Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Mt. 16:18). Peter preached, “God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Acts 2:17). Evidence confirms that Jesus and Peter’s prophecies are being fulfilled. Despite the darkness (2 Tim. 2:19), Jesus is building his church, the Spirit is being poured out all over the world. The percentage of earth’s population that is Christian is growing. Paul said the church reveals something of the nature of God (Eph. 3:10). God reconciles the many from different cultures into the one body. Jesus will build his church “from every people group” to use my late friend Donald McGavran’s favorite phrase (Rev. 7:9). John Wimber
Our Theme: ON UNITY.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat: Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer him! Be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on. Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.
In truth, from the days of John the Baptist to today, the kingdom of God has never lost traction. The trumpet of Christ’s redemptive power was sounded from the empty tomb 2,000 years ago, and now, the entire world is being given ample opportunity to answer that same redemptive call.
Calvinist theology tells me that Christ’s commission will be completed whether I participate or not. Arminian theology teaches me that God himself has chosen to defer his power, in part, to human will, and that I must play my important role in God’s plan for his truth and salvation to be spread across the nations.
Call me crazy, but I believe strongly both ways. Yes and amen. God works his sovereign plan in his grace alone; and I have the unique honor of seeing my work for him play a major role in his salvation plan for planet earth.
Thus, on some days, when I feel as though my work for Christ is never sufficient enough, I need to be reminded that I can rest assured in the sovereignty of God. He will always be able to trump anything or everything (good, bad, or ugly) I will ever have to offer the King of kings. On other days, however, as I lay in bed, resting in that same assuredness that God’s sovereignty will take care of my neighbor’s slothfulness, I need to get my butt out of bed and remember that my salvation has a bigger purpose in this world beyond simply saving me from my sin. Yes, Marty, God wants me to get up out of my slumber and go love “the hell” out of my neighbor, for heaven’s sake!
As I see it, Wimber was great at reminding us of how big God is and how powerful his sovereign hand can be in our midst. At the same time, John was always chiding us that everyone needs to play, reminding us that while God never needs me to save the world, he truly loves it when I get about the business of working alongside him as he does that very thing.
Which brings us to Jesus’ call for unity in his church, particularly as that unity Jesus calls for plays such an important role in the conversion of the lost. Look at what Jesus prays here in John 17, verses 20-23 in the Message:
I’m praying not only for them . But also for those who will believe in me . Because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me. Th en they’ll be mature in this oneness, And give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them. In the same way you’ve loved me.
Now, keep in mind that Calvinist theology would say that God needs no help from his followers when it comes to convincing folks that Jesus is God’s Son and the Savior of the world. But here’s the rub. Jesus seems to be saying here that the world (i.e., the lost) will have a better chance believing in Jesus, if and when they see Jesus’ followers living in the same one heart and mind that Jesus and the Father live in!
Yikes! Now that, my friends, can be one scary proposition. When the world sees us Jesus followers ranting and raving against one another, calling fellow brothers and sisters in Christ all types of names and spewing out all kinds of hatred toward others, folks in the world will see that and have a much harder time believing in Jesus than if they saw us living together in peace and tranquility.
Makes a pretty strong case, don’t you think, for us Christians to clean up our act and stop all the monkey-business that surrounds our dislike and downright hatred for others who believe themselves to be Christians? Take a look at Facebook and see how nasty we Christians can be toward one another. Listen to a few sermons online or pick up one of the latest finger-pointing Christian books, which rants and raves about this pastor or that denomination that has gone off the deep end.
Folks, it’s time to stop the madness and look carefully at what Jesus prays here. If indeed, our unity (or lack of it) plays that important of a role in worldwide evangelism, somebody needs to stand up and say, “Let’s stop it kids, the world’s watching…and they don’t like what they’re seeing right now!”
For heaven’s sake, my friends, can’t we Christians just all get along?
Father, I need to take seriously Jesus’ prayer in John 17. If indeed, my dislike and disdain for another Christian brother or sister is seen by an unbeliever and then that activity of mine sours that non-believer’s ability to trust in Jesus, shame on me! Spirit; change me from the inside-out, so that I make unity within the body of Christ vitally important to the kingdom cause of Christ around the world. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- Am I aware of times when my sour attitude toward others in the body of Christ has actually served to turn off an unbeliever as they were considering Christ as Savior?
- If so, what can I do to correct that error?
- Am I doing everything I possibly can to speak well pub licly of other Christians, even when I have major differences of opinion with them?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
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