who He was, then they came to the Lord and believed for what He said above and beyond what she said. Jesus never sent her to school or seminary.

    It occurred to me just recently that Jesus taught us that all it takes is two or three to gather in His Name and He is there with them. This is His idea of discipleship. It is clear to me that we must make disciples first and foremost and it will be great if a group of people gather to worship God afterwards. It will be pointless if people gather to worship One they do not know and no disciples have been made. Sadly I have seen it happen.

    Discipleship best happens when you can hear and see one another. Jesus demonstrated that when He left heaven and came to earth spending time with the twelve in all sorts of ordinary activities seven days a week not only from the pulpit on Sundays.

    Keep it up reveal Him more clearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Don, thanks for your well thought out reply about our relationship with Christ as the Head of the body and we as members of Him and one another. I will try to put it into my own words here.

      The Kingdom of Heaven is where we live with Him once we have been given the Spirit (for “we now dwell in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus”). From this point on all apprehension and understanding is spiritual and not to be compared or likened to earthly institutions or ways of thinking. The problem is that down through the ages unenlightened men without divine revelation from God have put their carnal hands on what is now called “the church” and turned it into over 41,000 carnal institutions by their own design. This is a great distraction to those who are born from above into the Father’s kingdom and they spend many years looking at and to these institutions trying to understand God and the unity that is theirs in the Father and the Son and with one another in the Spirit. They are even told that they can not trust the voice of the Spirit that is in them when He tries to show them His Kingdom and the depths that are theirs in Jesus Christ in Spirit and in Truth. The problem is that most all current church leadership is more interested in gaining numbers on their “church” rolls and building their “churches” with the methods of modern day marketing and after the models of the world’s organizations and kingdoms with their top down leadership. The very word “church” (ekklesia) itself has been twisted to mean a building or an organization instead of “called out” ones who have come out of the world and into the Father’s kingdom with all their hearts. Escaping from Christendom and learning to discern HIS voice from all the confusing voices out there who supposedly represent Christ was the one biggest step I had to take in finding my freedom in Christ and what it means to walk in the intimacy and transparency of HIS Light with the Father and the Son and other called out ones. THIS is who we are and what sets us apart for true fellowship with one another. It is here that we experience the cross working in us as the Light shines into our remaining darkness, for true fellowship in the Spirit is a purging process, but the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all our falling short (sin) of the fullness of Christ.

      I agree that becoming a disciple of Christ is when together we meet on common ground and that ground is level at the foot of the cross without one of us elevated over the other preaching down at the rest from a pulpit, making himself aloof from correction. This method of teaching came from the Greeks and Romans. Jesus taught and walked among the disciples in everyday settings in this world by living the Kingdom of His Father among them. The kingdom of God is a FAMILY! He is our Father, Jesus is our Brother and we are ALL siblings, members one of another.

      Liked by 2 people

      • dimple says:

        “The very word ‘church’ (ekklesia) itself has been twisted to mean a building or an organization instead of ‘called out’ ones who have come out of the world…”

        Hi Michael,
        As a matter of interest, the word “church” really does mean a place: (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=Church)
        “ekklesia,” on the other hand, refers to a group.
        (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=ekklesia)
        Thus the ekklesia may meet together in a church, but the church is not the ekklesia.

        When I was first being birthed from the church into the ekklesia, I had to learn that there was a difference, and that those who were really speaking of the ekklesia usually use the word church. I was rather confused until I learned this! But I did learn, and now, if I am in doubt about what is meant, I apply the church/ekklesia differential before I decide.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Dear Louise,

        The word “church” is from the Scottish word “kirk” and it became popular to use it to translate ekklesia with the 1609 King James “Authorized Version”. In fact the king gave orders for ekklesia to be translated with that word instead of “assembly” as was done in the Tyndale version. The fist translation of the Bible into common English was by William Tyndale many years earlier. He did use the word “church” twice, but only in reference to pagan Temples (see Acts 14:13, 19:37).

        It is interesting to me that the ekklesia met in homes for the first 270 plus years after the persecution of Christ’s followers by the Jews rose up with the killing of Stephen. They made no attempt to buy land and put a building to meet in during that time as it was with the pagan religions where they met in temples and worshiped their pantheon of idols. Why? The elect knew that THEY were the temple of God and that Christ dwelt in them by His Spirit. It was not until around 312 AD when Emperor Constantine took over the oversight of the persecuted ekklesia and started outlawing pagan worship and built temples for the Christians to “worship in” like the pagans did.

        Never forget Jesus’ words, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt 18:20, KJ2000). Fellowship in the Spirit of Christ is not about buildings, thank God. For where you have a building you have someone in charge of that building and they often end up having the final say of what goes on there. Christ soon ceases to be the Head of that fellowship and a man or woman does. Remember Paul’s warning,

        “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1Cor 3:21-23, KJ2000).

        Thanks for your comment, dear sister. Greet the ekklesia that you gather with for me. Love in Christ,
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi, I just found your blog today. You truly do love Jesus, and that is what I was needing to see while searching. Thank you for posting, and thank you for sharing the truth of how Satan gets his power here. The same way I felt when I found Jesus’ love, is the way I feel when others love him. There is real hope and salvation in that love. I pray you are blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Barton Jahn says:

    Brilliant post…well-thought out…important topic…covered thoroughly…something for every Christian to ponder and pray about.

    Liked by 1 person

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