Redux? Why did I choose that word? I don’t know, it just seemed fitting at the time. First, this is a message that I posted on another site some time ago and yet felt in the light of recent instances needed some update and clarification. There seems to be some confusion as to what spiritual unity truly is and with all the denominational differences, those differences can be confused with actual ministry and gifting differences. Also, with the state of the world that we live in today, with all the political turmoil and racial unrest reinvigorated by unscrupulous and corrupt leaders, we are seeing a division within those that claim to be a part of the Body of Christ.
Let me say this emphatically; the Spiritual Church is NOT divided, for if that were the case, then the Holy Spirit Himself would be divided and that is not Scriptural! So, it stands to reason that it is individual thinking and lack of spiritual understanding that is causing a division in “religious” circles. In the Spirit, in our Heavenly Father’s TRUE Kingdom, there is no division!
The fact remains is that the devil and his lies, his emissaries and the enemies of our soul, which includes the world order, is hard at work to keep mankind blind to the truth of the Spirit of God and the workings of His Kingdom. But we have this promise, “And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” – 1 John 4:3-6.
Greater is the Spirit within us (if we are truly children of God) then he who is in the world. But you can’t just stop there and park or camp on that Scripture alone! Those of the world, hear and believe the lies of the world, they accept the deception and falsehoods and those that KNOW God, in an intimate way, are not swayed by the lies of this world, but KNOW the truth, which Scripture tells us, sets us free. There is NO division in truth!
2 Corinthians 6:14-15, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?”
We do not as individuals have to believe in everything exactly the same; but, truth and falsehood should be easily recognizable to a child of God who is walking in the Spirit of Christ Jesus! If you enable those who lie as a lifestyle in this world and deceive to gain their own ends, you enable the enemy and are actively condoning fellowship with this world order and its motive to destroy the truth! Then, whether you believe yourself to be religious (it should be spiritual) or not you are then the cause of division and you need to be called out, just as the Apostles Paul and Peter called out those in the letters they wrote to the churches! In doing so, you protect the “flock of the Lord” and you might “save a brother or sister from destruction,” according to Scripture!
If you are more concerned about feelings than you are of the Spirit of the Lord and the Spirit of the Word, then you have no stake in the Kingdom of God! You MUST unequivocally LOVE the Lord and His Kingdom and those who make up that Kingdom more than family or friends or you are the cause then of division in this world!
I KNOW beyond a doubt, that this seems harsh; but what is more important in eternity, this world and its ways or the Kingdom of God and the Body or Bride of Christ? This is NOT the LAW I am spouting, but actually GRACE in action! Grace has been so misunderstood and taught wrong for so long, it has become an avenue for lawlessness and a justification for unrighteousness!
Now, with these ideas, before you, take a look again at TRUE unity. Imagine from the Lord’s perspective, how HE sees a unified and complete Body! Are YOU one of the many puzzle pieces rightly fitted in its proper place? Only you, can truly answer that, but your actions, dictated by your heart, will determine where you fit in the TRUE image that God Almighty, our Heavenly Father, has created.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:…”
1 Corinthians 12:11-14, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.”
1 Corinthians 12:18-20, “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.”
1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”
Just to let you know ahead of time, this is not a teaching on the gifts or ministries themselves, but rather a teaching on the Body of Christ itself and what it appears the Holy Spirit is accomplishing before our eyes.
Why Jigsaw Puzzle Unity, you ask? I love jigsaw puzzles; always have. I love seeing a picture and then watching it scrambled and using my intuitive skills to put it back together again with little odd-shaped pieces.
As I have been praying the last couple of days, I have been in AWE of how the Lord is bringing His Church together in unity and with purpose. It seems to me that this unity seems to be happening ever quicker as the days go by. That might just be me, but it sure appears that way.
Back in the early ‘70s, Ray Stedman’s teaching on Body Ministry was gaining ground in many of the fundamental churches and for me, who surrendered to the Lord in late 1969, it was an exciting time and teaching. The problem is, it ended up being treated like a religious fad for many churches rather than a spiritual reawakening! I clung to that teaching though and it not only helped me in areas of ministry, but it also helped me when dealing with others whose ministries differed from mine.
