H ow often has the non-Christian challenged the Christian regarding whether or not Christianity is true by pointing out that Christians don't even agree among themselves? They question, with good reason, the validity of the message by arguing that those who purportedly bear this "Gospel of Truth" cannot agree among themselves what "truth" is. "So," they go on to say, "how can anybody be sure of what constitutes real truth?" Then, many times, the non-believer goes on to say, in effect, that "what you believe is your opinion, and since one person's opinion is as good as another person's opinion, I will simply believe my own opinion rather than yours. So, thank you, but NO thank you!"
A s you can see, many non-believers are effectively caused to stumble over the contradiction that lies inherent in the idea of a form of religion that teaches that it is the Church of the Living God of love and unity, the very Body of Christ, and yet exists in public disagreement and open disharmony.
E ven many Christians suffer spiritual conflict trying to reconcile their own heart-felt belief in a Godly call to unity in the Church with their own feelings of disagreement and even open condemnation of other members of the same Body. Perhaps they view other Christians that belong to a different denomination as somehow inferior. Or maybe they view as spiritually misled those who adhere to a somewhat different set of doctrines than they have personally adopted. Truth, or the misunderstanding of truth, becomes a dividing issue.
D o you know that this open division in the Body of Christ is going to come to an end? This division among Christians that lies as a stumbling block across the entrance to the Way of Life is destined to be removed by the mighty hand of God! It will not be brought about by a meeting of the minds on all doctrinal issues. But, surprisingly, it will be truth that reunites us.
J esus, praying in the full knowledge and understanding of the will of God, and speaking with the full power and authority of God in him, prayed that his present disciples, as well as those that would believe on him through their teaching, would be one in Jesus Christ and in the Father, that the world might believe that God has sent him! Let's read that prayer by the One who knew the express will and purpose of God. In the presence of his disciples, Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven and prayed, "Neither do I pray for these (his disciples) alone, but for those also who shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one ; as you Father, are in me, and I in you, that they all may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me " (John17:20-21). This oneness in God's Church will happen. Jesus will not be denied the affirmative answer to this prayer.
T he world has never, to this time, believed that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Anointed Savior, sent from God. This prayer speaks of a great miracle, performed by the hand of the Almighty Father, to glorify his uniquely begotten Son in the eyes of ALL mankind before the end of this present age. This prayer will be answered before the return of Jesus Christ in his full glory to this earth. Christians can not be an effective witness to non-believers as long as their own disunity stands in the way. The church was meant to be a true witness to the work of the Messiah in and through his unified body of believers. The one thing that obstructs belief in Jesus as the Son of God by the peoples of the world more than anything else is the bearing of false witness by the open fragmentation of the very Church that bears his Name. When truth is understood, it will not longer divide us.
T he time has come to raise the banner of unity over the church of the Living God, the Almighty Father, and his son, Jesus Christ. If we truly seek truth, then we must go where the truth leads us. But first, we must understand what is truth.
D octrines do not need to divide. There is an important principle when dealing with spiritual truth: if we are given a truth, and believe and follow that truth, then we are given the next truth, and the next, and so forth. It is an ongoing process of growing in understanding and applying it in our lives. The primary truth that Christians have been given is this: Love God, Love one another. Jesus said that these were the first and second commandments to Christians, and that there is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:28-31) In other words, if we have been instructed by the word of God to do anything at all, then these commandments have the first and highest priority, above any other instructions from God! And, not only that, if we carry out any other great deed, or exercise any spiritual gift, or work great miracles, or even give our lives to martyrdom, if it is not done out of love for God and love for one another, then it is of no value whatsoever! 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 tells us: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and I don't have love, I have become like sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And even though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and even though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and I have not love, I am nothing. And even though I give all my goods to feed the poor, and even though I give my body to be burned, if I don't have love it is of no profit to me." (The word translated as "charity" in the King James Version of the Bible is agape, the Greek word for the highest form of love, the word used in the Bible for Godly love. This word is translated many other places as "love.") These are strong words, the strongest words in the Bible as far as explicit instructions from God concerning the very motivation behind every Christian deed. No matter what we do as Christians, no matter how much we give, no matter how much we sacrifice, even to the point of giving our very lives, it is of no value if we do not love. And this means love God, and love one another! This pivotal truth declares that we cannot lawfully remain with a heart filled with anomosity and disdain for our Christian brothers and sisters.
R eal truth, by definition, is simply reality, and is absolute and uncontradictory. Contrary to New Age teaching, we do not create our own reality. Reality has already been created by God. New Age gurus have purloined the word, "truth," and redefined it. If somebody takes the word, "scorpion," and attempts to redefine it to mean what we already know to be a stone, a scorpion still remains a scorpion, and a stone is still something very different. And so, truth, along with the concept of reality to which it has always been applied, and as originally defined and understood, remains absolute and unchanging. And why is this? Ultimately, it is because all truth is of God. Truth is simply the reality of God, and the reality of his creation. And it is God that is the revealer of truth.
T o be given points of spiritual truth, we must first be able to obey the truth that we have already been given. Obeying the truth will, first of all, lead us to love one another. In 1Peter 1:18-21, we are told that we were redeemed by the blood of Christ, that our faith and hope might be in God. Then, going on in verse 21, it says, "Seeing that you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another with a pure heart fervently " The Bible says, in 1John 3:14, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loves not his brother abides in death." Love for the brethren is a witness as to whether or not we have passed from death unto life! These are powerful and plain words, and they are right from the Bible. These are truths that cannot be disputed by anyone who believes the Bible contains the word of God as instructions in the way of life for every Christian. What is truth? This is truth. It cannot be denied, it cannot be rebutted. God leaves us with no excuses. There is no valid reason to disobey the plain words of God to his people. All that we can claim for an excuse is our own lack of faith that God really means what he says, and has the power to bring it about if we will only take the first step, and then the next, and the next, as we are led by the Spirit to Godly oneness. God works all manner of miracles, in all manner of ways. Is this too much for him? Will we pray for unity and not give up, if we know it is God's will? Jesus spoke a parable in Luke 18:1-8 to teach the lesson that we "...ought always to pray, and not to faint." (Luke 18:1) At the end of the parable he asked the rhetorical question, "Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) Where is our faith? Why can't we believe that this is the will of God, and that he will empower us and enable us so that his will is done? Let us ask, like the apostles of old, "Lord, increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5)
A s we draw near to God and to each other, God will reveal the absolute truth of his word, and begin to dispel error in our existing doctrines. We can spend a lifetime studying countless hours, agonizing over every fine point of doctrine, ferreting out every last obtainable bit of information written by every honored and trusted theologian, reading and re-reading the writings and sermons of the "great preachers" of the past and present, and it will be a lifetime exercise in futility unless we accept the spiritual truth that precedes and enables all other spiritual truth: Love God, Love one another. All things of God, including truth, are gifts from God to the one who possesses and follows the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will, above all else, lead us to love God and love one another. 1John 3:16 says, "Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us, and we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." Oneness, motivated by love that is so strong and real that we would sacrifice our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters, will be the power of God that brings us together. Won't you help by being one in the forefront? Will you be one of the leaders that God will work in and through to bring about this great miracle? It is the prayer of your Savior and God. Would you deny him? What a blessed and wonderful purpose to give your life - the very minutes and hours and days and years that you live - for the sake of the brethren. Concerning Christian oneness, let's all say with all sincerity, "Thy will be done!"
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