“That all of them may be one.” Jn 17:21 NIV
This may come as a shock, but the Book of Life doesn’t record your denomination next to your name. In heaven there are no religious labels. If someone has the right to call Jesus, Lord, you must treat them as your brother and sister regardless of which church they attend. We’re all related by blood—the blood of Jesus! As believers the Bible tells us to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3 NAS). Notice, God doesn’t tell us to create unity, He tells us to preserve it. Comedian Elmo Phillips used to tell this story: “In a conversation with a person I had recently met, I asked, ‘Are you a Protestant or a Catholic?’ My new acquaintance replied, ‘Protestant.’ I said, ‘Me too!’ I asked, ‘What franchise?’ He answered, ‘Baptist.’ ‘Me too!’ I said. ‘Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?’ ‘Northern Baptist,’ he replied. ‘Me too!’ I shouted. We continued to go back and forth. Finally I asked, ‘Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region, Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region, Council of 1912?’ He replied, ‘Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region, Council of 1912.’ I said, ‘Die, heretic!’” Seriously, do you know what Jesus prayed for? “That all of them may be one…so that the world may believe.” A divided church is a wounded and weak church. Ever considered what would happen if we downplayed our labels and put our contents on display? Maybe we wouldn’t need signs outside our door to attract people, because they’d be drawn by the love of those inside. It’s worth thinking about, isn’t it?
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