There are still those Pastors and Teachers who do teach it, but it doesn’t seem to be mainstream like it once was. I can tell you why I think that is so and I’m probably not far wrong from my experiences in various areas of ministries. But — that’s a lesson for another time, let’s just say for now that EGO has a lot to do with the lack of teaching!
What struck me about Body Ministry is how it resembles the jigsaw puzzles that I so love. You see, our Heavenly Father has this image, vision, picture of the Church Body, that which Christ Jesus as bridegroom is coming to call unto Himself. It’s a beautiful image and the Bride is decked out in her most brilliant and white dress. She is the vision of purity and intimacy and she beams with anticipation of her coming Lord. I can’t describe the beauty with which the Father views her, for it is beyond our comprehension while we are wrapped in this corruptible flesh.
But we are given a bit of a view of her if we are willing to look at her individual members. Like the jigsaw picture that ultimately creates the beautiful image when finished, she is made up of sometimes unique pieces, sometimes very similar with little differences, but each piece has its own place to make that image complete. You can’t take a similar piece to another and place it in the wrong spot for it will not look right and it certainly won’t fit right. Each piece has been pre-cut, pre-created with one purpose in mind, to complete the picture in the one and only spot it is meant to fill.
Notice another thing about this analogy; if you are missing a piece, the image, what should be seen is incomplete and not whole, for it takes the interlocking of each piece to not only make it complete, but make it secure and strong!
So it is with Body ministry! You can read the verses concerning the individual ministry and spiritual gifts, but the main point is that we NEED each one fitting where our Heavenly Father has created that gift to fit in the overall picture! Yes, God knew before the puzzle was in pieces, the importance of each piece and where each piece needed to fit and interlock!! Remember, it is God Almighty who sets the members as He sees fit, as it pleases Him! A jigsaw puzzle fits as it should because each piece IS unique and individual, in a good puzzle there are no two pieces alike. You can’t have ALL edge pieces or you can never have a complete picture, only a border. If only a border, what would it hold in place?
So it is with the Body of Christ. We have border pieces that help keep other pieces linked together. A border defines the size and outline of what the image is to be. It lends definition. You can look at it complete and say, yes, it is rectangular or square or round, etc. You can’t get something from a jigsaw puzzle that it was not meant to be, because each piece defines the complete outcome of the picture. So it is with the Body of Christ!
Here’s the thing; there is a reason why we are asked to surrender our wills to that of our Redeemer as Lord. It is His Spirit’s job or function, to make us the piece that God wants us to be so that we comprise the picture that He already foresees. What each of us is called to do, is no accident, for it is exactly what pleases our Heavenly Father.
What we are witnessing today, is the jigsaw puzzle of the unique pieces that make up the Church of God Universal, the Body of Christ, coming together as the Holy Spirit places us and creates within each of us the image that will ultimately make up the whole. The picture is already there in the mind of our Heavenly Father. We just have to be willing to submit to the interlocking process that produces unity and strength. The thing that interlocks each of us in our own unique way, is the love for one another, all who surround us as a piece of the puzzle. You can’t interlock with an edge piece if you are one of the center pieces, for you weren’t created too. You can love the complete picture by loving that piece of the puzzle next to you and interlocking with it creating strength and unity!
Eventually, you see the BIG picture. We ARE that Body, becoming more and more the beautiful Bride that the Father is preparing the Groom to come for. He is coming for a Bride who only has eyes for Him, who’s only desire is an intimate relationship with Him! Right now, each of us are adding to the larger picture if and when we allow the Holy Spirit to move us to that place that has been reserved for each of us!!
I am tickled beyond measure, that I am living in a time when I can see God’s True Church coming together in Love, adding to the strength of our Heavenly Father’s vision of what we are meant to be to Him!!
Love is our border, our edge and it should and always will define us as the Church that God is building!