Luke 9:49-50 (NIV): “Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”
There is a disturbing tendency to competition and exclusion among Christian denominations. Each congregation gets defensive over its “turf” and its people. But when God calls the Church to unity, He does not mean among a congregation or a denomination – God calls the whole Church to be one in Him. Some congregations and denominations have closed themselves off so thoroughly from anything from outside that they have even closed God out! Fractures and sectarian divisions tell the world (who really IS looking) that the Church is just people – nothing special and having no ultimate truth for them. But when the world sees congregations working together in love and harmony that cuts across denominational lines, and language lines, and cultural lines, that is a testimony to everyone of God’s reality, working through those people. I’m not talking here about “ecumenical services” or things of that nature, but of ALL of the true people of God, whatever denomination they belong to, all working together to seek and to save what was lost, to set the sin-chained prisoner free, to heal the broken-hearted, and to give eternal life to those spiritually dead. Working as one people to remake this sin-damaged world, which is even now waiting in eager expectation, waiting to be “liberated from its bondage to decay, and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:19-21) All of God’s people really need to understand that we are in this high-stakes game all together (the eternal fate of every person in the world depends on it), and that “whoever is not against you is for you.”
Father, You are right – we really have let ourselves get divided. The real work of the kingdom is accomplished poorly by Your fractured people where it is accomplished at all. Father, break down the walls we have erected between ourselves, and make us truly one, just as Jesus prayed, so that Your name is glorified, and Your kingdom grows through us. Amen.