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Unity and the Spirit

A lot of people talk about the need for unity in the church.  Do we fully understand what that means, or what it takes to walk in unity?  I think that the answer will surprise you.

We’re continuing our look at the way Paul describes spiritual ministry in his first letter to the Corinthian church.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:12

At this point, Paul continues a theme that was started in this letter.  I’m talking about the body of Christ.

This subject started in chapter 6 where they were told that their body was a temple to the Holy Spirit.  Then, in chapter 10, we’re told that when we break bread together in the Lord’s Supper it’s a participation in the Lord’s body.

The Apostle is now giving more insight into this truth.  He begins at a place we can all understand – the natural.  A human body is one entity.

However, you can also view the body as a collection of individual parts.  Even though these many parts all have different functions, they form one whole organism.

All the members of the body together form a unit.  A unit is the foundation for unity.  All the individual parts of the body work together to carry out the will of the mind.

But in all of this, the most important thing to grasp is Paul’s final statement.  So it is with Christ.

He did not say, “So it is with the church.”  It’s vital for us to see that He’s talking about God and not us.  It’s not our body that the Lord becomes a part of.  We participate with Him.  We must become a part of His body.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:13

I believe that this is a key Scripture in understanding unity in the church.  Yet, there are many who never give it much notice.

Part of the problem is in the translation.  The phrase, baptized by, is actually baptized in according to the original Greek text.  So this verse tells us that when we’re baptized in the Spirit, we’re also baptized into the body of Christ.

Throughout Scripture, we’re told that unity is a function of the spirit.  When you think about it, there’s no body-life without unity.

I look at how my own body operates in the natural.  If each member of my body was autonomous, I’d be in trouble.  I couldn’t live normally if each part acted independently regardless of what my brain wanted to be done.

In many cases that’s what the church is like.  We don’t spend the time needed to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Then we go off and do what we feel like doing for God.  And we call that the body of Christ.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:3

Unity requires effort.  It requires me to hear and obey God’s Spirit within me.  Only when we all synchronize ourselves to the will of the Spirit are we truly acting as the body of Christ.

Question: What’s the difference between unity and agreement?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on June 21, 2019 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Worship in Spirit and Truth

DoveIn this post I’m continuing to talk about the encounter between the woman at the well and Jesus. He told her that He could give her living water. She replied that she wanted it so that she wouldn’t have to keep coming back to this well.

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John 4:16-18

We usually miss what’s happening here because we live in a different culture. To us, having five husbands means that you must have low morals. In that culture it probably meant that she couldn’t bear children.

When each new husband realized that she couldn’t produce an heir, she was sent away. She was also under the stigma that if you can’t bear children, then you’re under a curse from God.

Jesus was showing her that God knew everything about her, and he loved her anyway. She was still a candidate for a blessing.

The woman was floored by that thought. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to bless you”, if you don’t know me. But to know everything about me and still love me enough to bless me; that’s overwhelming…let’s change the subject.

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:19-24

This is the key to what John wants to teach us by this encounter. The highest relationship with God is accomplished only in the spirit. The Lord is talking about being baptized in the spirit and continuing the relationship by praying in the spirit.

The natural is alright – but the highest and best is accomplished in the spirit. You can’t worship in spirit and truth simply using your flesh and your soul. As a matter of fact, you can sing, clap and dance without even thinking about it – it’s automatic sometimes. There are other times that I can think deeply about what I’m praying for. Those things are good and acceptable.

But the truth is that God desires a relationship with your spirit.

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
John 4:25-26

Christ then reveals Himself to her. In this discussion we see God’s heart for us. He wants us to relate to Himself on a level that’s deeper than our minds can fathom. He wants us to communicate in the spirit. That’s why prayer in the spirit is so important. Don’t neglect this great gift.

Question: How often do you spend time praying in the spirit?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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The Living Water of the Spirit

Stream 2In my last post I talked about the woman at the well encountering Jesus. He talked to her about receiving living water. We saw that this was a concept found in the Old Testament.

The prophet Zechariah talks about living water in relation to the Second Coming of Christ.

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.
Zechariah 14:8-9

It’s important that we as believers understand what Jesus means by living water. It’s also obvious that the woman doesn’t understand what the Lord’s talking about.

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:11-14

Jesus was not talking about natural water. In the original Greek, Jesus says that if you drink His water you will not never thirst ever. That might not be grammatically correct in English, but it’s very emphatic in Greek.

Why will you never thirst again? That’s because a spring of this living water will come up from WITHIN you.

What does this mean based upon the Old Testament Scriptures that we looked at? Jesus was saying, “I can place God inside of you.”

You need to understand that this was the last Gospel to be written. When the church received it, they already knew the testimony of John the Baptist.

And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Mark 1:7-8

So the early church read this knowing that Jesus is the baptizer in the Spirit. What do Jesus’ words to the woman mean to us? If you ask the Lord, then you’ll be baptized in the Spirit.

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
John 7:15

The woman didn’t know it at the time, but she was operating in a Scriptural principle. She was placing a demand upon Christ. The Lord offered her an amazing blessing. She asked to receive it. That’s what it takes for a miracle to occur.

In my next post we’ll see what her need was, and how this blessing takes shape in her life.

Question: What are some blessings that you received by asking the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 

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