I am writing this piece with a true desire to see restoration in the body of Christ and unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Most of my new life in Christ has been in the shelter of a church building, getting spoon fed by men with eloquent speech; so by no one’s fault but my own, I have been living a life of what I consider naiveté. I always wondered why there were so many churches within a five block radius, but never thought to really search out the matter figuring, ‘Well we are supposed to have different gifts, so that must be the reason.’ Talk about naïve!
Since then, the Lord has shown me a different story, the real story. Yes He has given us different charisma, or a gift, (which by the way charisma is the Greek word for gift used in Romans 12 and 1 Cor. 12); however, upon seeking out just why there are so many denominations, I have discovered a discrepancy in how they are being exercised. Another reason for searching out these matters is because since I have been on facebook, and even in my own family, I have been hearing talk like, ‘What does it matter if I don’t believe the way you believe?’, (that being mainly about the issue of forgiveness), and whereas this would be a whole other ball game if it were say someone of a different religion, then certainly a different tact would need to be taken. But these are my brothers and sisters who are saying that they are followers of our Lord Jesus Christ! So this is why I know that the Lord has been encouraging me to write about this topic. I do not take lightly what I am about to discuss, but like I said above, my heart is for the body of Christ to be unified before we get to heaven if possible, so this lost and dying world just might say, ‘Look at how those people love each other, and work together, I think I want to know who they are and why they are like that!’ Instead of, ‘Oh brother, there goes those Christian people again, fighting over this, and fighting over that; I sure am glad I am not a part of that drama!’
I want to talk about the scripture in Ephesians 4:4-6, and I think as we go through it together, it is my prayer that we can see the true vision of what God would like for us to be as His body. So here is the scripture out of the KJV:
There is one body and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
Because of some pain I experienced among my brethren, (pain can be quite the motivator), I spent many hours asking the Lord why it hurt so bad, and how could this happen; and He starting showing me and teaching me in His word through the Spirit some truth I didn’t really like when I first started reading it. It actually made me angry for a while because I was seeing just how far off His body had become. Since then, the anger has subsided, and now I am again open to more teaching by the spirit of truth, and willing to ask how I can be of service to my brothers and sisters over this issue. I have not received the answer to just sweep everything under the rug, and act like it is okey dokey to go around stating, As long as Christ is preached, it’s ok; because then I would not be walking in the true spirit of unity.
If we go to Romans 12:4-9a, we get a further glimpse at what being one body involves:
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts,(charismata), differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith, or ministry, let us use it in our ministering, or he who teaches, in teaching; or he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy.
After I got done being confused by all the concordances and Greek dictionaries trying to find clarity on the word gifts, and charisma; I did what I have always been able to trust; I again asked the Holy Spirit to teach me. I thought about the word charisma for a while, and asked the Lord for wisdom concerning its true implications. And then I looked up the word gift which means:
Webster’s New World Dictionary-College Edition: something given or bestowed; present – the act, power, or right of giving – a natural ability, talent.
Typing these words so close together, He made it even more clear to me right now; He has given us natural ability, talent to be used for the things He wants to use us for to bring Him glory. It reminded me of the stories in the Old Testament about the bronze workers, and artists that God was sending to Moses when they were building the tabernacle. He gave them that ability. Now I wonder if the members of that group would have said, ‘No, I am going to start my own business, and when I get time, I will come and work on your project God! This is my gift, and I am going to use it how I see fit. Don’t worry, I’ll mention here and there that You gave it to me, but I gotta do it my way, and these other folks might get in my way.’
I guess I have said all of that to say this – 1 Cor. 12:7 says: But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each for the profit of ALL! Going back to Ephesians 4, whether apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, etc; all the natural abilities that come from God are for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from who the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does it’s share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Man, that is good stuff Lord! So we see that just as all the craftsmen worked together as God gave them abilities, there mission being to create the items that were to be used for the worship of God. Today, however, we have a tabernacle not built with human hands; that being Jesus. So I would suspect that our heavenly Father has again given His children gifts to be used to bring them together for worshipping Him. The gifts themselves are not to be worshipped, God is.
It is my understanding of God’s word that what Jesus brought with Him was not just forgiveness, but a New Covenant; the ministry of reconciliation. The Trinity’s main goal was to have the whole world reconciled to God, and us being the body of Christ…shouldn’t that be ours? Jesus prayed for us 2000 years ago, and sometimes when I think about it too long, it almost brings me to tears when I look at the way His body is all divided up. He said:
‘I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.’ John 17:20-23
Let us get back to the place He would love us to be again church, operating in unity, back to the ministry of reconciliation, the New Covenant, that the world may believe that the Father sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. That is their desire, so let it be ours!