Unity - On to the Goal Keep Pressing
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Spiritual and organic unity for the Church is a Biblical mandate.

We're blessed in the physical Church families, but we still stand divided on racial lines. To the youth of our church families, or to non-Christians, it must sound ironic when we sing: "Like a mighty army; moves the Church of God, Brothers we are treading, where the saints have trod. We are not divided; all one body we, one in hope and doctrine, one in charity."

The assumption that spiritual unity must issue in organic division is squarely opposed to the teaching of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul said, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that ye speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Cor. 1:10)

Whatever might be oneís personal opinion to the advice of the Apostle, we should admit that the scripture doesn't sanction the idea that spiritual unity will justify organic division.

Do we want physical/organic unity in the Church? When a family desires to purchase a "big ticket" item (car, home, etc.), they usually consider the cost and the need. Often we find when we want something badly enough it's possible to devise a way to obtain it. It may necessitate sacrifice or some discomfort, but if in the familyís collective will lies a desire to make a certain thing happen, it will occur. Does it lie in the organic Church collective will to become united?

The night before His death our blessed Lord prayed for His disciples "That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."

The world's not moved by spiritual unity. It's unimpressed for it can't see or comprehend such unity - especially in the degree in which it at present is manifest. The kind of unity the world can see, and by which it can be made to believe, is visible, organic unity - the kind Christ here prayed for. Spiritual unity is ours when we accept Jesus Christ. There'd be no need for Christ to pray for that. It'd be like praying for water to be wet.

When the organic unity of the Church's not in harmony with its spiritual unity, it exhibits symptoms of an abnormal condition. If not now, when? If not us, who? Some say that we need to be cautious...take our time...donít rush.

However, the uniform voice of the Bible is that the current dispensation is the last age of time. All through the Old Testament the present age is prophesied as the "last days." (Gen 49:1, 8-10; Mic. 4:1,2; Isa. 2:1-3) the latter days (Num 24:14-19; Jer 23:19,20; Jer 30:24; Dan 12). What can these expressions mean, if not that the prophets understood the present dispensation to be the last?

We're the subjects of time. The gospel age is considered to be the last day. We must make haste to do the will of God. The Apostle John knew this when he said, "Little children it's the last time..." We know that "it" (the present age) is the last age (l John 2:18). Jude tells us that the great multitude of mockers and scoffers who've opposed Christianity during this gospel age were to come in the last time (Jude 16-19).

In Jeremiah 23 we have a clear prediction of Christís first advent, the establishment of His kingdom, and His great salvation work in this age. (vss. 5, 6). Also we're told of the great apostasy and reign of false prophets during the Christian era. (vss. 9-18). In verses 19-20, we have a description of the present holiness reformation when God is pouring out the awful judgments of His truth upon all false religions. The prophet further states all these things would be considered by the people of God in the "latter days."

The gospel age is frequently in the scriptures called a "day." The prophets, speaking of things that would transpire in this age, said, "It shall come to pass in that day." Paul applies the term "day" to this age in Rom 13:12. Peter plainly states that Jesus was manifested in Ďthese last times for you." (1 Peter 1:20)

In consideration of the fact that these are the last days, what should be our emphases in bringing about organic unity in the Church? At the outset, let's frankly face the fact that there are good people in the family of God who don't desire organic unity. All we can do is examine their objections and see if they have enough weight to overbalance the yearning of the Church and the invincible prayer of Christ. Can differences be overcome? Some think that we're so different - culturally and otherwise, that flowing together is impossible. If anyone feels this way, let him or her read again the history of the Apostolic church and there he will learn that people of different temperaments don't have to belong to separate assemblies in order to function effectively.

Take the three apostles who companied closest to the Lord in good and bad times - Peter, James and John. These men represent the three dominant types of Christian character that have lent dignity, glory, and strength to the Christian church from the first.

Peter was the dynamic type... the doer. His followers have wrought the visible marvels of Christian history. They built the cathedrals, the hospitals, the childrenís homes, and the schools. They preached in the streets and in the slums and laid down their bones among the heathens as missionaries in the far away corners of the earth.

It'd be possible to eulogize them to the point where we should say they were the only worthwhile servants of Christ, until we examine their faults and see the virtues of the other types.

John was the type of the mystic of the Church. Long lines of the rarest and finest spirits of history have followed in his wake. Counted as cranks and fools by the world, they've nevertheless contributed the spiritual values to the Church that have made it seem worthwhile for the weary to keep plodding on the long road. These have contributed to life vision - its highest and finest gift.

James may be regarded as one of the judicial type. He was the kind needed to mediate between the wild zeal of the people of action and the wild dreams of those of contemplation. In their moments of weakness, doubtless each type seemed utterly in "left field" to the other.

After our Lord went away, the personnel of the Church became more complex than ever. Jewish workingmen and Greek philosophers mingled with Roman soldiers to mention only a few of the different types within the glorious fellowship of the Apostolic Church.

What has been can be again. The organic phase of the Church has a lot to gain from the mutual sharing of gifts, talents and abilities. In the mellow warmth of one Church, once disorganized by divisions, will spring new life under the divine blessing like Aaronís rod, and put forth at once the flowers of genius and the precious fruits of a sublime art and splendid life.

The Apostle of old has asked a question that rebukes our division. "Is Christ divided?" He inquired of the Church at Corinth. Would he not ask the same of us today?

It's apparent that the spiritual unity of the Church in one of the strongest arguments in favor of organic, visible unity - a unity that will demonstrate that spiritual unity to a lost and dying world. With visible unity, all of the organic Church would set up such mighty tides of spiritual power that the strongest saint would become a more devout and spiritual person, and the near-backslider would hearten and come into his full inheritance.




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