52 | The Wider Picture

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
(John 17:20-21)

Just before Jesus was to be arrested and crucified he prayed this prayer in the hearing of his disciples. He said the unity we show is key to our witness: people will believe our message because of it.

That’s how the early church lived: they were one in heart and soul. They had favour with everyone, and every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved. They displayed unity between God and His people, unity between churches and unity within each church.

Paul modelled the many levels of relationship and cooperation common in the early church. He supported and encouraged leaders he didn’t meet often and wrote to churches he loved but hadn’t visited. He also had deeper partnerships with an inner circle of workers and Churches. Here there was deep honesty, complete trust, and an interchange of personnel and financial resources.

Of course there are now a bewildering number of denominations and streams. While we have varying callings and theology there is much to be gained through a mutual encouragement and cooperation that recognises and champions the distinctive gift of each church to the wider body of Christ. There are great dangers in isolationism and we must trust that a right level of interaction will enrich, rather than dilute.

 

Discussion:
What is God doing between churches that He may want us to be involved with?

What do you appreciate in other church streams that could enrich us?

What gifts do we have that could enrich other churches?

 

Scriptures:
John 17, Acts 20:17-38, Philippians 1:5-7

 

Wednesday 22 to Tuesday 28 March 2017 | © Jesus Fellowship Church
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