His Name, Our Unity

John 17:11   (KJV)   11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

The Father has given His wonderful Name to the Son. It’s His very same Name that keeps or protects us. And one of the reasons His Name is keeping us is the oneness of His John 17.11 - His Name, Our Unitypeople—the church. The kind of oneness or unity he desires for us is that which is very intimate—as close as the oneness of the Father and the Son.

The unity of the church is very important to our Lord Jesus. It’s something I personally treasure, pray for, and pursue. Churches, preachers, and teachers talk about this, support and uphold this truth. But many of the actions I see seem to be very different.

An attack against the unity of the church is an attack against the Name of the Father. Our Father loves the Son, the Son loves His church—it’s His body. The Lord told us He will destroy those who destroy His temple. That’s completely understandable; we take that seriously. We pray that others humble themselves and honor the Name that protects them. As for us, we’re committed to it. We may not be as numerous as the needed voices, but we’re not silent.

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Father, In Jesus’ Name

John 16:23   (KJV)   23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

A day was prophesied and that day is now that we pray directly to the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus. When we, do God grants our prayers. The veil between us and God has been torn apart. We now boldly come before the throne of God. We do so not John 16.23 - Father, In Jesus' Namebecause of our own righteousness or accomplishment; it’s because of our Lord Jesus. Because of Him, there no longer remains anything that separates us from the Father.

We maintain a healthy balance of sincere humility and lion-like boldness. We’re not deserving of being in the presence of the greatest and perfectly holy Being; we can’t help but approach His awesome presence with utter lowliness of heart. At the same time, we don’t cower away, knowing that we have an advocate to our Father. He is worthy.  It’s because of Him and in His Name that we have access to our heavenly Father.

In the lighter side of things, some people ask, “Do we pray to the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?”. As expected, answers vary. Here’s one passage telling us to pray directly to the Father—in Jesus’ Name. Of course, this is not the only Scripture though that addresses the issue. For now, we just pray the best we know how, and it’s been an awesome experience so far.

Fear the Father?

1 Peter 1:17   (KJV)   17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

We boldly call God our Father. It’s to Him we pray. He’s the One Who answers our prayers and blesses us graciously; He’s also the One who judges and will judge all of us 1 Peter 1.17 - Fear the Fatheraccording to our works. The appropriate response to these as pilgrims on a sacred journey is to live in fear of God.

We often connect fear to the LORD being our God who judges and condemns, and we connect love to Him being our Father who provides, guides, and saves. But this passage doesn’t show that distinction; the Father is the judge we need to fear.

We have a heavenly Father we can always call on and count on–anytime, anywhere. He’s a perfectly fair Dad. And since He will judge or reward us according to our works, it’s only appropriate that we do what’s good, right, and godly. We’ll always be aware of His incomprehensible greatness and awesomeness so there’ll never be a point in time when we’ll act like little spoiled kids treating our Dad with contempt. No; He’s too mighty, majestic, magnificent, and marvelous for that.

Indestructible Stone

Matthew 21:44   (KJV)   44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Never fight against the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s a “no-win” position to take.  After all, He’s not a weakling that many people think He is.  True, people can speak very insulting and really bad words against Him, and they don’t get struck with a divinely-originated death Matthew 21.44 - Indestructible Stoneblow.  There are those who challenge Him without a seeming answer from heaven.  They conclude that either He’s not real, or He’s just not as powerful as people make Him out to be, or He’s a coward.  Some see Him as the helpless sheep brought to the slaughter.

The truth though:  yes, He came as God’s spotless Lamb, but there’s another side of him people don’t see, understand, or accept.  He is the Lamb of God;  He is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  Everything was created through Him.  And creation is way much bigger, greater, and mightier than us.  Whatever plan of attack, whatever strategy, whatever approach, whatever weapon, the end will be the same:  Jesus will always be standing—on top.

He is the Lord of hosts.  He is the victorious warrior.  It’s best that we be on His side—the winning side.  Understanding the end of everyone who dares challenge Him into a fight, we prefer what we have now: a love-relationship with our Lord, Savior, Father, and Friend.

 

Our Heavenly Father’s Promise

Luke 11:9   (KJV)   9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

God delightfully desires to give us good gifts. That’s natural for earthly fathers; much more so with our most loving heavenly Dad. Some may ask: “He’s God; we’re not. Can we really be His children?” Yes, we can be and yes we are. Either we’re His children through luke-11-9-our-heavenly-fathers-promisecreation, or we’re His children both through creation and spiritual birth; the former covers our temporal life; the latter covers both that and our eternal life as well. Any which way, we’re all God’s children, although I highly prefer the latter—where our “childrenhood” secures our eternal togetherness with our Father.

