One As We Are Many

One as we are many.

John 17:20-23
“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. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

There are so many biblical symbols of unity that God designed to describe the church with, but there is nothing more profound and unsearchable than John 17– the unity that Jesus described for us, as the church, to be. Jesus said if we get to be united as God the Son and God the Father, the world would come to believe in Him…

The next weeks we are going to talk what the church and what the church supposed to be. During this series we’re going to take a look at various symbols, you’ll notice that there is a unity essence that is essential for the work of such entity. We will discover that the church is a nation, an army, a family, a body, a bride, a building… and in all these symbols, we will also notice the importance of being one entity while, individually, we are a part of this oneness.

For instant just meditate on Jesus’ prayer main focus. Jesus is clearly saying that is our unity that will attract the people. The world will come to know that Jesus came from the Father because of our unity.

What does that actually means? I used to think that the world would believe if we had the best program, the best structure, the best finances. You might think that to conquer the world is a matter of having the best music… but Jesus is strongly pointing out that is a matter of becoming one like Jesus is one with the Father and becoming part of the deity through the Holy Spirit in us. Yes, this might sound strange in your ears but that’s what Jesus said, right? “just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us…”

What is that unity? This means we are united in the same love that the Father and Son enjoys. We have the same bonds of agape love enabling us to enjoy this unity. We were empowered with the glory and the love when we decided to walk in love, the love that loved us, now, allows us to love one another. ” so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” This love is given by the Holy Spirit that lives in us.

Romans 5:5
and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I don’t know about you but this love was what brought me in. The love of God through real people. And real people that loved each other like God loves the Son, and as the Son loves them…

Philippians 1:27-28
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

On a serious note, the world would believe in their destruction because of our unity… How can we explain that? I don’t know, but Paul is saying because we strive side by side for the faith of the gospel the world will recognize that the end is coming for the unbelievers and salvation is coming for us. Isn’t it amazing? Who can actually still believe in the world’s destruction in our days? It seems a comic tale, right? But it is not. How will the world believe? By our unity!!!

When was the last time, because the bond and connections among us were so strong that if an unbeliever would enter our meetings he or she would say: ” no way, I never seen people love like that, forgive like that. I can’t believe what you guys sacrifice for each other…” The bible says that our oneness will attract the world to believe Jesus. It’s not about a great speaker, a great band, a kids program or even any program we can offer it. But what Jesus says is our unity would be attractive more than anything else.

Many stones, one building, much glory

1 Peter 2:4-5
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Lego piece vs. Legoland

We are individual stones. But there is absolutely no purpose when we are not edified, built up, or connected. Our existence only makes sense if we are part of something greater than us. The feeling of being part of the big house of God on Earth.

1 Corinthians 3:16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

The “you” here is the plural version of “you”. It’s like saying “Do y’all not know that y’all are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in y’all?”

Without the y’all there is no temple. No real edification. No place for the glory. I visited so many places and gatherings. People were there but there was no edification, no bonds… they were doing everything right, but there was no glory. And I’m not talking about charismatic movement or good biblical teaching … it was the atmosphere, the lack of glory…

Glory, Fire, and love in the Temple
The old testament gives and beautiful story. It’s a description of the glory that came to the first temple in Jerusalem. Salomon, David’s son brought every element his father had saved and brought so much more.

2 Chronicles 5:1
Thus all the work that Solomon did for the house of the Lord was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, and stored the silver, the gold, and all the vessels in the treasuries of the house of God.

The elements were basically bronze (judgment of God over sin), silver (Redemption), gold (glory of God).

John 16:8-11
8And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

When real glory comes there are always an understanding of the glory. But every single part, every single element, every single brick, every single member need to be united as one.

2 Chronicles 7:1-5
“As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory [ Hebrew : kabod : weight , splendor] of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”

Do you remember in Acts 2, the early church we so much desire to be like? All started with the following verses:

Acts 2:1-2
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

Yes, fire came down again… the temple was built. The glory came down. The building was edified.