Excited to hear from our guest blogger today! Paul Dazet is lead Pastor of Journey Church, Living Hope’s sister church in Franklin OH. I’m so excited to hear from his heart on a topic that I believe we are seeing played out in our partnership with Journey.
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6 CEB) tweet
Last week, I wrote about the revolutionary promise of God to do more than we can imagine through His Church. Today, I would like to begin to uncover the clues that Paul left us on how God desires for us to connect into His amazing future for us.
It begins with Radical Unity.
If we look at the church today, we would all agree that we are not unified. We have different beliefs, different convictions, different preferences, and the list can go on and on. We could say that we, as the church, give off the appearance that we have more differences than we do have things in common. And the way that we deal with these differences is usually in unloving ways.
Jesus said we will be known as His disciples by the way that we love one another (John 13:35), not by our differences. Jesus also prayed that we would be “one” as He and His Father are one (John 17:21). That’s tight.
What if are lack of unity is the very thing that is keeping the next big move of God from happening in and through the Church?
Paul says, in Ephesians 4, that we should be unified. And this unity isn’t an act, or an emotion. It is something that is very radical.
The radical comes from the word radish, or root. Radical means rooted.
This unity is rooted deeply in Jesus. Paul says that this unity is of the Spirit. It is something that belongs to or comes from God. It isn’t something that is worked for, or accomplished by our efforts. It is something that Christ has done through his work on the cross, and his resurrection.
Our unity is found in what He has done. You might say, that it is a spiritual unity. And this unity allows for relational and theological unity to happen.
Our responsibility is found in holding to relational unity. That is what Paul says in verses 2-3.
2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. tweet
Humility. Gentleness. Patience. Love. Peace. All of these are Christlike virtues that we are called to live out. As we live out these virtues together in community, we will find the relational unity that the world needs to see in the Church.
We are also called to be unified theologically around the 7 “ones” that are listed in verses 4-6.
4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all. tweet
One body. One Spirit. One hope. One Lord. One faith. One baptism. One God. 7 aspects of our theological unity. Paul is calling us to unite around that which Jesus has accomplished.
The one of the biggest things that I love about Journey Church is despite all of our differences, we can unite around our love for Jesus. That in Christ, we are united and find the power to be “one”. If left to our own accord, we would be a disunited mess.
Even though we are united in the Spirit, it is the lack of relational and theological unity that the world tends to notice about the church. My heart breaks for the fractured relationship that the Church has with the world.
So what is the point?
I believe if that we can come together as the church, despite our differences, we will begin to see God’s power work in His Church and through his Church to impact the generations to come.
What would happen if all of us, and I mean all of us, would set aside our differences, and come together in love and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us? It would be awesome.
And that means, we would have to stop finger-pointing at those who believe, behave, or worship differently that us. We need to stop gossiping. We need to put on the virtues of Christ as the clothes that we wear, living out the way of love in the church and in the world.
It is time to be known as a unified force of love in the world. Who is with me?
Next post in this series is Radical Diversity. See you next week.