CHALLENGES

After my analysis of John 15, I turned to the whole New Testament, tallying all the “you” pronouns. What I found amazed me. The singular forms occur about 470 times. Then I counted the plural forms and found it 2160 times, 4.5 times more than the singular! Wow!

Near to God’s Heart. If we want to know God’s heart, we can do no better than Jesus’s high priestly prayer. He pleads with the Father to unite His church now and in the future, making her one as He and the Father are one.  It is our unity, he states, that will prove to the world He is who he says—the very Son of God.[1]  Like his command, He repeats his request three times.  Selah.

Half a Cross; Half a Church:  Just as there are two dimensions to the cross, there are two dimensions to God’s agape love. In his Vertical Church blog and book, James MacDonald has got the ball rolling on the vertical side, but what about the horizontal, which Jesus envisioned and our early church brethren modeled?

Our love for God matters much, but here’s a tough question. Does it matter more? Do we love God first and all others second or does Scripture teach that if we love others, it proves we love Him?  “How can we say we love God whom we can’t see if we do not love the brother we can?”

If I ascend in my Spirit to the third heaven, past the holy portals into the very throne of God, prostrate myself before the Most High while I’m at odds with my brother, is my worship valid?, Without this “one another” love do we have a whole cross or just half of one?

We may bring thousands to Jesus, but if they don’t become connected to each other, do we have a whole church or a half church, one that limps along, trying but failing to reach our neighbors with the Gospel. It’s not our worship, our doctrine or even evangelism that will draw them to Jesus.

When they hear about our genuine care for one another, they will come. This gives new meaning to the phrase, “charity begins at home. But it mustn’t stop there. When we love one another, we can move on and share that love with our neighbors and won’t they be more receptive to our witness?

[1] John 17: 21-23 …may all of them be one, Father, as you are in me and I in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. …that they may be one as we are one— that they may be brought into complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me.”

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