Monday, November 19, 2012

One God - One Goal - One Glory

Thoughts on the Sabbath School Lesson for 11.24.12

Do you remember this song?

We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored

We will work with each other
We will work side by side
We will work with each other
We will work side by side
And we'll guard each man’s dignity
And save each man’s pride

We will walk with each other
We will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other
We will walk hand in hand
And together we'll spread the news
That God is in our land

And they'll know that we are Christians by our love
By our love
Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love [1]

That was one of my favorite songs as a young person. I hadn’t thought of it in years, but as I was thinking about ‘unity’ I found myself humming it. (And now it will be stuck in your head too. Ha!)

Did you read the lyrics? They provide an excellent picture of what unity among Christians should look like, don’t you think?

I was reading the dictionary definition of unity. It says, 
“1. the state of being one; oneness. 2. a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one. 3. the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification. 4. absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character. 5. oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement.” [2]
It’s a good definition – it covers all the bases. Number 4 bothers me a bit, though. I don’t believe that one describes the kind of unity we should find among Christians. What do you think?

My understanding of unity within the church with our common belief in a loving, creator God, includes our common goal of bringing as many souls as possible into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and our shared expectation of spending eternity with our Savior. One God -- One Goal -- One Glory

Beyond that, though, I believe that our methods can be quite diverse. God made each of us individual. There are as many methods of sharing the gospel as there are Christians – and I believe that’s a good thing.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” Ephesians 4:11-12
Can you imagine a football team where, even though the entire team agreed that they all wanted to win the game, everybody wanted to be quarterback? Would that team be able to fulfill its goal to win the game? Probably not. There’d be 11 men throwing the ball around, but nobody would be catching it. That team would be everybody’s joke.

Look at Jesus’ disciples. They did not look like clones of Jesus or each other? Did they all have the same personality? Absolutely not! The disciples were vastly different from each other, weren’t they? But they were unified in their belief that Jesus the Messiah.

What’s the trick to finding unity within the body of Christ? How can we be like the disciples and be “all in one accord” and ready to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
“Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out. They were of one accord. All differences had been put away. And the testimony borne of them after the Spirit had been given is the same. Mark the word: ‘The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.’  Acts 4:32. The Spirit of Him who died that sinners might live animated the entire congregation of believers.” E.G. White, Counsels for the Church, p.  98
So, what are you doing to further the cause of Jesus Christ? Have you found your ministry niche? If not, why not? Don’t want to stand up in front and speak – no problem. Can’t sing or play an instrument? That’s ok. For everything you think of that you say you cannot do, there is at least one other form of ministry that you can do. You can help the pastor in his office, clean the church, help in one of the children’s departments, help with potlucks, be a greeter, or become a prayer warrior for your spiritual family.

Jesus has a specific and unique mission for you that will fit in perfectly with what everyone else in your church is doing.

When you feel like complaining that someone isn’t doing their job right, pray instead that God will show you how you can help? Maybe that person has been holding that job just for you. If you turn it down, who else will fill your spot?
“Strive earnestly for unity. Pray for it, work for it. It will bring spiritual health, elevation of thought, nobility of character, heavenly-mindedness, enabling you to overcome selfishness and evil surmisings, and to be more than conquerors through Him that loved you and gave Himself for you. Crucify self; esteem others better than yourselves. Thus you will be brought into oneness with Christ. Before the heavenly universe, and before the church and the world, you will bear unmistakable evidence that you are God’s sons and daughters. God will be glorified in the example that you set.
“The world needs to see worked out before it the miracle that binds the hearts of God’s people together in Christian love. It needs to see the Lord’s people sitting together in heavenly places in Christ. Will you not give in your lives an evidence of what the truth of God can do for those who love and serve Him? God knows what you can be. He knows what divine grace can do for you if you will be partakers of the divine nature.”  E.G. White, Counsels for the Church, p. 290-291        
You can’t be a Christian from the sidelines. You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. You’re either with Jesus or against Him. There is no middle ground. 
Remember, we share a belief in the “one, true God.”  Our shared mission is to introduce as many people as possible to our Redeemer.  And, by God’s grace, we will meet beside the Sea of Glass and spend Eternity in the presence of Jesus.  One God – One Goal – One Glory  

[1] Peter Scholte, “We Are One In The Spirit,”,


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