THE UNITY FOR WHICH JESUS PRAYED
By Phil Sanders, The Whetstone, Vol. 3, No. 32, Oct. 8, 2006
"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me." (John 17:20-21.
The Lord Jesus prayed for unity among His people. The kind of unity Jesus desires for us is the kind of unity that He had with His Father. Such unity is necessary to persuade a lost and dying world that Jesus is sent from the Father.
When Christians divide over doctrine, they reveal to the world they are not one with the Father and the Son. It is difficult to appeal to the world when brethren cannot agree with each other. When the world outside of Christ sees 600 major denominations and thousands of independent community churches, it must be a stumbling block to their faith. They don't know what to believe.
Jesus, however, did not pray for unity in spite of a diversity of doctrine, because of two things. First, before Jesus prayed for unity, He prayed that His disciples would be "sanctified in the truth" (John 17:17). Being set apart in the truth is what unites us; it is essential. The Lord Jesus has always wanted His people to agree, to be of the same mind and the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10-13). When people began departing from the truth, they were to be marked and avoided (Rom. 16:17,18) so they would not cause further division.
Second, the unity which Jesus desires for us is the same that He had with the Father. Jesus remained unified with the Will of the Father throughout His ministry, even to the point of death on a cross. He sought always to do the Will of the Father (John 4:34; 5:30; 8:28-32; 14:31). We too must yield our souls to the Father and say, "Not my will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). To suggest that Jesus believed in a diverse doctrine from the Father is to distort the truth. Jesus said, "For I have not spoken on My own authority, but the Father who sent Me has Himself given Me a commandment -- what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told Me" (John 12:49-50).
When people today pray for unity with others who hold doctrines that are "outside the truth," they are actually praying something very different from Jesus' prayer. Jesus would never pray for unity without truth, because Jesus came to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37) and identifies Himself as the truth (John 14:6) To unite the truth with a lie is to deceive, not harmonize. May God help us to find unity within the truth, not in spite of it. &
“CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD”
By Bob Myhan
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:12-16).
It is often said that Saul of Tarsus was saved on the road to Damascus. But it wasn't until after he arrived in Damascus that he was told what to do to be saved. Jesus had said, "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do" (Acts 9:6). Jesus then sent a man named Ananias to tell Saul what he must do (Acts 9:10-16). As one can see in the above quotation, he was told, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." If he was saved on the road to Damascus, therefore, he was saved before his sins were washed away.
Some contend that his sins were "actually" washed away when he saw Jesus, and "symbolically" washed away when he was baptized three days later. But the Bible says nothing about "symbolically" washing away sins. The Bible says, "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). Is one "actually" saved when he calls on the name of the Lord, or "symbolically" saved when he does so? Did Saul "call on the name of the Lord" before being baptized? No, for he was told, "arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." If he was "actually" saved before he was baptized, then he was "actually" saved before "calling on the name of the Lord." But if he was "actually" saved when he called on the name of the Lord, then he was "actually" saved when he was baptized. John wrote that Jesus "washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Revelation 1:5). Ananias tells us when it is that Jesus washes us from our sins in His own blood. It is when we are “baptized…calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). &
The 7 UPS!
1. Wake Up !!
Decide to have a good day.
"This is the day the Lord hath made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).
2. Dress Up !!
The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance, But the Lord looks at the heart" (I Sam. 16:7).
3. Shut Up!!
Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, So [perhaps] He meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking.
"He who guards his lips guards his soul" (Prov. 13:3).
4. Stand Up!! [For what you believe in.]
Stand for something or you will fall for anything.
"Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, We will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good..." (Gal. 6:9-10).
5. Look Up !! [To the Lord]
"I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).
6. Reach Up !! [For something higher]
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
7. Lift Up !! [Your Prayers]
"Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING" (Phil. 4:6) &