Oneness and Unity in the Body of Christ
by KEN ALEXANDER
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Oneness and Unity in the Body of Christ
In order to accomplish the will of God in this generation there must be an absolute oneness within the Body of Christ and its members. The day of the individual ministry leading a congregation of sheep is gone. For there to be a release of the power and authority of God now necessary the members of the entire Body must be in unity. John records Jesus’ affirmation given during the Last Supper: “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me” (John 17:20-21). Christ conditions the world believing in Christ with oneness. Now the entire congregation participates by becoming one with each other.
Paul said: “I, THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:1, 3, 4-6). What was Paul saying? That there is to be a oneness in the Body of Christ.
What is oneness? The Lord God said: “And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as WE ARE ONE;” (John 17:22). The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. Genesis proves this saying: “Then God said, “Let US [Father Son and H.S.] make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The terms US and OUR reveal that the three-person Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are one even though they may perform entirely different functions.
Oneness does not preclude diversity of the individual ministry. Paul explains in 1 Co. 12: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (1 Co 12:4-11). So we see that each member of the Body exercises his/her gift with complete freedom. Yet with all that diversity the Body stays one spirit just as God is one spirit.
How does such a diverse group of individuals become one spirit? It is not as easy as you might think. Many groups appear to be one but many times they are held together by human love. Compatibility is not oneness. Neither are close knit groups. Human bonds based on compatible personality are just that – human bonds. “Well I really like my brother” is not spiritual oneness. “He’s my best friend” falls short of what God requires. What God is looking for is born in the Spirit level.
“NOW there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Him by night, and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, [born in the spirit] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:1-6).
Jesus said you must be born again into the Spirit in order to see Him or to become part of the Kingdom of God. The Body must be born again. This is a miracle that happens through the Holy Spirit. We cannot strive on a human level to become one. We must receive it from God.
On the day of Pentecost days after Jesus was resurrected those present experienced oneness. “AND when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). In this case it was the falling of the Holy Spirit that made them one. The fact that they were “all together in one place” did not produce what they were waiting for. It had to be the experience with the Holy Spirit that accomplished the oneness.
Acts goes on to describe the manifestation of this oneness. “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 42-47).
From this experience of the Holy Spirit and the oneness, the Apostles and others were able to take the Word of Christ to the ends of the earth. It all begins with a oneness in the spirit. They were born again. This experience was not something they could create in the flesh. It had to come by the H.S.
Jesus had foretold to the disciples what would happen. In John he said: “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. “And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me. “Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:20-24). Here Jesus prays for the glory resting on Him to be given to the disciples “so they could be one”. This oneness born of glory would lead to the world knowing that Jesus sent them. Just as on the day of Pentecost believers saw the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and were drawn into the experience to the extent 3000 were saved that day (Acts 2:41).
Do you now understand we cannot come into oneness by doing anything on a human level? Oneness has to come from a rebirth in the spirit where we are transformed into another person. Jesus said that by receiving his glory that they would be one. And oneness is a witness to the whole world that they are from Jesus the Lord. Oneness is true and is manifested by the love members have for one another, down to the least of the Saints. Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). Love is the glue that holds the oneness together. God is love!
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