Unity of Faith

From dictionary.com: 

unity (noun) 
  • the state of being one; oneness.
  • a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.
  • the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.
  • absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character.
  • oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement.
Synonyms: accord, agreement, harmony, integrity, peace.

Unity of faith brings maturity, peace and perfect love.

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:14-15

What will bring this maturity about?

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 4:13

When will we have this unity of faith; what has to happen?

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16

Unity of faith brings maturity. Then we will live as we were created to live, by complementing each other in the body. We will live in peace and grow in perfect love – God’s love.

In Jesus Christ’s own words:

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  John 17:20-23

(Emphasis by underlining is added.)

Priests, Pundits, and Pilate

Turning from the Truth

I want to examine Jesus’ accusers at the time of his crucifixion and what led to it. There was offense given and taken. There was accusation and those who knew what was true and turned from it. There was intention and perception. It is the responses in several people I want to consider.

You may look up the passages by clicking the following scripture links: Luke 22 Luke 23; Mark 14 & Mark 15; and John 18 & John 19 (The Message).

The priests and the pundits were the first to take offense to what Jesus was teaching. They were so caught up that their authority or what they were professing was being challenged, they sought a way to kill Jesus. They would rather stick to their way of doing things under the law than to walk in a new covenant which would have given them a far better life. Isn’t this how people are today? Many of us will just accept laws or what someone else teaches instead of seeking out the best answer for ourselves through the Holy Spirit. We could be walking in the fulness of God in all aspects of our life, but instead we accept ‘status quo.’ The Holy Spirit is the best counselor or guide for All areas of our lives. Why don’t we go to him before we make any decision, not just spiritual ones?

The priests and pundits were so intent on carrying on the way things had always been, they would not accept Jesus’ teaching or position in their lives. They perceived Jesus as a threat to their system. What changes are we unwilling to make because it isn’t how things have always been, what we are comfortable with, or accustomed to? They started to accuse Jesus of claiming to be the Messiah. They were so spiritually blind they decided he was blaspheming God. Their first accusation held some weight based on what they professed, IF he weren’t the Messiah. The accusation wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the people though, so they started adding exaggerations to justify themselves. They fed off the indignation of each other. The group of them felt emboldened because they had others to go along with them. How do we get more power when we find someone to agree with us, even when we’re wrong?

The priests and pundits couldn’t see the proof right before their eyes. These were people who were leaders in the church, teaching others how to live their lives according to the law, yet they couldn’t see the fulfillment of the very prophecies they taught. How often do we have the truth before us and ignore it? They were hesitant to kill Jesus because they knew the people would be angry, so they sought out people who would go along with their deluded plans. God used their human hearts to carry out his plan. They taught the law but didn’t follow their spiritual side. They used Judas to locate Jesus. They used Pilate to try to convict him and made accusations that Jesus was starting riots when he traveled around teaching and healing people. Pilate sent him to another jurisdiction so he wouldn’t have to deal with the reaction of the people. He was a very wise politician – wise in keeping the blame from himself. Was he innocent though? How do we pass the buck when a hard decision is before us, do we choose an easy way out?

Herod eventually passed the buck back to Pilate, but he was excited to meet Jesus. He had heard of the miracles which had been performed by Jesus and he wanted to be entertained. When Jesus didn’t cooperate, Herod was offended. Jesus would not entertain him, he wouldn’t even answer his questions. Herod starting hurling accusations at Jesus along with the priests and pundits. Herod didn’t even know firsthand but he was willing to go along with the crowd because his authority to make Jesus speak or perform fell short. Herod used his own misguided authority to have his underlings join him in mocking Jesus. They even dressed him in a royal robe and called him names. Herod’s perception was to go along with the crowd. His intention was to put Jesus in his place but he was afraid to convict him. Do we get excited to be entertained? How often do rulers fear the reaction of the crowd and make a decision based on popularity? How often do we? Herod ruled from hearsay, not a firsthand account. He was guilty of not investigating the charges. He was guilty of listening to gossip. He was guilty of seeking entertainment and not the truth. He was guilty of esteeming himself higher than God.

Jesus was once again before Pilate who had listened to the charges and found Jesus was not guilty. He dismissed the charges, saying he couldn’t verify anything Jesus was accused of doing. Pilate knew he had an innocent man before him. “That day Herod and Pilate became thick as thieves. Always before they had kept their distance.” Luke 23:12 Pilate had a choice to make, he could have released Jesus. He wanted to release Jesus but the crowd who obviously gossiped among themselves had decided to listen to the leaders of the day, the priests and pundits. They followed along blindly with them and asked to have Jesus murdered. Again, Pilate had a choice and decided not to make the decision but gave Jesus to the crowd to be killed. He was guilty of pride, he was guilty of not doing the right thing. Pilate washed his hands because of his guilt but it didn’t remove his irresponsibility or guilt. Pilate followed after corruption. How do we stand up when the choice is tough to do the right thing? Do we go against what we know is truth to appease the desires of others? Pilate’s intention was to free Jesus but he changed his mind due to pressure. Pilate went against his own knowledge to give in to the popular decision. Pilate’s perception was that he had to hand Jesus over to keep his own followers content. Pilate was guilty by association.

Prayer: Father help me to follow after truth, not what makes me comfortable. Help me to make decisions based on your will for my life and not go along with the intent of other’s. Help me to perceive what is noble and correct. Help me to respond to everyone I come in contact with with your Word and stand for what is accurate. Help me not to be offended when others accuse me falsely. I commit my way to you Father. Amen

What Wisdom do we seek?

“The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” Genesis 3:6

Adam and Eve wanted to attain wisdom. They weren’t satisfied that God would give them the wisdom they needed. How does this pertain to us? What areas of our lives do we search out man’s wisdom instead of the wisdom of God? Do we turn to God with our decisions or do we rely on what trusted friends and our peers advise us? We should rely on what God knows. Where is our trust? Shouldn’t our trust be in God?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. ” Proverb 3:5-6

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6

“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” James 3:17

Prayer for every day: Father help me to seek your wisdom in all that I do. Help me to look to you in every decision of my life. Help me not to go by what is in MY mind but to look for your understanding. Your ways are far superior to mine and I ask for your wisdom in every aspect of my life.  No matter how enticing other’s ways seem, help me to keep my focus on you and rely on your Word for wisdom. Thank you Father that you are faithful and take care of each of my needs. I love you, Father. Amen