That They May Be One
That the World May Know
Why did Jesus so fervently desire that true Christians be unified? God intends that the unity and oneness of His Church be an example to the entire world! Our unity would be a proof that we are God's children. "Jesus said, By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35) Unity and oneness within the Church of God would confirm the working of God's Holy Spirit in a way seldom witnessed in the world. Our unity and oneness would demonstrate to the world that, as promised, the Father sent Jesus, and that salvation and hope are coming to mankind. "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God." (Ephesians 4:13)
All throughout history, God intended for His people to be a light to the rest of the world. God gave Israel statutes and judgments so that the nations around them would be jealous of Israel's blessings and would want to know Israel's God.
"Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear . . . and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God." (Deuteronomy 4:6-7)
God did not intend to work with Israel alone. Those things that God was doing with Israel were not just for Israel. God intended the nation of Israel to be an example to show other nations that His way of life produces happiness and prosperity. In the same way, those things God is doing today with the Church of God are not just for us. The Father sent Jesus and wants the world to know that fact. God wants all nations to come to Him. We can reveal the true God to the world by letting our light shine in unity and oneness. Ezekiel tells us so in seventy places!
"So will I make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel . . . and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel." (Ezekiel 39:7)
Jesus said, "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me." (John 17:23)
First, the modern Israelites will come to know their God – and soon! The Church of God will cause our nations to know – not physically by television or other media – but by our oneness. The Church of God must play this important role in God's work at this time. The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and all the rest of Israel still do not know about the Father and Jesus. Soon all the world will know!
Our singleness of heart as Christians enables us to seek out The Truth and to live by it. By communicating, praying for other Christians, fellowshipping, and showing ourselves friendly, we begin to show love for one another. We need to encourage all brethren who are truly serving God. Preserving the Truth is everyone's duty. By reaching out to others in this way, God's Truth will become clearer to all in the Church, and our unity as God's children will grow.
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude :3)
As the Israel of God, the church is the final bastion of His Truth in a world trampling it underfoot. We are children "in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15, Galatians 6:16)
"God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Corinthians 1:9-10).
Our Christian love for one another should be able to withstand any storm if our hearts are truly woven together.
"That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ." (Colossians 2:2)
For a while we were, to some extent, a well-functioning group, fitly framed together. God knew that Satan would contaminate the believers with non-believers. Doctrine was relatively consistent throughout the Church. The members were being fed, and the gospel was being effectively preached throughout the world. And yet, God was not mocked – He began the process of separating out the non-believers."For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." (1 Cor. 11:19)