Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." - Ephesians 4:1-6
The Body of Christ is moving boldly in our community as the church congregations network and share resources, acting as seed scatterers, peacemakers, world changers and visionaries. The movement symbolizes one of the dominant, new religious overtones of the 21st Century – a spirit of Christian unity. Church infrastructures are being forced to change in order to remain relevant to congregations thirsty for a relationship with Jesus Christ. No longer are Christian believers settling for a pleasing minister, a quiet invitation to participate, an informal atmosphere and child care and preschool facilities. Emulating Christ and discerning and doing His will is making the Church relevant to society once again.
Christians are studying the scriptures with more intent on changing their lives than at any time in the previous century. Believers are becoming obsessed with every word spoken by our Savior, every act carried out by the apostles and every letter sent to the first churches. As we study the New Testament scriptures, our hearts and spirits are excited for the same fellowship, faith, power and purpose as the first century believers recorded.
The first century believers either knew Jesus personally during his life and ministry, or they received testimony second hand from ones who did. During that time, the believers banded together, sharing everything they had with one another. They established a tremendous unity that would be necessary for the early Church to multiply. It is easy to see how the world was changed forever by the love, peace, grace and kindness that the early Christians first expressed through the Holy Spirit. They met in one another’s homes, shared meals, prayed in small groups, studied, listened and worshipped God together. They focused on feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, caring for the sick, hurt, abused and molested and loving the unloved. Believers shared the good news of the Gospel with all whom they engaged. Jesus said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).
The 21st Century Christian now seeks a Church that offers a means of peace, truth, compassion and hope, as opposed to the modern world’s way of power, materialism, exploitation and violence. Christians are demanding a Church that is willing to sacrifice everything to reach those people outside its walls. A successful Church will love the world and be prepared to die for it. The Savior was born, lived, suffered, died and rose again so we could establish a personal relationship with God. The 21st Century Church may foster new apostles like Peter and Paul with their kind of fire for and dedication to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If anyone has a faith article to share, please contact Mark Gunderman at firstname.lastname@example.org.