Re: Unity and Division
Some rambling musings, here. This past week there were several e-mails of this nature and that. A couple asking about yet some other translation, another sent a file from some website, another this, another that; and I don't now remember which of those was the catalyst for me to make a note to myself to do some brief musings about John ch17 for this mailing. But there were commonalities amongst them. There seems to be a general 'theme' going on out there.
Did not Jesus pray, "that they may be one..." (Jn17:11,22)
But He also prayed, "Sanctify them in Your Truth. Your Word is Truth." (Jn17:17)
Did Jesus contradict Himself? Oh, -what- "contradiction"? you may ask?
The word "sanctify" is the same as "holy". What does holy mean? To make a distinction. To cut apart. To separate. In terms of God and His righteousness, "holy" means to be distinct from sin. A -division-. A separation. By definition, the opposite of "unity"
So...in the same chapter, the same 'prayer', He prays for both unity -and- separation?
First of all, about 'whom' is Jesus praying for unity?
Notice, again, Jesus is praying for the ones "given to" Him, -NOT- the world. (vs9) This unity for which Jesus prays is -NOT- for the world nor for those who do not have His Word in them.
And notice -what- it is that sanctifies. Truth. What is the essence of Truth? God's Word.
17 Sanctify them in Your Truth. Your Word is Truth.
If we see an entity called an "Emerging Church" that lays -aside- the Scriptures. Other labels that engage in emotional spiritual ecstasies, in lieu of Bible teaching. Other divisions who "tear down the walls...of Doctrine". They cling to texts that denounce and make light of God's sovereignty and holiness. In other words, they have no respect for God and His Word; they throw the Bible aside in lieu of their own -various- beliefs. BY DEFINITION: they are NOT CHRISTIANS. Their allegiances and behavior betray their true heart.
They are NOT the ones about whom Jesus prayed for unity. If they reject His Word, there is no basis for them to be "one" with God. They are devoid of Truth. They are minus Jesus Christ. They are "enemies of the cross of Christ" (Php3:18)
They are part of those who "take counsel together, against Jehovah and against His anointed, saying, Let us break and tear away their bonds, and cast away their cords from us." (Ps2:2-3)
Yes, they are united. They are together. They -do- have a "unity in diversity" and purpose. But their unity is not that about which Jesus prayed. The reason they can be united, even though they are of so many various beliefs, is because their unification is -AGAINST- the Most High! As they are "emerging" in these days, this emergence is a unifying process to solidify and finalize their rebellion against God.
But True Believers, those who have come to God through Jesus Christ, through the Word of God, are the ones who are in unity with each other and God. But we are -NOT- in unity with God's enemies. We have been 'sanctified' away from them. We are sanctified and separated from them through the Doctrine of God's Word. That is its purpose, to keep us pure.
But there is a lot of confusion amongst the wheat that are still mixed with the tares. Quite some time ago the Church was pure, but the enemy, while the Church was "asleep", sowed tares. (Mt13) One of those files that the person sent was written by somebody I suspect claiming to know the Lord; and yet was dropping names of various people he was calling "brothers", many of whom I know are false prophets. Even the "Israel My Glory" magazine, from which I share things with you-all periodically, I am sure a good many of its writers do know the Lord. But it is also equally apparent that they don't understand that, just because it is called "church", doesn't mean those people know the Lord.
The church I was attending right after college, before I came and was asked to take over the choir, they had had so much strife, some of them weren't even sure they could get anybody to direct them. I did for two years. And while I was there, the pastor was teaching on Sundays from 1Corinthians. He used an overhead extensively. One chart he showed on a regular basis illustrated the three types of people that exist, and it was comprised of 3 circles, each with its own label. There is the "natural" man, the "spiritual" man and the "carnal" man. And he would express how, often, the "carnal" and "natural" are hard to tell apart. The 'choir' was not the only entity that had problems in that church. And during the time I was there, seeing what I was seeing, I would see those three circles and conclude to myself that the pastor was talking to a congregation of "carnal" people. That was over 30 years ago. With my current understanding of things, I now look back on those times in my memory with the sad realization that it was, in reality, a congregation of the "natural". Most of them did not know the Lord. I don't know, now, if I can even count with the fingers of one hand, those I could now be confident, from back then at that time, truly knew the Lord.
You see...this is likely today's #1 dilemma in christendom. The wheat and tares have been growing together for so long...it's more like oats and wild oats. As the plants are growing, you can't tell them apart. Perhaps to a true farmer, he can tell? I was around farms as a kid, but was never responsible for anything, and now don't remember the subtleties. But in my memory, the oat plants grow up, they look the same. As the heads head out, they look the same. But it is when you see the kernels (seed/nature 1Jn3:9)... oats is white. Wild oats is black.
Not to use personal example again, but it fits here. It was in that same church where I met my wife. I thought she was a Christian. Most of you know my story and how she left. But here's the point... after she left, I called and met for lunch with a pastor who knew both of us, and also knew about that church. He had been somewhat of a friend. One of his opening questions of me, "Does she know the Lord?"
Well, of course she knows the Lord. She came from this Christian church. She -said- she was a Christian. Her father was on the board of elders. BUT...NO... SHE DID NOT. At least -that- pastor seemed to understand this concept we are speaking of here. And through the marriage, as we moved and had occasion to visit different churches, two other pastors during those years also knew 'something' wasn't right; one of them even spoke of "not being saved". But out of all the people through those years, these were the ONLY 'three'. The "few" amongst so many. (Mt7:14) Two of them were from little tiny congregations; one of them met in a remodeled (fixed up) barn loft, the other in a rented YMCA room.
But most do not. When churches and ministers speak of "unity", if the ones speaking those words truly -do- know the Lord, they have not yet come to understand that "Not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6b) And they assume that the "unity" Jesus prayed about in Jn17 refers to this hodge-podge of wheat-and-tares that are all growing together, that is collectively being called "church". It does not. It refers only to those who have been salvifically sanctified by God's Word. It only refers to the wheat.
But regarding the tares? We are exhorted to "Therefore, Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean (the tares), and I will receive you." (2Co6:17)
The True Church is "united in division" (of holy separation)
And the same Word of God by which we receive Salvation, is the same Word by which we are protected from the so-called "emerging church". They are "emerging" towards their final unifying push of rebellion against God.
If you are experiencing struggles with those claiming to be a 'church', or who are tugging on your sleeves to be 'one' with them, and be united, as they taunt you about things like: judgmental, hate speech, intollerance and whatever else they say... realize that, if they are saying such things, and don't seem to 'understand' where you are coming from...then, it is most likely that they are tares, and not wheat.
If you know the Lord, and they do not, they will typically be trying to get you to compromise and 'conform' to them. On the other hand, if you are a 'tare', and the congregation is raising up walls against you, that's likely because they know the Lord and you don't. If you know the Lord, and are standing firmly on God's Word, the tares will eventually reject you, after also possibly convening councils to put you "on trial" to attempt to elicit 'confessions' of wrong-doing from you, for not submitting to their 'authority' in their error unified by 'concensus'.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that not all of them are of us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that not any lie is of the truth.
22 Who is a liar but he who denies, saying that Jesus is not the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father.
24 Therefore let abide in you that which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise that He has promised us: Eternal Life.
26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to lead you astray.
27 But the anointing (Holy Spirit) which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will remain in Him. (1Jn2:18-27)
13 However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, HE WILL GUIDE
YOU INTO ALL TRUTH; for He will not speak things originating from
Himself, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will make known to
you things to come.
"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God," (Rom8:16)
You mean: You are right, and ALL OF THEM are wrong? Indeed!