Archive for unity

John 17 – One in God!

Posted in church, relationships with tags , , , , , on August 16, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

In John 17:1-26 Jesus is praying the High Priestly Prayer and he is interceding for himself, his disciples and finally for believers who would be chosen by his sovereign grace 200 years later. Jesus’ farewell prayer at the close of the last supper gives an account of his ministry to the Father and there is so much theology packed into these 26 verses that it would take days and weeks to unpack it but let me give you 2 highlights:

  1. V10-12 Jesus’ prayer points to the perseverance of the saints and eternal security. Jesus prayer request was that we would be kept and keep in mind, the Son of God always gets his prayers answered by the Father. As a believer in Jesus, you can have assurance that your faith has a future because the Father would not give to his Son a gift (believers) that would not last.
  2. V20-26 Jesus calls upon the Father to make his church one even as Christ and the Father are one. V13-19 gives us the qualities that are a result of being united with the Father – Joy, Sanctification, Witness and God’s glory.

John 17 points us to the Trinitarian nature of God. Even though the Old Testament introduces us to the Trinitarian nature of God (Gen 1:26-27), the Jews of Jesus’ day were raised in strict monotheism = God was singular (Deut 6:4). Suddenly Jesus Christ arrives on the scene and at his baptism (Matt 3), the Father declares Jesus as his beloved Son and then the Holy Spirit dropped in on the party and remained upon Jesus. It took another 400 years of theological debate before the church formed an official doctrinal position on the trinitarian nature of God. Due to the theological debate and discussions of the Council of Nicaea (325AD) and the Council of Constantinople (381AD) the Nicene Creed was formed and is absolutely essential in helping us understand what the bible teaches about the trinity. A short summary of it in my own words is provided:

“The Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms the revelation of the eternal Godhead, who has revealed himself as one God, existing in 3 persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who dwell in eternal community of interdependent and reciprocal love; distinguishable but inseparable in essence; co-eternal, co-existent and co-equal in nature, attributes, power and glory.”

Why is the Trinity relevant to being ONE in our relationships? What unites the Godhead is perfect intimacy. God experiences divine community within himself and the church is supposed to reflect that oneness in the way we relate to each other and represent God to the world.

Jesus, in perfect intimacy with the Father prays, “I ask for those who will believe in my name, 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” (Jn 17:20-21).

When we are ONE, we point the world to the sent ONE of God = Jesus Christ!

Just as God raised up Israel to be a witness of his glory to the nations, so too has God raised the Church up to be a witness and representation of him throughout the earth. Being unified and authentic in our relationships isn’t about warm fuzzies and being nice to people alone but our unity is a chief sign that God is among us.

Tomorrow we will look at what being authentically ONE looks like practically.

Lead the Change!

Authentic Relationships!

Posted in apologetics, relationships with tags , , on August 15, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

How many times in your life could you say that you have felt a genuine sense of oneness and unity in your relationships?

Unfortunately, when it comes to the church, there are too many people who carry with them a negative report of broken relationships and wounded souls. Yet, the church is called to be the greatest apologetic of the gospel the world has ever seen.

Why is it the Church struggles to cultivate authentic relationships at times? Let me suggest 4 reasons among others:

  1. Reality of Spiritual Warfare – We have an enemy who hates the church and all it stands for.
  2. Our Sinful Nature – When our flesh can’t get what it wants it pollutes our relationships.
  3. Pressure to Perform – Salvation by works manifests as pharisaical moralism.
  4. Busyness of life in western culture – Busyness skims through life and produces shallow relationships.

Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John 17:1-26 has some incredible insight into the source of unity, the benefits of unity and why unity is important. We will unpack the insights in this passage over the next week.

Lead the Change!

Dwell in Unity!

Posted in relationships with tags on August 10, 2009 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Psalm 133 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in UNITY…For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”

One of the most important principles and lessons I have learned is the importance of pursuing unity with other leaders in the Body of Christ. It’s so easy to get focused on your own camp that you can easily lose sight of what God is doing in other camps and other people’s lives.

I’ve discovered that most conflicts occur over easily surmountable issues that people aren’t willing to go through the process of working out. When in conflict, find the 1% you agree on and throw 100% of your weight behind it. Unity is not necessarily uniformity but it’s a commitment to build relationship with people in spite of the disagreements at hand.

Unity is not just a positive outcome for us all but it’s also a key to the blessing of God. God commands the blessing upon unity. Let’s seek to walk in unity with each other and by looking not only to our own interests but also the interests of others, humbling ourselves and loving our neighbour as we love ourselves. Dwell in unity!

Lead the Change!

One Church

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 30, 2008 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Ephesians 4:4 says, “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Count how many times the Apostle Paul uses the words ‘one’ in this passage…I think God is trying to make a point. We are supposed to be representative’s of the oneness of God and be one church.

I have struggled at times with how to bridge the gap between churches in my own region when we all come from differing theological perspectives and rituals. Despite our differences we have many points of unity (as outlined in this passage) including one Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our salvation.

We must be willing to climb over the spiritual walls we have erected around ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and agree to work together to build God’s kingdom across the earth. Recently i heard of a pastor who initiated a concept called ‘ONE PRAYER’ . He invited pastors from around the world to answer the question: If there was one prayer you could pray for the church what would it be?

The response was incredible! 14,000 pastor’s from around the world chose to participate in answering that question for their own local congregations and during a 4 week period in 2008 all 14,000 churches preached a series in their churches called ‘One Prayer’ and allowed pastors from other congregations to preach in their pulpits the answer to that question. At the end of the 4 week series all the churches took up an offering for church plants and put it towards the planting of 500 churches across the world.

WOW! This is a revolutionary idea that worked in one part of the Body of Christ and similar ideas like it can work in your region as well. Pull down the walls you’ve created that isolates you from other Christians and churches in your area and reach out to them building this one church Jesus called us to be.

Lead the Change!