My heart goes out to those who don’t relate to the wonder of God’s “Fatherhood” because of their painful experiences with their earthly Dads. I pray for your total healing, comfort, restoration and deliverance. I pray that the reality and presence of the perfect and Holy Dad brings you joy in your hearts and smiles on your lips. He cares for you; He loves all of us. He never uses, misuses, or abuses His children. He very much wants to give us everything we need. The power and authority of His Kingdom backs us up. He’s our perfect, inerrant “GPS” or map continually giving us direction so we’re not lost.

He makes sure we have steak or fish, potato or rice, water or soda, etc.—everyday of our existence. He gives charge to His invisible heavenly armies—His angels—to keep us safe. We have the Holy Spirit empowering us against the lures of the “mighty” dollars, sexual stimulants—whether from the computer screen or phones, printed materials, or real people; keeping our egos in check so that we don’t find ourselves falling so fast so low flat on our faces. He cleans and/or changes our hearts so we can live free from any ungodly desire—even those of getting even or revenge. Whatever we’re facing, our Dad’s making Himself available to us. He never gets tired of us coming to Him, in fact, the opposite is true: it’s a joy for Him. So we keep asking, seeking, knocking. We’re sure of this: our Dad’s always readily and longingly waiting.

One Body

John 17:23   (KJV)   23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

The Father and the Son share such inexplicable oneness that to see the Son is to see the Father. They are perfect in their unity and intimacy: The Father is in the Son; The Father and the Son aJohn 17.23 - One Bodyre one. Amazingly, that same relationship the Father has with the Son is the same relationship the Son has with us—His children, His church. As the Father is in the Son, so is the Son in us. As the Father and the Son have perfect oneness, so does the Son and the church.

One of the clearly expressed purposes of all the oneness they share is so that we as His disciples may also have perfect oneness. We ought to neither undermine nor diminish the importance of our unity; it’s a high call to the church; it’s a prayer that flows from the heart of our precious Lord Jesus Himself. It’s a prayer still so far from being achieved. Sadly, many of our churches march to the drumbeat of personal, or pastoral, or denominational pride. Many leaders are more engaged in lifting the banner of their unique personal interpretations of the Word and their denominational distinctives rather than pursuing the loving unity brought about by our common core beliefs—cardinal doctrines we share altogether as one body.

Many Christians faithfully labor—spending a lot of time, energy, and effort presenting the Lord Jesus to the world. And that’s admirable and praiseworthy. But they also negate the efficacy of their efforts because of the very obvious disunity that they create. This ought to stop. Our earnest prayer is that our Lord’s prayer for unity be answered. We on our part work to be an answer to His prayer. He has revealed a Kingdom key that will open the doors of people’s eyes so that they will see the authenticity of Jesus as the Messiah sent and loved by the Father, that we’re truly experiencing God’s love in and among us. That’s why we highly value our oneness. That’s why we passionately pursue the unity of our Lord’s church.

Never Alone

John 8:29   (KJV)   29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

The beloved Son, JesuJohn 8.29 - Never alone - 2s, willingly came as He was sent by His loving Father. He was never alone though; this may be hard to understand for some, but the Sender was also with the Sent. The Father’s presence in our Lord Jesus is universally accepted among believers. However, the reason He gives is a matter of contention for some. Jesus affirms that the reason for His Father’s presence in His life is His obedience.

There is much value in pleasing God; that’s always the case for a lover. God has given everything we need for life and godliness; He has given us everything for our enjoyment. All those are natural expressions of His amazing love for us. We love Him too, albeit, totally much less than He does us. But love Him, we do. And because we do, it’s our wholehearted desire to please Him. We come up short every now and then, rather, often perhaps, but it doesn’t change our desire to please Him.

God is everywhere; He’s with everyone. One of the wonderful blessings of being a believer is receiving the high honor of becoming God’s temple. He’s not only with us; He’s in us. If doing the things that please Him is one of the reasons for it, the more we ought to please Him. How does it play in the grand scheme of His promise of not leaving and forsaking us? Is His promise anchored on a condition? It seemingly is. But we’re not worried. Real believers are passionate pursuers of the condition anyway. We as believers live for His pleasure.