Summary: You can put a bunch of cats in a burlap bag and you'll have ONE bag full of cats, but you won't have unity. So what makes us one body? The answer is so obvious we sometimes miss it.
OPEN: Today is our “Unity Service”. We have 3 different languages represented: Burmese; Spanish and English. A lot of us look forward to this worship service because (despite the fact that we come from different backgrounds) we all really seem to like each other.
I believe that this is the type of thing Jesus had in mind when He prayed: “I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be ONE as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete UNITY to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23
Jesus prayed for UNITY. For ONENESS.
And that got me to thinking: what is it that makes us ONE church? I mean, we all come from different backgrounds, we all speak different languages, and we’ve been raised in different countries and cultures. How could we possibly be ONE church? Is it just because we’re all meeting in one building… does that make us one?
Well, you could put a whole bunch of cats inside a burlap bag, and you have ONE bag filled with cats. But you don’t have much unity going on. Those cats would only agree on a couple things: 1) They don’t really like being together and 2) they REALLY want out of that bag.
So what is it that makes us… ONE?
I think the answer to that question is found here in Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
First, what makes us ONE is that Jesus has ALL AUTHORITY for us.
ILLUS: I drive the bus to pick up kids for our Wednesday night youth group (JAM), and a couple of times kids have asked ME “Do you own the church?” Well, they wouldn’t know any better… they’re just kids. And it kind of makes sense – I’m here a lot. But I don’t own the building. Well, if I don’t own it, who does? Well, Jesus does.
In fact - there’s a sign on the front lawn that says: “The Church of Christ at Logansport.” In theory that means that the building belongs to Jesus (thus the “Church of CHRIST”). But (just to be clear) the building is not the church. You are the church. The building is just the place we meet to worship Jesus. So, the sign is declaring that we (who meet here) belong to Christ. We are the church of CHRIST!!!! We belong to Him!!!
I was impressed by a comment someone once made: The “Church of Christ” should not just be a NAME. It should be a MARK OF OWNERSHIP. The church should “belong” to Christ, and the church should abide by Christ’s doctrine.
And so, it should always be our intention to BELONG TO Jesus. We should always want Him to have TOTAL AUTHORITY in personal lives and TOTAL AUTHORITY over this church that we’re part of. We should want everything we do here to give glory Jesus. Jesus must have total authority. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, and if you’re a Christian, that means He has all authority over you, and over us.
And so, because we believe that, THAT’S the main reason we are ONE! It’s all about Jesus.
Now, how did Jesus get that authority over us? Well, He has that authority because He OWNS us, He BOUGHT us, He REDEEMED us.
I Corinthians 6:19-20 “do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were BOUGHT at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
I Peter 1:18-19 declares “you were redeemed (purchased) from your empty way of life that was inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.”
ILLUS: Down here in front is a Table that we call it the “communion table.” Every Sunday (except this one where we’ve opted for communion packets handed out ahead of the worship time) we put trays there that hold the Communion elements: The Bread… and the Cup.
On the night that Jesus was betrayed, “He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Then “… after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” (Luke 22:19-20)